Airtunes-like function on the cheap?
December 31, 2006 8:53 AM   Subscribe

How can I make my music play on two Macs simultaneously?

I work in a lab where sometimes I'm close to the iMac, and sometimes I'm at my desk near my MacBook Pro. I'd like the same music to be coming from each one so I can have an uninterrupted listening experience. All the music is on the MacBook Pro, and the computers are on the same LAN.
My current method is to use iTunes sharing on the iMac to select the same album as is playing on the MacBook Pro, and attempt to synchronise by pressing 'play' at the right time. This obviously has to be repeated every time I put on a new album or skip a song, and shuffle play is out of the question.
Is there a better way to do this, so that whatever is on iTunes on the Macbook will play on the iMac? Is there software that would make the iMac emulate an Airport Express?
Adding new hardware to the setup is not an option; I would prefer not to spend money on software; a couple of seconds of "buffering lag" might be acceptable.
posted by nowonmai to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Try Nicecast.

"Nicecast is the easiest way to broadcast music from OS X. Broadcast to the world, or just across your house. Nicecast can help you create your own internet radio station or allow you to listen to your iTunes Music Library from anywhere in the world!"

I have tried it a while back and it seemed to work pretty great.
posted by The Deej at 9:04 AM on December 31, 2006


(Oh, you can try Nicecast for free, buy it for $40.)
posted by The Deej at 9:06 AM on December 31, 2006


I knew there was something I missed out in the question: "Perhaps a poor-man's version of Nicecast?"
posted by nowonmai at 9:20 AM on December 31, 2006


Ha!!! :)
posted by The Deej at 9:26 AM on December 31, 2006


Maybe Musicast?

$18 shareware, but I can't vouch for it. VersionTracker doesn't show any freeware for OS X with the search string: itunes broadcast.
posted by The Deej at 9:30 AM on December 31, 2006


Headphones follow you around.
posted by yesno at 9:42 AM on December 31, 2006


I just recently discovered Slimserver and SoftSqueeze from Slim Devices.

SlimServer is (obviously) the server process that can run on a machine with iTunes installed (but not necessarily running) and read its database for music files and playlists. SoftSqueeze is a Java client that emulates the visual look and feel of the Slim Devices hardware products and plays streams from the server on the client where it is installed. There is an FAQ entry here describing how to synchronize the playback of two distinct clients.

To the best of my limited knowledge, both packages are free and don't require ownership of an actual hardware device from the company.

I've only been using these things for about a week, and they take a little patience to get coordinated, but seem to work well.
posted by hwestiii at 9:53 AM on December 31, 2006


Wireless headphones?
posted by Mwongozi at 10:16 AM on December 31, 2006


VLC can stream to a multicast address, which you could then tune in to with one or more VLC clients.
posted by odinsdream at 12:00 PM on December 31, 2006


Seconding VLC. It's sometimes off by a split second, and can easily handle streaming DVD video over WiFi. Very nice (free) program.
posted by niles at 1:13 PM on December 31, 2006


Oooh, Google comes up with this: "You have now turned your Mac into an expensive AirPort Express. Congratulations."

Looks like it uses the Apple Dev kit, which I think can be obtained for free.

I'd still use VLC - it's really easy.
posted by niles at 1:17 PM on December 31, 2006


The Soundflower/AU Lab solution that niles Googled up is easy to set up and does the trick nicely and for free. Can you remember the search term? I did search extensively before Asking MetaFilter.

Nicecast didn't work (possibly due to firewalls within the LAN?) and whilst I'm sure VLC was capable of the job, I didn't find it immediately obvious how to do it and I prefer to use iTunes as the jukebox for various reasons.
posted by nowonmai at 2:45 PM on December 31, 2006


nowanmai: I was looking for an easy How To for VLC, and seached with "vlc stream system audio mac os x". The Soundflower thing was the third link down, and seemed interesting. Glad it works!
posted by niles at 3:27 PM on January 7, 2007


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