• Streaming Around The Globe Or Around The Home With JRiver Media Center



    I recently received a message from a service touting online storage of one's music files and streaming of those files to almost any device. I took a look at the service, its apps, and its pricing and thought about whether the CA Community would be interested in the offering. Most of it looked good, but when I considered the monthly charge to store files online for streaming, I started to think about what's already available to many CA readers without adding another monthly charge to their bills. I also thought about the sizable number of readers who don't subscribe to music streaming services such as Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer, Spotify, or Apple Music. Then I thought about those of us who have subscriptions to one or more services, but are still unable to stream our favorite remaster of Kind of Blue, Dark Side of the Moon, or any number of Mobile Fidelity albums that will never hit streaming services. I was pretty sure JRiver Media Center had a solution for this problem, but I didn't know how great it was because I honestly had never given it a spin. While testing this JRMC solution, I stumbled on an absolute gem involving JRMC and Chromecast Audio devices. Needless to say, I'm thrilled to write about streaming our music collections around the globe to almost any device for no additional cost to many readers, and sending audio around our homes to $35 endpoints all from the convenience of the JRemote iOS/Android app. Come along and be prepared to spend little-to-no money while increasing your enjoyment of this wonderful hobby. It's not often I get to say that around here, but it's so satisfying.




    Streaming Around The Globe


    Problem:

    I want to listen to my vast collection of music, in full quality, when I'm away from home using an iPhone, Android device, laptop, or desktop. This music collection contains out of print titles, special remasters (MFSL, Analogue Productions, etc...), vinyl rips, and high resolution material unavailable from paid streaming services. I don't want another monthly payment just to access the music I've already purchased. As a bonus, I want the user interface to be equivalent to what I'm used to at home.


    Solution:

    JRiver Media Center can stream my music, in full quality, from my home to a mobile device running JRemote or Gizmo, and to a laptop or desktop running JRiver Media Center or a web browser*.

    * Web browser playback, via Web Gizmo, is less than stellar due to the interface, inability to browse one's collection while listening, lack of controls, sample rate issues, etc... But, it's a way to remotely play one's files on a system when one doesn't have the ability to install the full JRiver Media Center application. In other words, it will suffice in a pinch.


    Requirements:

    1. JRiver Media Center
    2. Internet access
    3. Remote device (i.e. phone, laptop, desktop) running JRemote or Gizmo or JRiver Media Center or a web browser


    Overview:

    At a high level, here is what the end game looks like.

    Mobile Device Scenario - I have JRiver Media Center running at home to play and organize my library of roughly 60,000 tracks. I also have an iPhone running JRemote to control playback while I'm at home. Using my iPhone and JRemote when I'm away from home, I stream my entire music collection from my house to my phone (AT&T LTE signal), in full resolution, for playback in my car.


    Desktop/Laptop Scenario - I have JRiver Media Center running at home to play and organize my library of roughly 60,000 tracks. I also have JRiver Media Center installed on my laptop, but don't have the disk space to store my several terabyte library on this laptop. When I'm away from home, I stream my entire music collection from my house to my laptop using the same JRiver Media Center interface as when I'm home.


    Details:

    Setup for either of the aforementioned streaming scenarios is seriously simple. Here are step-by-step instructions for getting your music to your device anywhere on the globe.



    Mobile Scenario Setup

    1. Configure JRiver Media Center, installed on your home-based computer or NAS, to serve up your music.
      1. Go to TOOLS > OPTIONS > MEDIA NETWORK. (image)
      2. Enable "Use Media Network to share this library and enable DLNA"
      3. Enable "Authentication" and enter a username and password.

