Have your say & ask the experts!

Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

15 replies [Last post]
Twill's picture
Offline
Joined: 6 Oct 2007
Posts: 145

I'm thinking of moving all my music to a NAS drive, and using a smartphone as a delivery method around the house. I'm new to this area of tech, and don't have either a smartphone or a NAS yet, but is this feasible? Could I use a smartphone to access files on my NAS and play them through, say, a dock in my kitchen?

I thought I'd read somewhere that Apple didn't really like this kind of thing, and therefore wondered if Android or iPhone would be better for this kind of application? (I don't currently have any other Apple kit, so an iPhone would be a venture in to Appleville.)

Any advice on the technicalities welcome. I just want something that's eminently 'dooable', not involving any complicated work arounds. Obviously it's easy to access music files stored on a NAS using a laptop, and play them through whatever kind of audio system takes your fancy, but is it as straight forward on a smartphone, and how does iTunes interfere with all this and dictate terms if taking the Apple route?

Cheers.

motley's picture
Offline
Joined: 15 Aug 2008
Posts: 251
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

Twill, if you have a Synology NAS you can rip all you music in Apple lossless and store you iTunes library on it but still access it anywhere in the world via WiFi/Synology DS Audio app(Free) on an iPhone or iPod Touch thus removing the need to purchase a device with a large memory.

Twill's picture
Offline
Joined: 6 Oct 2007
Posts: 145
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

...but you need specific kit like the Synology NAS you mention and it's app? You can't just use your iPhone to browse for media on any old NAS on your network, as if in Windows Explorer?

That would be the ideal for me really, just to be able to access my NAS using the phone, as if the NAS was just another directory full of folders and files. I would have thought smartphones should be able to bring this kind of computerisation to the situation, but it sounds like you still need some kind of pc if you want to browse directories on a NAS via your home network in an open and unmediated fashion.

Twill's picture
Offline
Joined: 6 Oct 2007
Posts: 145
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

Appears that net portal is an option, but with limited playback options for music.

I'm showing my utter ignorance of how the iPhone works here, but I'm just surprised you can't browse your NAS in some kind of file browser, and then play music you might find there using the appropriate iPod app or whatever. Obviously I'm just too used to browsing in Windows Explorer and then firing up Winamp or whichever music player I'm using to access albums. I guess the smart phone architecture just doesn't work like this?

fr0g's picture
Offline
Joined: 7 Jan 2008
Posts: 2883
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

I have Squeezebox server on my NAS (Readynas ultra 2). On my android I sometimes use "Squeeze player" to set it up as a Squeezebox player.

I then use the Squeezebox remote, and play to my android. Works great, with the added benefit of gapless on Spotify which I can also access via the Squeezebox remote app.

 

I use

https://market.android.com/details?id=de.bluegaspode.squeezeplayer&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImRlLmJsdWVnYXNwb2RlLnNxdWVlemVwbGF5ZXIiXQ..

to make the android think it's a Squeezebox

and 

https://market.android.com/details?id=de.cedata.android.squeezecommander&feature=related_apps#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEwOSwiZGUuY2VkYXRhLmFuZHJvaWQuc3F1ZWV6ZWNvbW1hbmRlciJd

to control it.

They are both paid, but Logitech have a free remote control (launched after I bought the Squeeze Commander app).

 

 

*edit

There are also many free DLNA players in the Android market. I just downloaded one and it works great (most NAS drives will have some form of DLNA capability).

And this will give you the ability to "just browse" and play...

__________________

“Out beyond ideas of wrong and  right, there is a field.

I'll meet you there."

 

 

AnotherJoe's picture
Offline
Joined: 10 Jun 2011
Posts: 783
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

As you dont have any existing Apple kit - I would advise against going Apple.

 

On a network there are 2 types of device. Storage devices (eg NAS) which store the conent, and Renderers which actually play the content.

Renderers include media streamers, tvs, receivers and can be controlled by Android phones (or Iphone) with a dlna app - which are usually free. Phones themselves can also be renderers for phone playback.

 

If you have a DLNA NAS then any other dlna bit of kit - eg Denon receivers, any modern tv or network streamers can stream stuff with no extra bits needed.

 

For full compatability make sure the NAS supports SMB (Samba) as well as DLNA. A Netgear, Synology, or QNAP would be a good bet.

 

__________________

Server Synology 12Bay DS2413+, Synology 8Bay DS1812+, Sky+HD 

Lounge Samsung UE55D9000, Denon DBT-3313, Onkyo TX-NR5009, Tannoy Arena Highline 500 LCR, ACRyan playon!HD mini2 

Reception Samsung UE46C8000, Panasonic BDP310, Sony STR-DA5400ES, KEF2005.3, ACRyan playon!HD mini2 

shanej66's picture
Offline
Joined: 31 Aug 2007
Posts: 45
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

I have in the past ripped all my music to a central server in a lossless format (In my case a Windows Home Server instead of a NAS).

