J RIVER MEDIACENTER 12 INSTALLATION

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Base J. River MediaCenter Installation (J River Wiki link)



Configure J. River Media Center 12 to support multiple zones for MusicLobby3

Open Media Center. Click Player / Playback Options / Zone Manager In the new open window, click Configure. Choose Audio Output Mode to be Directsound. Now open the Direct Sound Settings and select your sound card and which sound card output channels you want to use as that zone. You can now add a second zone and configure that zone’s sound card outputs. You then connect the sound card output jacks appropriately to an external amplifier (see your sound card instructions for details). Tip: Don’t name J. River Media Center zones as numbers. It gets confusing as the MLMediaCenter plugin supports both the zone number, OR it’s name. ie: don’t name literal zone 1 as “3”.

Trick: To cycle through your zones from a Mainlobby button, use the MLCyclestates plugin and integrate Template:Clientname into your variable name.

Then as you cycle through the zones, A variable is created like:

{{Clientname_mul_activezone}} = 1 


Update Triggers Configuration You can add a MLServeCmd to the Update Trigger MLServeCMD field within the J. River MusicLobby 3 Plugin. These trigger are zone specific. So, if you want create a “Now Playing” popup in MainLobby, you can put:

MLServeCmd.MLCmd|Msg~All~Music Info Changed~Now Playing on <<ZONENAME>>

<<CURARTIST>> <<CURALBUM>> <<CURTITLE>>~5 In that Zone’s field. Then, whenever a song changes, the MainLobby clients will get a popup message with that song information.


RDP and Terminal Services Issues

Frequently, users use RemoteDesktopProtocol to connect from a desktop PC to manage their Server, which may be located remotely in an equipment rack. When connecting via a normal RDP connection, the sound card maps to the RDP sound card and NOT the actual audio card. When this happens, any songs launched from MainLobby will show as an error in Media Center. To avoid this, put this in a "C:\Server1RDP.bat" file.

mstsc -v:server1 /F /console

Note to replace "server1" with the name of your server. For users of Vista SP1 replace /console with /admin:

mstsc -v:server1 /F /admin

When this file is executed, this will allow you to log in to the server1 Console and the hardware sound card will still remain the default sound device and Media Center will play fine. (tested with connecting from Vista desktop to Win2003ServerR2).

You can run this command in a .bat file when exiting the RDP session.

%windir%\System32\tscon.exe 0 /dest:console


Cover Art settings[edit]

MusicLobby 3 requires that all Media Center coverart images be stored external of the media file. Media Center supports both embedded (in the audio file) and external images (required for MusicLobby 3).

If you use the Media Center "Image File" column, you can be certain that the images are external. You will see a file path to your cover art directory (rather than something indicating "inside file", etc). To add this column, Click on Audio and then right click in the Media Center track listings header and click Customize Current View. Click Add / Field / Image File.

To avoid coverart becoming embedded in the media file, you need to uncheck the "store images in Tags also" checkbox (in Media Center General settings - File Location tab).

Then, the Cover Art should be added externally (which you can verify with the "Image File" column).



Jeffdoo's Cover Art Process[edit]

1) Scan the CD cover art into Photoshop @ 300dpi

2) Rotate, Crop, color correct as needed

3) Resize without height/width constraints to 500x500

4) Save as a jpg w/8 "High Quality" as the compression level

5) Use Easy CD-DA Extractor to rip the CD to FLAC and insert the jpg in each file.

6) Use foobar2000 to adjust the meta-data tags as needed (song years, album artists, total tracks, etc)

7) Copy the songs from my local PC to our Server

8) Copy the songs from my local PC to the MainLobby machine

9) Run the batch file at the beginning of this thread Batch File to copy the jpg from the FLAC file into the respective directory as "Artist - Album.jpg" <- unique file name.

10) Add the folder to MediaCenter

11) Have MediaCenter strip the embedded jpg images from the newly imported FLAC flies

12) Have MediaCenter perform a "Quick Find Cover Art" which locates the jpg files in each directory. It add a link to the meta-data instead of embedding the image

13) Have MediaCenter analyze the volume of the newly added files



Kgudge Coverart 101[edit]

Make sure your JRMC is setup for the following.

