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I have a big music collection on my Desktop-PC and it's hooked to a couple speakers. I want to make the music play through those speakers, but control the player from my laptop....

It's hard to explain because I'm not a native speaker, but I'll try to clarify with an example:

I'm laying in my bed with my laptop. I choose the song I want to listen and it starts playing through my desktop's speakers, I can add songs to it's library with my laptop and so on, I hope this is better explained!

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Using a special music player

The most versatile of the music players might be the music player daemon. Your desktop will run the daemon. There are many clients available to remote control it. It is not the only option as far as remote control palyers go. Rhythmweb is another option but many more exist.

Using Pulseaudio

Pulseaudio is an abstraction layer giving programs access to your sound hardware. You can configure your Desktop as a "sink" for audio and your laptop as a "source. Then you will be able to stream all the sound from your laptop to your desktop on a very low level. See chronitis' answer and tutorial link for more information.

Using ssh

Probably the easiest and way if you already know ssh is this one:

Assuming your Laptop has an ssh client with X11 capabilities (installed by default on Ubuntu or MobaXTerm and many others on Windows) and your Desktop-PC is running Ubuntu.

  1. Install ssh-server Install openssh-server / sudo apt-get install openssh-server on your desktop PC.

  2. Make sure that the file /etc/ssh/sshd_config on your Desktop-PC has a line that says

    PasswordAuthentication yes*

  3. Use the command (ssh -CX user@desktop-PC NameOfYourMusicPlayer) on your laptop to start the music player of your Desktop-PC (it will run on your laptop but play sound on your desktop's speakers).

  4. Enter your password on your Desktop-PC and wait for the player to load.

Substitute "user" for your username on your Desktop-PC, "desktop-PC" with the IP or hostname of your Desktop-PC and "NameOfYourMusicPlayer" with the name of your Dektop-PC's music player (e.g. Amarok, Banshee or Rythmbox)

All music you want to play has to be present on your Desktop-PC. You cannot play music files located on your laptopt. What you can do is move music files from you laptop to your desktop over network using scp or nautilus.

*Warning: PasswordAutentication for ssh is a potential security risk. If your password is weak and your Router forwards the standard ssh-port (22) or if many people have access to the network your Desktop-PC and laptop are connected that might be a security risk and you should use another authentication method (see the ssh-tutorial for more information).

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There are two different approaches here:

  1. Music player runs on your desktop and is controlled remotely.
  2. Music player runs on your laptop but sends sound output over the network to your desktop.

For 1), see eg rhythmweb for Rhythmbox. (I have not tested it, but it appears to be a plugin that serves a web page containing player controls which you can then connect to from your laptop.

For 2), the pulseaudio sound mechanism used in Ubuntu includes this capability (although documentation for remote use seems a bit thin on the ground. This question How to stream music over the network appears to contain a description.

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Thanks for the fast answer, but I think I'm on the wrong forum... both of my pc's are windows... I need to look better next time... But this i exactly what I was looking for, but then for windows :) "Music player runs on your laptop but sends sound output over the network to your desktop." – ZombieOne Aug 16 '12 at 14:56

ssh username@music_server

and then with mplayer play your musics

but it's just a solution, surely others suggested better ones..

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i just wrote an answear to control the remote computer and play the music, why should i get banned? :( – Hojat Taheri Mar 30 '13 at 13:45

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