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Suggestions for the future: Headless RPi support!

NathanielNathaniel Posts: 194Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

So, this was a pleasant surprise! Plexamp is exactly what I would expect out of a modern, Plex-based dedicated music player, and for a first release of a "passion project", it blew me away. That said, of course there are some bugs and issues, but I'm sure you're already working on most of that.

What struck me the most, however, was how perfectly this integrated in what I have been trying to build at home, but haven't really been able to: a simple, efficient, Raspberry Pi-based client music player for network stored music.

Current setup: A single Raspberry Pi running Volumio, a MPD-based linux dist and client/server application that can be remote controlled by any standard MPD remote, or the specific Volumio remote client on iOS.

My dream setup: Plexamp running as a stand-alone app on the same Raspberry, presumably under some kind of separate light-weight Linux dist or as its own image, with a corresponding Plexamp app on iOS (along with the macOS and Windows apps of course).

So, the RPi Plexamp application (the "client") would be running headlessly and outputting to my HiFiBerry DAC, connected to a headphone amp. It would be streaming the music from Plex Media Server (the "server"), or any other compatible source I choose. I would control the "client" using a Plexamp iOS app (the "remote"), which of course would in itself be the full client/server application, in case I want to listen directly from my phone.

Presto! Perfect headless playback from a dedicated HiFi player setup, with support for gapless, ReplayGain, all the goodies, controlled by a beautiful and rich remote and streaming everything from my central, carefully managed Plex Media Server library. Doesn't that sound just great? I know it does to me :D

The best thing about this is that it's basically halfway there already. As far as I can tell, all the APIs and blocks you're using already have full linux support, meaning there's no reason whatsoever there should be any issue porting it. The backend already supports the client/server/remote control framework. The only thing left would be the iOS-compatible version (and, of course, we can't forget our Android-loving friends as well) of the app, but again, since most of this is "web"-tech to begin with, there should be plenty of ways to port this over, even if it's not as a truly native iOS application.

I'd love to hear comments from someone in the Plex team, as well as from anyone else who'd be interested in the same kind of setup.

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Comments

  • r100gsr100gs Posts: 41Members, Plex Pass, TunerTester Plex Pass

    Sounds great! Cannot wait for! Pi is ready for testing

  • justme1968justme1968 Posts: 329Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    yes.

    by the way: i have just verified that i can control plexamp exactly the same as every other plex player with my plex plugin for the fhem home automation system. so such a headless plex amp is a great option for integration into a home automation system.

  • elanelan CTO and Co-founder MauiPosts: 6,979Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee

    It's coming...

    instagram @elan // the wife's photography site.
    the Medium page // the dog's twitter feed.

  • crowesessecrowesesse Posts: 6Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Been waiting a long time to hear that something like this is coming. I've been looking to get rid of my LMS and rpi/squeezelite setup. Had been investigating volumio and moode when I saw the plexamp announcement and this post. Would love to use plex for all my media playback. Please consider a snapcast or snapcast like integration for synchronized playback.

  • dasman66dasman66 Posts: 7Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Hallelujah!

    My request would be headless on windows using an Android (and can't forget our iOS brethren ;) ).

    I have my headless windows Plex server in the basement, directly below my audio system in the living room. I would love to just run a coax from the basement into the DAC in my audio system and control playback using a small tablet at the audio system.

    In my case, I have no need to introduce linux into the mix...

    I was just about the pull the trigger on Roon to fill this role, but would love to let Plex do it all.

  • elanelan CTO and Co-founder MauiPosts: 6,979Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee

    Screw the Roon.

    I'm running a headless raspberry pi coax digital out into my receiver as we speak, controlling from ipad, android, web, or alexa, e.g. mostly just need to figure out packaging, and will be writing up a HowTo at some point as well.

    instagram @elan // the wife's photography site.
    the Medium page // the dog's twitter feed.

  • dasman66dasman66 Posts: 7Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I don't want Roon... but really don't want to figure out a new hardware/OS/Linux deal either (ie., raspberry pi). I just want to run a cable and install an app (I'm exceedingly lazy). Unless I can just buy a prepacked raspberry pi that all I do is plug and go...

  • turns2stoneturns2stone Posts: 11Validating, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    This is exactly what I'm looking for as well! Ready to retire Logitech Media Server, and move 100% to Plex.

    Related question - is there no way to use Plexamp on a separate PC from where you run Plex Media Server?

  • elanelan CTO and Co-founder MauiPosts: 6,979Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee

    @turns2stone said:
    Related question - is there no way to use Plexamp on a separate PC from where you run Plex Media Server?

    Yes, should work perfectly already.

    instagram @elan // the wife's photography site.
    the Medium page // the dog's twitter feed.

  • turns2stoneturns2stone Posts: 11Validating, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @elan said:

    Yes, should work perfectly already.

    Yep, got it working! First machine I installed it on was connected behind a corporate VPN, d'oh.

