Giving up on Nuvo NV-MP.. is MPS4 worth the risk?


I think I'm finally ready to concede defeat on trying to get the NV-MP Music Port working properly. Seems like everything I try just leads to more problems. Currently problems include-
Can't get it to work at all with sound card configured to 7.1 for 4 sources. The KP claims it's playing but nothing comes out of soundcard. This is a new development as of this evening and is frustrating because this had sort of been working before. I say sort of because I was getting audio overlap on all 4 NV-MP sources (i.e. If I was playing music on source 3 it also came through on Sources 4-6). This overlap didn't seem to happen when I did the source audio test from inside the config utility. I had to drop back to a 2-speaker stereo config on my sound card to get it to output audio tonight. However, I also am having problem with Pandora... when I select a station it begins to play but only has audio for about 4 seconds then goes silent, even though the KP still shows it as playing. I'm about ready to pull my hair out and am giving up on it.

So at this point my options are to accept the fact that my keypads won't be used to control sources and won't get metadata, just use the PC to stream Pandora from a browser and live with it, or drop even more money on either the MPS4 or the MPS4-E. I've read the entire thread on the MPS4 here at CT and see that some of you have had some problems with it. If you previously had experience with the NV-MP, how would you characterize the reliability/stability/usability of it compared to the new Music Port?

And if I go that route, should I pay the extra for the Elite? I don't necessarily need the extra HD space at this time and have no interest in the video out capability, but still wonder if its extra features and larger drive would be worth the extra $.
My recent efforts were to set up a dedicated PC with 7.1 soundcard as my media server. So, as a data point, I removed my license from there and put back on my acer aspire one netbook, which I had been using initially. Pandora works fine from there- doesn't exhibit the 4 seconds of audio followed by silence I'm getting from the media PC. I'm baffled as to the problem.
I didn't think Mirage (at least these versions) supported 4 sources - IIRC 3 was the max...

I assume you're using the latest version of Mirage downloaded from Autonomic (since you say you've got Pandora).

I have trouble with Mirage as well, it stops working whenever a Microsoft update (Security or Windows update) occurs. So it has to get rebooted every 2-3 days. I've pinged Autonomic for a fix for at least 6 months... Obviously Mirage is a low priority compared to their own dedicated server products.

Seems NuVo isn't too happy with Autonomic either, since their new systems use software from a different company. They wouldn't say who when I asked at CEDIA (not surprising for an unreleased product, but didn't hurt to ask). I'm really hoping NuVo will create a new streaming server product for the GC once they get their Zone player stuff out the door. They really should have a consistent story across the product line - also assuming the "wired systems" are going to stick around! :mellow:

I'm running Mirage Media Control System 3.0 that I downloaded directly from Autonomics website. In the configuration utility the software shows 4 sources available when I have my soundcard configured to 7.1. But I think you likely are more educated on this stuff than I am so I may be misunderstanding something....

Interesting to hear that they're not using Autonomic on their new systems. As mentioned, I'm completely new to this type of equipment so I don't know what Nuvo's new systems even are. One concern I had about not going ahead and getting either the MPS4 or MPS4-E now is that if I wait too long will they discontinue it and will anything replace it that's compatible with my GC? Maybe that's not a concern, I don't know. But long term I'd really like to have a Nuvo compatible device for audio library and Pandora streaming that allows me control and metadata from the KP's.

All I do know is that trying to make the NV-MP work as advertised has been an absolute PITA. At one point the software broke and wouldn't run anymore. I had to get Autonomic to reissue my license key since I couldn't get to the registration tab to unregister it. On one installation I installed itunes but forgot to actually open it before installing MCS... of course, MCS didn't recognize itunes was installed and refused to acknowledge it no matter what I did- That resulted in another complete wipe and reload of XP and everything else (b/c if you just try uninstall/reload of MCS it doesn't really get removed and keeps all it's settings... so it still didn't recognize itunes). I've reinstalled OS and software now about 4 times trying to get this to work. The closest I've come to a properly working setup is my netbook feeding 1 source. But even that has odd glitches.
The difference between the NV-MP and the MPS4/E is just that its an embedded Windows-based "appliance"... This does make it more stable as they know exactly what's installed and have control over it.

I had similar problems with installing/upgrading MCS - IIRC using regedit to wipe out the registry entries helped the clean reinstall case.

I wouldn't worry too much about NuVo discontinuing the MPS4/E in the future - they'd be stupid not to have a streaming/server solution for their flagship product line.

I did ask them at CEDIA about a replacement server - something based on the new P3100 (the 3-zone amp/streamer/server) - a "source" (no amp) that could feed the GC and work with the keypads. The person I talked to said there weren't any immediate plans. I took that to mean "we're busy getting the wireless system out". But clearly they need to do that - if only for consistency across the product lines. No way the "wired" systems business is going away any time soon.

