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Mike New
2008-06-10, 13:01
I'm a long-time, multiple-Squeezebox user, and will be the first to say there is much to love about this system. But despite the power and flexibility of the software, its poor music management continues to frustrate me.

For example, I have a large music library, and often just hit "random play" for the adventure of what might come next. Sometimes a particularly good tune comes up, and I'd like to save it to a different "best stuff" playlist.

Using practically any other software - iTunes, Media Player, MediaMonkey - I can simply drag a playing song to another playlist. Not so with SqueezeCenter. The best I can do is add it to Favorites, and then later add each song to a new playlist. To do this, I must first open the playlist I'm going to add to, then individually add each song, waiting several seconds for each add, then re-save the playlist.

On the other hand, I can now drag-and drop to rearrange song order! Thank you! Thank you!

Still, this is really cumbersome. Despite being arguably the best digital music system on the market, SqueezeCenter is still getting spanked on basic user interface features and music management capabilities (like tagging). Sure, I can work-around many of these issues, but after all these years, isn't it time for a contemporary Windows and/or Mac interface? (Yeah, I know. Open Systems and all that. Forgive me if I selfishly want software optimized for my mainstream operating system.)

Why bring this up again? Because I really want to buy another system, and don't know what to choose. SqueezeStuff wins hands-down on almost every feature - except for the basic things I want to do with my music. iTunes has a great interface, but can't handle FLAC or decent remote control (without a TV). MediaMonkey relies on my PC speakers. Etcetera.

I'll probably spring for another Logitech system, because it is still the overall best choice for me. But why not make this decision a slam-dunk by adding some cool (competitive) music management features for Windows and Mac? I'd be happy to provide specific suggestions...

MrSinatra
2008-06-10, 13:09
what surprises me is that no one has taken the open source SC server, and made it a plugin for something like winamp.

i wouldn't have the foggiest idea about how to go about that, but it seems to me that an app like winamp could do all the user/os stuff, and the plugin would then handle the server/tcp-ip bit.

i'm sure some features would be lost along the way, but even just a no frills plugin that just let me play winamp on just one of my SBs would be a god send.

Nostromo
2008-06-10, 14:11
I'm a long-time, multiple-Squeezebox user, and will be For example, I have a large music library, and often just hit "random play" for the adventure of what might come next. Sometimes a particularly good tune comes up, and I'd like to save it to a different "best stuff" playlist.

You can do that with Erland's plugins. If there's a song you like, rate it (say) 4 stars (you can do it with the remote or in SqueezeCenter), and then configure a dynamic playlist that includes all and only songs that are rated 4 stars and more (or whatever you want).


Still, this is really cumbersome. Despite being arguably the best digital music system on the market, SqueezeCenter is still getting spanked on basic user interface features and music management capabilities (like tagging). Sure, I can work-around many of these issues, but after all these years, isn't it time for a contemporary Windows and/or Mac interface? (Yeah, I know. Open Systems and all that. Forgive me if I selfishly want software optimized for my mainstream operating system.)

SqueezeCenter isn't meant for music management. You're supposed to use other software, like iTunes, for that purpose. SqueezeCenter is bloated enough as it is. If you don't want to use iTunes, you can try stuff like Tag&rename for tagging purposes. That said, I proposed in another thread an "integrated solution" or a "distribution" for those of us who don't want to use iTunes and don't want to go on app fishing. You download that distribution and you get not only SqueezeCenter, but the best apps for ripping or tagging your music.

egd
2008-06-10, 14:29
Whilst I understand where most are coming from in respect of SC's limitations, I would hate to see SC try to become all things to everyone.

IMHO SC already tries to do too much and there's possibly an argument that its current form should be split between streaming music/ being the go-between for the players and wireless/ wired remotes and everything else it does. I think tagging, library management etc. is best left to other applications that already do the job brilliantly such as mp3tag. Granted, there isn't a decent library management tool out there at present, not even iTunes comes close. However, the opportunity exists to write a cross platform standalone application that does nothing other than library management (and does it damned well) and integrates with SC insofar as it is able to inform SC's playlist and interact with SC to allow the remotes etc. to browse the library.

I definitely agree with the OP, what is lacking is a decent library management tool, however, I don't think SC should be that beast.

Mike New
2008-06-10, 14:44
SqueezeCenter isn't meant for music management. You're supposed to use other software, like iTunes, for that purpose.


Really? Then what is SqueezeCenter meant for? I've always viewed Squeeze as a dedicated music system -- no video streaming, no TV interface -- just a killer system for music enthusiasts like me. Now I'm told I should use iTunes to manage my music, and third-party plug-ins to shore up other SqueezeCenter deficiencies.

