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Music Caching?

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VonMagnum
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Joined: 12 Dec 2015, 22:28

Music Caching?

Post by VonMagnum » 02 Jan 2017, 23:25

I've got two FireTV 4K units and an older FireTV Stick and the one problem I've had with Kodi (and therefore wonder if MrMC would work better) is with music playback. Namely, I get momentary dropouts once in awhile (seemingly random and probably due to a slight interference with WiFi or something of that nature). I do NOT have this problem with videos/movies, just music. With Kodi, there are cachemem buffer settings you can adjust in the advancedsettings.xml file, but it doesn't appear that they affect music playback (no grey pre-fill indicator like with videos). It seems utterly ridiculous that you can have a hardware box capable of 4K playback and yet a lowly MP3 or AAC file cannot play without the audio dropping out once in awhile (something I never had issues with even the old Gen1 AppleTV by comparison).

So my question is whether MrMC has audio caching and if not, could it be added so I can actually use my FireTV boxes for music and ditch my older AppleTV boxes once and for all? I'll gladly buy it if it can fix this issue. Kodi developers are (shockingly) 100% unresponsive about the issue and it's gotten to the point where I dare not complain a bit there or I'd find myself banned even when developers regularly insult people with total impunity so I do not like to even interact with those forums anymore.

I do not like how Apple has limited support for formats, etc., but at least they seem to handle music well (almost never drops out as I believe it caches the files just as it does video). Kodi has much better format support, but caching seems non-existent for music file playback and the last I checked, they still don't support any kind of video-tag reading (which is a shame when all your movies are tagged and have been tagged since 2008 and it ignores them). I've since relabeled everything so the database can find things (save a few movies that are not in the databases), but it seems like an area that MrMC could easily advance beyond Kodi, especially since it works with AppleTV Gen4.

I suppose I could have bought AppleTV Gen4 and used it for music and MrMC for movies and other formats, but I have Amazon Prime and the last I heard there is still no Amazon Prime app for AppleTV and that's a lot of money to not handle something the $39 FireTV Stick can handle. I also like to sort things like my Vinyl transfers by directories for quick location and of course Apple only supports database entries so that's another area Kodi/MrMC has an advantage as you can sort by file/directory and database at a click of a button.

VonMagnum
Posts: 23
Joined: 12 Dec 2015, 22:28

Re: Music Caching?

Post by VonMagnum » 03 Jan 2017, 04:06

After adding keymap edits to FireTV to see the CodecInfo screen, it's pretty obvious there's no reported caching going on with music files. Even with video caching set to Internet only, the buffering percentage increases the first second or two so I assume there must be some internal bare minimum in the player itself? Otherwise, I have no idea why I never get stutters with movies (save an odd file or two where it's consistent and Kodi doesn't like something in the file; that can sometimes be eliminated by removing extra audio tracks or subtitle tracks using Subler; otherwise I'm only aware of two video files I have with issues).

I've also noticed a tiny audio "tick" when using PAplayer and proceeding automatically to the next track. It seems it buffers something ahead of time to attempt to gaplessly move to the new file and typically 3-8 seconds before the end of the music file I'll hear a "tick" sound in the background (not noticeable if the music is too loud). Turning off automatic playback of the next song gets rid of the tick sound near the end of the song, but then obviously it won't play the next song automatically at all. Both of these issues make Kodi (or a variation thereof without a fix implemented) not very useful for quality music playback, leaving me forced to keep old AppleTV units around just for audio. Kodi developers seem uninterested in fixing any audio playback issues for music. I'm hoping MrMC will be different.

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amet
Team MrMC
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Joined: 26 Oct 2015, 16:59

Re: Music Caching?

Post by amet » 03 Jan 2017, 05:41

Hi,

There is no caching of music files(as far as I can see) , davilla might be able to answer more on player differences and "tick" that you experience.

If you were on TvOS I would offer to stick you in TestFlight so you can try it, since you are on fire tv that option is not available for us yet. That being said, you can easily get a refund for your purchase in case you are seeing issues with it.

We are not aware of any issues, I am using it daily for videos and music and see no problems on atv 4 and fire tv 2, but it might be network or server related on your end.

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logan_x50
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Joined: 07 May 2016, 06:54

Re: Music Caching?

Post by logan_x50 » 03 Jan 2017, 16:03

I have experienced what sounds like a similar issue using Kodi with Fire TV. Video would play no issue but music would "blip" every n seconds. Drove me nuts and didn't make any sense to me and in the end i gave up on using Kodi for Music. At some point as i changed my set-up the issue resolved. I can't tell you which change exactly but what I have changed is:-

SMB share from external hdd connected to airport extreme > NFS share from Synology NAS (BIG improvement on e.g big media list response in GUI)
KODI>MrMC
local device mySQL > centralised mySQL (NAS now hosts database for all clients)

I can't say that any of the above is the root cause/solution but i no longer have the music blip

VonMagnum
Posts: 23
Joined: 12 Dec 2015, 22:28

Re: Music Caching?

