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Streaming Music from a NAS at Home to an Android Phone

Sat, 06/25/2011 - 15:05 -- rprice

I have a huge music collection that I digitized years ago that I don't / can't carry around with me everywhere. I have been keeping my files on a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device I picked up on rebate - basically some hard drives connected to a low-powered computer with a network cable. I've been looking for a way to play tunes when I'm out in the yard weeding or gardening, or when I'm halfway across the globe. Following is a summary of how I got it to work.

Given the massive number of Android apps in the Market, I figured there must be some way to get the music from the NAS to my phone, and it turns out I was right. This solution is pretty nice, because it doesn't require me to keep a computer running all the time, just the NAS and my Wi-Fi Router.

D-Link DNS-321 2-Bay Network Attached Storage
Had I known about the 321's big brother, the D-Link DNS-323, or the less expensive DNS-320, I might have searched around to buy one of those. They both include a USB print server on top of the built in FTP and file serving capabilities.

The 323, though, has grown a serious hacking community around it. On the DNS323 Wiki, hackers detail a quick way to load software onto your NAS, like a web server, bittorrent client, and more. If you're not afraid of a little hacking, check out this wiki!

One of the many nice features of the D-Link DNS-321 Network Attached Storage is the ability for it to act as an iTunes server. The iTunes sharing feature uses a protocol called DAAP, or Digital Audio Access Protocol. DAAP is now available as a means of sharing media between many different devices and programs, and it turns out my phone is one of them.

There is a smart little program for Android called DAAP Media Player that does one thing very well - connect to a DAAP server on your local Wi-Fi (by auto-discovery) or on the web (if you have the address). You are presented with some broad song categories, and the ability to browse by artist or album. If you read the app's description, you also learn that there are a number of ways to publish your media library via DAAP. In this case, the DNS-321 does the job just fine.

In my case, I have a static IP address at home. This means I can point a domain name at the IP address for my house, do a quick configuration to do some port forwarding on my router (port 3689), and to quote Steve Jobs, "boom", I can now get to my music library from anywhere on the planet.

Isn't technology cool?

Yes, I also have a membership to the Google Music Beta, where I have already uploaded about 6,000 songs, but I don't know how long the beta will last, if (or what) Google will charge in the future, and if they will ever shut down the service. This way, I can take control of the service on my own terms.

I also realize that Amazon and Apple have similar services - more on this in a future post. As a rule, I prefer to manage this sort of thing myself whenever possible. From where I'm sitting, I'm not giving up anything except a bit of time to make it work.

This library represents almost a decade of digital packratting, as well as several plastic discs I ripped. That was a huge investment for me, and I want to make the most of it. I see this as a great way to get everlasting value out of my collection.


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Submitted by adam ross (not verified) on

hi i read you bog about Streaming Music from a NAS at Home to an Android Phone but cant for the life of me figure it out any change you could give me a bit more detail

Submitted by rprice on

My hardware box acts as an iTunes server - as far as I know, all you really need is a computer running iTunes (it has to be switched on and have iTunes open, of course) and a way to access that machine. In my case, I have a hardware box that looks like an iTunes server. When I am at home, it shows up as an iTunes library I can play things from. It turns out that other devices can also use this same protocol to talk to an iTunes server and retrieve music.

For example, I have a static IP address at home, so I set up my router at home to forward connections over a certain port (port 3689 by default) to the box running my iTunes server. This is different for every router, but all of them have some way to do port forwarding.

If you don't have a static IP you may need a Dynamic DNS service to point a domain name to your home instead.

Then I got the DAAP client for my Android phone and added the IP address back to my home server.

Submitted by misiek (not verified) on

In close future I want to create something like multimedia HUB in my home place. I have android phone device and very big will to stream my music from Nas to Phone via Internet Protocol (not LAN via WiFi). Generally i want exactly what you've got but with sync my media with my TV using DLNA. So i want to buy NAS from Synology DA111, and my question is: Does it is enough to complete my task ?