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Old 5th July 2010, 12:07 AM   #1581
Theo404 is offline Theo404  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solderhead View Post
if one of those linux based routers only had non-ethernet outputs we'd be in business.

i don't view this as a niche item. the squeezebox is a very expensive solution to a very simple problem. it would make sense for someone else to try to capture some of this segment of the market.
I believe there is a version of the venerable linksys wrt54g that has a usb 2.0 port... although you expressed a dislike for that interface (that I share).

Others only require a connecter to be soldered to the relevant tabs on their pcb iirc.

Believe me I wasnt advocating the use of sqeezebox devices, as the latest incarnation is approached by the diy community by disabling all the features that make it a 300 euro gizmo to achieve sound quality 'zen'... rendering it exactly what we'r talking about... a simple embedded system performing no complex function.

I know you only asked for such a device... but since a small embedded-ish system (atom-via-etc with small flash storage and no fans) would serve your purpose well... have you considered using it for more than a simple transport? One of these systems could perform near real time perfect filtering... performing crossover and eq duty that ruins really rather expensive solutions.
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Old 5th July 2010, 07:25 AM   #1582
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solderhead View Post
the squeezebox is a very expensive solution to a very simple problem.
I wouldn't agree to that. Not at all.

First of all - talking about the Touch - it replaces a PC and a pretty high quality audio interface (PC and M2Tech Hiface won't be better from what I heard) and software (db, player)
incl. monitor/touch screen at a tag of around 260$ .
Try to get that done any cheaper - don't forget to count in your own efforts
building and maintaining your own SW/HW solution.

Some of the reasons why I enjoy my Touch and SB Server:

* It is mainly plug'n play.
* It can be used by the entire family.
* It integrates all kind of internet services
* It's database structure works extremely well, fast and stable
* Maintenance efforts are the lowest I came across since years.
* OS and OS sound layer independent ( server side - the Touch is running an embedded Linux)
* great and extremely fast control option with iPeng (iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) or other apps on
Android
* multiple clients support incl. sync of clients
* a large community driven SW devlopment (modules,plugins)
* noiseless
* not to forget great soundquality after a bit of SW-tweaking (see my signature below -- SB Touch mods)
* and more

I think I mentioned that before. I would have prefererd a Duet II kind approach ( a Touch without monitor) at 150$. For me this would have been the perfect solution.
However, the price erosion is ongoing. The Touch was already down to 240€ at some places some days ago. I consider it a pretty fair offering.


If you're interested in a noiseless PC client look at a plug-computer: Have a look at Sheeva/Guru plugs.
There are Linuxes around supporting that device. With this device and an external USB-DAC, you'll manage to built a good network audio solution from a client perspective at around 100$.

Checkout Vortexbox as Linux based audio network server. It'll come with Squeezebox Server, MPD, a player app, automatic ripping.

Though I have to say, I said Good-Bye from MPD quite some time ago. I think it was a nice little toy to start with. Though it really never fulfilled my expectations in terms of quality, feature support, operations, maintenance and sound quality.

My listenting-to-music/Linux-PC-work ratio went finally up from 20/80 to 80/20 since the introduction of the Squeezeboxes.

I am more then happy with the current situation.


Good luck

Last edited by soundcheck; 5th July 2010 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 5th July 2010, 07:27 AM   #1583
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solderhead View Post
Exactly! What I'm thinking about is an Ethernet streaming receiver with its own unique MAC address. You just plug it into any LAN or WAN with an Ethernet cable and access it remotely via TCP/IP. It doesn't have to be a "smart" device. All that it needs to do is to accept data that is streamed to it by a remote server, and feed the ethernet packets to it's own embedded DAC. It would have analog outputs, either single-ended or balanced (or both).
I only know of the apple airport and the Squeezebox (in the sensible price category).

Quote:
Originally Posted by solderhead View Post
i don't view this as a niche item. the squeezebox is a very expensive solution to a very simple problem. it would make sense for someone else to try to capture some of this segment of the market.
Go on, lets see your BOM for a squeezebox competitor and then do your analysis on profit margins & volume to get to the final price? I would be highly surprised if you could get something cheaper for the tiny volumes that this kind of device will attract?



So in conclusion I think you either need to figure out how to build something yourself (arduino + I2S output perhaps?). Or if you resent the Squeezebox option (remember you can use it as a kind of MPD endpoint) then I think you are back to the PC in each room - I gave you a couple of ideas for low end fanless devices that should be man enough for the job?


Good luck
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Old 5th July 2010, 12:17 PM   #1584
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Soundcheck, thank you for the detailed explanation of why Squeezebox is a viable pre-packaged turnkey solution. Although I'll continue to consider it as an option, I'm really more interested in a more streamlined product. Although the GUI may be a good solution for some families, I can't use it, and it makes no sense for me to buy something I can never use.

I have to admit, I'm kind of surprised that at a site that's dedicated to DIY Audio, I'm getting so many recommendations to go out and buy packaged turnkey solutions. I guess I was mistaken in thinking that there would be more interest in a direct DIY approach. If there is more interest in a direct DIY approach and I'm just asking for help in the wrong thread, I'd appreciate it if someone could point me in the right direction.

I'm still considering computer based solutions such as USB interfaces and soundcards, but they're low on my list of preferred options because of the well established technical weaknesses and/or fidelity problems associated with them.

