Squeezebox Touch -- Modifications - diyAudio
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Old 19th June 2010, 09:23 AM   #1
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Default Squeezebox Touch -- Modifications

Hi folks.

I prepared a little Blog-Tutorial about how to improve the SB Touch performance.

USE-CASE: connection through wired ethernet, no local server operation and no local disks attached.


You can start with the software related mods quite easily.

I prepared the tutorial that way that everybody ( at whatever skilllevel) should be able to apply the SW mods at no risk from any platform (Linux/OSX/Windows)

Squeezebox Touch Modification Blog

The gain you experience will depend very much on your system.

I do not intend to manipulate or bias anybody, therefore I do not write down
what changes you can expect. You should try it. You'll make it below 15minutes.

If you have questions or improvement proposals just let me know.

I'd appreciate if you could leave a comment at the blog what changes
you experience and what system you're using.


Enjoy.

Cheers
SC
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Old 20th June 2010, 10:08 PM   #2
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This thread is a great idea. I've had a SB3 for a few years now and have been interested in modding it for some time now but never got around to it. Instead I have decided to wait for the Touch to be available here in Canada. Hopefully by then this thread will have developed enough to provide me with the info I'll need to mod it when it finally arrives.
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Old 21st June 2010, 09:44 AM   #3
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Hi there

Nice initiative.
I bought mu SBT just as they were released in DK, but it took me sometime to try it out, because the sound was really terrible. I use mine as streamer only, I take the signal out by SPDIF coax.

First of all, just as you mentioned in your blog, the PSU must be replaced with a linear one. Ive build one myself, it is just a 10-15 VA transformer @ 9V, a rectifier bridge, a smoothing cap, a bypas cap, a regulator i.e. LM7805 3A type, then another cap with bypass and voila, you are in business.
In my experience it is important that you choose the right caps, the SBT is very sensitive to the PSU indeed.
I found i.e. Sanyo WX types @ 1.000F suitable, and as bypass I use 100nF Evox SMR polyphenylene sulphide cap, which works great in that place, but also Panasonic would work I think, especially FM.
I did not do any further mods yet, but I think a new psu for my USB HDD would be of some importance to.
Just as you found, Ive also found that anything but wave degrades sound quality, both apple lossles and FLAC is nowhere near wave, and the reason for that might be the need of processor capacity for decoding.

WLAN makes sound much worse than necessary, but I found Ethernet to do the same thing, which I see you did not. To me a USB HDD with its own PSU does the trick, but even a USB memory stick makes it sound a lot worse.
Also the TOSlink should be avoided, it makes it sound somewhat harsch, though the difference from coax is not at all as significant as it used to be ien the earlier digital days.

When these things are considered, I must say, that I really do not miss my transports anylonger. The sound from the streamer is both very straight forward, detailed and indeed very neutral. Youll probably experience much larger differences between recordings with this device than with your transport.
It really deserves a very high end DAC and a good 75 Ohm coax cable.
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Old 21st June 2010, 10:11 AM   #4
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@ kurt

Thx for posting your findings. ( I knew that you made pretty similar experiences - we talked about it earlier )


As you've seen on the blog. I prepared a chapter about ethernet tweaks. (I plan to put some more meat on the bones during the week)

I am aware that the wired ethernet connection is not the perfect solution either. Though I do regard it at the moment as the best compromise.

Taking a bit care of it though will reduce the ethernet related issues.


In the end you need to compare

1. optimized ethernet/ remote operation without any local server activities vs. 2. local standalone operation incl. local data storage.

By optimizing your ethernet setup you'll see that its impact shrinks.

I personally see more issues now running approach 2..

My vote went for 1. mainly because

1. It - in my setup - sounds better then remote WLAN and local operation after applying the mods I described - for now
2. I have access to internet radios etc.
3. I can run whatever format (.flac etc) and do the decoding on the remote
server without compromising SQ by doing it locally.
4. I have my data server -- audio, video, data at a central place, which is
much more comfortable to manage and
5. can be used by several clients.
6. Beside that, if you have a look at Amazon. Most of the negative feedback
refers to local sever operation. The software quality needs some improvements and the device is just to small to handle huge loads of data.