Thanks for taking time to reply Jeff.

you answered one question I had about the MPS4- what operating system it was built on. Knowing that it's windows based, fankly, doesn't give me a warm fuzzy. I'd be concerned about problems with the device getting corrupted and then me having no way to work on it. At least with the NV-MP setup I have full control over the computer and can wipe and load if it comes to that.

I thought about trying to use regedit to manually wipe out traces of MCS to make it do a clean re-install but figured I could waste a much of time trying to make that method work when it really didn't take me that long to delete the partition on the drive and just reload windows, motherboard drivers, sound card driver, and itunes. All of my media is currently stored elsewhere while I've been trying to get this setup to work.

When you were using your NV-MP had Autonomic incorporated Pandora into the software yet? I'm just wondering if you ever experienced anything like what I described with Pandora playing audio for about 4 seconds then the sound just dropping out even though the KP said it was still playing. It's odd to me that it happens with my media PC but works fine when running it from my netbook. I'm unclear as to how the software interfaces with Pandora. I gather that for playing itunes music it basically takes control of itunes in the background and it's actually itunes playing the music. So for Pandora does it somehow cause itunes (or WMP) to interface with Pandora servers to send credentials and receive content? I thought maybe it was a WMP problem so on my last installation attempt I made a point of not upgrading to WMP 11 and leaving it as the default version that is incorporated into the XP I'm loading, which I think is version 9. That didn't seem to make any difference.

Regardless of what OS the server "appliance" is based on, it's likely to be more reliable than a general-purpose OS / PC install - but servicing it is going to be a non-DIY event.

And yes, I'm still using MCS (NV-MP) v3.0 with Pandora. I had weird issues with some Internet Radio stations not playing, which turned out to be a WMP / MP3 codec issue (bizzare!). So yes, I'm pretty sure Mirage uses the WMP engine to some degree. They had told me that they build their own library "database", though - since they combine iTunes / WMP libraries. I'm not sure how much of iTunes it uses, since MCS won't play Apple lossless files, that indicates to me they're not using the codec engine(s). That, and since they also have Windows Media Center "mode", I think they're running mostly WMP components. That shouldn't be a shock for a Windows-based server implementation...

I never had any trouble with Pandora - but yes, I'd absolutely upgrade to WMP11 before going any further.

The keypads showing the track playing is actually a function of the keypad. Once you send the metadata to the keypad, you send a status command to show the 'playing' and the track time/position. The keypad will continue incrementing the track time by itself. So more likely the Pandora stream returned some error and failed, but that info never causes a status message to be sent to the keypads.

I'd also suggest that you email Autonomic support. I had a couple of remote access debug sessions with them, and they were able to fix my Internet Radio issues and at least identify the Windows Update-related Mirage crashes I see.

They're supposed to be working on an update to MCS "soon", not sure if we'll see new features or not, but I had pleaded with them for a config setting to select iTunes *OR* WMP libraries - in addition to "both". (since it doesn't support Apple Lossless, I get tons of unplayable files)

Related question for you and Neurorad: Do either of you have DirecTV and plumb audio from the receivers to the MPS4 / NV-MP?

I'm certainly hoping the MPS4 works better than the NV-MP since I now have one on the way here.....

The Pandora problem I'm having on my media PC is present whether I'm running WMP 9 or WMP11. So I'm not sure what else to try to do on that.

And I actually did email Autonomic when MCS began refusing to run. I sent quite a lengthy email describing the problem and asking for any help. I also posed the question of how I make my license key work with a clean install if I had to wipe and load, since I couldn't get the software to run to remove the key. The response I got back was as though nobody even bothered to read the title of the email, much less anything in the email..... They wrote back:

"If you unregister the software (in the registration tab) prior to uninstalling it, your registration will be opened to install on another computer. You'll require the original license key that came with your software."

I wrote back and pointed out that I couldn't do that since the software wouldn't run. They reissued a license key but made no effort whatsoever to help fix the problem. So to say that I'm less than impressed with their "help" would be an understatement. Maybe I should email and ask them about the Pandora problem but I figured it would be a waste of time given their past responses.

Regarding your question, I don't have DirecTV but I do plumb audio from my Tivo into a source on the GC.

Just noticed this thread, sorry.

As you're aware, Jeff, I don't have DirecTV, but as I said, I'm eager to try MRV.

Mike, did you get the MPS4 up and running? Any trouble?
I ditched my MP for an MPS4E. So far it has been pretty good. I really can't complain too much. As was the case with many others, it never worked perfectly. It has to work all the time so my kids can use it. The MPS seems to fit that bill. No more bizzare behavior. On top of that, the clients work better as well. I do have Directv, so I am a bit curious what you are trying to integrate with MP (or MPS for that matter) with the DTV receiver?
FYI, my biggest complaint about the MPS is that it needs the Nuvo app for iOS. I CANNOT use the Autonomic app anymore.
I am using a mpsp4e as well works good, never looked back my only issue is not all stations are on radiotime. I have a used music port here if you are intrested PM me.