Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Stream Music to Multiple Computers on Your Network

Ubuntu 17

In today’s interconnected world, streaming music to multiple computers on your network is a handy feature. This article will guide you through three different methods: using PulseAudio, Music Player Daemon (MPD), and ALSA loopback capabilities.

Quick Answer

To stream music to multiple computers on your network, you can use PulseAudio, Music Player Daemon (MPD), or ALSA loopback capabilities. These methods allow you to synchronize sound across multiple devices and create a seamless music streaming experience.

Using PulseAudio

PulseAudio is a sound server for POSIX and Win32 systems. It allows you to do advanced operations on your sound data as it passes between your application and your hardware.

Installation and Configuration

  1. Install PulseAudio: On both the server and client computers, install PulseAudio using the command sudo apt-get install pulseaudio.
  2. Install paprefs: Paprefs is a simple graphical interface that allows you to configure PulseAudio. Install it using the command sudo apt-get install paprefs.
  3. Configure paprefs: Run paprefs on both the server and client computers. On the server, enable the multicast settings and check the server bits. On the client, enable the option to discover network sound devices.
  4. Set the output device: On the client, set the output device to the virtual network device using pavucontrol.
  5. Start PulseAudio: If the PulseAudio server is not already running, start it as a daemon using the command pulseaudio --start.
  6. Optimize sound quality: Optionally, you can optimize sound quality settings in /etc/pulse/daemon.conf.

Streaming

Once the setup is complete, you can start streaming music. Any sound played on the server will be heard on the client.

Using Music Player Daemon (MPD)

MPD is a flexible, powerful, server-side application for playing music.

Installation and Configuration

  1. Install MPD: On the server computer, install MPD using the command sudo apt-get install mpd.
  2. Configure MPD: Store your music on the server and configure MPD to control it. MPD’s configuration file is located at /etc/mpd.conf.
  3. Enable Streaming: Enable MPD’s streaming capabilities to allow multiple clients to connect and play music.

Streaming

Connect your client computers to the server and control the music playback. You can use any MPD client for this purpose.

Using ALSA loopback

The Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) provides audio and MIDI functionality to the Linux operating system.

Installation and Configuration

  1. Enable ALSA loopback: Run the command sudo modprobe snd_aloop to enable the ALSA loopback device.
  2. Add the loopback input device to MPD: Use the command mpc add alsa://hw:1,1.
  3. Configure an HTTP output plugin for MPD: In the /etc/mpd.conf file, configure an HTTP output plugin for MPD.
  4. Select the loopback device as the audio source: In the PulseAudio Volume Control, select the loopback device as the audio source.

Streaming

Use a stream renderer like VLC at the destination point using the HTTP URL address.

Conclusion

Streaming music to multiple computers on your network is a great way to share your favorite tunes or create a synchronized sound system in your home or office. By following these steps, you can set up your own music streaming system using PulseAudio, MPD, or ALSA. Happy streaming!

What is the advantage of streaming music to multiple computers on a network?

Streaming music to multiple computers on a network allows you to share your favorite tunes with others in different rooms or locations. It also enables you to create a synchronized sound system, perfect for parties or events.

Can I use PulseAudio to stream music from a Windows computer?

Yes, PulseAudio is compatible with both POSIX and Win32 systems, so you can use it to stream music from a Windows computer to other devices on the network.

Do I need to have a separate music library for each client when using MPD?

No, with MPD, you can store your music on a central server and configure MPD to control it. This means you only need one music library, and all clients can access and play the music from the server.

Can I stream music from my mobile device using ALSA loopback?

ALSA loopback is primarily designed for streaming audio within the Linux operating system. While it might be possible to use ALSA loopback with a mobile device, it would require additional configuration and might not be the most straightforward solution. It is recommended to use other streaming methods, such as PulseAudio or dedicated mobile streaming apps, for streaming music from mobile devices.

Can I stream music from online music platforms using these methods?

The methods described in this article primarily focus on streaming locally stored music. However, you can use additional tools or plugins to stream music from online platforms. For example, you can use a music player that supports online streaming services or configure MPD to stream internet radio stations.

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