The Murfie Streaming Service has a new owner and the service is almost ready to launch. Is it worth using?
Ripping compact discs with Ubuntu OS
The two main Linux programs I use in Ubuntu to rip CDs are Sound Juicer and XCFA.
Sound Juicer is the easiest to use and setup. However there are limitations. If a CD is not in the MusicBrainz database, the program will error out. Also, the type of encoders you choose cannot be fine tuned (AAC, mp3, FLAC). You can’t choose the level of compression. There’s also no apparent way to add album art.
XCFA has much more fine tuning, however, this increases the complexity. You can chose the level of compression. There are many more encoders like APE, WavP, Ogg, Mpc, etc. Another caveat is that it is more confusing and difficult to setup in Ubuntu. I had to do some workarounds to get it going.
The best way to figure out your CD ripping process is likely to try them both. I tend to use Sound Juicer for the mainstream artists and XCFA for CDs I’m having trouble with (like no entry in the MusicBrainz database).
The easiest way to install Sound Juicer in Ubuntu is to open the Ubuntu Software store, type “sound juicer” in the search and select install. If you want to install it in the terminal, here’s how:
sudo apt-get install sound-juicer
Once you install, you will simply need to update the settings from the “preferences” pull-down.
Installing XCFA is a bit more complicated. First you need to install the program, then the “goodies”, then any missing programs (like the ripper).
sudo apt-get install xfce4
sudo apt-get install xfce4-goodies
Once these two programs are installed, you will need to launch the program and install the missing programs. These include: a52dec, mp3check, faac, and so on. You can see which programs are present and missing under the “Applications externes” tab. I couldn’t figure out how to install some of these programs, including ‘aacplusenc’ and ‘monkeys-audio’ but for now I’m not interested in that functionality. Once you update your system with the missing external programs, restart XCFA and fill out your settings with the “preferences’ tab.
Once you have completed your burning task, you will probably want to verify and update some metadata/tags. A great program for this is ‘Kid3-qt’. To install, do a search for “kid3” in the Ubuntu Software store or:
sudo apt-get install kid3-qt
There are other programs too; if you find a good one, let me know!
Good luck and happy burning.
Raspberry Pi as a Spotify Connect source
This is verified to work with a Raspberry Pi model 3 B+ with Raspbian Stretch on 01/20/19. It really should work with any Pi using Jessie too.
The program we will use to stream music from any device to our Pi is called “raspotify“, which makes our Pi into a Spotify connect source. We will install the program and then make changes to the configuration file to customize the bit rate and Spotify Connect name which can be anything you choose.
Install raspotify from console:
curl -sL https://dtcooper.github.io/raspotify/install.sh | sh
# Install curl and https apt transport
sudo apt-get -y install curl apt-transport-https
# Add repo and its GPG key
curl -sSL https://dtcooper.github.io/raspotify/key.asc | sudo apt-key add -v –
echo ‘deb https://dtcooper.github.io/raspotify jessie main’ | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspotify.list
# Install package
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y install raspotify
sudo systemctl restart raspotify
If raspotify does not appear after boot, here are some options.
Now you can send Spotify to your Pi using Spotify Connect from any device!
If you want to make changes to the Pi as a Spotify Connect source:
sudo pico /etc/default/raspotify
You will need to comment out the “#” for each option.
Change the device name:
DEVICE_NAME=”Spotify on the Pi”
If you want to change the bitrate:
Change the audio output, first the :
(Note: you will need to type “lsusb” to find the Bus and Device Number)
Save the file and restart the service:
sudo systemctl restart raspotify
Final comments: I found this to work beautify. Regarding the option to change the audio out hardware, my USB device was spotty. If you leave this option alone and simply use the audio out jack or HDMI you will find it is very reliable.
Update Subsonic on Ubuntu
To update Subsonic from the Ubuntu console, it’s best to log into a terminal window from Windows or Mac using Putty (or the Mac terminal).
Using your web browser from Windows/Mac, visit the download page.
Find the Ubuntu download link and copy the link location.
Log into your server using Putty/terminal. Download the new file.
Now execute the update command:
>sudo dpkg -i subsonic-6.1.5.deb
Updated and back in business!