    2. Forward / map a port on your Router. This isn't rocket science, but can be confusing to some people who haven't done it yet. Many routers are different, but the concept is the same. You want to "tell" your router to let JRemote communicate with the computer in your home running JRiver Media Center. Without this, JRemote will attempt to communicate with your JRiver Media Center computer, but the router will stop this communication. Here are two examples for configuring this option. Letter "a" is for configuring a CenturyLink provided ZyXEL C1100Z router/modem. Letter "b" is for configuring an Apple AirPort Extreme or AirPort Express.
      Note: If you need assistance find the IP address of your local JRiver Media Center computer, here's a link for Windows and OS X (LINK).
      1. Within the Advanced Setup / Security section of the web interface of this router, there is a Port Forwarding page. To forward JRemote communication from the Internet to the JRiver Media Center computer, enter the IP address of the JRMC computer, enter port number 52199 for starting and ending port, select TCP as the protocol, and All IP Addresses, click Apply. (image)
      2. Open the AirPort Utility and Edit your AirPort Extreme or AirPort Express. Select the Network tab (image). Select the Plus sign near the Port Settings box. The Firewall Entry Type should be IPv4 Port Mapping. Enter a description such as JRiver Media Center. Enter the Public TCP Port 52199. Enter the Private IP Address, this is the IP address of your JRiver Media Center computer at home. Enter Private TCP Port 52199. Click Save then click Update. (image)

    3. Configure JRemote on your mobile device to access your music from anywhere. Do this step while at home on your local network to make troubleshooting simpler if necessary.
      1. If you've never used or setup JRemote, open the app and select "Add a new server" from the main screen (image). If you already have your JRiver Media Center server setup within JRemote skip ahead to letter "g"
      2. Select "Add a new server" again on the subsequent screen.
      3. Select "Connect with access key."
      4. Enter the access key listed in TOOLS > OPTIONS > MEDIA NETWORK from step 1 above. (I've removed my access key from the screenshot to keep honest people honest).
      5. Enter your username and password created in step 1c above.
      6. Select "Add and connect"
      7. Configure JRemote to stream the music to your mobile device by selecting the circular pattern/server name (image) to bring up the zones. Select "This device" form the list (image).
      8. Configure audio quality by selecting "Settings" (image) and scrolling to the "Playback and Streaming" section. I've disabled the option to transcode audio. This negates the setting below it for audio transcoding quality. If you would like to lower the quality due to network performance or bandwidth limitations, this is the place to do so.
      9. Test streaming to you mobile device while connected to WiFi.
      10. Disable WiFi, close and reopen JRemote, and test streaming to your mobile device via your service carrier. If JRemote doesn't connect to your server automatically, simply select the server name and it will connect without the need to enter an IP address.
      11. Enjoy streaming your music from home to your locations around the globe.



    content/attachments/24696-441.jpg/ content/attachments/24697-192.jpg/






    Desktop/Laptop Scenario Setup

    1. Configure JRiver Media Center, installed on your home-based computer or NAS, to serve up your music.
      1. Go to TOOLS > OPTIONS > MEDIA NETWORK. (image)
      2. Enable "Use Media Network to share this library and enable DLNA"
      3. Enable "Authentication" and enter a username and password.
      4. Within the "Client Options (when connected to a Library Server)" (image) is the areas to set the audio conversion rules. I set this to "Don't convert audio" but if bandwidth restraints are present this can be set to varying MP3 quality levels.

    2. Forward / map a port on your Router. This isn't rocket science, but can be confusing to some people who haven't done it yet. Many routers are different, but the concept is the same. You want to "tell" your router to let JRemote communicate with the computer in your home running JRiver Media Center. Without this, JRemote will attempt to communicate with your JRiver Media Center computer, but the router will stop this communication. Here are two examples for configuring this option. Letter "a" is for configuring a CenturyLink provided ZyXEL C1100Z router/modem. Letter "b" is for configuring an Apple AirPort Extreme or AirPort Express.
      Note: If you need assistance find the IP address of your local JRiver Media Center computer, here's a link for Windows and OS X (LINK).
      1. Within the Advanced Setup / Security section of the web interface of this router, there is a Port Forwarding page. To forward JRemote communication from the Internet to the JRiver Media Center computer, enter the IP address of the JRMC computer, enter port number 52199 for starting and ending port, select TCP as the protocol, and All IP Addresses, click Apply. (image)
      2. Open the AirPort Utility and Edit your AirPort Extreme or AirPort Express. Select the Network tab (image). Select the Plus sign near the Port Settings box. The Firewall Entry Type should be IPv4 Port Mapping. Enter a description such as JRiver Media Center. Enter the Public TCP Port 52199. Enter the Private IP Address, this is the IP address of your JRiver Media Center computer at home. Enter Private TCP Port 52199. Click Save then click Update. (image)

