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Bert57
2008-10-31, 12:05
I am a relative newbie to Squeezecenter and in reading this forum I find there are so many things that it can do other than just play chosen music off your HD. I find myself, and would assume other new users feel the same, confused about the functionality of many of the plugins.

My hope is that this thread will expose:

1. most used plugins
2. purpose expressed in layman terms
3. basic setup of the plugin to give a good starting point for new users.

My favorite so far is Musicip. Had some problems in getting it set up and am still experimenting with the settings.

Purpose for me is to explore my music collection. I found myself listening to basically the same songs and cd's over and over. Musicip creates a mix based on its own analysis of your music. This mix can be customized in many different ways which will yield different mixes based on user defined parameters set in the setting menu of squeezecenter. The result is often exposure to music that has been forgotten or overlooked for far to long. I'm still playing with the settings but m'ip has already exposed me to long forgotten favorites.

A special thanks to the developers who spend their time not only developing the Plugins but also support those of us who use them.
Steve

ModelCitizen
2008-10-31, 12:30
I'd agree with MusicIP but RandomMix can also help you discover your music collection and it's a lot less hassle to set up (an awful lot less!).

AlienBBC for listening to the unique BBC Radio offerings (esp. Radio 4 and World Service) is my all time top plugin. It's become a bit superseded by the simpler iPlayer plugin for me now though.

I'd also find it hard to live without Last.fm. Being in the UK I can't get Pandora which I believe is sort of similar.

Michael Herger (now Logitec employee) has made some seriously good plugins:

MusicInfo: Allows you to configure the info you see on your players displays
Album Review & Biography: Enables you to see info about the music you are currently listening to on players/controller/web ui. Does suffer a bit from inconsistencies due to the AllMusicGuide interface but generally works quite well.

I also really like the various InfoBrowser adds ons, mostly created by bpa. For instance the UK TV guides, the BBC News browsers and the Slim Devices forums reader (created by Triode I think).

I also like Radio Feeds plugin which logically organises Radio Feeds for me.

And then of course there is ShoutCast Radio, but as with Last.fm (and MusicIP I guess) I'm not too sure you can class it as a plugin anymore as it's become part of the main SC distribution.

MC

wowo
2008-10-31, 16:33
I use the following plugins on my Squeezebox Classic 3 + Squeezecenter webinterface (I really do not known if they all work with the duet):
- Album review (Michael Herger): An easy plugin. I check the album reviews often when I listen to the music. Long reviews you can only read further on the web interface. “You can have full album reviews to your currently playing songs right on your web interface or on the player's display. This includes links to separate track reviews (if available)”.
- Biography (Michael Herger): The same comment as for Album review “Ever wanted to have more information about the artist currently playing on your Squeezebox? Get his biography, pictures, links to related artists and more on the web interface and right on your device's display”
- MusicInfoSCR (Michael Herger ): It is “only” a settings plugin. “This screensaver displays information about the music being played, your player's state and is freely configurable.”
- Custom browse (Erland Isaksson ): A more “difficult” settings plug-in to make it possible to customize the structure, contents and sorting of the browse menus on the player and web interface. It is a necessary for the multi library plug-in.
- Multi Library (Erland Isaksson ): Also a more “difficult” settings plug-in. “This plug-in makes it possible to divide your squeezecenter library into different sub libraries, requires Custom Browse plugin to be able to browse the sub libraries.” I use this because I have divided my music collection in 2 library’s: one “normal” and a separate Blues-music library.
- Trackstat (Erland Isaksson ): “A plug-in to store statistics such as rating, last played time and play counts in a separate table. You can set the ratings via the Squeezebox interface or web interface” IMO an must have plugin. I use this plug-in mostly on the webinterface. It is on my Nas-server a little bit slow, but you can get almost every statistic information you need.
- Last.Fm (James Craig) LastFm is difficult to explain what it does. It is a different way to encounter music. I will refer you to the website: www.last.fm
- Lyrics Display (Les Smithson): An must have plugin. “Shows the lyrics or karaoke of the currently playing song on the Squeezebox display and webinterface”
- Lazy Search (Stuart Hickinbottom): Also a must have. You can search must faster “Lazy Search Music is a plugin that lets you search for music without having to multi-tap each letter in the search text you're after, and displays search results "as you type" “

Bert57
2008-11-01, 06:30
MC
Gave Last.fm a try and understand why you recommend. Introduces new artist with similar styles. Great resource. Thanks.
Have been playing with Album Review & Biography and they are also must haves in my opinion. Still hoping for a plugin that will display album liners. Always enjoyed reading them while playing an album but Album Review & Biography are the next best. Wish we could jump from All music to Wikipedia from the duet remote.
wowo
Thanks for the recommendations. Lazy Search will be one of my next plugins. Just what I needed.
Multi-library also sounds interesting. I have some music that I really don't want included in every day listening. How does it differ from just using filters?
Custom Browse? Could you give examples and explain what the benefit is?
Appreciat the responses.
Steve

ModelCitizen
2008-11-01, 07:47
MC
Gave Last.fm a try and understand why you recommend. Introduces new artist with similar styles. Great resource. Thanks.
Don't mention it.

