At the same time, all of my music is ripped onto my NAS, which runs a DNLA service. And while I can connect to this via my TV and Internet radio, it doesn’t make it easy to find specific stuff.
It was while I was looking for potential better DNLA clients that I came across Plex. Plex is a server you set up yourself – either on a spare computer, or perhaps a Raspberry Pi, or even (with a paid subscription) on the cloud. From it, you can stream your music and video, with clients available for most platforms. My android phone has a client, my Windows 10 desktop has a client, both my Blu-Ray player and my Amazon Fire Stick will run it.
And I have to say it looks gorgeous.
Thumbnails are grabbed for most content automatically. Occasionally I will see an item without a thumbnail and it is a 30 second job to point it at an image on the web and fix the problem.
I’m going to be using this mainly for music, and my music library is created by combining the content of 3 directories on my NAS, seamlessly. There is a directory for all my old ripped content, as MP3s. There is a directly I am now ripping stuff to in flac format. Finally, there is the directory that Amazon Music downloads any new purchase that I make, as MP3s.
At the moment, I am spending a little time, going through my CD collection, checking if the album is already ripped, and ripping it to flac, if not. Occasionally, I find I have two copies (One ripped to MP3, one Amazon), and in that case, the worst quality copy is simply getting deleted. The is the odd blip where the tag information of the track is wrong – an album mostly catalogues correctly, except for one track that is missing information. But that is very easily fixed.
Once I am caught up, it will be easy to keep it updated. Anything new I buy from Amazon will be downloaded and catalogued automatically, and anything else I will simply have to rip to flac.
Finally, it doesn’t mean I have to lose voice activation. Alexa can control Plex too. Instead of saying
I just say
“Alexa, tell Plex to play…”
Except with Plex, I can control what things are called, and create playlists with names that are easy for Alexa to understand. Which makes voice control of music easier.