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Browsing your library

Table of contents

Browsing music
Selection choices
Index tag selection
Additional item tags
Special index and item tags
List sort order
Hide Contents choice
Alphabetical grouping
Multidisc albums
Complete Album choice
Groups and compositions
List view and tag view
Control points
Renderers (players)

» User guide main contents

Browsing music

To browse your music collection using MinimServer, you need to do the following:

  1. Start MinimServer as described in the Starting MinimServer section.
  2. Start a UPnP AV control point (music browser). See the Control points section for information about control points that can be used with MinimServer.
  3. In the control point, select MinimServer as your music server.
  4. The control point's music browser will display the MinimServer home container with a number of selection choices representing the complete contents of your music collection. The exact appearance of this display will vary depending on which control point you're using.

Here's an example of what you might see displayed in the home container:

26 albums
241 items
3 playlists
Artist
Date
Genre
All Artists
Composer
[untagged]
[folder view]
For descriptions of these selection choices, see the next section.

Selection choices

When you browse your music collection, you're going through a series of selection steps to narrow down your selection of music from everything in your music collection to specific pieces of music that you want to play now. At each of these selection steps, the music server and music browser work together to show you the music in your current selection and give you a set of choices for your next selection step.

With MinimServer as your music server, the choices displayed at each selection step will vary according to the contents of your current selection. This is known as Intelligent Browsing, and it's a key feature that distinguishes MinimServer from other music servers.

Depending on what's in your current selection, MinimServer will display some combination of the following choices:

  1. All albums list. This choice is displayed as <n> albums, where <n> is the total number of albums that contain items in the current selection. If you select this, you'll see a list of all albums that contain items in the current selection. This list is alphabetical by default and this ordering can be changed as described in the List sort order section.
  2. All items list. This choice is displayed as <n> items, where <n> is the total number of items in the current selection. If you select this, you'll see an alphabetical list of all items in the current selection.
  3. All playlists list. This choice is displayed as <n> playlists, where <n> is the total number of playlists, and is shown only in the home container. If you select this, you'll see an alphabetical list of all playlists.
  4. One or more tag choices. Each of these choices is displayed as a tag name such as Artist, Genre or Conductor. The tags displayed here are those that apply to one or more items in the current selection but don't apply to all items in the current selection. If you select one of these tags, you'll see all the values for the selected tag that are available in the current selection—for example, selecting the Artist tag will show all available artists. You can select any of these tag values to create your next selection.
  5. Untagged items list. This choice is displayed as [untagged]. If you select this, you'll see an alphabetical list of all items in the current selection that have no tags and therefore don't appear under any tag choices.
  6. Folder view. This choice is displayed as [folder view] and is shown only in the home container. If you select this, you'll see each of the contentDir directories (folders) as a list of subfolders followed by any playlists in the folder and any items in the folder. Selecting any subfolder shows its subfolders, playlists and items in a similar format. By default, folder items are sorted first by album name, then by track number, then by track title. This ordering can be changed as described in the List sort order section.

    You can see the normal tag-based selection for the contents of any folder (including its subfolders) by selecting the '>> Tag View' choice in the folder contents. See the Hide Contents choice section for more information about how to use this choice.

  7. One or more items or albums. If none of the above choices are available for the current selection, you'll see either an alphabetical list of items or a list of albums. A list of albums is displayed if every item in the current selection is part of an album; otherwise a list of items is displayed. The list of albums is alphabetical by default and this ordering can be changed as described in the List sort order section.

Index tag selection

When MinimServer reads your audio files during startup, it reads and indexes the following tags by default:
 Artist, Date, Genre, Composer, Conductor, Orchestra
You can customize MinimServer to read and index a different set of tags by changing the tag names listed in the indexTags property and restarting MinimServer.

The Artist and AlbumArtist tags are indexed specially, as follows:

If you want to display an index tag with a different name than the tag name in the audio file, you can do this by suffixing the indexTags entry for the tag with a colon followed by the substitute name. For example, to read and index the Composer tag and display it as Komponist, you would use Composer:Komponist as the indexTags entry.

Some tags have only one useful value. As an example, the conventional usage for the Compilation tag is to set its value to 1 for files that are part of a compilation album and either omit this tag or set its value to 0 for all other files. To avoid the need for an extra browsing step in such cases, you can configure an automatic selection value for any tag by suffixing the indexTags entry with the equals symbol '=' followed by the value that you want to be selected automatically. For example, to configure an automatic selection value of 1 whenever you select the Compilation tag, you would use Compilation=1 as the indexTags entry. If you are using a different name (see above) as well as automatic selection, the equals suffix must precede the colon suffix.

