Lightning DS File Structure?

I’ve been told that the LDS software is a LOT more picky about file structure than other programs (jRiver, Roon, etc.). I’ve been told that LDS is highly likely to miss folders that are subfolders rather than in the root directory. This would imply that if I have a thousand albums, I’d need a thousand folders in the root directory.

Is this true? If not, how many layers of subfolders will LDS index?

All I can say is that I have never had a problem with missing albums, my structure is:

Root / music folder / artist folders / albums from that artist

Hi Glenn,

I’ve never had issue using the Root/Artist/Album structure, in fact Xuanqian once posted that we are free to use whatever we like.

I’ve basically copied the iTunes structure but didn’t want it to be too deep considering only music will be the contents, that results in music files being no more than two deep for easier navigation.

Told by who?
This is how we get fake news…

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By a friend who, himself, has little experience with LDS.

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I am happy that you checked this forum.
LDS is fast, flexible and has a very nice interface and integration with Qobuz and Tidal

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No trouble at all ever. Keep in mind to use forward lashed (/) instead of backward lashes () in the path.

Since ever I always simply use:

Root / music folder / artist - albums name

The music-partition in my NAS has a pretty complex structure because it stores low-res files which LDS, MacOS-Music and Audirvana access. In another folder there are high-res files which are invisible for MacOs Music but accessible for LDS and Audirvana. Aside from that I have produced reduced (mp3) versions of all my high-res files and have stored them in an extra folder that remains invisible for LDS and Audirvana but is accessible for MacOS Music only (thus enabling me to copy them to my iDevices). Otherwise those reduced albums would pop up in addition to their original versions in LDS and Audirvana. This system works flawlessly and stable.


First, Lightning DS does not read your file structure, it is the DLNA server which read it. Lightning DS only read what DLNA server populate, and this data has no folder structure, it is based album based.

Secondly, Lightning Server, which is a DLNA server software, does not care about your folder structure at all, it just care about the metadata. If the metadata is missing or incorrect, information will all mess up.

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@Xuanqian, thanks for the explanation. It seems I hadn‘t made clear enough that I‘d set up the filigran folder structure in my music partition intentionally, so I could point LDS, Audirvana and MacOs Music individually to their designated (separate and/or shared) folders. My point is that LDS works flawlessly despite this sophisticated lace. Thanks again.

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You are welcome. Just a reminder, when you point the folder, you actually operate the Lightning Server rather than Lightning DS. This is the software inside your streaming device that read the file stored inside physical location.

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Good to know that. IMO it‘s one of the most common mistakes that creeps into users‘ imagination to mix up LDS‘ and Lightning Server‘s tasks and activities. Thanks for the clarification. :grinning:

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Not in my experience.

I have folders organised under a folder named music by artist then album which works fine.

Also I made purchases or had free downloads that added another level, e.g. Music->Linn->Artist->Album->Name of Album.

I just copied this structure as-is to an external SSD off my PC and plugged it into the back of my G1 and LDS indexed it without issue.

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OK - based on feedback here, I’ll just hook up my existing data drive & let LDS index it. But that also brings up other questions, please:

  1. When LDS indexes a drive, where is the index stored?

  2. Where does LDS keep album cover art?

  1. There are two index. One is inside Lightning Server (when you use Lightning Server), that index is stored inside your streaming device’s internal storage. If you do not use Lightning Server, you wont have it. The second index is called cache, which is stored on iPad and iPhone, this is to accelerate the speed to browser your music library so Lightning DS do not need to fetch the metadata from server in real time.

2, Lightning DS do keep cover art, that’s why it take a lot of storage space on iPad or iPhone when you have a large music collection.

Is there any benefit to running Lightning Server? (Or, showing my confusion), is Lightning Server active inside my Auralic Aries device? My goal in adding an Aries to my system was to lose (completely) the computer.

I also have about 4TB of music on my data drive to be indexed. Is this beyond the cache capabilities of my iPad? More to the point, will the whole cache need to be reloaded every time that the system is turned on? And how long will it take for 4TB of music to be indexed?

If the Aries / iPad solution is not feasible, then I’ll HAVE to use a computer. Must the data drive be attached directly to the Aries, or should it be attached to the Lightning Server computer? More to the point, must the Lightning Server computer (if required) be in close proximity to the Aries, or can the computer be shared over Ethernet, and be situated remotely from my Aries / Vega?

Yes, this is a small software inside your streaming device. You can use it or not. If you do not use Lightning Server, you still need a DLNA server software running somewhere, either on NAS drive or on computer. If you plug a USB drive to the back of the unit or use internal storage of our streaming device, you actually always use Lightning Server.

Lightning Server do gives you more information about the album and you can arrange you browse by added date, sampling rate and file format.

This is what I had in mind:

Screen Shot 2020-02-20 at 3.02.21 PM

That’s actually correct, this is the network and audio connection map of your system. Lightning server is a software running inside ARIES, it will talk to your iPad through apple airport express.