Post by VonMagnum » 03 Jan 2017, 16:48

logan_x50 wrote:I have experienced what sounds like a similar issue using Kodi with Fire TV. Video would play no issue but music would "blip" every n seconds. Drove me nuts and didn't make any sense to me and in the end i gave up on using Kodi for Music. At some point as i changed my set-up the issue resolved. I can't tell you which change exactly but what I have changed is:-

SMB share from external hdd connected to airport extreme > NFS share from Synology NAS (BIG improvement on e.g big media list response in GUI)
KODI>MrMC
local device mySQL > centralised mySQL (NAS now hosts database for all clients)

I can't say that any of the above is the root cause/solution but i no longer have the music blip
I have begun suspecting it might be something in my Mac setup or even changes in the OS itself over the years (I used to have XBMC on a Gen1 ATV and I don't recall it having dropouts years ago, but if I connect the same box now, it will sometimes have issues too so maybe the way OS X is serving network files, particularly from an external drive (at one time, I had an old PowerMac server running everything with Barracuda internals and I don't recall having any issues at all with that setup other than you couldn't watch HD movies on the PowerMac itself).

I have my lossless music library stored on my Mac Mini's internal drive while most of my movies, tv shows and AAC (mobile music) files are stored on a 3TB external USB3 drive and it seems to glitch more when playing a song that's on one drive and then having the next song come from the other drive, but then certain songs will not be gapless on the same drive that are from the same album even (it'll miss the first note or so). That is made worse by the fact my "high-end" analog system with active crossovers that's bi-amped for two ribbon speakers has an external surround processor (Technics SH-AC500) connected to add surround capability that it never used to have. That surround processor doesn't "instantly" lock digital signals and so I'll often miss notes that won't be missed on my receiver based home theater system downstairs. Turning on the "always on" audio signal option gets rid of "most" of the problem, but some files just don't play nice somehow and that processor shows any loss in the audio signal what-so-ever. It'd probably be a good DAC to debug such issues.

The delay can be so annoying that I have a separate small DAC for my AppleTV Gen2 I have connected just for playing stereo music on the system. That gets around all audio issues related to Kodi, but I don't have an extra ATV for every room in the house (e.g. I have a FireTV Stick in the exercise room to watch tv shows or movies while walking on the treadmill and it works fine for that, but it's even futher away from the WiFi connection and between the extra distance and lower processing power, it tends to "blip" or cut out far more often (the FireTV 4K sometimes goes hours without any major cut-outs and other times does it more often so I also wonder if its doing something in the background that's interfering (checking for updates or whatever) and I noticed that things like Netflix don't actually shut down when you exit (i.e. it's multitasking which is eating up more resources and therefore more likely to glitch). You can force programs to exit, but it's a pain to do. If I run a visualizer (ProjectM App for Android), it definitely is more likely to glitch and even causes Kodi to exit once in awhile (on the FireTV Stick, it would cause it to crash almost every time so I assume there was a resource sharing issue).

Meanwhile, I've been running out of space for awhile now (transferring some TV Shows to the Mac Mini to fit more movies on the external drive). I've got an 8TB Seagate drive on the way, but it's also USB3. I did notice switching from a WD digital "My Book" to a "Passport" (the former was starting to go bad after many years of use) that the Passport drive spun the drive up quite a lot faster and that got rid of the SMB "missing" delays I would often get while Kodi would give up looking for the share that was still spinning up (due to it sleeping) on the other side of the house (NFS didn't have that problem). Now SMB and NFS perform roughly the same. Movies and TV Shows virtually never have issues, just music so I figured it was a lack of caching. I'll see if the Seagate drive makes any difference. It should be here before the weekend. I've thought about trying a drive connected to an old Windows machine on the Network instead to see if it behaves differently as well. I haven't cared for a lot of the Mac OS changes in recent years either and their SMB never did seem to be 100% compatible with Windows (at least for older SMB1 and SMB2 modes).

I use an old iPod Touch to play sleep type sounds in my bedroom rig with an Airport Express (I used to use "remote" to send it from the Mac to the room with iTunes and it would hardly ever "hiccup" (maybe once a month or so) even with continuous repeating of a waterfall type sound track. When I replaced a newer iPod Touch, I figured I could just put the sounds on the new one and send it directly to the bedroom Airport Express speakers using Airplay and that would let me put my Mini server to sleep at night. It works OK, but it does tend to hiccup a couple of times a night (seems to lose WiFi signal and then get it back again a moment later) and it's pretty darn close to the airport express and the WiFi router in the next room so I'm perplexed about the hiccups. I wonder if Apple may have changed something in its firmware (it's had a lot of Airport Express updates over the years) that made it worse over time. It's hard to be sure.

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davilla
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Joined: 26 Oct 2015, 17:01

Re: Music Caching?

Post by davilla » 03 Jan 2017, 18:26

Android can be twitchy about bandwidth and cpu. I'll look into it.

VonMagnum
Posts: 23
Joined: 12 Dec 2015, 22:28

Re: Music Caching?

