How it works
It streams music to speakers
It is an amplifier
The player converts digital audio streams from your apps into analogue sound which is amplified (2 x 35 W). The Network Music Player is remotely controlled by your apps and devices, which means that streaming, playback and settings are done from your apps and devices. Any sound, any audio can be streamed. The only functional button on the Player is the on and off button, everything else is done remotely. E.g. you turn on and off the Player with the original on-off button.
It is a computer
The Network Music Player basically consists of a computer with a CPU, a digital-analogue converter, an amplifier and some software. It is a small and highly specialized computer system. It is designed to be far more robust than an ordinary PC and it is. However, in order to be fully functional the player relies on external systems as well as a stable Wi-Fi network, Bluetooth, your devices for remote control and also a decent Internet access.
The Player software is mainly used for receiving digital audio streams and convert them into analogue sound that is amplified or to transmit them with Bluetooth to a connected Bluetooth speaker or Bluetooth headphone. As an option, instead of directly streaming from your apps you can use the Player software for playback of the content of an attached USB stick as well. The Player software provides you with a web based user interface for playback. It is a USB music file player.
More importantly the Player software is used for connecting to Bluetooth speakers and Bluetooth headphones as well as all aspects of settings of the Network Music Player (turn Bluetooth on or off, connect to or disconnect Wi-Fi, set the start-up volume, restart e.t.c.). The Player’s user interface for the settings are also web based and you reach them through any web browser on your devices.
What you need
- Bluetooth or/and a Wi-Fi network to connect to.
- Use your iPhone or Android phone, PC or Mac or Linux computer, iPad or Android tablet as remote controls and access your music through the apps you like. You also need a web browser like Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge or Mozilla Firefox to manage settings, connections and as an option manage USB playback. That is done through the web page http://player.local* - no download of special apps...
- The music sources can be Spotify, webradio stations, podcasts or any music you play or stream on your phone, tablet or on your computers. You can also play locally stored music on an attached USB flash memory stick.
- As usual Internet access is required for your streaming apps.
- Bluetooth speakers or Bluetooth headphones and in addition you can use any wired passive speakers.
*) If you are using an Android device your browser may understand http://player.local and open the start page as intended. Unfortunately, most versions of Android OS are not capable of resolving a local web address. Instead you have to use the IP address of the player instead. How to find the IP address is described on the Android page and it can be found here.
Android - stream with Bluetooth
The most convenient way to stream your apps with Android devices is to use Bluetooth. When you stream you control every aspect of listening with the app, like setting the volume, play/pause, next and so on.
The Network Music Player supports Bluetooth 5.0 and that version is supported by most modern phones. With this version comes a wider range and increased transfer capacity which improves sound quality up to be like CDs. Bluetooth is backwards compatible, so you can use older devices, but they might not always be able to benefit of these latest features.
... or stream your Spotify app, the Player is integrated with the Spotify app so you can choose Player as an device within the Spotify app. That requires a paid premium account. If you only have the free basic Spotify account - stream Bluetooth!
Find the IP address - find it with the Fing app
When you want to do some settings of the Network Music Player itself (not your apps) or you want to do some USB playback - then you access the Player's web pages. The web address for the start page is http:/player.local.
Unfortunately, so far most versions of Android OS cannot resolve the local URL http://player.local to an IP address. That is pretty annoying since you have to find and enter the actual IP address of the Player into the browser’s address bar, every time... The format of an IP address for private networks most often looks like this: 192.168.n.nnn.
To find the IP address you need to do a network scan. That is not as complicated as its sounds. There are quite a large selection of network scanner apps available on Google Play.
Retro Audiophile Designs recommends Fing as the way to find the IP address, since it is easy to use, well-proven and the basic version is free. It can be downloaded from here.
How to use Fing
All network scanners works basically the same way. They scan the network and lists the IP addresses of all connected devices. In that list you will find the name PLAYER and its current IP address.
Open up the Fing app and you will see that it has already identified the network you are connected to. Click on the “Scan for Devices” button. In the resulting list that pops up after a few seconds scroll down to PLAYER and note the IP address. You can also see that the hardware manufacturer is Raspberry Pi which is correct. [in the picture below the Player is connected both with Wi-Fi and cable]
Often your router will assign the Player the same IP address when you restart or turn on the Player again. The IP address will definitely change if the router is re-configured or restarted or replaced. Then you have to scan again...
Note: iOS, macOS and Window devices are able to find local URLs on private networks (i.e. your home network) - so if any of those are around you can easily find the IP address on the start page http://player.local .
iPhone - stream with Airplay
With an iPhone or iPad or a Mac you can easily stream from your apps to the Network Music Player using Airplay over Wi-Fi. Be sure that you have connected the Player to your home Wi-Fi network first.
The best way to stream with Airplay is to first start to play music on your iPhone using any of your music apps, pod casts apps or radio apps or music streaming apps (like iTunes , Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Pandora etc.), then go to the iPhone’s Airplay menu. This is the procedure to stream with Airplay:
On the iPhone you will find the menu by sliding your finger from the top right to the bottom of the home screen (for older iPhones instead slide from the bottom to the top). Then you will see that the iPhone itself and the player are available in the list of Airplay receivers. Click on player and the connection is set up.
Airplay is supported by all Apple iOS devices, but there are also Airplay apps available for Windows and Android that you can download. Check out Google. iTunes uses Airplay on computers as well and it can be installed on your Windows or Linux computer and even on Android devices.
Bluetooth works too
It is really easy to stream with Bluetooth. As always when you stream, you control every aspect of listening with the app, like setting the volume, play/pause, next and so on.
The Network Music Player supports Bluetooth 5.0 and that version is supported by almost all iPhones around. With this version comes a wider range and increased transfer capacity which improves sound quality up to be like CDs. Bluetooth is backwards compatible, so you can use older iPhones like iPhone 5, but they might not always be able to benefit of these latest features.
... or stream your Spotify app, the Player is integrated with the Spotify app so you can choose Player as an device within the Spotify app. That requires a paid premium account. If you only have the free basic Spotify account - stream Airplay or Bluetooth!
Open up the Player Start page - http:/player.local
Access the Player software by entering the URL http:/player.local in a web browser and the Start page will open.
Note: If you are using an Android device your browser may understand http://player.local and open the start page as intended. Unfortunately, most versions of Android OS are not capable of resolving a local web address. Instead you have to use the IP address of the player instead. How to find the IP address is described on the Android page and it can be found here.
Start pageAt the Start page you can:
- Check what the Player is doing.
- Set the volume. [Should be 100% if you are streaming - lower this only when doing USB playback.]
- Manage Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB Playback and additional settings.
- Check how the Player is connected.
On this page you can pair and connect or Bluetooth speakers or headphones. If you want you can turn off the Bluetooth service and all Bluetooth connected devices will be disconnected. You can also manage any Bluetooth connected source devices, like smart phones, that might be streaming Bluetooth to the Player. You can even disconnected on this page.
Here you manage local network connections, wireless (like Wi-Fi) or wired (attached LAN cable). The Player has a special access point, a hotspot, which is a Wi-Fi network on its own. It is called Player and the IP address on that network is 10.0.0.10. It is mostly used during setup.
The most important settings here are the restart streaming services and restart the Player software.
The USB playback consist of three page. The Playback page, Playlist page and the USB page. Note: the volume control on this page is the same as the one on the Start page. It can not be 100% for USB playback, that is too loud.
Here is an example how it can look like:
Initial set up [link]
Click on this link: Initial setup guide