Wireless music server mods anyone - diyAudio
Go Back   Home > Forums > Source & Line > Digital Source

Digital Source Digital Players and Recorders: CD , SACD , Tape, Memory Card, etc.

Please consider donating to help us continue to serve you.

Ads on/off / Custom Title / More PMs / More album space / Advanced printing & mass image saving
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 16th January 2006, 12:59 PM   #1
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Everywhere
Question Wireless music server mods anyone

Hi,

I'm about to decide whether I want a Squeezebox
or Roku Soundbridge etc. or even a dedicated PC in my
home to feed my external DAC. Since I will be using
an external DAC, wouldn't a device like Soundbridge
or another thin client actually be cheaper than the SB3?
Or is the SPDIF / digital out implementation of the other
devices too poor to compare with that of an SB3? Jitter?
I simply need this as a reliable streaming source with
digital out.
Has anyone done any mods on these devices?
Another alternative I'm considering is a USB/SPDIF converter
with a dedicated cheap PC or even making a long USB
and VGA out cable from my home office to connect
a small LCD panel. However, I'm leaning more towards
the thin clients. So has anyone experience modding them?

Thanks,

Michael
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2006, 02:25 PM   #2
diyAudio Member
 
I_Forgot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Phoenix, Az.
Why are you worrying about modifying a box before you have even plugged it in and listened to it?

Anyway, if you go to the slimdevices web page and click on the "community" tab there is a forum into which you can post messages. Many people have considered the same issues (including myself) with regards to using a computer instead of a dedicated player. Most end up deciding to go with the player because of the silent operation, integrated remote control, and analog and digital outputs.

Many people have been modifying squeezeboxes, and there are a couple a guys doing it commercially. You'll find some threads about it there and a couple links in the slimdevices wiki.

I_F
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2006, 02:42 PM   #3
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Everywhere
Hi,

Well sorry for the confusion - I'm just a little overwhelmed
by the unlimited possibilites that computer audio brings
When I thought of digital, it used to be always "CD>DAC"
for me. Now I'm virtually drowning in possibilites...

I guess you are right, I will take it easy and try out the
boxes before considering any mods.

Regards,

Michael
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2006, 03:40 PM   #4
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Wisconsin....what did you expect?
Send a message via AIM to Spasticteapot
A dedicated PC is the way to go.
You'll want at least a 500mhz Celeron or Duron, 192mb of RAM, an AGP graphics card with video out (A 16mb Rage128 is fine) and as big a hard drive as you can get. A SoundBlaster Live! or later is reccomended for the S/PDIF output; many other cards have one, including 25$ models made by Chaintech. Alternately, A SoundBlaster Audidgy of any type is reccomended for analog out.
Encode the songs in AAC Lossless (iTunes) or Lossless OggVorbis (Linux encoders) on your main PC. (A computer this slow will only encode Mp3's worth a darn under Linux, and even then it will be slow.) Then, connect the PC via the TV-out to a TV, or use a small monitor. (An old PS1 LCD display is ideal if you don't have a TV nearby.) Play the songs in iTunes or the Linux Ogg player of your choice.

I can cobble you together a computer with a 600mhz PIII, 256mb RAM, TV-out, a total of 25GB of hard drive space, a SoundBlaster Live! card,and Ubuntu Linux for about 130$. It'll happily encode Mp3s, although it will take about 30 minutes per CD. OpenOffice.Org and the GIMP are also incuded as standard features, along with Tetris. It's quite possible to build your own from parts you can get curbside, though.
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2006, 07:47 PM   #5
diyAudio Member
 
I_Forgot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Phoenix, Az.
A dedicated PC to run the server IS the way to go... but not in the listening room. Spinning HDDs and fans make too much noise. Also, I have found that if the PC running the server is busy doing things that have a lot of HDD access (virus scans, usenet downloads, DVD burning, etc.) the response to the remote control sometimes slows to a crawl. I will set up a dedicated server with an old PC eventually.

Other factors to consider include whether you already have a wireless network set up (or any network for that matter), and the complexity of setting up a system/library.

I already had a wireless network set up, so it was a no-brainer to add another device, except that my wireless router proved to be incompatible with the squeezebox. I discovered the router page in the slimdevices wiki the hard way. I bought another wireless router for $40 and it is working fine.

I have about 600 CDs ripped to a 250GB HDD and compressed using flac. The library uses about 185 GB of the drive's capacity. Right now there is no back-up, which makes me nervous- I don't want to rip all those discs again, so I will be getting another HDD for backup purposes soon (hopefully before the library HDD fails!).

Before I ripped all those discs I put a lot of thought into structuring the library for easy access by me and by the squeezebox. You see, the squeeze box uses flac tag (or mp3 tag) info to present the music info to the display, not the file name/directory structure. What you want to do is set up a file structure that is a good human interface, and use that structure to populate the tags for the audio server software. With a little thought, a little effort, and some free software downloads, you can automate most of the ripping, compression, and tagging process. If you want to throw some money at it, there are companies (including slimdevices) that will rip all your discs for you.

If you want to get a taste of what the slimdevices products are like, you can download the server (slimserver) and a software squeezebox simulator (softsqueeze) that has identical functionality to the real box and remote control for free. The software is open-source and there are a lot of people using it (and developing plug-ins) without using the slimdevices hardware. I messed with it for a week or so before I ordered my squeezebox.