C'mon. Squeeze is one of the most capable, most mature systems out there. Surely someone has the vision to add the 10% that would sweep us off our feet so we don't have to worry about how to find/install/maintain plug-ins, or manage FLAC files in iTunes.

SqueezeCenter is a great application, but it feels like it was designed for techies (like myself) instead of music lovers (also like myself). I gotta say, I'm growing weary of constantly looking for work-arounds and auxillary programs, especially when "finishing" this software seems so achievable.

egd
2008-06-10, 14:54
I gotta say, I'm growing weary of constantly looking for work-arounds and auxillary programs, especially when "finishing" this software seems so achievable.

What would you like to see it do, rattle off the features list.

sebp
2008-06-10, 15:12
Granted, there isn't a decent library management tool out there at present, not even iTunes comes close.
Maybe you should give Amarok a try?
So far the best and most complete music library management software I've ever used. iTunes is just a joke compared to (and will remain in my mind until it opens up to FLAC and let your burn audio CD from music you've ripped).

egd
2008-06-10, 15:26
Maybe you should give Amarok a try?
So far the best and most complete music library management software I've ever used. iTunes is just a joke compared to (and will remain in my mind until it opens up to FLAC and let your burn audio CD from music you've ripped).

I've tried Amarok, Exaile, Listen etc. etc. they're all great for playing music on your PC, playlist management etc. but none of them come close to what I would consider true music library management. In the sense of exposing relationships amongst artists etc. SC has more functionality than any of the aforementioned, regardless of platform.

Mike New
2008-06-10, 15:33
What would you like to see it do, rattle off the features list.

Thanks for asking. Here is a quick & dirty list. To see how these might might look on the actual interface, reference iTunes, MediaMonkey, Media Player.

1. List the library in its entirety on one screen, with sortable columns for Title, Album, Artist, Genre, Length, etc. MediaMonkey also shows the source path as a column, which I think is a major bonus for large libraries.

2. When searching, use the same screen as above, narrowing the results as the user enters characters.

3. Add a new playlist without affecting the currently active playlist, and eliminate the need to explicitly save the new playlist.

4. Drag (or right-click-add) songs to the new playlist. Sequentially number the songs in a playlist (this simplifies re-ordering on long lists.) As a side feature, make all playlists always visible so a song can be easily moved to any playlist.

5. Allow any playlist to be displayed and edited without affecting the active (playing) playlist. Again, just auto-save instead of requiring an explicit step.

6. Allow tag editing (right-click on Properties, Info, etc.) for all major formats. Filename editing would also be cool -- useful for fixing typos, etc.


These are the big ones for me. I also have some suggestions for secondary improvements, but these features would turn me into a raving evangelist.

Thanks again.
Mike

brdbointx
2008-06-10, 16:54
What would you like to see it do, rattle off the features list.

I really only have one real request for Squeeze center - I would like for them to integrate some type of analytical system for songs that creates playlists on the fly. On squeezenetwork, using the Mp3tunes system allows for smart playlists (powered by AMG technology) by artist and by current song. I also has a set of pre-built moods like "dinner music", etc.

I know that you can use Music IP - which I love, but the problem is that the whole thing breaks down if you are running on an NAS server like the Infrant. Even if running on a windows or mac system you still need to have the Music IP program running -- that is just a pain in the rear.

As for random play on Squeeze Center - it is just too dumb for my liking. I have just recently become a fan of these smart lists. I like them because I get performance like Pandora but with music I own. I rediscover stuff I haven;t listened to in a while - it is a good thing.

Nostromo
2008-06-10, 19:04
Really? Then what is SqueezeCenter meant for? I've always viewed Squeeze as a dedicated music system -- no video streaming, no TV interface -- just a killer system for music enthusiasts like me. Now I'm told I should use iTunes to manage my music, and third-party plug-ins to shore up other SqueezeCenter deficiencies.

Its main function is to stream your music to your Squeezebox. It does that very, very well. In fact, its the best there is, IMO. OTOH, its obvious it wasn't designed to manage your music collection. Otherwise, you'd be able to tag your tracks, etc, etc. Its simply not its purpose. Now, you could argue that it should be its purpose. But if you snoop around in these forums you'll soon find out that there's a lot of disagreement on this issue.

Personally, I don't mind using an external program to rip (EAC) and manage (Tag & Rename) my music collection. It makes no difference as far as I'm concerned. And for people who are not tech-savvy, the SqueezeCenter/iTunes combo works great, too. Its not like Logitech could come up with better products anytime soon. And, quite frankly, it would be horrible with the web UI.

That said, there should be an intuitive, user-friendly way to rate your songs and create smart or dynamic playlists in SqueezeCenter. The last time I checked Erland's plugins, he did some great work, but he wasn't quite there yet.


