Music server software such as Subsonic often allows you to control the server. I know that you might say that Pandora and Spotify offer the same thing… Don’t they? No, they just offer you the music, but not the control over your music server. With a music server, you’ll be able to download music locally, store, access, and share it at any given time.
Besides, as far as the depth of collection goes, your personal collection accumulated from over the years is not something you’d find on Spotify. Especially the movie soundtracks and classic mixtapes. I’m not shilling dirt on Spotify or modern music networks, it’s just that they don’t have everything that you’d expect. That’s all.
What is Subsonic?
Subsonic is your personal media streaming that offers you the most comprehensive media management experience. It allows you to enjoy your music and movies anywhere you want. With its transcoding engine, you can stream content in HD quality and listen to music with lossless compression. Converting any given format to mp3 is super easy and getting used to the platform is not hard either.
Subsonic is available in 28 languages and has 30 different themes. With its highly configurable user interface, you can even connect it with more than 25 apps – thanks to its compatibility. Not just that, Subsonic also provides you with a demo site where you can check all the functionalities before installing the software.
Why should you use Subsonic?
Subsonic allows you to listen to music from anywhere in the world. Using a browser, you can access a clean interface that works efficiently even with constrained bandwidth. Subsonic allows you to access large data – your music collection and videos (only in premium version) in a hassle-free manner.
You can make use of a free-text search to find your favorite tracks. You can assign ratings and comments to your favorite albums. You can star mark your favorite tracks, artists, and albums. You can create and share your own playlist with other users on the servers.
Extensive media format support
Subsonic allows you to hear the audio in MP3, ACC, OGG, and various other audio formats. Its transcoding engine allows you to hear songs in 320 kbps (owing to the lossless compression after conversion).
You can even stream video content. The software works with network-enabled media players such as iTunes, Winamp, VLC, XMMS, Windows Media Player and Music Match.
Using the Jaudiotagger library, you can parse and edit various formats such as ACC, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, and APE files. Playlists can be exported and imported in M3U, XSPF, and PLS format.
First, the biggest strength of this media server is that it is available in 28 different languages. You can choose from 30 different themes and customize the interface as per your preference. The highly configurable user interface allows you to add your personal avatar, chat using the media server, find automatic album lists and even browse the content via genres.
Flexible media streamer
Subsonic allows you to stream music directly to your phone. As it supports more than 25 apps, you don’t need to worry about compatibility. There’s no restriction on the number of users or the simultaneous plays. You can share your content on social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Your server can be personalized and thus you can access it by using yourname.subsonic.org address. If you’re an app developer, you can also make use of the REST API.
Integrated web services
As mentioned earlier, the best part about Subsonic is that you can automatically register what you’re playing on last.fm using the built-in feature. You can access covert art and lyrics using Chartlyrics and Google. You’ll find artist images, biography, and similar artists from Last.fm. In addition to these handy features, you can also read album reviews on popular sites such as All Music, Wikipedia, and Google Music.
Secure & Reliable network
Subsonic is quite secure and reliable. There’s an assigned username and password which the users can use to access the platform. The moderator can determine the upload and download limits. With LDAP and Active Directory you can even integrate authentication. You don’t have to worry about sharing your data or any other information which these modern apps exploit these days. Using the HTTPS/SSL encryption, you can choose the ultimate protection.
Ultimate Media Monk
Subsonic is a complete media streamer allowing you to stream to your Sonos and Chromecast devices. You can download podcasts, thanks to the integrated podcast receiver. You can manage your radio stations and Internet TV and can even play your media on DLNA/UPnP devices. Using the jukebox mode, you can play music directly on the server’s audio hardware.
How to access Subsonic?
You can access Subsonic by searching for the term ‘Subsonic’ in your search engine. You’ll probably find the website on the first page of the search results. Alternatively, you can click on the Subsonic screenshot on the left to access the website directly.
Subsonic has to have one of the most intriguing media server websites. Everything from the logo to the homepage banner and the body section looks glued together. Each section complements the other and helps it stand out. The interchanging white/black text with a white background gives the website a clean look.
The header section on the website has a logo on the left and eight options on the right. These include ‘Home’, ‘Premium’, ‘Apps’, ‘Sonos’, ‘Demo’, ‘Help’, ‘API’, and ‘Download’. I really love the header section blending into the hero section with a festival image in the background.
The hero section has a dynamic banner with a headline and two buttons. The headline reads ‘Subsonic – Your complete, personal media streamer’. Under that, you can find two CTA buttons – ‘Download’, and ‘Learn More’. At the lower end, you can also find a headline from an integrated banner in the body section.
The body section starts with a banner consisting of a family watching TV together. Above the image, you have the headline ‘Stream from your own computer. Your media – your terms.’ Under the primary banner, you have two sections – ‘Packed with features’, and ‘Don’t leave home without it’. Under the first banner, you have ‘See all features’ as the CTA while under the second banner you have ‘See all Apps’ as the CTA. Upon scrolling further, you’ll find ‘How does it work?’ section followed by the final CTA banner with a blue background.
The footer section on the website just has a single navigation button and that is for support. I’m slightly disappointed with this section and you have to scroll all the way to the top if you want to access the inner pages.
There are plenty of inner pages on the website and most of them are text-laden. You can learn about features, setting up the device, benefits, and other important information on these pages. You can download the software, learn about the apps, and even test Demos using one of the pages.
The best thing about Subsonic is that you can enjoy a demo using demo.subsonic.org. Using the website will give you a fair idea about what to expect on the network. The homepage has a drop-down menu on the left followed by seven options – Home, Index, Playing, Starred, Playlists, and Podcasts on the right. You can even use the search bar on the extreme right to find suitable content. You can sort the content based on factors such as ‘Random’, ‘Recently Added’, ‘Starred’, ‘Top Rated’, ‘Most Played’, and ‘Recently Played’.
Plans & Pricing
As for plans & pricing you have three plans to choose from – ‘Recurring’, ‘One-time payment’, and ‘Lifetime subscription’. Under ‘Recurring Payment’, you have to pay $1/per month (you can cancel at any time). Under ‘One-time Payment’, you can get the premium subscription for 1-8 years calculated at $1/month. Under ‘Lifetime Subscription’, you have to pay $99 and you can access the platform at any time without paying a dollar.
Suggestions I have for Subsonic
Subsonic is a great platform but it does have massive room for improvement in regards to compatibility and streaming adjustment. Given that it’s extremely affordable, I’m sure it’ll attract a lot of users once the loopholes have been fixed.
Subsonic, though great for managing music and other media is not going to be your first choice in today’s time. Sure, it’s compatible with 25 devices but that is nothing compared to the compatibility we get today. The premium version doesn’t shine because it lacks subtitle support and you can’t adjust quality settings. Thus amidst all its benefits, it does have its disadvantages.