Update Subsonic on Ubuntu; Mount USB drive at boot
Download the subsonic package and execute this command:
sudo dpkg -i subsonic-6.1.5.deb
Mount a USB drive in Ubuntu Console:
Find the drive (three commands that will do it):
sudo fdisk -l
Create a mount point:
sudo mkdir /media/usb
Mount the drive:
sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/usb
Mount error: “unknown filesystem type ‘exfat’”
Install exfat filesystem utility for Ubuntu:
sudo apt-get install exfat-fuse exfat-utils
How to automatically mount usb flash drive at startup
List your drives:
sudo fdisk -l
Edit /etc/fstab and place this info in the file, replacing the #Device and #fs-type with your own:
sudo nano /etc/fstab
#Device #Mountpoint #fs-type #options #dump #fsck
/dev/sdb1 /media/usb exfat defaults 0 0
Deep Cleaning Vinyl Records
There are many ways to clean vinyl records. No one way is the best but I feel like mine is the most thorough.
First I start by gluing the record. GLUING you ask? Won’t that ruin the record? If you use the wrong glue, yes. But if you use Titebond II, which you can find in any hardware store, you will see good results. The Titlebond II (don’t use Titebond I!) formula works by covering the grooves and hardening to a flexible vinyl negative. When you peel it off, it takes the junk off the surface and pulls out the junk deep inside the grooves. You will be very surprised at how older, seemingly scratchy records looks afterward.
Start with three things:
1. Titebond II glue
2. And old plastic card
3. Preferably a turntable but use a soft disposable towel as a second choice.
Later you will need a steamer and a wet vac with a modified wet vac tool (or a soft clean cloth).
While the turntable is running at 33.5RPM, apply the glue in a spiral by just moving from the label toward the outer edge. Be careful not to get glue on that label and don’t overrun your glue past the record’s edge. *If the glue seems a little thin, stop the record and add some more glue across the spiraled glue (see the third picture).
Hold the plastic card at a low angle (30 degrees or less) and smooth out the grooves. I usually press hard to make sure the glue is getting down in the grooves. Move the platter around with your thumb and go over your work to make sure you have uniform smoothness on the outer and inner edges because you don’t want strays of glue gobs.
Once the glue hardens, you can flip it over and glue the other side. Then when the record is done, you can peel the glue off to reveal your clean record! Some tips on drying: Place the record(s) near a fan to ensure faster drying. Do not set out in the sun! Note that the glue does give off a smell so do this in a room where you can close the door.
When both sides are finished, on the very edge of the record, agitate the glue with your fingernail and start peeling the glue back. Take your time because you don’t want any areas to tear off. They are very difficult to get off if that happens but what I have found easiest is to use masking take to pull up any stranded glue. An important note: if you had put on too thin of glue, you will have a mess on your hands as the glue has little elasticity. Be generous and refer back to the “*” above. The third picture shows a side where there was too little glue. I had to peel from the label side and ended up with a mess.
Now that we have a very clean copy of our record with years of dust and gunk removed, we will steam clean it to remove the static that formed when the vinyl/vinyl glue were separated. You will notice that your record now attracts a lot of dust. The steam cleaner will discharge that static and make your record optimally clean and ready to play/record. **Use distilled water in your steamer. Pre-heat for at least 15 minutes. This is important.
While the record is moving, run the steamer from the outer edge to the label and then back again. Move slowly but do not stop because you can damage the record.
Now you will want to vacuum that water if possible or use a soft, clean cloth. I use a small wet vac. I took one of the wet vac tools and cut a slit on the bottom with a dremel. Then I hot-glued a piece of cloth (ripped off of an old RCA Discwasher brush). Then cut a slit in the cloth with an x-taco knife. Put a piece of tape on the end to cover the hole and presto! A very effective way to vacuum water off of the record, leaving no debris behind (see first picture). Much cheaper than a $500+ VPI record cleaning machine!
If you are using a cloth, wipe in the direction of the grooves, not against. If using an improvised wet vac tool, run perpendicular to the grooves and move the platter very slowly with your hand to ensure it pulls all of the water/debris out.
Congratulations! You now have a VERY clean record, perfect for archiving. I really need to upload a before/after clip so you can see how incredibly quiet the record is after this cleaning. In addition, if you hacked your wet vac tool, you can steam and vacuum new records to clean them up (new records have mold-release chemicals on them from the manufacturing) and get rid of the static.