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Plex and Subsonic Media Servers

Earlier this week, I decided to install Plex on my home server after getting irritated that I couldn't watch anything on my media server easily.

My home server currently consists of nextcloud and subsonic. Over the years nextcloud has been getting used more and more with the many additional apps that I use. I have been really impressed with the pace of development, particularly from community additions.

Subsonic on the other hand has not seen significant development for some time. A while back I noticed that I really disliked subsonic:

  • It's use of iframes. Most of the user interface is different iframes and these have been involved lots of bugs.
  • The UI is not mobile friendly.
  • Development moved to proprietary (previously it was open source).
  • It struggled to play videos. Subsonic is definitely a music player that has had video support bolted on.

The main reason I was still using it was because of DSub, a 3rd party android app that connects to a subsonic server.

I had heard good things about Plex as a media server and decided to give it a try. After installing, I can confirm that videos do indeed play well, both on screen, in the android app and when linked to google cast. In an almost reverse of subsonic, plex is a video player (TV shows and movies) that has added the ability to play music. While it can play music, it doesn't feel as usefull as subsonic. It splits all music up by artist, even if you only have one song by that artist on a compilation. So far I have not found a way to view my compilations or play those compilations.

As part of the premium features it is supposed to have the abbility to auto-tag your music from the audio fingerprint. I have not yet been able to get this to work. It is also supposed to be able to generate 'automatic Plex Mix and Mood Mix playlists based on mood or similar tracks'. Again, I have not managed to get any of these playlists to work.

And that brings me to my next issue, the combination of user interface and documentation is poor. If you don't guess the first time, you need to look at the website, and the website seems to consist of clicking around and hope that you get an article that can help you.

Final conclusions

I had hoped to completly replace subsonic with plex. So far I have found that when I want to listen to music on my phone, I still want to use the D-Sub, the subsonic application.

Currently I suspect I will keep both running.

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