For many years now, I have been ripping my CDs to my computer and playing them using my Logitech Squeezebox Server (on my Linux computer) and listening to them via my Logitech Transporter players. However, time marches on, and now high-resolution audio is available on the internet via services such as Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify, etc. I highly recommend Qobuz, which offers audio streams up to 24-bit/192 kHz resolution. 

When my Cruise was canceled (due to Covid), I bought myself a DCS Bartók DAC ($13,500!) to replace the Transporters. But to play my computerized music collection, I needed a DLNA/UPnP server.  Such a server presents a list of available music and art to the player's control software. In the case of the DCS Bartók, this is an Android or IOS app called Mosaic. Mosaic searches for DLNA/UPnP servers on my network and presents the content to be selected and played.

The issue is that it is the DLNA/UPnP server that determines how the content is arranged. For instance, DCS says "Why is MinimServer the only UPnP server software that is fully supported by dCS?" Well, despite this unwarranted FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) there are many reasons to NOT use the minumServer. I have tried the following servers on my OpenSUSE LEAP 15.2 computer (except as indicated):

  • MinumServer
  • Kodi
  • Subsonic
  • Mezzmo (Windows 10)
  • minidlna

What are the qualities I require from a DLNA/UPnP server?

  • It needs a decent user interface on the server so I can modify its settings
  • It should automatically scan for new additions to my music collection, either quasi-instantly, or, say, every hour.
  • It should list new albums, not tracks. For classical music, I almost always want to hear an entire album
  • It should handle my large collection quickly and make it easy to search:
    • 2,544 artists
      10,554 albums
      136,211 songs
      3299.26 GB

Spoiler alert: None of these is perfect.


Mezzmo

Mezzmo does not run on Linux, so I installed it on my Windows 10 machine. I really prefer servers to run on Linux since reboots are few and far between, and my Linux server is up all the time.

If you click on the Music menu item, Mezzmo does list "Recently Added", but it is by track, not by album. Notice that the search missed Vainberg as an Artist. The Artist is tagged as "Vainberg, Moishei" and that search turns up nothing at all. There is a whole folder of albums with that title. The search came back in a few seconds.


Kodi

In some ways, Kodi is an overkill. It is a complete music/video system with a large ecosystem of plugins, some of which are responsible for updating my collection when new additions occur. Kodi has a very complete, but often obscure Linux GUI. (I had to right-click the Kodi label to exit search mode!)

Notice that when I tried to do the search using the Linux desktop, Kodi informed me that I had to install a plugin, which I did. However, doing the search using Mosaic on my phone never got past the busy search icon. So search is non-functional. Scrolling through the list of Artists is quite slow also.

But KODI is the ONLY DLNA/UPnP server that displays Recent Albums. 


Subsonic

I have been using Subsonic for years as a server to let me access my music collection remotely (yes, even from Borneo!). It has an excellent web-based interface:

It also lets you do obscure searches in the Web GUI, and returns them quickly. However, it is a lousy DLNA/UPnP server. It only lists the Artists and Playlists, and supports NO search function at all—the search icon is greyed out.


MiniDLNA (also known as ReadyMedia)

It has several front ends that you can download and use on the Linux server.

Ia seen above, it has a "Recently Added" listing, but this is a list of tracks, not albums. However, MiniDLNA DLNA/UPnP server does correctly locate the search for Vainberg as an artist. Scrolling through the artist list is also quick, although you must stop the scrollbar to see where you are. 


MinumServer

MinumServer does not offer a view of recently-added items, neither tracks nor albums. It did succeed in searching for Vainberg as an Artist. It also lets you view folders by date, genre, track,... Scrolling is fast too. However, MinimServer has a 65000 folder and 100000 file limit, which I am past!


Luckily, All of these servers can run at once, so I can select the server (on Mosaic) that offers me the best version of my current need.

Another great blog by Jim Rome

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