    3. Configure JRiver Media Center on your laptop to access your music from anywhere. Do this step while at home on your local network to make troubleshooting simpler if necessary.
      1. Open JRiver Media Center on your laptop, select "Playing Now" from the left-side pane, select "Playing from Main Library" below "Playing Now" and select "Add Library..."
      2. In the Add Library popup box enter a name such as Home JRMC Library and click OK. Enter your username and password from step 1c above. (image)
      3. The remote library will load and you'll be able to browse, select and play music the same way as usual through JRiver Media Center. Enjoy.




    Notes: Streaming from home to another place isn't new. In fact JRiver has been doing it of many many years as have several other companies such as NAS manufacturers QNAP and Synology. This article isn't here to say "look what I discovered" rather it's here to say "here's how to get it working." I think the CA Community will absolutely love this capability once people die it a spin. In fact, accessing your music with JRemote provides the full JRemote experience, including editing metadata, that many CA readers love. What's not to like about expanding the capability what many of you already have, for zero dollars and a little of your time?








    Streaming Around the Home




    Problem:

    I want to stream from JRiver Media Center to my $35 Chromecast Audio devices, up to 24 bit / 96 kHz as supported by the devices, with bit perfect digital output to my DAC via the mini-TosLink Chromecast Audio output, and use the JRemote iOS/Android app. Ideally the Chromecast Audio devices would appear as Zones within JRMC, the same way as UPnP/DLNA zones appear automatically. Transcoding my lossless library of FLAC, AIFF, an WAV files is unacceptable.


    Solution:

    JRiver Media Center supports UPnP/DLNA endpoints, but not Chromecast endpoints. Thus, it's impossible for my Chromecast Audio endpoints to appear as a zone in JRMC and receive audio without a little help. By installing and configuring the tiny, but very powerful, BubbleUPnP Server on my JRiver Media Center computer, my Chromecast Audio devices appear as UPnP/DLNA zones in JRMC. Once these devices appear as zones in JRMC, everything else falls in line. The JRemote app can select the Chromecast Audio devices and stream music to them as if they are true UPnP/DLNA endpoints. BuubleUPnP Server enables the full power of JRMC and JRemote to work with Chromecast Audio devices.


    Requirements:

    1. JRiver Media Center
    2. BubbleUPnP Server
    3. Chromecast



    Overview:

    I have JRiver Media Center with BubbleUPnP Server running on a computer (could also be running on a NAS) and JRemote on my iPhone. I select the Chromecast Audio devices in my home from within JRemote and select the music I want to stream to the devices. It's really that simple. I can even link/group several Chromecast Audio devices together, all from within JRemote.



    Details:

    Setting up JRiver Media Center to stream to CHromecast Audio devices is beyond simple. Here's a step-by-step guide to getting it up and running right now.

    1. Install and configure JRiver Media Center (if you haven't already) and enable DLNA.
      1. Go to TOOLS > OPTIONS > MEDIA NETWORK.
      2. Enable "Use Media Network to share this library and enable DLNA" (image)

    2. Setup a Chromecast Audio device on your wireless network. Instructions are included with the device. When using the optical output there is no need for special configuration such as enabling high dynamic range.
    3. Install and configure BubbleUPnP Server
      1. Download BubbleUPnP Server and run through the installation process. There's no need to enable Internet access (when access the question during installation) for Chromecast Audio streaming to function.
      2. After installation the BubbleUPnP Server configuration page should appear, if not just launch the app from your desktop. Select the Media Renderers tab.
      3. Select the Chromecast Audio device you want to configure, from the left side of the window.
      4. Select the box to enable "Create a DLNA renderer" and don't enable the OpenHome renderer.
      5. Close the configuration page and open JRiver Media Center. The Chromecast Audio device will appear under the "Playing Now" section just like a DLNA renderer (image). Select the Chromecast Audio device, then start playing music. Or, open JRemote and select the Chromecast Audio DLNA zone (by selecting the circular pattern/server name to bring up the zones (image).
      6. Enjoy streaming music to your $35 audio endpoints.



