Sunday, May 18, 2008

WiFi 03 : Music Server

Despite the disappointment with the Sangean WFR-20 so far, one of the past year's best buys has been the Noxon iRadio.

Apart from its obvious use as an internet radio, it also has a talent for playing music streamed across your wlan and can even act as a music server along with your digitised music collection.

The free server software associated with the iRadio has the rather odd name of TwonkyMedia but is quite easy to set up and doesn't really need any further explanation from me. However, as with streaming, a large percentage of my collection is in .flac format, a codec the iRadio cannot play.

When streaming music across the wlan this problem is dealt with by the ShoutCast server which transcodes all formats into either .mp3 or .aac which the iRadio recognises. However, when using it as a server the raw files are broadcast out and when the iRadio encounters a .flac file ... silence.

There used to be a TwonkyMedia transcoder application, but examining the latest version - 4.4.5 - it's not clear if transcoding works with it, and the files don't seem to be available on the website any more.

However, I'm still using TwonkyMedia 4.4.2 which seems perfectly adequate and the .flac transcoder files are archived here and just need unpacking and placing into your Program Files/TwonkyMedia/cgi-bin folder for the iRadio to be able to play .flac files. HTH.

That still leaves the question of .ogg and .ape formats. There are instances of people getting .ogg to play over the iRadio. As for .ape I'm not so sure. However, I only have very few files in these formats, and it's not really worth the effort at the moment unless a solution falls into my lap.

To be honest, the server navigation on the iRadio is pretty clunky but it does work. Sound is surprisingly good through headphones given a reasonable source file.

When my hifi is permanently set up I intend to move on to something like SqueezeBox to provide a link to my digital collection and leave devices such as the iRadio, and hopefully, the Sangean to provide internet radio facility around the house.

*See my hifi index here.