Motherboard sound cards in particular have a reputation for having abysmal signal to noise ratios compared to what can be bought in a premium quality sound card. If S/N is at all important to the user, the embedded solutions seem to be lacking. Just in case this point wasn't clear, I'm really looking for a high fidelity solution, not just something that will turn a high quality stereo system into a highly convenient but low-fidelity MP3 player.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundcheck View Post
Though I have to say, I said Good-Bye from MPD quite some time ago. I think it was a nice little toy to start with. Though it really never fulfilled my expectations in terms of quality, feature support, operations, maintenance and sound quality.
I'm sorry, but that comment gives me serious pause in weighing the credibility of your advice. MPD is a back end software FILE SERVER. File servers have NOTHING to do with sound quality. All that they do is to read digital data off of a hard disk and transmit the files over Ethernet to a remote client device. As long as they can deliver the data in time, file servers have no impact on sound quality.

Sound quality is 100% dependent upon the disposition of that digital media at the CLIENT hardware/software interface. If you had problems with sound quality on your linux based system, the problem isn't attributable to the back end file server. It's attributable to your client PC and it's sound card. When you tell me that the sound quality of MPD was an issue, I'm hearing that your PC had a low quality sound system and that sound quality improved when you migrated to a higher quality external DAC interface.
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Old 5th July 2010, 12:29 PM   #1585
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewildgoose View Post
Go on, lets see your BOM for a squeezebox competitor and then do your analysis on profit margins & volume to get to the final price?
Nobody ever said that DIY was cost effective!

Quote:
So in conclusion I think you either need to figure out how to build something yourself (arduino + I2S output perhaps?). Or
Good luck
Well, that's the whole point of coming to DIY Audio -- to find a way to build a DIY soltuion that solves the problems that are inherent in off the shelf solutions.

Part of the problem in shopping for an off the shelf solution is that the people offering products aren't offering just what's needed for the job (a simple, low cost interface). Instead, they're marketing a simple, low cost interface that's bundled with other products in a more expensive package. Its not that I resent Squeezebox, its just that don't have any need for all of the products that they are selling. I don't need to buy their Squeezecenter software when I already have the same back end MySQL server already in place. I don't need to buy their tiny hand held remote display that's hard for me to see, when I already have large, highly visible remote displays that I can see better. And I don't need to buy their software client software interface when I already have a suitable client interface. All that I need is the receiver hardware that serves as the Ethernet-RCA bridge. Is is possible to obtain that as a separate component?
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Old 5th July 2010, 12:33 PM   #1586
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Originally Posted by Theo404 View Post
Others only require a connecter to be soldered to the relevant tabs on their pcb iirc.
This is the kind of information that I came here looking for. If anyone can point me in the right direction I would be most grateful.


Quote:
Believe me I wasnt advocating the use of sqeezebox devices, as the latest incarnation is approached by the diy community by disabling all the features that make it a 300 euro gizmo to achieve sound quality 'zen'... rendering it exactly what we'r talking about... a simple embedded system performing no complex function.
It seems that you have a really strong grasp of what I'm looking for. I can't see the point of spending 300 euros/dollars to buy a device and then disable most of its features.
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Old 5th July 2010, 12:44 PM   #1587
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@ solderhead

DIY:

Look up my blog. There you'll find a lot of DIY ideas you can apply to the Touch.

You are more then invited to come up with your own ideas!


If you like you can also program software for the Squeezebox.
As I said - a lot of stuff are community driven SW projects.



MPD SQ & Credibility:

I made several proposals ( I wrote a Wiki about it) to improve the SQ of MPD by using the pipe output plugin routing the stream into better sounding apps in the past.

I won't start to discuss all this again -- impact of SW on SQ.


Read the comments on my blog related to SQ. ( You'll find also several other sources now on the net confirming the effects).
I did nothing else - even less - on the Touch as I did on my own Linux systems.


Your credibility:

As far as I understood, you don't even own a Touch and never used iPeng...
... and you don't even read properly what I am writing!


Beside that I showed you an alternative approach. Have fun!

Last edited by soundcheck; 5th July 2010 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 5th July 2010, 01:00 PM   #1588
troystg is offline troystg  United States
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"I have to admit, I'm kind of surprised that at a site that's dedicated to DIY Audio, I'm getting so many recommendations to go out and buy packaged turnkey solutions. I guess I was mistaken in thinking that there would be more interest in a direct DIY approach. If there is more interest in a direct DIY approach and I'm just asking for help in the wrong thread, I'd appreciate it if someone could point me in the right direction."

If you don't feel that this thread is going in the direction you want / hope, it is easy to start a new thread and see if there is interest. There may be others thinking along the same lines, and we have some real smart people here on this forum..

"I'm sorry, but that comment gives me serious pause in weighing the credibility of your advice. MPD is a back end software FILE SERVER. File servers have NOTHING to do with sound quality. All that they do is to read digital data off of a hard disk and transmit the files over Ethernet to a remote client device. As long as they can deliver the data in time, file servers have no impact on sound quality."

I do have to disagree on this one. That falls under the same category as "digital cables don't influence sound". YES they do. Theoretically they shouldn't but in actuality they do. Cables for different reasons but the source files or the network path can affect the quality of the audio.
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Old 5th July 2010, 01:17 PM   #1589
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"The source files or the network path can affect the quality of the audio."

The "Squeezecenter" back end software that comes with a Squeezebox relies on an industry standard implementation of MySQL to access data files stored on disk. They didn't re-invent the wheel -- they're using the same MySQL application that other linux back-end servers use to access the same data. Then the data is transmitted over the same PC, over the same ethernet card, over the same network, regardless of which client interface you've decided to implement. In the case we're talking about any differences in fidelity are attributable differences in implementation at the client, not the server.
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Old 5th July 2010, 01:32 PM   #1590
troystg is offline troystg  United States
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I encourage you to start another thread for the HW development as I don't think this one is going in that direction AND you have a great idea to try to develop.

If you honestly believe that's all there is to pulling audio from a drive then no amount of explanation will convince you otherwise.
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