Last week I was about to ask anyone their recommendations for an audio app. A quick search of the forums didn't turn up anything specific. So, I thought I'd install the 4 above and give them a try, and report back.
I did not try Jellyfin this time as I had previously tried it out on my cloudron and it slowed everything down (about 6 months ago?). Who knows if its better now; I just want something that works.
That is the gist of my requirements: Does it work? Can I install it, and then move my music into it, and play it, with minimal hassle. Features weren't necessarily the most important. Here is what I found.
Ampache: I was actually looking forward to this being the winner. I've known about it for a long time, and was excited to see what it could do. Alas, despite several tries, and even checking out a few posts on the forums here, I could never just upload my 31 files (30 songs and a playlist file) and get them to play. I couldn't even get them to appear in the library! Sure, more troubleshooting may have solved the problem. But, my criteria was not, "Which app will take up the most time troubleshooting and consequently result in the greatest satisfaction that I persevered and made it work." So I turned off Ampache.
Emby: This one seemed promising. The
First Time Usage clearly showed me where to place my files. Like Ampache, I made sure the files were owned properly. I uploaded my 31 files... but they also never appeared in the Emby dashboard. Give me a break. Why should this be so hard? Sure, there is probably some "trick" to get this to work, but I'm not looking to become a magician just for my music.
Koel: Cool logo. Cool history. Seems less cluttered than the previous two... maybe this would be the one. Like Emby, I could see where the files are supposed to go. I put them there. Unlike Ampache and Emby, I could actually see my individual songs. BUT, they weren't playable per album! Surely not?! But yes, even though there was a view for Album, I never figured out how to play one entire album. I could have made a playlist, but hello, I'm pretty sure Play by Album is a thing in the music app world. I did not have time for this. So, I turned off Koel. Bye bye slick interface. I just want to install an app, upload my music, and play it (by album). Is this so hard??
Navidrome: The last contender. For some reason I kept thinking of Mel Gibson and Tina Turner in their seminal Mad Max movie, Beyond the Navidrome. I was expecting yet another battle, in a navidrome, to get my music uploaded, visible, and then playable (by album). I installed it, read the
First Time Use, uploaded the music, fixed ownership, started a rescan in the app, and what do you know... there was my music. I could view the 30 songs in various ways. When I wanted to play the entire album I just clicked on the recognized playlist file, then pressed PLAY and all the songs played! Hallelujah! Navidrome was the winner. Everything just worked. I listened to my music for hours. I will be uninstalling the other three and sticking with Navidrome.
NOTE. I did this a few days ago. I have quit my browser, obviously, and just went back to my navidrome install to resume my music heaven... but it was asking me to (re)make an admin account? What? I already did that, it was already working. Fortunately there is a solution in the Cloudron forums, and I had to login with an incognito window, but, it was all there and it was all working.
I should also add, to be as clear as possible, that "Play by Album" actually doesn't seem to be a feature in Navidrome. At least, not the way I arranged my album. My album is a collection of songs downloaded from an auto-generated YouTube playlist using 4K Video Downloader. 4K includes an option to generate a m3u file when downloading a playlist. So it was this m3u file that Navidrome recognized and displayed, and let me play my "album". Since I get most of my music these days in a similar way, the m3u file recognition was the best part of Navidrome.
As I mentioned, this wasn't a feature comparison, so I don't intend to insult or disparage any die-hard users of the other apps here, nor denigrate the creaters. I just simply wanted to install the app, upload the music, and play it. In this respect, on my setup, using minimal troubleshooting, only Navidrome met my expectations. You may have better luck with your installations; your own Navidrome install might not work! But if you too are looking for a music app that just gets installed, and gets playing your music, I suggest Navidrome.