C'mon. Squeeze is one of the most capable, most mature systems out there. Surely someone has the vision to add the 10% that would sweep us off our feet so we don't have to worry about how to find/install/maintain plug-ins, or manage FLAC files in iTunes.

SqueezeCenter is a great application, but it feels like it was designed for techies (like myself) instead of music lovers (also like myself). I gotta say, I'm growing weary of constantly looking for work-arounds and auxillary programs, especially when "finishing" this software seems so achievable.

I agree, SqueezeCenter isn't user-friendly enough. I wouldn't recommend it to my family. But they made a lot of progress since 7.0 and there's more to come. There's a thread somewhere on how to make it more user-friendly.

aubuti
2008-06-10, 20:38
Its main function is to stream your music to your Squeezebox. It does that very, very well. In fact, its the best there is, IMO. OTOH, its obvious it wasn't designed to manage your music collection. Otherwise, you'd be able to tag your tracks, etc, etc. Its simply not its purpose.
Personally, I'm extremely happy that SC doesn't "manage" my music my library. Knowing that it only has read-only access to my library (except playlists, although I could lock that down too if I wished) means I can turn over the remote or keyboard or whatever to friends and family and know that they can't muck anything up and send me scrambling for my backup disk.

Software like mp3tag, MusicIP, iTunes, Media Monkey, J River, etc does all or most of the tasks listed here. Putting it all in SC just means bloat. I'm sure others will continue to prefer the Swiss army knife approach, and I don't imagine I'll persuade them otherwise. But imho you can't beat a proper knife, screwdriver, and corkscrew.

Btw, on the save-to-a-different-playlist request, check out the Playlist Manager plugin. It doesn't do exactly what the OP wants, but it gets you part way there.

Nonreality
2008-06-10, 23:02
Personally, I'm extremely happy that SC doesn't "manage" my music my library. Knowing that it only has read-only access to my library (except playlists, although I could lock that down too if I wished) means I can turn over the remote or keyboard or whatever to friends and family and know that they can't muck anything up and send me scrambling for my backup disk.

Software like mp3tag, MusicIP, iTunes, Media Monkey, J River, etc does all or most of the tasks listed here. Putting it all in SC just means bloat. I'm sure others will continue to prefer the Swiss army knife approach, and I don't imagine I'll persuade them otherwise. But imho you can't beat a proper knife, screwdriver, and corkscrew.

Btw, on the save-to-a-different-playlist request, check out the Playlist Manager plugin. It doesn't do exactly what the OP wants, but it gets you part way there.Totally agree with you. I use dBpoweramp(ripping and conversion)Mediamonkey(organization some tagging, though don't use it a lot now) mp3tag (super program-tagging) Squeezecenter (Playing). I also use the best file manager out there, Directory Opus. The combo of these programs allow me to do much more than one Swiss army approach could and much better.

peter
2008-06-13, 00:12
Mike New wrote:
> egd;310591 Wrote:
>
>> What would you like to see it do, rattle off the features list.
>>
>
> Thanks for asking. Here is a quick & dirty list. To see how these
> might might look on the actual interface, reference iTunes,
> MediaMonkey, Media Player.
>
> 1. List the library in its entirety on one screen, with sortable
> columns for Title, Album, Artist, Genre, Length, etc. MediaMonkey also
> shows the source path as a column, which I think is a major bonus for
> large libraries.
>
> 2. When searching, use the same screen as above, narrowing the results
> as the user enters characters.
>
> 3. Add a new playlist without affecting the currently active playlist,
> and eliminate the need to explicitly save the new playlist.
>
> 4. Drag (or right-click-add) songs to the new playlist. Sequentially
> number the songs in a playlist (this simplifies re-ordering on long
> lists.) As a side feature, make all playlists always visible so a song
> can be easily moved to any playlist.
>
> 5. Allow any playlist to be displayed and edited without affecting the
> active (playing) playlist. Again, just auto-save instead of requiring
> an explicit step.
>
> 6. Allow tag editing (right-click on Properties, Info, etc.) for all
> major formats. Filename editing would also be cool -- useful for
> fixing typos, etc.
>

IMHO most of these things are hard to achieve in a browser interface.
We're running into the limitations of a browser as a client. SoftSqueeze
doesn't make things much better because it tries to be just like a
player (with its user interface limitations) and SqueezePlay will
probably suffer from the same problems by trying to be a Controller.
What we need is a good PC based client that makes optimal use of a PC's
memory, mouse and keyboard and acts as a client to the SqueezeCenter
server. Something like Moose, I haven't tried Moose for a while so
perhaps Moose is what I'm looking for.

