To use the remote control, you first need to connect the small wireless receiver to a USB port on the NAS. The 2.4 GHz wireless receiver is based, according to the status page, on Raytec’s chipset. To a second USB port, you connect a pair of supported USB speakers.
Once the speakers are connected, you can use the remote control to play your default playlist (Music), your default Internet radio station (Radio), or your iPod through the attached speakers. You also have play/pause, forward/backward and volume up/down control of the player built into the DS107.
It’s nice that it’s wireless—you don’t have to have line of sight to the receiver as you would need if the remote were based on infrared. I tried the wireless control, and though it didn’t work in every room of my house, it was able to control the DS107 from adjacent rooms and even from the floor below. For remote control, that’s more than adequate.
I tested the audio component of the DS107 extensively, and overall, I liked the features. Of course, there are improvements I’d like to see in a future version of the player, which I’ll detail. First, the iTunes server worked flawlessly. In fact, empirically, it seems to work better than the iTunes server on the D-Link DNS-323 or the Buffalo LinkStation Live. Synology includes a smart playlist generator (Figure 7) that can help you populate playlists on your iTunes server.
Figure 7: iTunes Service configuration, including Smart Playlist generator
You can generate lists based on Artists, genre, file path, year, bit rate, or date added. Other than using the file path option, you can generate a playlist based on album name or track name. However, you need to know the data to fill the fields—there’s no drop-down box showing artists, genre, etc. The playlist generator did generate a playlist based on my selection criteria, and the generated playlist was also available to the Synology media player.
In my perfect world, however, it would be great if the Synology iTunes server could read my XML file so that my playlists generated in iTunes for my IPod, as well as the Smart Playlists created by iTunes (favorites, recently played, recently added, etc.) could be available to the iTunes server.
To play audio content through speakers attached to the DS107, you need to log into the "audio station" from the home page. While the remote is certainly a nice accessory, you can play music, Internet radio, or your iPod (attached to the DS107) using the music player. Music dropped into the \music share is automatically indexed and is available to both the iTunes server and the Synology music player.
In order to play music, however, you must create a playlist. You can’t just play music from the list. In order to create a playlist, you select the music tab, and then check the tracks you want to add. You can sort your music on any of the column headings. When you click Add to Playlist, you have the option of adding the selected tracks to a new playlist or to an existing playlist, available in a drop-down selection box. You need to add your selections on each page before proceeding to the next page, or you’ll lose your selections—a lesson I learned the hard way. The resulting playlist files reside in a \music\playlist directory in the standard .m3u format. Unfortunately, the playlists you generate from within the Audio Station are not available to the iTunes server. Since both reside on the same device, it would be nice if you could link them.
From the Music tab (Figure 8), you can select music to add to the Synology Music Player’s playlist. You can sort on any of the column headings.