Android - SubsonicSeptember 24, 2011
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably often heard me spout my undying love for Subsonic, a kick-ass media streaming app. Because of this, I figured I might as well write up a proper review since I use it mostly every day.
Subsonic is a free, multi-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux), server application that allows you, and anyone else of your choosing, to stream audio/video directly from your server. Subsonic is different from many of the music streaming services that have been popping up recently. I have a rather large library of music that I would prefer to listen to over having an application choose which songs I could possibly like. Don’t get me wrong, Spotify and Pandora’s personalized radio idea is great, but with Subsonic, I have full control of what I listen to, which is exactly why I’ve collected the aforementioned library. Some of the other advantages Subsonic has compared to other similar services are, no limit to how many songs I can store (limited based only on personal hard drive space), no annoying ads, phone app, web interface, desktop interface (Adobe AIR), scrobbling, and more, all for free! Too good to be true? Possibly… but only if you can’t get Subsonic configured correctly… which isn’t hard… at all… so do it… now. You won’t regret it.
One of my favorite things about the Subsonic Android app, that I have not seen anywhere else, is the ability to shuffle music by album!
I’m a huge shuffle fan, but I’ve only ever seen the option to shuffle songs on many of the mobile music apps I’ve played with. Another awesome feature is the ability to “pin” albums or songs to your current playlist. This feature adds the pinned album/song to your queue and proactively begins downloading from your server to limit buffering time as you cycle through your playlist. After a song has been downloaded once, Subsonic keeps a cache file of the downloaded song, so if you play that same song again, you won’t have to use as much data the next time you listen. Just recently, the Subsonic dev(s) have also added an equalizer to the interface. This was one aspect keeping me from completely jumping ship to Subsonic.
The web interface is awesome. If you purchase the donated version, they set you up with your own unique DNS for your server, which makes it a bit simpler to access your library. You’ll need some port-forwarding magic if you want to access your Subsonic server from remote locations, but there’s tutorials all over the place online if you get stuck. The interface allows you to create users/set privileges, monitor bitrates, share media (Twitter/Facebook), rate media, upload/download files, enable SSL support, and loads of other features.
Overall, Subsonic is my application of choice for streaming media. With the Subsonic mobile client, you can take your music/video collection wherever you go. Along with supporting tons of digital formats, slick client interfaces, and nearly seamless streaming, Subsonic is the way to go.