    Any idea why the audio from Plexamp won't output via HDMI? I'm using a MacBook Pro. The rest of my apps' audio (and video of course) output over HDMI to a receiver, but Plexamp audio only comes out via internal laptop speakers. I do have the MIDI multi-output device configured correctly, as far as I can tell.

  • elanelan CTO and Co-founder MauiPosts: 6,979Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee

    @turns2stone said:
    Any idea why the audio from Plexamp won't output via HDMI?

    It should play to whatever output is selected at the time the app starts (something we're working on improving).

    instagram @elan // the wife's photography site.
    the Medium page // the dog's twitter feed.

  • turns2stoneturns2stone Posts: 11Validating, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @elan said:

    It should play to whatever output is selected at the time the app starts (something we're working on improving).

    Ah, indeed! With that tip, I did get it working. Only outputs a maximum of 48Khz, but that's something I can try and troubleshoot.

    Thanks! This has opened up a whole new world for me...

  • sugarmonstersugarmonster Posts: 32Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I've been looking for a way to replace my trusty squeezebox / LMS with plex audio for some time, this would pretty much be it.

    The one thing the SB does really well though is synchronised players for multi room. Not a deal breaker for me but would be nice if we could add it to the wishlist! (I get why it's not easy, but that doesn't stop me wanting it :smile: )

    Server: Xeon E3-1241 (passmark 1004), 16GB. PMS: 4 core Hyper-V instance, 4GB.
    Clients: Amazon FireTV Stick, FireTV 4K, Samsung 2014 TV, iPad

  • mjollymomjollymo Posts: 46Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    I have tried Roon, LMS/Squeezebox, and Plex with Sonos. Roon and LMS are great in their own way, but Roon has a steep price and LMS is feeling old and tired. Plex with Sonos just never worked and since actions are far louder than words, I think it's safe to say after what has it been 2-3 years of user complaints and plex silence with no updates, that the plex and sonos project is dead.

    I really want to use Plex for all my local music playback needs, but up to this point the software has been severely lacking. I think if/when Plexamp is made available as a headless pi install that I will be fully on board with Plex Music. Really looking forward to giving it a try if/when it gets released.

  • elanelan CTO and Co-founder MauiPosts: 6,979Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee

    @mjollymo said:
    I think it's safe to say after what has it been 2-3 years of user complaints and plex silence with no updates, that the plex and sonos project is dead.

    It's not :smiley: Really sorry it's taken so long to get it updated and working better, but this is a work in progress as we speak.

    if/when Plexamp is made available as a headless pi install that I will be fully on board with Plex Music. Really looking forward to giving it a try if/when it gets released.

    It will; as you can see, it already runs on Linux, and we've got the Pi scenario working already, just mostly a matter of packaging...

    instagram @elan // the wife's photography site.
    the Medium page // the dog's twitter feed.

  • mjollymomjollymo Posts: 46Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    @elan said:

    @mjollymo said:
    I think it's safe to say after what has it been 2-3 years of user complaints and plex silence with no updates, that the plex and sonos project is dead.

    It's not :smiley: Really sorry it's taken so long to get it updated and working better, but this is a work in progress as we speak.

    Appreciate the reassurance. For myself personally, I have moved on from Sonos. I do know a number of other users are eagerly anticipating any kind of update around Sonos though and this will be welcomed news.

    if/when Plexamp is made available as a headless pi install that I will be fully on board with Plex Music. Really looking forward to giving it a try if/when it gets released.

    It will; as you can see, it already runs on Linux, and we've got the Pi scenario working already, just mostly a matter of packaging...

    Really looking forward to this. I have been using Plexamp on my mac and it really is a great music player. I was all set to go all in on Roon, but news of Plexamp has caused me to hit the brakes on that. This little music player is exactly what I have been hoping to see from Plex.

  • harald%harald% Posts: 1Validating, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    So long story short, I would expect in the nearish future, we'll be releasing a headless Linux version (maybe inside Docker? Dunno yet) for exactly this type of scenario.

    I'm relatively new to plex, hence my question: Why would I need a specific plexamp app running on the player? I have a Raspberry Pi with volumio, with which I can browse and play the music on my plex server. In this case the player pulls the music from the server, right?
    I expected to be able to use the plex app on my iPad to tell the server to push the music to a DLNA player like the volumio@Pi. But the player does not show up in the list of players in the plex app. Why would I need a specific player for this? I thought that's the idea behind the concept in DLNA of server (plex), controller (app on tablet), and renderer.

  • elanelan CTO and Co-founder MauiPosts: 6,979Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee

    @harald% said:
    I'm relatively new to plex, hence my question: Why would I need a specific plexamp app running on the player? I have a Raspberry Pi with volumio, with which I can browse and play the music on my plex server. In this case the player pulls the music from the server, right?

    If you're happy with that, then you don't need a headless Plexamp. But for the rest of us, it's a way to have a fully-featured Plex compatible player running which can be controlled by any Plex app (not via DLNA).

    instagram @elan // the wife's photography site.
    the Medium page // the dog's twitter feed.

  • tomsimmonstomsimmons Posts: 53Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    Elan, any update on when we can expect this headless player for the Pi?

    Tom

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