    Notes: For more information about what formats the Chromecast Audio devices support and how to work around some issues, please see the CA article titled Bit Perfect Testing of the $35 Chromecast Audio

    JRiver recently enabled streaming from JRemote to Chromecast endpoints without the need for additional software such as BubbleUPnP Server. However, there are some caveats. Currently is transcodes all audio to MP3, and it's only available for the Android version of JRemote. JRiver's Gizmo and another app named EOS also enable streaming to Chromecast devices but they also transcode all audio to MP3.




    Comments 55 Comments
    1. B&WQuad's Avatar
      B&WQuad -
      Thanks for the very interesting article. I have two questions. One is concerning the other Chromecast (i.e. not the audio version). Do you know whether one can use the HDMI out of the chromecast for bit perfect streaming of audio rather than using the (probably) horrible DAC of the Chromecast. How in general is audio handled by the Chromecast?

      In terms of DLNA functionality in JRiver, I am always confused how JRiver handles the audio path when in DLNA mode. JRiver usually gives no info on how the stream is going (especially in the case of DSD). Is it bitstreamed, converted on the fly to PCM or even worse to MP3. Is it possible in your scenario to stream bitperfect DSD from your home NAS to an iphone (which has an DSD DAC attached to it)? That would be very interesting.
    1. Dr Tone's Avatar
      Dr Tone -
      Now if Plex would finally fix the last little iOS gapless playback issue, it would be even a better solution than J River as it supports offline sync to device as well with it's $8 app and free server or included syncing with lifetime subscription fee.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by B&WQuad View Post
      Thanks for the very interesting article. I have two questions. One is concerning the other Chromecast (i.e. not the audio version). Do you know whether one can use the HDMI out of the chromecast for bit perfect streaming of audio rather than using the (probably) horrible DAC of the Chromecast. How in general is audio handled by the Chromecast?

      In terms of DLNA functionality in JRiver, I am always confused how JRiver handles the audio path when in DLNA mode. JRiver usually gives no info on how the stream is going (especially in the case of DSD). Is it bitstreamed, converted on the fly to PCM or even worse to MP3. Is it possible in your scenario to stream bitperfect DSD from your home NAS to an iphone (which has an DSD DAC attached to it)? That would be very interesting.
      Good questions.

      I don't know about the regular Chromecast non-audio version.

      I just tried to stream DSD64 to my phone and it gave me the following error message. Maybe if I had a DSD DAC connected to my iPhone it would have worked. I don't know.

      Audio Streaming Error - There was a problem playing the current audio file

      Attachment 24698
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dr Tone View Post
      Now if Plex would finally fix the last little iOS gapless playback issue, it would be even a better solution than J River as it supports offline sync to device as well with it's $8 app and free server or included syncing with lifetime subscription fee.
      I look at Plex as a different animal. It's extremely limited when it comes to library management, but it's great for other things like streaming to an AppleTV etc... If you don't need to edit metadata or any large library management, Plex may be fine. I'm willing to bet that most people who use Plex only use it for the streaming side and have another app for management.
    1. Dr Tone's Avatar
      Dr Tone -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Computer Audiophile View Post
      I look at Plex as a different animal. It's extremely limited when it comes to library management, but it's great for other things like streaming to an AppleTV etc... If you don't need to edit metadata or any large library management, Plex may be fine. I'm willing to bet that most people who use Plex only use it for the streaming side and have another app for management.
      I thought the Plex Premium music library w/ Gracenote did a better default job at matching my library then Roon did with their meta data source. Of course Roon is better in every other way.
    1. master's Avatar
      master -
      Good write up Chris.

      Been using Raspberry Pi + CCA for around the home streaming for a while now.

