One of the great things about the move to music downloads is that music on the go has really become much more practical. iPods and other such devices (I can’t think of anything other than iPods but I’m sure that they must exist) mean that you can carry around with you so much more than when having a Walkman meant carrying tapes and swapping them around. However, my music collection is too large even for an iPod Classic so being able to stream my music from a hosted server with a large capacity hard drive is ideal. I could have chosen to go with Spotify and effectively rent my music but I am “old school” and still feel the need to own my music so that wasn’t going to work for me.
Enter Subsonic a great open source music server which provides a web based interface to a music collection and, latterly, videos too. Once suitably configured it means that you can open up a web browser anywhere and access all your music. It works incredibly well too but what about on the move? Well, of course, there is an app for that. In fact there are several across a number of different platforms but the one I have settled on is iSub for iPhone and iPad.
iSub allows you to connect to both Subsonic and Ubuntu One, the latter is not good for me as, again, I have too much music for it and I like more control. Connecting iSub to your server is simplicity itself. If you have already configured Subsonic for external access then you can plug your server details and credentials in and you are good to go.
The main iSub page allows you to both search for music by album, artist or track name or to browse by folder. Having found what you want you can then choose to either play or queue the whole album or individual tracks. You can also load up playlists that are either on your server or held locally.
Once tracks have been queued up using iSub is very similar in operation to the native music app. You can see any cover artwork, skip between tracks, shuffle etc. Volume controls and track skipping also works on the lock screen and through the standard iPod remote which is a boon. It is also possible to get further information on the queue and track by swiping on the screen to show the current queue, lyrics and cache status, more of which later. There is also an equaliser which looks both attractive and frightenly complicated at the same time, so I have left mine switched off.
Of course one of the down sides of having to stream across the Internet is that some days you just cannot get a signal and that would be a deal breaker were it not for the cache facility on iSub. If you enable the feature any songs you play are automatically stored locally and can then play them offline with all the same features available as when you are online. Brilliant!
Add to this Last.fm support (scrobbling to those in the know), ability to use the jukebox facility of Subsonic (remote control of the server playback), regular updates and great support from the developer make this a winning app that I use daily.
If you have a large music collection or simply want a way to stream your music collection to your iPhone then iSub is for you.
Download iSub App for iPhone/iPad here.