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Old 27th May 2010, 09:05 PM   #1
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Default question to Squeezebox Touch users

I was wondering if there is any audible difference between accessing your rips from the local server via wifi and using an external USB drive plugged directly into the rear of the Touch?

I read ONE review that stated that SQ suffers and it is a non starter, but I am not sure about this.

I'm interested in the Touch because of this feature, essentially using it as a audio computer without the hassle of booting up a OS each time I want a listening session.

Can someone compare the sound quality and tell me if there is any difference when using an external drive?

Thanks in advance
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Old 28th May 2010, 12:21 PM   #2
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Hi.

Wifi is a NoGo - if SQ is your primary focus.
Any local server actvities and/or peripherals should be avoided - if SQ is your primary focus.

Even flac decoding on the Touch should be avoided, , if SQ is your primary focus.

Best is to turn the monitor off ( hardware) , if SQ is your primary focus.


If you follow all these rules (there are some more) you'll have a pretty high-end transport at hand. Otherwise you'll look at a pretty average and overpriced consumer product.

Cheers
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Old 28th May 2010, 12:41 PM   #3
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Hi Soundcheck

So, I am an audiophile interested to get the best system I can within my budget. Isn't that what we all are here? I have a £1000 valve output CD player that I am about to sell and a beautiful SET I made about 3 years ago.

I just made the leap to computer audio, and using a SB Duet and a local wifi server from my iMac/HDD. I'm now also using a gainclone amp and high-end NOS DAC and the step up in quality was astounding. What I hear is so real it defies the word hifi.

Unfortunately the Duet had some serious bugs and kept loosing my library on a daily basis so it has had to go back. I am considering either the Touch or using an ibook laptop and a hiface converter.

When I see people writing that if you don't turn off the screen or if you use wifi it is all going to sound mediocre I am confused. How can this be? Is what I am listening to just mediocre... and my well reviewed and respected CDP being at best slightly less than mediocre?

I am listening to what you say and open to learning about what to avoid in order to make the ultimate system within my budget but I think we need to stop hyping the differences that things make. It makes it too confusing anyone that hasn't heard a well set-up computer based system.

I wanted to know if when using a Touch, the SQ suffers when the USB HDD is plugged direct into the inputs of the unit compared to when streaming audio from the local server (uncompressed WAVs)

Many thanks in advance
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Old 28th May 2010, 02:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Prothero View Post

Unfortunately the Duet had some serious bugs and kept loosing my library on a daily basis so it has had to go back. I am considering either the Touch or using an ibook laptop and a hiface converter.
I wouldn't blame the Duet. It is the Squeezebox Server and/or your PC server which is to blame. (Or your server administration )

I am running the Squeezebox Server since quite some time. In my case it runs dead stable.

Hiface and iBook I consider a total overkill. And you'll for sure face similar issues. ( Search for Amarra/ Pure Music tools and discussions about how to get reasonable audio from a MAC). My recommendation - stay away from it.

I can tell you that with a tweaked Touch and an old PC as server you'll have the better and much cheaper solution - under beforementioned conditions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Prothero View Post
When I see people writing that if you don't turn off the screen or if you use wifi it is all going to sound mediocre I am confused. How can this be? Is what I am listening to just mediocre... and my well reviewed and respected CDP being at best slightly less than mediocre?
The new Touch is a very little PC running a Linux as OS. It got 128MB Ram inside. You can't expect much from such a toy. Any load will cause a certain degradation on SQ.

If you want to use all the new (local) features stay away from it.
If you can accept its base transport/streaming features and the SPDIF output. You'll have a great transport.

I forgot to mention in the first post, that the Touch needs a well done
5V PS to perform best. ( E.g. 12V SLA with SuperTeddyReg)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Prothero View Post
I wanted to know if when using a Touch, the SQ suffers when the USB HDD is plugged direct into the inputs of the unit compared to when streaming audio from the local server (uncompressed WAVs)

Many thanks in advance
As I said before. SQ suffers if you run a local HDD ( I called it peripherals ).

The prefered configuration is: A straight PCM stream from a wired remote server.

In the end you'd be running the Touch in "Duet"-mode at 3 times the price of a Duet. That's a fact. Still, the quality, under discussed conditions, is that good, that I'd say it's worth it.

Since we're are at DIY-Audio over here. It shouldn't be that difficult to introduce a couple of tweaks to the Touch for the people around here.

I've also tweaked the Touch Linux side already. I applied several findings of
my "Linux Audio To Go" project - see link below. All my findings from the last 3.5 years do apply.

My Linux tweaks are giving me an extra 10% on SQ. ( startpoint at above recommended tweaked solution)

There is no need to have a CDP around anymore.

Cheers
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Old 28th May 2010, 02:54 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=soundcheck;2200865]I wouldn't blame the Duet. It is the Squeezebox Server and/or your PC server which is to blame. (Or your server administration )

I am running the Squeezebox Server since quite some time. In my case it runs dead stable.

I'm glad to hear this. I have no experice with these things but I ended up sending it back because no-one could help me make it stable or identify why and where to look for the problems.