That's my point of view for now.

Cheers

Last edited by soundcheck; 21st June 2010 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 21st June 2010, 10:15 AM   #5
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Hi Soundcheck

Thanks for posting this information. I have a Touch and plan to give it a go soon
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Old 21st June 2010, 10:36 AM   #6
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Since the SBT is so sensitive to supplies, I wonder if it makes any sense to upgrade the PSU for the USB HDD to linear to.
Does anyone know if the USB interface and cabling connects the ground planes of the disc and SBT.
If not I think it will be waste of time, but if it does, it might be possible to avoid some common mode noise originating from the smps supplied with the HDD.

Any input on that matter?

Maybe Ill do some simple measurements to find out what this is all about though.
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Old 21st June 2010, 10:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt von Kubik View Post
Since the SBT is so sensitive to supplies, I wonder if it makes any sense to upgrade the PSU for the USB HDD to linear to.
Does anyone know if the USB interface and cabling connects the ground planes of the disc and SBT.
If not I think it will be waste of time, but if it does, it might be possible to avoid some common mode noise originating from the smps supplied with the HDD.

Any input on that matter?

Maybe Ill do some simple measurements to find out what this is all about though.
It's the same story as with most USB-DACS and any other USB device..
You'll have the 5V and ground connected to the receiver on pin 1 and 4. and D+/D- on 2/3.

In any case you'll build a ground loop. You need to get rid of that ground loop somehow. I guess you should also have a look where the 5V lead connects.

The same ground-loop issue I need to avoid on the ethernet port.
I'd catch the entire HF mess of the entire ethernet network, which would probably be even more messy than your HDD ground.

Solution:
I just have to get rid of the cable shield. The ethernet access is transformer coupled on the data lines.
By removing the shield I don't have any galvanic connection to the net anymore.

Since I run off batteries, the Touch itself and the rest of chain floats anyhow. I'd say no (big) issues to expect from that side.



Cheers

Last edited by soundcheck; 21st June 2010 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 21st June 2010, 01:10 PM   #8
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Well then

It seems as if it is worthwhile to build a linear supply for the USB HDD then.
Especially because i did my PSU for the SBT with a 30 VA 4*9V transformer, where i paralelled 2 secondary windings, to supply 9VRMS 15 VA and then 12,7V after rectification.
The excessive 2 windings could then be serialised, doing 25V after rectification, and then regulated to 12V using a LM7812 CV + a bit of capacitance.
That might prove positive, and if not, no harm is done.

Btw. Now I know Im putting my bare but in the beehive, but I have some different USB cables, and one of them came with my USB HDD. That cable does not cary sound very well, Im afraid. The rest of my cables does not really differ a lot, but this one is mean. Why and how, I do not know, but this little thin cable is very much disliked in my site.
So be aware that you use USB ICs of just reasonable quality.
And I must ad, that I do not believe in any USB cable woodoo, but this one did not carry sound very well.
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Old 21st June 2010, 11:21 PM   #9
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Hi Soundcheck,

Do you know if your software mods/scripts work on a SB Duet? I guess its quite possible they are not as necessary on the duet as the functions are split between the base box and handset, the base box is doing far less than the Touch software would be. Tho any RT mods you do may be appropriate.

Great tutorial again BTW. Only mod I have to my Duet at the moment is a PS - large toroid, schotky diodes BIG caps and Teddy Pardo reg.

Cheers

Last edited by ChrisMmm; 21st June 2010 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 21st June 2010, 11:46 PM   #10
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Klaus,
I think you also modified a SB Duet if I'm not mistaken? Seeing as there is a need for removing/disabling the screen of the Touch & the Duet has no screen anyway, is there a significant difference in the rest of the device to warrant a Touch over a Duet? How would you rate the two fully modified offerings - if Touch is 100%, is Duet 80%, 90%?

Thanks for report & blog
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