Need A Better Media Server Than Plex

Ok I’ll first say that I’m really clueless with all of this and you’ll see soon enough – my apologies!

Recently got a Synology NAS and got Plex running on that and also my Android phone. Quickly I came to realize that it doesn’t have great Album Artist sorting (only on the “album” sort view which is a lifetime of album covers), and when I try to use the folder view it’s ugly, and even worse on my phone I can’t read half of the folder or song names because it’s just not allowing enough room for anything.

Folder view also sucks here because i’m not seeing any album art until i get to the track level. I want function over prettiness but at the same time I know a nice balance should be had.

So here is where we can all laugh at the geezer I am

Uh it just dawned on me ~yesterday~ that windows tablets exist lol. Like I know you have your iPads and Samsung/Google etc stuff which I assume was always Android. Low and behold when I googled “windows tablet” there they were doh.

SO…if I get a Windows tablet I suppose then I’m not having to suffer the “Android Version” of the various software? For stuff like plex, musicbee, mediamonkey, subsonic, jriver. Meaning – it’s the full fledged Windows version I would expect on my PC – nothing stripped down because it’s a tablet?

So here’s the dream:

Music only and there are tons of features I don’t care much about.

Requirements are to be able to use a tablet/phone to stream from my NAS to my chromecast audio at home. Would be nice if I could stream from anywhere online too. Must be able to sort/list by Album Artist, gapless is a given, would like it to be aesthetically nice and be able to see album art as much as possible (but again, function above anything). I’m never going to use it on my PC I’m typing right now. Maybe for setup/management stuff but never for playback.

Back to the tablet which I don’t own yet. So if I get an Android tablet I’m getting like the same thing I would have on my Android phone yes? Because I look at screenshots of all these auxillary controllers etc to the above and they often look just as crappy as Plex is coming off to me, idk.

I’m not sure how all of this stuff works meaning how they can or can’t work together. You have a server and then a player and I guess the media organizer also??

Anyway reading all over the f’n place and head swirling I’ve got all these names I keep trying to figure out more:

  • jriver (and whatever controls this on android)
  • musicbee (and whatever controls this on android)
  • mediamonkey
  • foobar2000 (and foobar android)
  • subsonic (and dsub)
  • minimserver
  • bubblepnp
  • poweramp
  • gonemad music player
  • emby
  • kodi

Some of these I would imagine can work with each other?

The whole musicbee thing looks sweet to me. Tweak to my liking it has Album Artist etc. I just don’t know how I would get it working with a tablet at home and hopefully android/web on the road?

All of this stuff I mention I just can’t see enough videos etc to really give me a taste. Always video-centric stuff too which I don’t care about.

Couple more questions:

  1. I can have some of these running together in parallel even if they perform the same function right? So that I’m not having to uninstall/give up on something while trying a different one out?
  2. Is there a real danger of having tags/metadata stuff automatically changed without my knowledge/consent with any of these? I still haven’t wrapped my head around how I feel about that yet and especially with software/apps i’m not sold on yet.

Sorry this was so long and thank you so much for your help.I had a real nice moment of feeling so overjoyed to have the NAS and Plex running but now I’m hungry for more.

10 comments

  1. milw50717 Reply

    Gapless playback on the CCA is not necessarily an easy thing to achieve. I stopped using the CCAs and moved to Raspberry Pi based streamers for the lack of native gapless support in Plex, so it will be interesting to hear what options are suggested.

    Last time I checked Plex and JRiver do not natively support gapless playback of your music library on a CCA. Roon has native support, but is $$ and may not have the streaming options you mention.

    Yes, you should be able to have multiple server solutions installed in parallel, as long as they do not conflict in some way – ports or the like – and obviously only one music server should be accessing a given playback device. For a short time I had JRiver and Plex accessing the same music library.

    It is possible that the software could changes the tags so check that before installing the software and pointing it at your music library.

    • Kaito Yamaji Post authorReply

      supposedly I have gapless playing through my Android but come to think I’ve yet to really test it
      ugh

  2. iros Reply

    Check out mStream. It has gapless playback support on all platforms:

    It’s still somewhat new though and there’s a lot of features in the pipeline that will be coming out this year. https://mstream.io/

  3. sonofgamera Reply

    I’d add Emby to your list to explore. It’s not perfect either, but it does handle track artist/album artist significantly better than Plex.

  4. helonaut Reply

    Infuse, hands down the best 10 bucks I’ve ever spent on an app. I’m a Beta tester for this software and I can vouch for it.

  5. izmo Reply

    emby (i think by default) and plex and kodi all can use DNLA (aka UPnP) it’s some sort of standardized media server thing so any client that supports that can pick up on their media libraries

    i discovered this years ago when i noticed emby and windows media player libraries on my ps4 and not expecting it

    anyway, i don’t use emby or anything anymore (i used to just use it to watch tv shows) but this might be something to check on maybe your plex-hosted library, won’t look as bad in another DNLA-compatible client in plex google says you have to enable DNLA tho, i dunno if that’s correct

    for example: there’s a “media servers” option in foobar2k android, i’m pretty sure emby/plex/kodi with dnla/upnp will all show up in there, but maybe it will or won’t be an improvement over plex

    ps. about streaming anywhere, they all will stream anywhere if you forward the correct port from your internet IP to your router IP

  6. Pingback: Tag metadata scraper for Gazelle/JRiver – Burton History Trees Blog

  7. Rahmet Kaya Reply

    If your looking for some kind of Android Server, you might try JRiver, but I think their Android version is still in really Alpha state. Not sure if Kodi or Emby make Android Server, but I really wasn’t impressed with them on Windows. Merging Kodi and Emby about drove me crazy, and doesn’t emby still charge a monthly fee? JRiver doesn’t. One time charge.

  8. rohmv Reply

    I’d plug Jellyfin + Kodi on computer/television or the Jellyfin Android app on phone. Jellyfin is a opensource fork of Emby (which has closed its source) that has done quite a lot in the last few months since the fork. While not without its share of bugs, for me it already surpasses Emby. Unfortunately for iOS people, they haven’t gotten a working app yet. More private than Plex and none of the upsell shit, which is nice.

  9. Rahmet Kaya Reply

    Question: Can one assume, by the name that there’s some collaboration between the Llama & Plex?

    If I were to ask it in a math problem with a potential solution at the end, it would look a little something like this:

    Plex + WinAmp = PlexAmp???

    Sound about right or am I totally wrong about this?

    Reason I have recently come to this conclusion is that WinAmp has recently come back to life supposedly “due to the overwhelming distribution of some sort of infected rip-off copies that have been in circulation.” If you’d like to look in to this, take a peek over at winamp.com and let me know what you think!

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