I_F
  Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2006, 04:37 AM   #6
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Wisconsin....what did you expect?
Send a message via AIM to Spasticteapot
If you're having problems with noise, you're taking the wrong approach. A Celeron-M processor (Essentially a Dothan core with 1mb cache) with a good heatsink (XP-120, SLK-947, SP-97) can actually be cooled quite well without a fan, providing you undervolt it a bit. And a Sempron such as the very inexpensive socket-754 (65$) 2800+ (1.6 ghz, 128kb cache) with a decent aftermarket heatsink can be cooled with a Panaflo fan running at about seven volts. Alternately, an old iMac logic board or older-model Celeron could be used; they used passive cooling as well.

Hard drives are also no problem, if you know what you're doing. A good Seagate or Western Digital 7200rpm drive is almost noiseless; Samsung, Hitachi, and Maxtor drives are often noisier. Also, much of the noise comes from the case acting as a really big sounding board; using some cheap-0 foam rubber while mounting the drive can kill the noise entirely.
  Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2006, 02:33 PM   #7
Schaef is offline Schaef  United States
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Here are my thoughts on this, and I've waited a little while to chime in, so here goes:

First, when comparing the Roku and the SqueezeBox, make sure you also look at the audio formats they support and the hardware/software requirements of their servers. (I've not compared them myself, but this is how I would approach things) I'm pretty sure the SqueezeBox supports lossless codecs, but it does this at the server end, by transcoding them into 16/44.1 wav files, then sending to the device. Which means a heftier server is needed, and its going to take higher bandwidth to send.

Personally, I've been debating over getting one of these devices myself, or if I want to go homebrew HTPC. If I were to go HTPC, I would look at the MiniITX boards, their small, pretty quiet (slower ones can even be run fanless) and they include a video out to hook up to the TV. Hard drives are not a concern for me, as I'll have a dedicated file server running elsewhere in the house, but I personally would look towards 5400RPM hard drives as opposed to 7200RPM, they run quieter and cooler, not to mention you don't really need the speed, especially if all you're doing is audio.

If you want more thoughts, I'll be happy to throw them out at you, but that's the basic level of how a computer geek with a love of audio would approach it.
  Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2006, 02:39 PM   #8
dhaen is offline dhaen  Europe
diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
 
dhaen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: U.K.
Default It just works....

Airtunes

Been using one for over a year now. I've been told it even works with PC's, if you must...

Oh, and you can have multiple units "in sync" now...
  Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2006, 07:30 PM   #9
diyAudio Member
 
I_Forgot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Phoenix, Az.
Quote:
Originally posted by Schaef
Here are my thoughts on this, and I've waited a little while to chime in, so here goes: snip...
I'm pretty sure the SqueezeBox supports lossless codecs, but it does this at the server end, by transcoding them into 16/44.1 wav files, then sending to the device. Which means a heftier server is needed, and its going to take higher bandwidth to send.
It doesn't stream them as .wav's unless you tell it to.

The squeezebox supports several lossless formats including flac, shn, .ape, .wav, and apple AAC. There are a lot of options in the server software to control how the files are streamed. There are 3 or 4 user selectable streaming options for each file type. You can stream as .wav, .flac, .aiff, .mp3, or windows media because all those decoders are built into the squeezebox hardware/firmware.

The squeezebox can also play internet streaming audio files like shoutcast, live365, radioio, and etc., even if the server is not running.

A lot of the squeezebox features are burried in different pages on their web site and you have to do a bit of hunting to find out about some of them. It is worth the effort, though.

I_F
  Reply With Quote
Old 19th January 2006, 02:29 PM   #10
Schaef is offline Schaef  United States
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Quote:
Originally posted by I_Forgot


It doesn't stream them as .wav's unless you tell it to.

The squeezebox supports several lossless formats including flac, shn, .ape, .wav, and apple AAC. There are a lot of options in the server software to control how the files are streamed. There are 3 or 4 user selectable streaming options for each file type. You can stream as .wav, .flac, .aiff, .mp3, or windows media because all those decoders are built into the squeezebox hardware/firmware.
I wasn't aware that they put those decompressors in the hardware. I know either at one time or its another device, that it did the transcoding at the server to a different format. That was a way for them to support a lot more formats without having to do firmware upgrades and putting more CPU and hardware in the device itself.

Quote:

The squeezebox can also play internet streaming audio files like shoutcast, live365, radioio, and etc., even if the server is not running.
I knew about this feature, and is one of the things I like about it. I know they're not "audiophile" qaulity, but hey, its just like having the radio playing in the background.

The only downside I see to the squeezebox is its interface. I'd still like a device that I can connect to the TV and create a playlist that way. I also like the MusicChoice display of the artist, title and album of the current song. So, its the limited user interface that turns me off. What if I just want to play one song? How easy is it to find that? What if I want a different mix of music, do I have to go to the PC, build the playlist, and then play it from the squeezebox? I want the ease of a jukebox at this point, I believe.
  Reply With Quote

Reply


Hide this!Advertise here!
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Latest USB converters or music server? dublin78 Digital Line Level 0 11th February 2009 06:29 PM
Music Server JC951t Digital Source 6 6th August 2008 06:47 AM
Digital Audio Music Server kevinkr Digital Source 79 25th June 2008 04:29 PM
DAC for Linksys Music Bridge Server Salsero Digital Source 0 25th December 2007 05:40 PM
Reclock music server ackcheng Digital Source 3 28th February 2005 02:21 PM


New To Site? Need Help?

All times are GMT. The time now is 05:09 AM.


vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 1999-2014 diyAudio

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2