      Out of the home "lossless" streaming however has been tricky, mostly b/w related. Google Play Music is a nice option to upload your library but limited to lossy formats like MP3. Subsonic is another option.

      A full blown NAS like Synology or even a limited one like Western Digital have the option of letting you stream your content out of home, but limited mostly to their apps.
    1. SVinTO's Avatar
      SVinTO -
      The Pono Music app uses JRiver as the base and you'll find howls of dismay from Pono users about it on their forum. It does not give iTunes any reason to worry. Seeing the addition of video doesn't change that impression with the regular JRiver Media Centre. Very geeky requiring a massive wiki to learn how to use. Not intuitive at all.

      I'm hoping functionality makes up for the crude design. Though I can't say I'm impressed so far, (two crashes so far within 2 minutes of starting to import files), and the interface reminds me of a DOS-era file library program. Ugly, at least on my iMac.

      And while there's a trial for JRiver Media Centre, you have to pay for the JRiver phone app up front.
    1. firedog's Avatar
      firedog -
      Thanks Chris. Just set this up on my phone for the first time.
    1. EuroChamp's Avatar
      EuroChamp -
      Great article! I'm using this remote access with the iOS-app in my car or the J.River-client on my business desktop since years and I am very satisfied.

      But I am still looking for a good Qobuz integration. Is there a solution?
    1. Balcy's Avatar
      Balcy -
      I had been using DS Audio for a few years to stream off my Synology NAS until I found JRemote, which I really like. Now it is my go to for music on my iPhone 6 Plus. I think all iOS audio apps that stream are limited by Apple to 24/48 output, at least I have not found a way to go higher with my iDSD Micro.

      I started using JRMC in the audio only days and did not fully understand its capabilities. I thought it was just program bloat. Now I use it to stream video/photos to my smart TV as well and love it.

      Balcy
    1. mob's Avatar
      mob -
      Balcy, did you try NePLAYER on ios with the iDSD Micro. I don't have the iDSD Micro (yet, but i'm interested) but have neplayer. neplayer shows the bitrate of the source audio file but downsamples it to 44,1kHz without the company's DAC. I'm not sure if it is compatible with 3rd party dacs like the micro, but you'll love it if it does. Outside, i take my seagate wireless plus disk which has some hi-res files and stream it to neplayer. i can't recomend the DLNA server on the seagate as it is sometimes begins scanning and indexing from the very start every time you take it on. But when it works, the two works like a charm. Unlike any other streaming app i've tried, neplayer doesn't drop out playing (within the wireless range of course). i also have jremote app with jriver. it plays back fine up to 96kHz. i don't have evidence but i think neplayer playbacks with less timing errors than the others


      Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile mobile app
    1. edtyre's Avatar
      edtyre -
      Nice write up, i have been using this setup for two years now and have no problems
      at all, streaming full res audio (16/44) works 90% of the time, but a fallback to mp3 works 100%
      out of my house via Jremote to phone and bluetooth to car stereo as well.
      In my house streaming to anywhere on my network works perfect.
      This is the best money spent today for our hobby. Don't really understand why more people aren't using this.
      I have access to 100,000+ tracks anywhere in the world. Blows people's mind when i show them.
    1. Balcy's Avatar
      Balcy -
      I just downloaded NePLAYER Lite and it looks very promising. However, it doesn't see my DLNA server on my DS411+II so nothing streams. Is streaming not included with the Lite version? One thing that bothers me with streaming audio is not knowing what is really happening with the music itself, is it being transcoded etc. Using the iDSD there is an LED that changes color to tell you what is there. NePLAYER seems to take that even further which I like.

      EDIT: I just read the small print in NePLAYER and see it takes the full version to use networking (streaming). That's too bad as that is what I was interested in trying most and am leery to spend money audio unheard.
    1. mob's Avatar
      mob -
      Well Balcy i also can't spend 500€ for the micro right now to see if this setup will work Anyway please let me know if in the future you try this


      Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile mobile app
    1. Paul R's Avatar
      Paul R -
      Great Article Chris!

      I absolutely depend upon exactly the JRMC/JRemote configuration you describe every day.