I still like the idea of a duet passing uncompressed audio straight through to my DAC...

Any pointers welcome!


Hiface and iBook I consider a total overkill. And you'll for sure face similar issues. ( Search for Amarra/ Pure Music tools and discussions about how to get reasonable audio from a MAC). My recommendation - stay away from it.
I would prefer not to look at a laptop screen so Duet or Touch wins there too. But I don't want to compromise on SQ.

The new Touch is a very little PC running a Linux as OS. It got 128MB Ram inside. You can't expect much from such a toy. Any load will cause a certain degradation on SQ.

If you want to use all the new (local) features stay away from it.
If you can accept its base transport/streaming features and the SPDIF output. You'll have a great transport.
What do you mean here - base transport features? I want to use it to pass through digital without using it's DAC that's all. But it would be a bit pointless having a Touch and disabling the screen, so maybe the Duet is a better option for me?

I forgot to mention in the first post, that the Touch needs a well done
5V PS to perform best. ( E.g. 12V SLA with SuperTeddyReg)
I was planning a DIY regulated supply but could consider DC too

As I said before. SQ suffers if you run a local HDD ( I called it peripherals ).
That's what I needed to know. Looks like I will avoid then.

The prefered configuration is: A straight PCM stream from a wired remote server.
I can't hard wire my mac due to room constraints. I need to wifi to the router and then to the Hifi - which is why I was considering the Touch with a USB drive attached, to avoid this double wifi set-up. Or even thought about using the mains and some of those mains plugs/ethernet devices, but I imagine they add a lot of distortion to the mains...

In the end you'd be running the Touch in "Duet"-mode at 3 times the price of a Duet. That's a fact. Still, the quality, under discussed conditions, is that good, that I'd say it's worth it.
So are you saying that a tweaked Touch is a lot better then a Duet?

My Linux tweaks are giving me an extra 10% on SQ.
Alas I know nothing about tweaking OS be it open software or not. I just need a solution that I can buy (and I will tweak with the cables...)

There is no need to have a CDP around anymore.

I know, this is how I am going to raise the money to go to the next stage.

Thanks for this info. I guess I just need to get to the bottom of why the SB Duet was so unstable and sort that out.

Is there anywhere/anyone I can go to for guidance on this. The Logitech forums are useless.
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Old 28th May 2010, 09:10 PM   #6
paapt is offline paapt  Portugal
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I am running the Touch on wireless and with an SD card. Its connected to a V-DAC, KT88 PP tube amp and Triangle Comete ES speakers. I cannot hear any difference in this setting.

I cannot use the USB drive. The server almost never finishes scanning the files. And 24/96 files simply do not work. No problem with the 32G SD card.
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Old 28th May 2010, 09:59 PM   #7
piero7 is offline piero7  Italy
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I'm running the touch with USB external hd and new power supply (low noise), connected to gigawork dac with UTC-A20 trafos, pre aikido and 829B tube amp and sounds and works simply great! There are over 3000 flac files on usb hd, and there are some buffering probs with some 96khz files downloaded, none with self ripped files, but I solved the prob simply converting those files with Switch Sound File Converter. About indexing the hd, the small secret is to leave quite the touch while indexing, for 3000 files needs about 15minutes the first time, then no one prob
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Old 29th May 2010, 06:21 AM   #8
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Appreciate the answers. Thanks guys.
Can anyone verify an A/B test using the HDD direct and then streaming to see if there is any change. Pref with high-end DAC?
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Old 29th May 2010, 10:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Prothero View Post
Appreciate the answers. Thanks guys.
Can anyone verify an A/B test using the HDD direct and then streaming to see if there is any change. Pref with high-end DAC?
I think you got difficulties to understand what I am talking about.
The things I am bringing up here are - to a large extent - not my exclusive findings.
Especially the ones related to local server operation which implies
a locally hooked up HDD or SD-card.

We've done several A/B tests on top-end equipment.

I'd recommend you to order a piece and try it by yourself. You'll always have a return option.

And if you're not able to use a wired ethernet, I consider this discussion useless anyhow. I can tell you that you'll never get best sound from that box.

"Best Sound" is a relative term which can be twisted and bended of course.
The box might sound better then your Duet. You'll gain something. Fair enough.
Though, after this discussion you'll know that you made it just half the way to the top. You might be able to live with this fact - at least for a while.

Enjoy.
Good luck.
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Old 29th May 2010, 01:29 PM   #10
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Thanks again Soundcheck

I am having no difficulty in understanding what you are saying and your opinion has been registered. I was however, asking other owners with other set-ups to also comment on their findings. I always think it is best to hear many sides of the same coin to get as rounded view of things as possible.
I respect your answers and understand that you are putting forward a consensus of opinions but I find it hard to accept that the sound I get from my system is only mediocre, which is what you imply when you say that I may only get half way to the top.
I am by no means going to make a decision based entirely on people's opinions alone and will of course audition before I settle.
Your answer is well noted - thanks
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