Tools, options, File Location, Cover Art, is set to "In a specified folder" and "Also Store Image in the Files Tag" is not selected.

Make sure only music files and playlists are selected in import folders, advanced otherwise JRMC will use these images as cover art and MuL client will have blank thumbnail views with just a date stamp on them, and you'll chase your tail looking for them.

Make sure there are no misc files in the songs folders or sub folders. Again these will show in in MuL or JRMC will use them for cover art causing diagnostic issues later on.


1. Get your metadata sorted first. This means Artist/Album/Genre/Year or any other info you plan on using for each field before doing adding any cover art. Pay particular attention to the three following fields/categories, failing to do so will cause you massive problems later.

Artist Album (Multiple Artists)

Any Various Artist (VA) albums, EPs etc should be showing under (Multiple Artists) auto album category before attempting to assign Cover art to that album. Albums with the Artist field all set to "Various Artists", "Artist", "Various" or "VA" will not show up as they are all the same name, change one entry to read something else.

Here is why this is important....

Failing to do so will result in a individual copy of the cover art being assigned to each artist for that album (20 entries, 20 copies of the same cover art will be in your cover art folder and 80 copies in the cache folder. Secondly the MuL client will show a thumb nail view for each artist for that album. Lastly JRMC seems to not like assigning multiple icons to same named tracks. So the cover art will not stick properly and revert to no cover art being assigned. Eventually JRMC will start miss matching cover art and you'll be back to step one and very disillusioned.


2. I strongly recommend selecting all your songs and doing cover art, remove cover art. It is a pain having to manually re-assign all those cover art items but it is easier than trying to fix each problem entry.


3. Backup your library, this gives you a rollback option should the next step mess up.


4. Once step 1 and 2 are complete, you can try the internet option.


5. If internet option was OK, move on to fixing or rollback the library, goto step 7.


6. For any albums with partial entries, do the following.

Select the album, verify if it is a "Various Artists album" it shows up in the (Multiple Artists) auto field. If it doesnt drag and drop it to the (Multiple Artists) field. If it doesn't stick, verify the Artist field has different entries in it. Verify Artist and Album name is consistent for each track if not a VA album. Spaces before and after cause each entry also cause issues. Select all the tracks for that album, right click Cover Art, Remove Cover Art. Wait until "Saving Tag Changes" has finished.

Use Amazon(normal stuff) or Discogs.com(rare stuff is usually here) to get a copy of the cover art. Save it to your cover art file.

Filename format is "Artist - Album.jpg" Various Artists should be saved as (Multiple Artists) - Album.jpg.

Unusually JRMC is case sensitive, be consistent with your naming.

Again will all the items highlighted for that album and only that album right click add from file and browse to the file you just saved. Wait until "Saving Tag Changes" has completed. Each track should now have a mini icon assigned. Run you mouse pointer over the list to confirm each has been assigned.


7. Use Amazon(normal stuff) or Discogs.com(rare stuff is usually here) to get a copy of the cover art. Save it to your cover art file.

Filename format is "Artist - Album.jpg" Various Artists should be saved as (Multiple Artists) - Album.jpg. Unusually JRMC is case sensitive, be consistent with your naming.

Again will all the items highlighted for that album and only that album right click add from file and browse to the file you just saved. Wait until "Saving Tag Changes" has completed. Each track should now have a mini icon assigned. Run you mouse pointer over the list to confirm each has been assigned.

If it hasn't their is a problem with artist, album, (Multiple Artist) fields or multiple entries for that track.

8. Save you library, using the backup option within JRMC. Take a copy of your cover art folder, I have a zip copy in case of JRMC loosing the plot and trashing my cover art again. Even though cover art is flagged Read Only, I really dont want to have to re do this process over again. With a copy of the cover art folder and a backup of the database I can be up and running again in a few minutes.

Trouble Shooting.

I personally save each image as Read Only, this helps with tracing issues, however it will only work if album, artist, (Multiple Artists) fields are correct, if they aren't you end with only one icon being assigned.

A quick check in the JRMC cover art folder will show what JRMC thinks the name of the Cover art should be.... (Explorer view as modified and goto the bottom of the folder) usefull for tracking issues and also making sure only one icon per album is created.