Bottom line is that the Slim PC-experience is rather slim.

X.

DrLovegrove
2008-06-13, 04:10
2008/6/13 Peter <landen-slimp (AT) frg (DOT) eur.nl>:
>
> Something like Moose, I haven't
> tried Moose for a while so perhaps Moose is what I'm looking for.

FWIW, Moose's offline playlist editing still isn't quite there yet.. It can
only really edit the currently playing playlist..

I do plan on adding proper offline support shortly though. I've been
working on re-coding the way the current playlist is displayed,
making the control a little more generic along the way.. This'll mean
displaying and editing offline playlists should be much easier to
implement..

Meanwhile, the more I procrastine, the better the CLI gets, so the
more stuff it'll be able to do.. :-)

--
- Dr Lovegrove
http://www.rusticrhino.com/drlovegrove
http://groups.google.com/group/moosenews

bobkoure
2008-06-13, 05:16
I'm another one of those folks who really, (and I mean really) don't want any web-based app to have write access to my music collection.
Somebody manages to break in, there's no "mess" for me to have to clean up.

I wouldn't mind if there was some way to add a track/album to a "fix tags later" to-do list. Yes, I realize I could
- open a playlist with current to-dos
- add the offending track/album
- save
... but that's way more complicated than just writing on a piece of paper.

aubuti
2008-06-13, 05:41
I wouldn't mind if there was some way to add a track/album to a "fix tags later" to-do list. Yes, I realize I could
- open a playlist with current to-dos
- add the offending track/album
- save
... but that's way more complicated than just writing on a piece of paper.
A lot of people use the "Zapped Songs" playlist for doing this. I'm not one of them, so I forget the details, but I think it's as simple as selecting the offending track in a playlist and hitting the "+" key. A big limitation is that the offending track has to be *in* the playlist. If you happen to spot the erroneous tags when browsing tracks you would need to add the track to the playlist and then zap it, which is just as cumbersome as what you've described.

egd
2008-06-19, 15:31
I really only have one real request for Squeeze center - I would like for them to integrate some type of analytical system for songs that creates playlists on the fly. On squeezenetwork, using the Mp3tunes system allows for smart playlists (powered by AMG technology) by artist and by current song. I also has a set of pre-built moods like "dinner music", etc. That'd be my audio nirvana too, I've discussed it here many times in the past, but it would seem there's no appetite for it - probably because it would involve customers having to pay for the AMG piece (which I'd happily do).


Even if running on a windows or mac system you still need to have the Music IP program running -- that is just a pain in the rear. Not quite true - it can be run headless as a service interacting with SC in the background. Have a look at http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/Integrating_MusicIP_with_SqueezeCenter. FWIW I have MiP running headless on my NAS (it's architecture is Intel based though).

Nonreality
2008-06-19, 16:26
That'd be my audio nirvana too, I've discussed it here many times in the past, but it would seem there's no appetite for it - probably because it would involve customers having to pay for the AMG piece (which I'd happily do).

Not quite true - it can be run headless as a service interacting with SC in the background. Have a look at http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/Integrating_MusicIP_with_SqueezeCenter. FWIW I have MiP running headless on my NAS (it's architecture is Intel based though).
Whats the difference, it's still running a separate program whether it's headless or GUI. Either way adds more complexity. You're just talking terminology. A fully intergrated system in this case would be better.

egd
2008-06-19, 16:29
Whats the difference, it's still running a separate program whether it's headless or GUI. Either way adds more complexity. You're just talking terminology. A fully intergrated system in this case would be better.
Agree a fully integrated solution would be better, however, in case the OP wasn't aware that you could run headless integration I thought I'd point it out. In future I shall aim to be more precise.

pichonCalavera
2008-07-27, 01:02
I don't mind using external programs for organizing and tagging my music (musicbrainz picard, mp3tag, foobar2000), because I like the idea of the read-only access from Squeezecenter.

But these past days I used Amarok for a while again after many months using only Squeezecenter, and I must say it was a breeze manipulating the current playlist in Amarok, when I sit down to listen to some music, I change my current playlist a lot, I add some albums, I delete some songs, I listen, I decide I want to listen some song first, so I rearrange the current playlist, then I add another album... etc. This process is very very tedious with the Web gui from Squeezecenter in comparision to Desktop music players like Amarok or Winamp.

Moose is a great app, but unfortunetly is Windows-only.

amcluesent
2008-07-27, 04:01
I've been using Firetongue Software OrangeCD as a music librarian, very happy how it scans and catalogue the files, plus you can add amounts of additional info into it's database. The PC client app. has a good integration to any Sqeezecenter, so you can click on any music and have it playing from the server to a player you select.