When browsing your library, the list of index tag choices is displayed in the same order that the index tags appear in the indexTags property.

If you don't want to use any index tags, you can specify the special value none in the indexTags property.

Additional item tags

The itemTags property specifies a list of additional tags that MinimServer will read from your audio files in addition to the tags listed in the indexTags property. These additional tags can be used for sorting (see the List sort order section) or for tag formatting (see the Tag formatting section).

As with the tags in the indexTags property, you can customize the sort direction for any tag in the itemTags property by prefixing its tag name by '+' for ascending collating sequence and '-' for descending collating sequence. If no sort direction is specified, the default is ascending collating sequence.

Special index and item tags

You can include some special values in the indexTags or itemTags list.

The special value #AudioData provides the audio data for the file (sample bit depth, sample rate and bit rate). The special value #AudioChannels provides the number of channels for the file (1, 2 or 5.1). The special value #AudioDuration provides the duration for the file in minutes and seconds.

The special value #AudioFormat provides the audio format for the file, and the special value #AudioQuality provides the audio quality of your files using the following categories:

HD lossless, High Definition
CD+  lossless, higher quality than CD
CD lossless, CD quality
CD- lossless, lower quality than CD
LC Lossy Compression

You can choose the names that appear in the index display for these choices by suffixing the indexTags values as described in the previous section. For example, to display audio data information in an index entry named 'Music Info', you would put #AudioData:Music Info in the indexTags property.

List sort order

By default, MinimServer sorts lists of index tag values in ascending collating sequence, except for Date tag values, which are sorted in descending collating sequence. You can customize this setting for each index tag by prefixing its tag name in the indexTags property by '+' for ascending collating sequence and '-' for descending collating sequence. For example, to sort Date tag values in ascending collating sequence, you would use the value +Date in the indexTags property.

The <n> albums list has additional facilities for customizing how it's sorted. By default, MinimServer sorts this list alphabetically by the album title in the Album tag. You can change this sort order by setting the sortTags option in the tagOptions property (see the Tag options section) to a comma-separated list of tag names that will be used for sorting the <n> albums list. For example, you can sort by recording date by setting Album.sortTags to 'Date', or you can sort by artist name or composer name by setting Album.sortTags to 'Artist' or 'Composer'. To sort by date first and then sort by artist name if the dates are equal, you would set Album.sortTags to 'Date, Artist'.

For each tag in the Album.sortTags list, the tag value used for sorting is the first value of the specified tag in the album's track files (searched in tracknumber order). If a track file contains multiple values for the same tag name, the value that appears first in the file is used.

The sortTags option can also be used to specify an ordered list of tags to be used for sorting the list of items within a folder in folder view or the list of items in the <n> items list. You can also use other settings in the tagOptions property to change the sort order of some lists. See the Tag options section for details.

Hide Contents choice

As you browse through the various selection choices that MinimServer provides, you'll come across some choices prefixed with '>>'. For example, if you're browsing a folder in the folder view, you'll see a '>> Tag View' choice at the top of the list. With most control points, if you select one of these '>>' choices, you'll see two further choices with one of these choices named '>> Hide Contents'.

Whenever you see a '>> Hide Contents' choice. you should ignore it and select the other choice instead. This '>> Hide Contents' choice isn't intended for user selection; it's needed to ensure that a control point "play all" action from a higher-level selection doesn't add duplicate or unwanted items to the playlist.

These '>>' choices don't work with control points that automatically preload the contents of the browse tree, such as PlugPlayer. To prevent confusion if you're using one of these control points, MinimServer gives you the option of disabling the display of all '>>' choices by setting the showExtras property to false. With this setting, the following choices won't be available:

Alphabetical grouping

You can optionally split selection lists into alphabetical groups. To use this feature, set the alphaGroup property to a comma-separated list of index tag names or other container names for which alphabetical grouping should be enabled. The entries in this list can be any combination of the following:

For example, a setting of 'albumsitems, Artist' causes the '<n> albums' list, the '<n> items' list and the Artist list to be grouped alphabetically.

You can optionally add the suffix '=<num>' to an entry to specify a minimum list size for which alphabetical grouping will be enabled. For example, the setting 'albums=100, Artist=200' enables alphabetical grouping for '<n> albums' lists with 100 entries or more and Artist lists with 200 entries or more.

The special 'all' entry controls alphabetical grouping for all list types that aren't specifically named. As an example, you could use a setting of 'folder=150, all=250' to enable alphabetical grouping for folder item lists with 150 entries or more and other lists with 250 entries or more.