When using this technique and your happy with JRMC naming you can change the properties of either the JRMC image or your original image and JRMC image and remove the read only property to continue. Again slect Cover Art, add from file and select the file.

Or correct the artist, album, (Multiple Artists) fields and retry using add from file.

Another benefit of using Read Only flagged Cover Art is if JRMC gets confused it will not rename, delete or modify your cover art. Also if you choose Cover Art, Remove Cover Art it wont delete the file from the Cover Art folder.

Three folders that are of interest when having cover art issues are local browser cache on the client machine, plugins/cache and J rivers cover art folder.

Starting at the client end of the chain, browse on the MuL client to the page before the problem image is supposed to appear. Clear the IE cache. Browse to the page and check the cache. You should see an entry for each icon. IE name is artist - album.jpg|thumbnail height|thumbnail width.

Cover.jpg or folder.jpg means you have cover art in the album folder or have unchecked ignore special files option in the import folder function. A missing icon usually means a problem in JRMC cover art folder. A wrong icon usually means a cache issue in plugins/cache under JRMC plugins and services.

So if this is the case open program files/j river/media center 12/plugins/cache folder. go back one view in MuL client

In IE clear the browser cache or select the icons and delete them In JRMC, Plugins and services choose music lobby configuration clear cache.

In MuL now browse to the problem page.

In the cache you should now have the number of images you have in your thumbnail view, each one should be 100_100_some weird reference number.jpg.

If the icon is wrong in the cache folder the problem exists in Cover Art (you did set all your icons to read only didn't you?).

If the image is OK, check IE cache if the image is OK, restart MuL the client. Recheck, it is probably all right now.

If it is OK in Cache folder but not getting to IE, clear the cache and restart JRMC.

Backtrace to the Cover Art folder making sure the image is showing correctly.

Rename the image file. Replace the image with a different image file and restart JRMC. Is it showing the new image, if not it is using a different source to the one in the cover art folder. Check settings and remove re add cover art.

Still having issues?

Remove Read Only flag if set. Then remove cover art from the album in JRMC and reselect it making sure to use add from file and not any other option, after downloading a fresh copy of the file from Amazon or Discogs.com, deliberately use the wrong name when saving the file.

In Explorer view, arranged by modified this should be the last album image. Note the name of the file, does this match? If not then check the disk image and location folder names. Sychronize them and use Library tools, copy disk file.

Known gotchas....

Each album must be in its own directory/folder on the disk. Failing to do so will result in cover art not sticking to the songs.

If you have an individual song that the cover art wont stick too, physically rename the song on disk, then use library tools copy file on disk. Remove cover art. Add cover art from file. This seems to create a new entry for the song, or clears the existing corrupted meta data.

The (Multiple Artists) auto field requires the album to contain more than one name in the artist field (Various, Various Artists, VA are all one artist name, set one song to another name). It also requires more than one song in a physical folder/directory. Even if the album name is the same as another album, if they are in another folder/directory this will not populate (Multiple Artists).

If you have got to here and are still having problems, time to open a case with the Cinemar forum or PM me for further suggestions with a full description of the issue.

Kgudge Coverart Optimization[edit]

I used irfanview to resize my Cover Art folder, I resized the images to 402x402 (the largest size MuL uses in my defaultish configuration, this was size was gleaned by looking at the size request sizes in the IE cache folder and also the image sizes in the plugins cache folder).

Two advantages to running this optimization,

Cover Art folder is now 15Mb, down from 48Mb, a very useful drop in size.

More importantly even after clearing down the local IE cache and MuL plugin cache, MuL clients thunbnail image loading is now near instant on the local client and also fast even over 11mb wireless connection.

I noticed when fault finding some cover art issues, that certain images were taking a longer time to load, causing the MuL client to apparently stutter when first loading that image. Subsequent browsing is cached and reasonably fast, however that first browse can be best described "as some what slow" over an 11mb wireless connection.

A quick look in the cover art folder showed these slower images are much larger in physical and image size than the normal cover art jpgs. I therefore assumed the stuttering was being caused by either JRMC or the plugin being required to resize these images to the correct size.

