building a living room pc: remote audio with mpd + gmpc

I built a headless living room pc a few weeks ago. Chose a Q6600 2.4 quad-core with 4gb ram, an HTPC case, microatx motherboard, and on board video 🙂 My main reasoning was to use it for music, some virtual machines, and playing around, although I couldn’t spend much time it until now..

At first I moved most of my music archive on my laptop to it, and set up NFS for my laptop, configured autofs on my laptop and managed it to try mounting only when I’m on my home LAN, so I can continue to use rhythmbox. Today I found the time to configure an audio server on the quadcore, and have it remotely controlled from my laptop.

The solution’s name is mpd; music player daemon [http://www.musicpd.org]

MPD runs as a daemon on the server, with local access to all music files. You can control it remotely with various clients (also there are PHP clients that can be installed on the same server with MPD and allow HTTP access).

As for clients, first I tried an ncurses client ncmpc, which I found to be useful at first. Then I tried various GNOME clients, one is Ario, the other is Sonata. When I gave up my hope on both of them and just let it go with using one of them; I discovered gmpc on a blog post.

Well, mpd + gmpc is what you need if you want to have a remote music server on your home LAN.

Note that mpd is not a streaming solution, files exist on mpd server, and client just controls the server on what to play next. But don’t think the daemon is dumb; daemon holds playlist and everything you need, you can just open a client, configure what you want to listen, and close it, and you’ll have the music playing.

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