When you're viewing an alphabetically grouped list with more than one choice, you'll also see a '>> Show All' choice which allows you to view the current selection as an ungrouped list. See the Hide Contents choice section for more information about how to use this choice.

Multidisc albums

Some albums contain multiple discs (physical CDs). For some multidisc albums, you might want to see a view of the album contents which includes information about which items are on which discs. For other multidisc albums, you might want to view the entire album contents as a single list in the same way as you view a single-disc album. MinimServer supports both of these options.

For albums whose contents are tagged with the same album title and contain more than one DISCNUMBER tag value, MinimServer displays the album contents as a merged list of items with no disc information shown. The tracks are sorted first by disc number and then by track number. The tracks are renumbered to match the order of the merged list, so if disc 1 of the album has track numbers 1 to 10 and disc 2 has track numbers 1 to 4, the tracks from disc 2 will be displayed as track numbers 11 to 14.

If you want to see the album contents displayed as separate discs, you need to use additional tags. The simplest way to do this is to tag the album tracks with the album title suffixed by a disc identifier in the form [disc <n>], (disc <n>) or , disc <n>, where <n> is the disc number. For example, you might tag the tracks from the first disc of the album Ummagumma with the album title 'Ummagumma [disc 1]' and the tracks from the second disc with the album title 'Ummagumma, disc 2'. If you do this, MinimServer displays the album as a list of items grouped by disc number with selectable headings marking the start of each disc, and no track renumbering. These disc headings are displayed as '>> Disc <n>' choices, where <n> is the disc number, and they can be selected to add an individual disc to the playlist or view its contents. See the Hide Contents choice section for more information about how to use these '>> Disc <n>' choices.

In some cases, an album disc may have a meaningful subtitle as well as a disc number. If you tag the tracks from this disc with the disc subtitle by using the DISCSUBTITLE tag, the album contents will be displayed as separate discs and the selectable heading for this disc will be displayed with the subtitle name instead of the disc number. For example, you might tag the tracks from the first disc of the album Ummagumma with the DISCSUBTITLE tag value 'Live' and the tracks from the second disc with the DISCSUBTITLE tag value 'Studio'. If you do this, the selectable disc headings for this album will be displayed as '>> Live' and '>> Studio' instead of '>> Disc 1' and '>> Disc 2'.

[NEW] As an alternative to adding a DISCSUBTITLE tag, the disc identifier suffix in the album title can be specified as [disc <n>: <subtitle>] or (disc <n>: <subtitle>) or , disc <n>: <subtitle>.

For information about different options for grouping the contents of multidisc albums into folders, see the Albums and folders section.

Complete Album choice

When you make a selection using tag values, this selection might include some but not all of the items in an album. When this happens, MinimServer displays a list of the selected album items together with a '>> Complete Album' choice. You can select this '>> Complete Album' choice to see the complete album contents. See the Hide Contents choice section for more information about how to use this choice.

Groups and compositions

In classical music, it's common for a musical composition to have a number of movements that appear as separate tracks on a CD or download. MinimServer provides the ability to group together a sequence of related tracks (for example, the movements of a symphony) so that these can be tagged, browsed and selected as a single item. To do this, you need to tag each of the related tracks with a Group tag that identifies these tracks as belonging to the same named group.

When you display the contents of an album that contains grouped tracks, the group will appear as a single item instead of appearing as separate tracks. This also applies in any other context where a list of items is displayed. If you want to see the individual tracks within the group, you can do this by opening the group in your music browser in the same way that you would open an album to see the tracks that it contains.

If any track in the group is part of an album, the whole group must be part of the same album and there must not be any gaps in track numbering. If the album contains multiple discs and disc information is displayed (see the Multidisc albums section), the whole group must be part of the same album disc.

A group of tracks might not always represent a complete musical composition. For example, you might choose to tag an opera with a group for each of its acts, and a musical composition such as an overture might have one track only. If a group of tracks represents a complete musical composition, the tracks in the group might be tagged with a Composition or Work tag that has the same value as the Group tag. In other cases, there might be a Composition or Work tag with a different value than the Group tag, or there might be a Composition or Work tag without a Group tag. If you don't use Composition or Work tags in your library, you can have tracks with a Group tag and with no Composition or Work tag.

Although the Group and Composition or Work tags seem similar, they are used for different purposes. The Group tag is used by MinimServer to create a containment relationship with the group as the container and the tracks as the contents, in a similar way to an album and the tracks it contains. The Composition or Work tag doesn't create a containment relationship, but specifies an index value that can be used to browse your library, just as you might browse your library by other tags such as Genre, Artist and Composer. Another difference is that you need to use the specific tag name Group if you want to do grouping, but you can use any tag names for indexing and browsing.