As expected optimizing the Cover Art folder has completely removed the stuttering. Less than 1 second to load each thumbnail page.

Simple but very effective. Would recommend anyone with a few thousand songs to do this. Also pleased to report no new cover art issues after converting the files.

I used the following settings in ifranviews batch conversion option

Resize.

402x402 preserve aspect ratio use resample method dont enlarge smaller images 72dpi


Misc

Save files with same date/timestamp

Verification

I used a different output directory to save the new images to. Verified images looked good (Explorer thumnail view), saved old cover art folder to a network share. Replaced Cover Art folder with the output folder.

Testing

Cleared MuL plugin cache and local IE cache, fired up MuL client and browsed collection via thumbnail view.



Volume control options

To understand the volume control, one needs to understand the dependency chain for PC based audio.

J. River internal volume > Wave Volume > Windows System Volume > External amplifier volume > speakers

This is similar to a garden hose that has many control valves in it. Any one control valve can reduce the amount of water that the sprinkler gets. The valves closer to the sprinkler head can only control the remaining water provided by the valves closer to the water source.

MusicLobby 3 volume can be controlled at least 5 different ways

1) J. River sound card is output to an audio distribution system like a Russound CAV6.6: Typically the CAV6.6 volume would be used to control the sound level in a particular CAV6.6 zone. J. River sound levels would be set manually at the 80% level for maximum potential volume with less distortion. J. River can affect the maximum volume that can be outputted to the audio amplifier in this Option. The MusicLobby 3 variables (example: mlmediacenter_server1_great room_currentvolume=80) displays in MainLobby the J. River current volume (0 – 100 values – which might not be the current sound pressure indicator as the Cav6.6 could be set for zero volume and nothing is heard). This is a very common “Pro” installation methodology.

2) J. River sound card outputs via SPDIF (digital) to an external audio renderer (like a Receiver). In this case, J. River software does not control the volume at all, as the renderer converts from digital to an analog signal and the renderer controls the volume. For MainLobby 3 to control that volume, a plugin or other means needs to be used to control the renderer’s volume. This is somewhat similar to Option 1, but different in that J. River has NO affect on the volume level. This approach is common when one choices ASIO type audio codecs to be used in J. River, and a high quality renderer with high quality digital to audio DACs for high quality audio reproduction like a Theater Room.

3) For systems that do not use a commercial audio distribution system (like outputting of J. River sound card directly to an amplifier) then the J. River MediaCenter Internal volume control can be used. To access this choice, click Player / Volume / and select Internal Volume (audio only). With this choice, the discrete J. River supported zone is the only audio being affected with J. River sound level changes. Overall PC System volume remains unchanged. This is used commonly when the J. River PC is also used for other audio tasks like for MLSpeak plugin or other external PC based audio sources are to be used in conjunction with J. River (on that same PC). The MusicLobby 3 variables (example: mlmediacenter_server1_great room_currentvolume=45) displays in MainLobby the current volume (0 – 100 values).

4) For systems that do not use a commercial audio distribution system (like outputting of J. River sound card directly to an amplifier) then the J. River MediaCenter’s default System volume control can be used. To access this choice, click Player / Volume / and select System Volume. With this choice, the discrete J. River supported zone and all other PC sound outputs for that sound card channel pair are affected with J. River sound level changes. Overall PC System volume changes with J. River. The MusicLobby 3 variables (example: mlmediacenter_server1_great room_currentvolume=45) displays in MainLobby the current system volume (0 – 100 values). If J. River is the only audio source on that PC, this is the simplest to ensure volume control is controlled by MusicLobby 3. This system structure also is excellent for high quality PC based audio systems when used with a high end audio card that has excellent audio characteristics. Highest performance per dollar (compared to Option 2).

5) As J. River audio uses Wave Volume, one can also control the volume through the MLVolume plugin that has ability to control the Wave Volume level. In this case, volume control is outside of the MusicLobby 3 plugin and J. River. This option allows for control of ALL Wave Volume sources at the same time. To use this option, configure a button or slider in MainLobby Client to send a

MLServeCmd.MLVolume|SETWAVEVOLUME~{{Wavevolume}} 

where “wavevolume” is the variable that controls the Wave Volume (set via the output of a MainLobby Slider as example).