 

While that worked well for accessing from Laptops, my old and beloved squeezebox, any apps I found for my smartphone (android) seemed to struggle with the lossless format.

 

You can overcome this by ensuring you have a DLNA server that transcodes to the supported format etc, but unless you have a degree in rocket science and/or a lot of time on your hands it's painful to get right.

 

As you seem only to be interested in getting the music on your phone, forgive me for asking a silly question - why not just put it on the phone.

 

If the reason is space (I had same issue), then you may want to go down the 'cloud' route, which would give you access to your music from anywhere, courtesy of streaming.

 

In my case that involved installing the google music app on my android phone and the associated manager app on my PC. The outcome of which was approx 500 albums uploaded into the cloud and accessible from my and my wifes phones, the family android tablet and all PC's etc (apple do something similar). 

The price for this convenience though appears to be a slight loss in playback quality compared to listening to the underlying lossless files. It's a price I am happy to pay.

 

Hopefully this has provided you with food for thought.

 

 

__________________

MA Apex 5.0, B&W PV1 sub, Sony STR-DA2400ES Amp, Sony BDP-S780 Blu-Ray Player, Logitech Squeezebox 3 network music player, HP Proliant Microserver WHS 2011, Acer Revo HTPC, Logitech Harmony 555 universal remote, Sky HD

fr0g's picture
Offline
Joined: 7 Jan 2008
Posts: 2883
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

A quick hunt on the Market, and BubbleUPnP will happily play lossless flac etc directly on Android, from any DLNA media server with no transcoding necessary.

 

Android is good like this.

__________________

“Out beyond ideas of wrong and  right, there is a field.

I'll meet you there."

 

 

Twill's picture
Offline
Joined: 6 Oct 2007
Posts: 145
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

Thanks for all the good thoughts and suggestions.

The Impetus behind all this comes from the fact that I want to redesign the way music is delivered in my house. I currently have a decent budget hi-fi in my lounge, with all the music stored losslessly on my laptop, and then some fairly cheap powered speakers elsewhere in the house that I can plug my laptop in to should I be in that room. I just find the whole setup clunky and prohibitively fiddly, and I was looking to streamline everything. Plus which, with the music on my laptop, it's harder to open up the collection to my wife etc for her to access with her devices.

So I thought: music on NAS & centrally available. I can then stream from the NAS to my laptop across my network, and from there to the USB DAC as before, just accessing the files from a different storage point, and my wife can access them on her netbook too.

So then I thought, 'well smartphones are like computers now apparently, and do pretty much everything apparently, so surely I can use a smartphone to do the job of my laptop, but elsewhere around the house?'

I like the look of some of the docks out there now, and thought that a hi fi in the lounge, and a couple of docks in other key rooms might be an answer. I could then use the phone to feed music from the NAS through any one of a number of docks elsewhere in the house.

For me the point in having the music on a NAS is that I only want one set of files. I've spent years with one lossless collection (for hi fi), and one MP3 collection (for iRiver), and keeping them both sync'd was driving me mad. So why not slap it all on a NAS, have one main library of high quality files, maybe even WAV so everything can play them, and then access through any of the means outlined above.

I just thought it would be easier than it would appear it is going to be to have an iPhone docked in a nice rCube or something upstairs, merrily playing music from my one central library. If I have to store separate files on the phone itself in order to play them back through a dock or other device, and these probably in a different and more space efficient format, then really the whole thing starts to look like the same old issues all over again, and what's the point in that?

This is the detail anyway, and why I was looking at what I was looking at. Seems like it might be a pain to sort though, surprisingly. I guess the humble old PC or laptop can still do things that smartphones can't after all.

Perhaps I should just get sonos for the other rooms and control it with an app on a phone.

professorhat's picture
Offline
Joined: 28 Dec 2007
Posts: 11012
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

Twill wrote:
Perhaps I should just get sonos for the other rooms and control it with an app on a phone.

Probably not the cheapest solution, but that would certainly do what you want it to, with little to no hassle.

However, it's perfectly possible to do what you originally intended and stream music from NAS to iPhone or Android phone - it just depends what NAS you get. For example, the Synology NAS comes with Audio Station which you can stream to your iPhone / Android with the appropriate app. I'm sure other NAS manufacturers offer similar ability - I've not used any of them, but they certainly claim all of this is possible on their websites:

Synology Audio Station with DS audio app

(just noticed this was all indicated by motley in second post -  not sure why this doesn't do what you want it to?)

 

Twill's picture
Offline
Joined: 6 Oct 2007
Posts: 145
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

professorhat wrote:

Twill wrote:
Perhaps I should just get sonos for the other rooms and control it with an app on a phone.

Probably not the cheapest solution, but that would certainly do what you want it to, with little to no hassle.