      I listen to music at work over headphones, in the Jeep Using BlueTooth to the Jeep's music system, and almost anywhere when I am traveling. It is really is more important to me than than it should be.

      Couple quick points- with that specific combination, and if you have a router at home that is a little more advanced (such as a Cisco RV300 series), you can avoid opening that port in your firewall. You do this by generating a VPN (Virtual Private Network) from your phone back to your home router.

      Once you have done that, then JRemote will think it is connected on the inside of your network, just as if you were at home, no matter where you really are. Also, all the transmissions between your phone and your home network are encrypted when you use a VPN. That may sound like a little bit of overkill, but it protects both your phone and your home network from "bad guys." Not absolutely necessary, but quite doable.

      Second, transcoding the music stream to high quality MP3 works well for me in the the Jeep, because on the highway, I can not tell the difference anyway. It can save significant bandwidth if your cellular plan is stingy with data. It takes only a few seconds to change the transcoding settings in JRemote, and JRiver actually does the transcoding on your home machine, not on your iPhone.

      JRemote works just as well over LTE or free WiFi, with or without a VPN, and there are uncapped WiFi connections just about everywhere these days.

      Oh, I have not been able to get JRemote to stream DSD64 or better to my iPhone successfully. It tries, when there is a DSD capable DAC connected to it, but I think it is a JRemote bug. Been hoping that gets fixed in a future release.

      With a VPN, you can stream Plex just as well by the way. It definitely has the gapping bug problem though, and is nowhere as convenient as JRemote. But it streams video better than JRemote.
    1. PorkChop's Avatar
      PorkChop -
      Chris,

      Your product reviews are fine and good, but these practical how-to materials add real value to me (and other hobby-level audio enthusiasts). I know the time and effort required to research and compose guidance like this. Furthermore, CA's content has advanced over the last several months in both quality and variety. *subscribed*
    1. Balcy's Avatar
      Balcy -
      Quote Originally Posted by mob View Post
      Well Balcy i also can't spend 500€ for the micro right now to see if this setup will work Anyway please let me know if in the future you try this
      I understand completely. That is why I bought a used iDSD. If I do buy the app I will let you know how the combo works.

      Balcy
    1. Balcy's Avatar
      Balcy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul R View Post
      Great Article Chris!

      Couple quick points- with that specific combination, and if you have a router at home that is a little more advanced (such as a Cisco RV300 series), you can avoid opening that port in your firewall. You do this by generating a VPN (Virtual Private Network) from your phone back to your home router.

      Oh, I have not been able to get JRemote to stream DSD64 or better to my iPhone successfully. It tries, when there is a DSD capable DAC connected to it, but I think it is a JRemote bug. Been hoping that gets fixed in a future release.

      With a VPN, you can stream Plex just as well by the way. It definitely has the gapping bug problem though, and is nowhere as convenient as JRemote. But it streams video better than JRemote.
      Are you talking about creating a VPN from the router side and then connecting the iPhone to it? I have an Asus RT-AC68 router which I believe does this and I also use Plex for video. Closing those ports would make the firewall stronger.

      I couldn't get DSD to stream on my iPhone 6 Plus either using JRemote and know the iDSD Micro supports it.
    1. Paul R's Avatar
      Paul R -
      Quote Originally Posted by Balcy View Post
      Are you talking about creating a VPN from the router side and then connecting the iPhone to it? I have an Asus RT-AC68 router which I believe does this and I also use Plex for video. Closing those ports would make the firewall stronger.

      I couldn't get DSD to stream on my iPhone 6 Plus either using JRemote and know the iDSD Micro supports it.
      Well, actually you define the VPN on the router/firewall, but initiate the VPN from your phone or other remote device. With Cisco gear at home, all iOS gear "just works" - because a built in IPSec client is included in iOS. And MacOS. It is a wee bit more difficult from Windows.
    1. Balcy's Avatar
      Balcy -
      Got it. I used the OpenVPN server on the router (forgot it was there) and added an OpenVPN client to my iPhone. Works like a charm with no port forwarding. Thanks for the tip!


      Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile mobile app