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.

Subsonic issues on Ubuntu Server?

HTTP ERROR: 503 Can’t load server

My subsonic installation was not working! I tried everything (or so I thought) including reinstalling subsonic, looking at my router settings (is 4040 configured properly?) etc. Finally I found the solution: cleaning up a corrupt Subsonic Database. If you are being met with a 503 html error, this could be your fix.

Stop Subsonic

sudo service subsonic stop

Backup your /var/subsonic/db/subsonic.script file
This file contains a handful of SQL statements that will be used later to recreate your users, media directory settings, etc.

sudo cp /var/subsonic/db/subsonic.script /root/

Delete the contents of your /var/subsonic/db/ directory

sudo rm /var/subsonic/db/*

Restore your subsonic.script file

sudo cp /root/subsonic.script /var/subsonic/db/

Start Subsonic

sudo service subsonic start

Your Subsonic media library will now be empty, you’ll want to go to “Settings…” “Media Folders…” and click “Scan media folders now”

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:
https://dtcooper.github.io/raspotify/

From script:

curl -sL https://dtcooper.github.io/raspotify/install.sh | sh

Or manually:
# 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

Restart 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:
BITRATE=”320″

Change the audio output, first the :
–device hw:0,5
(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.

Prince 4Ever

To Prince’s credit (you could put MANY things to his credit), he didn’t have too many cash-out live albums or complications. Prince 4Ever is a great collection of his songs that really encapsulates his career. Any long term fan could pick on the list, though I can find few faults. I would have swapped one of the lesser-known songs out for Erotic City but it’s all good. If you were saddened by his death this year but wanted to start somewhere with Prince, I would say this is a really great way to.