Post by VonMagnum » 03 Jan 2017, 21:17

I went ahead and purchased MrMC and tried it out on one of my FireTV4K units. I don't know if there's any way to edit key files, etc. on this version, but I immediately missed my changes and things like the global Search add-on are unavailable. Anyway, I added NFS and SMB shares to music and videos to compare behaviors to Kodi and I immediately had problems with SMB. With default settings, it would add the shares and I could search through the directories and filenames, but when I went to play something, it would just give a "playback failed; check the log to find out why" and since I have no simple way to get to the log, I guess I won't know. I tried the SMB library mode for SMBX or whatever that is and that just asked for username/passwords when SMB is set up for guest access. Force SMB1 mode didn't do anything either. I have no problems with Kodi Isengard using SMB shares on my Mac Mini so I don't know what the problem is here.

So then I tried NFS shares instead. Music files played, but it still did the weird "miss first notes" thing Kodi does with certain files, but it doesn't do that on my TV on either one (implying the slow DAC lock-on is my biggest issue). I haven't had time to play large blocks of music to see if it would cut out or not like Kodi does once in awhile. I haven't noticed the "click" sound (when a new gapless song is coming up) the past few days, but I did just get a FireTV OS upgrade a short while ago, so maybe that helped something.

The problem with NFS was when I tried to play 1080p files (480p and 720p appeared to play OK). Some files played OK (e.g. 4:3 Bogart 1080p movies) while others (e.g. A Bug's Life or American Reunion) just couldn't keep up (the onscreen display showed the buffer percentage dropping steadily on American Reunion and when it got to a certain point, it re-buffered, but it would at least play smooth for 20 seconds or so at a time. A Bug's Life immediately crapped out and could not play smoothly. Other files were similar. Both those files (and all video files for that matter that I have) play fine on Kodi Isengard (with or without hardware acceleration turned on) regardless of whether I use NFS or SMB. It's like something is slowing the data flow down somehow. I couldn't even test SMB on MrMC as I said since it won't play a file.

I have had a problem on Kodi IF I turn on local file system caching (buffermode 1) in the advancedsettings.xml file. A few 1080p files act in a very similar manner (goes into slow motion and then rebuffers), but those two movies didn't even have that problem in Kodi in that mode. That problem disappears in Kodi if I turn local caching off (no idea why) and then they play smoothly as well.

I do recall having some issues when I tested Kodi Jarvis on the FireTV. Certain video files would take a lot longer to start playing (e.g. Lord of the Rings Extended Edition with two files combined into one) like as in 45 seconds instead of 2 seconds and I seem to recall a few other odd issues that lead me to go back to Isengard since nothing new in Jarvis was worth the new laggier behavior. I don't recall it not actually being able to play a video file, though.

Is there anything I can try to get SMB working? Any ideas on the slow NFS playback (I can't be sure if it's the network or something else since I can't get SMB to work).

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davilla
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Re: Music Caching?

Post by davilla » 03 Jan 2017, 22:39

see -> debuglog

a few important items in advancedsettings.xml have been moved to the GUI settings.

VonMagnum
Posts: 23
Joined: 12 Dec 2015, 22:28

Re: Music Caching?

Post by VonMagnum » 04 Jan 2017, 00:33

davilla wrote:see -> debuglog

a few important items in advancedsettings.xml have been moved to the GUI settings.
For some reason the log file doesn't update unless you delete your history on the web server. That caused a lot of confusion/waste of time as it kept giving me the old log file.

I had to remove a lot of similar directory search errors in the log file in order to get it to fit in less than 512kb (pastebin limit for free account). That all seemed related to the SMB errors where it apparently cannot make thumbnails, etc. due to some unsupported error. That is followed by a NFS run of A Bug's Life for a little bit while it rebuffered, etc. and is below where I marked where I made the cut of SMB errors.

http://pastebin.com/ekYWAL4r

VonMagnum
Posts: 23
Joined: 12 Dec 2015, 22:28

Re: Music Caching?

Post by VonMagnum » 04 Jan 2017, 01:54

For some reason, clicking the use "libdsm" option fixed the SMB connection issue. Before it kept asking for a username/password that it woudln't take. The only other thing I can think of is that I think "WORKGROUP" was misspelled "WORKGROP" for some reason, which I had corrected after playing with the setting.

In any case, SMB loads now, but sadly the same slowdown/rebuffering effect that showed up with the NFS connection shows up there as well (i.e. 480p, 720p and some 1080p files play OK, but others have issues). I still tend to think there's some kind of buffer setting that's not behaving right since setting buffermode to 1 in Kodi (cache local) will cause some 1080p files to do the same sort of thing whereas with it off for local files (zero), it behaves fine.

What is the default cache setting in MrMC? Is it set to Internet only like Kodi or is it set to cache the local network? Can you adjust these settings with a file utility like adblink?

EDIT: I spoke too soon. Upon exiting MrMC and starting it again, it started asking me for username/password for 'lock settings' when I try to access a SMB share. Switching off that libdsm option gets it to the shares once again, but they're empty (zero). Turning it back on doesn't help. I'm not sure what tripped it to work the last time at this point. Given SMB does no better than NFS, I guess it really doesn't matter. Back to Kodi I go for now.

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