DiskStation Audio

I thought I would talk about the various components of the Synology DiskStation system (video, audio and photo App/program) in separate threads. One of the reasons for me getting the Synology DiskStation, was to have a place where I could store all my CD collection in digital form.

Why is it important to have a digital copy of the CD? Because this could happen – the CD could corrode and no longer be playable.

One of my CDs has corroded internally
One of my CDs has corroded internally
Corroded CD - no longer useable
Corroded CD – no longer useable

As I do not have a digital copy of this CD, I am left with the options of buying a digital copy, buying a replacement CD or not listening to the music. As I would prefer to save my CDs in Apple lossless format, my only option really is to buy another CD.

But now that I have managed to rip the remainder of my CD collection into Apple Lossless format (in iTunes), I am not as concerned about anything happening to my CDs (be it fungus, scratches or corrosion).

DiskStation Audio is the program on PC or iMac which allows you to manage the music media on the DiskStation, create playlists and also for streaming music to other devices (e.g. Apple TV, Airplay speakers).

DiskStation Audio Station program
DiskStation Audio Station program

As with the other media programs, it is possible in the Control Panel of DiskStation Manager to index the media files (audio, video and photos), which makes accessing them much faster; this is what was missing in my previous network attached storage, which made them so much slower at accessing files. The DiskStation manager will index the files when you first load them in, but you can always choose to reindex them again at some point.

The media files are indexed for easier and faster searching and access
The media files are indexed for easier and faster searching and access

It also has the wonderful feature of a lyrics plugin. This allows for grabbing lyrics (where available) from the net and placing on screen while you listen to the music. The two plugins I have will pull English and Mandarin lyrics to the DS audio when playing music; I have placed the English plugin first, as it is likely not to pull any lyrics for Mandarin songs, and hence it will try to pull lyrics with the next plugin that is enabled. Putting the Mandarin Lyrics plugin first can sometimes pull up lyrics for English songs in another language ( not sure if it is Japanese or Korean).

So to answer a question I could not find the answer to elsewhere:

Question: Can you use more than one plugin at a time?

Answer: Yes.

I would recommend the two plugins listed below.

Lyrics plugin menu
Lyrics plugin menu
Lyrics of song extracted from the net and displayed in the DS Audio App
Lyrics of song extracted from the net and displayed in the DS Audio App

And just to show that it can truly pull up Mandarin lyrics, here are some screen grabs; just be aware that there are some songs which they will not be able to pull lyrics up for (both English and Mandarin). Also, there were issues with the wrong lyrics being pulled up if there are songs of similar name. But the one special feature of the Mandarin lyrics plugin when it works, is that it will highlight the line being played in yellow, which moves along as the song play.

Chinese lyrics pulled into iPhone
Chinese lyrics pulled into iPhone
Yellow highlight of line of song being played
Yellow highlight of line of song being played

The DS Audio App allows for access to the music stored on the DiskStation, which can be accessed (through cellphone or wifi) when away from home – so your entire collection will be available when you want it. It also allows for albums to be downloaded for offline listening when you expect to have no internet connection.

DS Audio App on iPhone showing Albums
DS Audio App on iPhone showing Albums
View of music in the Album
View of music in the Album

As can be seen above, one of the Albums has the artwork visible as this was one I had embedded into the music myself. Unfortunately iTunes does not embed artwork (or lyrics) automatically, so this needs to be done manually or through a third-party app.

But I have to say the music playback is excellent, particularly when set to Airplay streaming direct from disk station to the Apple TV (using my Yamaha YSP1100 sound bar) – the depth and details are in there; the DS Audio App on my iPhone only acting as a remote and for showing lyrics.

What is good?

1) Good music playback and ability to airplay to other devices

2) Music accessible from anywhere in the world

3) Lyrics to the music automatically pulled

What could be improved?

1) The accuracy of lyrics being pulled could be better, as sometimes the wrong lyrics are pulled

So the audio component of the DiskStation DS214play gets a big thumbs up from me. My wife and I are now reliving the old songs from our past, when we were in university – that is actually priceless. The review of the video and photo components will follow soon.

Boon