Custom View Settings

When in MusicLobby user interface and clicking on "Library" view, what is seen on each click through the navigation can be tailered in MediaCenter 12 settings.

Here is one common "view":

In this view, you click on Audio, then you will see 1,2,3,...x,y,z with each letter representing the first letter of the Artist. When you click on a letter like "Y", then you will see all artists that begin with a Y. When you click on an artist like "Yes", then you will see Yes's albums. When you click on an album of interest, you will then see the songs of that album which you can add to the Playlist by clicking on that song, or immediately start playing that song.

Here is how you set the above up:

In Media Center, click on the Audio button in the primary navigation. Then, right click on the first choice in the list. Click on Edit View Scheme. Click in the Preset field. Select Artists (grouped). Then click Add and select Album from the list. You should now see Artist, Artist, Album in the list. Populate tree, Honor parent scheme search strings and Show in Theater View should be selected. If you click on the top Artist and click the Edit button, you should see that Grouping is selected with Grouping size of 1.

Now, start MainLobby client and navigate to your MusicLobby scene. Click Library button and select your songs to listen!

Another popular View to use is "Artist/Artist/Name". This shows the Artist and then all of the songs of the artist if you can't remember what album a particular song was found on.


Minimize on Startup

To startup Media Center whenever MLServer starts, put

MLServeCmd.MLFileOpen|C:\Program Files\J River\Media Center 12\Media Center 12.exe~~6

in the MLStartup plugin command, and select Execute on Startup. The "6" says to open the file minimized with no focus.


Another method:

You can also add and save this to a "c:\program files\mlserver\MC12_Min.bat" file:

C:\WINDOWS\system32\MC12.exe /mcc 10012,1

C:\WINDOWS\system32\MC12.exe /mcc 10014

When this file is run, MC12 will minimize.


As an added step in Media Center, Click on Tools / Options / General and select "Minimize to System Tray". This will minimize to the system tray whenever you click the Minimize button.


Configuring a Master Media Center Library Server

Media Center supports an architecture where one master Media Center instance manages the library for secondary Media Center PC instances. This minimizes effort to maintain your library.

To enable this, choose which PC will be the Master. On this PC, launch Media Center

Click on Services and Plugins choice in the main navigation.

Click on Library Server.

Click on Options

Click on Manual Port Selection and type 81 in the Port Number field. Only choose this port if you know it is not being used for other purposes (like MLServer web server). The default value of Port 80 is not recommended as that is the Internet standard web server port (which many will run their MLServer webserver on).

You can choose to Enable Authentication or not. This provides some additional security to your system that someone that is attached to your network can mess with your tunes.

Click OK

Click Start Server. You should see the event log fill up with activity now.

You should now open your firewall / antivirus for this new port (81 in this example).

Your media file directory should be shared with all PCs that will be playing those files. You should use a common directory path on all PCs ie: X:\Music\

Launch Media Center on a second PC.

Click File / Libary / Search for Library Servers.

Media Center will now look for all Library Servers on your LAN (you should only have one right now).

If all goes well, you will see "Importing Library".

You can now select music from your standard Library Views on this second PC.

You can now license MLMediaCenter to accept two servers (additional Cinemar license required) and operate and view both Media Center instances from all MainLobby client PCs.


Adding Radio Stations in batch

To create the first radio entry, copy / paste this into MC's MusicLobby Plugin's radio list (blank field to the left of the + - buttons):

WHQR Public Radio,Public,http://www.shoutcast.com/sbin/shoutcast-playlist.pls?rn=9701&file=filename.pls

Click the (+) sign.

Advanced: Adding a bunch of radio stations in batch: Add one radio station as per above. Media Center keeps the radio stations in this Windows Registry Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER Software VB and VBA Program Settings Cinemar Musiclobby Server Look for the Radiostation Key

Paste in the text of additional radio stations you like, following the format of the first entry.

Restart Media Center

NOTE: This is for advanced users that are knowledgeable on using the Registry. Deleting, or putting in incorrect entries in the Registry can ruin the Windows installation and force a rebuild of the PC’s operating system and installed software.