List view and tag view

If the current selection of items includes any index tag choices that apply to some items but not all items, you'll see a selection menu with these index tag choices displayed. This is known as a tag view. If the current selection of items doesn't include any index tag choices that apply to some items but not all items, you won't see any tag choices, just a list of albums and/or items. This is known as a list view.

If you don't want to see index tag choices when they would normally be shown, you can make MinimServer display a list view instead of a tag view by setting the listViewAlbums property. This will display a list view when the number of albums in the current selection is less than or equal to the value of this property.

For example, if you set this property to 1, you'll see a list view with no index tag choices when the current selection contains items from a single album, even if these items have different index tag choices (such as a mixture of Artist or Composer tags). If you set this property to 10, you'll see a list view with no index tag choices when the current selection contains items from 10 albums or fewer.

If you always want to see a list view after the initial selection from the top-level menu, you can set the listViewAlbums property to a very large number that is greater than the total number of albums in your library. For most people, the value 9999 is a suitably large number.

Control points

You should be able to use any UPnP AV control point (music browser) with MinimServer. In practice, some control points have design limitations that prevent them from using some features of MinimServer. This section lists control points that have been tested with MinimServer, with notes describing any known compatibility issues. If you find any other compatibility issues with these or other control points, please report them as described on the Support page.

Linn Kinsky Fully compatible
Songbook Lite Fully compatible (see note 1)
BubbleUPnP Fully compatible (see note 2)
BubbleDS Fully compatible (see note 2)
foobar2000 Fully compatible (see note 2)
Asset Control Fully compatible (see note 2)
LUMIN app Fully compatible (see note 3)
Naim app Mostly compatible (see notes 4 and 5)
PlugPlayer Mostly compatible (see note 6)
PS Audio eLyric Mostly compatible (see note 6)
ChorusDS Mostly compatible (see note 7)
mconnect Mostly compatible (see note 7)
Windows Media Player   Functional (see note 8)
Xbox 360 Not compatible (see note 9)
VLC Not compatible (see note 10)

The following have also been reported as compatible: Onkyo, OPPO, Cyrus, Roberts, XBMC, iMediaShare, Denon/Marantz and Krell Connect.

Note 1: Songbook Lite has a default sort order of 123 for album tracks. You need to change this to --- to avoid ordering problems when using groups within albums.

Note 2: BubbleUPnP, BubbleDS, foobar2000 and Asset Control have a design limitation that makes the Hide Contents setting persist until the MinimServer library is reloaded.

Note 3: The LUMIN app preloads the browse tree from the server amd presents its own custom view of the library. The MinimServer browsing structure of UPnP containers can be accessed via the LUMIN folder view (which isn't the same as the MinimServer folder view).

Note 4: The Naim app has a default sort order setting of A-Z. You need to disable this setting to prevent ordering problems with multidisc albums.

Note 5: In folder view, the Naim app uses an album view for a folder container that contains all the tracks of a single album and nothing else. If showExtras is set to true, there is a '>> Tag View' selection in the folder container and the Naim app doesn't use an album view for the folder contents.

Note 6: PlugPlayer and PS Audio eLyric preload the browse tree from the server instead of loading each container when requested by the user. This prevents the '>> Complete Album', '>> Tag View' and '>> Show All' choices from working. This issue also means that disc headings for individual discs in a multidisc album can't be used to select disc contents. See the Hide Contents choice section for further details.

Note 7: ChorusDS and mconnect have a design limitation that prevent selecting a group for playing without opening the group.

Note 8: Windows Media Player can access the files in the MinimServer library but it only allows selection by Artist, Album and Genre.

Note 9: The Xbox 360 doesn't interoperate with standard UPnP AV servers. See this page for details.

Note 10: VLC 2.0.8 attempts to recursively preload the complete MinimServer Intelligent Browsing tree, which would take several hours with a medium-sized library and several days with a large library (if it doesn't freeze first).

Renderers (players)

You should be able to use any UPnP AV renderer (streaming player) with MinimServer.

The following have been reported as compatible: Cyrus, foobar2000, iMediaShare, Linn DS, LUMIN, Naim, Onkyo, OPPO, PlugPlayer, PS Audio, PS3, Roberts, Samsung TV, Sony BDV-E380, Sony TV and XBMC.

If you find any compatibility issues with these or other renderers, please report them as described on the Support page.