However, it's perfectly possible to do what you originally intended and stream music from NAS to iPhone or Android phone - it just depends what NAS you get. For example, the Synology NAS comes with Audio Station which you can stream to your iPhone / Android with the appropriate app. I'm sure other NAS manufacturers offer similar ability - I've not used any of them, but they certainly claim all of this is possible on their websites:

Synology Audio Station with DS audio app

(just noticed this was all indicated by motley in second post -  not sure why this doesn't do what you want it to?)

 

Yes, I agree, it does appear to have answered the question rather sooner than I realised! I guess my newcomer status to this area meant I didn't pick up on it! I think also I was thrown by the global nature of the solution, since I was only really looking for a local solution in my own home. I wonder if you could use that Synology app on a docked phone, using the dock's remote? As must be getting painfully obvious, this isn't something I know a lot about. It just struck me initially that high-end docks are surely pointless if you can only play back the music that's stored locally on your phone's memory. Who would spend £500 on adock that could only access a limited amount of their music? I would have thought if spending that much, people would want to use the docked phone as a delivery client for their whole collection - possibly stored centrally on a NAS. That's certainly what I'd want from a dock, or even from a smartphone in general when I finally take the plunge and get one, so that's what got me thinking. Maybe the Synology option solves the problem, but when one central function is so key, it's uncomfortable to think of the financial outlay on hardware, in case it doesn't quite do what you thought it would. Thanks.

Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 6
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

Twill

I have just been through a similar process and have, as I understand it, achieved something along the lines of what you are after.

All my music is now centrally stored on my Synology NAS in FLAC format ( I will come on to why FLAC). I use the 603 to stream the music to my main system and I stream the music to my iPhone whilst it is on the Zeppelin. The latter is achieved using the Synology DS Audio app which seems to me to be designed to work similarly to the iPod function on the iPhone/iPad/iPod.

It therefore follows that you can use your iPhone to stream your centrally stored music to any device (whether it be a dock or otherwise) to which it is connected.

If you go down this route, before you do, consider what is the best file format in which to rip your music to the NAS, based on the likely devices used to stream. For example the 603 won't stream apple lossless files (ALAC) so I had to revert to FLAC to ensure compatability across all my devices. Incidentally, for me, his has rendered iTunes and thus AirPlay useless as iTunes will not store FLAC files! If you are using your iPhone as the main streaming source however, this will not be a consideration.

Hope this helps.

__________________

Panasonic 42GT30B║Marantz M-CR603 (Airplay)║Monitor Audio Radius HD R90HD║Monitor Audio Radius HD R370HD║B&W Zeppelin║13" MBP (mid 2012)║Apple TV║Synology DS110j║iPhone 4S

 

NAD C320bee║NAD C521bee║B&W DM602.5 S3 (gathering dust in the loft!)

Twill's picture
Offline
Joined: 6 Oct 2007
Posts: 145
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

Midrange, this sounds like a possible way to go, thanks. A couple more questions though.

Will the iPhone play your FLAC files as long as you're using the DS app? I understood that Apple products wouldn't play FLAC whatever the weather.

Would WAV work as a format that's compatible across pretty much everything?

Also, can you use your Zeppelin remote to change tracks etc when using DS Audio on your phone to play tracks from your NAS?

I don't really get Airplay. If you had the files on your NAS in ALAC, could you stream them from your NAS to your phone, and then wirelessly from your phone to an Airplay enabled dock, or does the DS Audio app not feature this?

Cheers anyway.

bigbex's picture
Offline
Joined: 19 May 2008
Posts: 18
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

You mention WAV a couple of times. WAV tends to be uncompressed (therefore a large file size) and isn't too clever with meta tags, so I'd rip to FLAC as already mentioned (or Apple lossless if you really want to go down the Apple route). FLAC is a lossless format so your music will sound great but it also will tag your music (artist, track name, etc) and is compressed (without losing anything) so will save space.

I know this doesn't really answer anything for you but I have a NAS (Qnap) and stream my music all over the house using an Android phone to control what I'm listening to. I use Sonos kit but Squeezebox, Playstation 3 (not lossless), Denon, and lots of other DNLA kit will allow you to listen to music directly from your NAS - often wirelessly if that's what you're after. This means that you only use your phone as a controller (if at all). Obviously the dedicated HiFi kit will perform better but I just threw the Playstation 3 in so that you know what's possible.

There are mixed reviews for AirPlay, but all of this depends on how much you're prepared to spend and whether you want to go down the Apple route (once down the Apple route it's difficult to change).

 

budlyte's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Aug 2012
Posts: 1
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

so, im probably a bit too late for you. i just want everyone who has and android device to know that Skifti does exactly this and more

carlos22's picture
Offline
Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 1
RE: Android or iPhone able to stream music from a NAS?

Audio Streamer will do this on an Android device - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mu.audiostreamer