Last.fm is great and does a lot more than Similar Artists radio.
I particularly like the following functionality:

1) Listening to individual neighbours radio. The nearer the neighbour the nearer the taste to your own.
2) Tag radio. When you just feel listening to generic folk or party (or whatever) radio
3) Loved Tracks Radio. This is my favourite bit. As I pay to subscribe to last.fm (it's a very paltry amount) I can play others Loved Tracks radio. A lot of people seem to maintain their Loved Tracks well (and I believe this might help their general profile) and so listening to anothers Loved Tracks radio means you generally get some classy tracks that you'd never normally have come across. You get very few duds anyway (unless you absolutely hate everything in particular genres).

It does take quite a while to build up your last.fm profile though...

MC

GeeJay
2008-11-01, 07:54
Erland's suite of plug-ins are a must-have for me. I use SQLPlaylist (which requires Dynamic Playlist), Trackstat, Custom Skip and Custom Scan.

I like random mixes that allow higher rated tracks to play more often, and skips certain tracks entirely. The combination of SQLPlaylist, Trackstat and Custom Skip have given me virtually all the control I need over such playlists. I've also used it to narrow down by genre, time periods, etc.

I couldn't imagine enjoying my Squeezeboxen nearly as much without Erland's vital plug-ins.

MeSue
2008-11-01, 08:11
My must have's are most of Erland's plugins. The ones I use are Custom Browse, Custom Scan, Dynamic Playlists, SQL Playlists, and Trackstat.

With Custom Scan and Trackstat I can do things like filtering my MusicIP mixes based on ratings and play stats. For instance, my default filter in MIP is for songs rated 3 and higher that have not been played in a month.

With Custom Browse I can do a sort of simulated Multi-Library Based on a tag in the comments. One example is I have tagged all my husband's favorite music with a special tag in the comments, and set up a menu in Custom Browse which only shows those songs. Since our music is all mixed together this works better than the Multi-library plugin for us. It can do a lot more, like you can browse by years or decades, or ratings, or a subset of genres, or never played songs, and so on. It's all very customizable so you aren't restricted to the menus that SC provides.

Dynamic Playlists and SQL playlists lets you make never-ending playlists based on stats and tag info. For example, Rock Favorites pulls a random mix of songs rated 4 or 5 from only my rock genres.

Dynamic Playlists can also make static playlists play dynamically. So for example, you could have a static playlist of several hundred workout songs, but when you queue it up as a dynamic playlist it will randomize it every time. It also adds a limited number of songs to start and keeps adding one new song at a time so you don't have to bog down the server by loading a massive playlist and trying to shuffle it.

Erland's plugins do have a bit of a learning curve to figure out how they all work together, but they have enhanced my listening so much! I'd suggest setting aside a full day to figure them out, if you do try them though.

Bert57
2008-11-01, 08:45
Thanks to all.
I see once more how much more is available. Learning curve is rather steep for a novice.

I'll be installing Erland's recommended plugins. They sound great. Just have to spend the time getting them installed and set up.

Currently trying to get Lazy search installed and will then start on Custom Scan and Trackstat Dynamic Playlists and SQL playlists.

I pretty much have to set aside a day or two just to get things installed. Another day or two trying to understand the functionality and setup. Your description of how they all work together makes me just want it more. I just have to take small steps and try to learn as I go.
Steve

GeeJay
2008-11-01, 09:33
And after all that, you'll end up spending WEEKS updating tags, rating your music, etc.

A heckuva lot of work...but pretty darn addictive, too!

xio
2008-12-01, 13:51
At the risk of stoking up something unpleasant, I don't understand the pandora in the uk problem. I'm in the uk and it appears (to me at least) to work fine. I don't have any kind of exotic setup with dubious ip addresses etc, and when I go to the pandora site I get the 'not in the uk' message, but it works just fine from the squeezebox, and I can still log on to the site to see bookmarked songs etc.

Am I just lucky, or is there more to this pandora thing that I don't know about?