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You need to experiment,. I'm very happy!!!

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I've been using my Logitech squeezebox as my music streaming device since I setup my audio room almost 2 years ago. i have made various tweaks and updates over that time, but for some reason I didn't mess around with my player (the Squeezebox).

I had some time last night and decided to try my laptop as the streaming source instead. I plugged in a USB plug from my HP laptop to my Eastern Electric DAC and used itunes on the PC to stream my library from upstairs in my office.

The moment I put on the first song, within seconds I noticed a massive difference, especially in the high end. everything just seemed richer, more defined with less sibilance.I know you've heard this a million times, but I know my music library very well and I am definitely hearing new things.

 

I have been freaking out over the last 24 hours and have decided to get the new Mac mini when it comes out next month (according to online rumors). I have decided to stop streaming. I'm going to get the Mini and an external drive and keep everything local in my sound room.

 

This really showed me that no matter how good it sounds, there is always room for improvement.

 

Any advice on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers

 

p.S- anyone interested in a used Squeezebox?

post #2 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sperandeo View Post
 

I had some time last night and decided to try my laptop as the streaming source instead. I plugged in a USB plug from my HP laptop to my Eastern Electric DAC and used itunes on the PC to stream my library from upstairs in my office.

 

Can't all that audio fit in the laptop instead of streaming?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sperandeo View Post
 

The moment I put on the first song, within seconds I noticed a massive difference, especially in the high end. everything just seemed richer, more defined with less sibilance.I know you've heard this a million times, but I know my music library very well and I am definitely hearing new things.

 

It might be compressed when going through wireless, so you're essentially listening to MP3's - the lack of (perceived) sibilance can be due to the high frequency roll off, and if an amp and speakers follow that Eastern Electric DAC, that also means less treble frequencies to bounce around the room causing sibilance. Similarly, if your speakers or headphones are a bit on the bassy if not flabby side (or the amp isn't up to controlling the drivers well), then the bass will seem "tighter" using compressed audio but that's also because some of the deeper frequencies are rolled off.

post #3 of 23
Do you have the original Squeezebox with the optical out? Try plugging the MiniMax DAC up to it. You might find you don't need an extra computer.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have done some tweaks over the past few week that have really blown me away. I decided to not go with the Mac mini because of a Mac driver issue with my DAC. I am using my HP laptop with 3TB external drive to keep everything local. I purchased the jRiver player for the PC and love controlling it with jRemote. I also recieved HI-FI tuning fuses for my 1.7's today.

All these minor changes are making me feel like I have made some serious hardware updates. The subtle differences are remarkable!!!

I also tweaked my subwoofer settings and have never heard my system with such balance from lows, highs and mids.

Giviing it the attention I have over the past 2 weeks have really payed off.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have tried the squeezebox with the optical out in the past. I couldn't hear a difference.
post #6 of 23

Interesting. I just started to stream from laptop to HT, using an Airport Express to handle the chore. I had assumed I would not get the sort of great sound I was getting with cable from laptop to HT, but I was wrong. It sounds better, even on music which the AE is down sampling.

post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sperandeo View Post

I have tried the squeezebox with the optical out in the past. I couldn't hear a difference.

Are your music files in AAC? If so, I think some Squeezebox models cannot decode AAC natively. It is my understanding (I could be wrong) that Squeezebox server transcodes them from ACC to MP3 before sending over the wireless. So that could explain the difference in SQ since a compressed music file is recompressed yet again into a different lossy format.

If you are using mp3 or flac, it seems unlikely that you would hear a difference. Most mp3 decoders should be the same: http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Best_MP3_Decoder In that case, I would try your DAC again. Get a friend to switch back and forth between the HP and Squeezebox as source for your DAC without you knowing and see if you can, for certain, pick out which is better.
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have apple lossless, ffac and DSD files.

I had my wife my 13 year olds son (best ears in the house...lol) and myself do an A/B test between the squeezebox and the PC and the PC won every time. The immediate difference was the highs. It was a very obvious change.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sperandeo View Post

I have apple lossless, ffac and DSD files.

I had my wife my 13 year olds son (best ears in the house...lol) and myself do an A/B test between the squeezebox and the PC and the PC won every time. The immediate difference was the highs. It was a very obvious change.

If that is true using flac files and your DAC connected to either the PC or the Squeezebox, then I would suggest next looking to see if you have replaygain or some kind of volume normalizing enabled. Even a 1db difference in volume in A/B comparisons can affect how one perceives audio quality. The Squeezebox should NOT be affecting the flac audio file output when using the same DAC as opposed to your PC with that DAC. You should talk to the guys at the Squeezeserver forums and let them help you figure out what configuration differences are making them "seem" different, rather than assuming that the Squeezebox is corrupting the audio stream for a lossless format. The former is MUCH more likely.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
The PC has been set to deliver bit perfect audio. .(...Disabled Volume - As the name suggests this disables all volume controls. I use this mode when sending bit perfect audio to an external DAC.)

I'm not saying my squeezebox didn't sound great!!! I lived with if for almost 2 years. But I can tell the difference, and in my opinion (and 3 other people who heard it) the PC sounds outstanding.
post #11 of 23

Not surprising to me at all.  Observed a similar improvement after upgrading my Mac Mini OS from Snow Leopard to Mavericks.  The only change to the system was the operating system upgrade. The difference in SQ wasn't particularly subtle.

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sperandeo View Post

The PC has been set to deliver bit perfect audio. .(...Disabled Volume - As the name suggests this disables all volume controls. I use this mode when sending bit perfect audio to an external DAC.)

I'm not saying my squeezebox didn't sound great!!! I lived with if for almost 2 years. But I can tell the difference, and in my opinion (and 3 other people who heard it) the PC sounds outstanding.

You are not listening.

I didn't doubt that it sounds better to you. And that's good that you have the PC set to deliver bit perfect audio. But have you researched the possibilities that might cause these sources to sound different out of the same DAC? Here's someone that found with actual "measurements" that flacs provide bit perfect reproduction: http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?21132-Squeezebox-FLAC-Wi-Fi-and-the-M-DAC-bit-perfect-test!. That beats out "I hear a difference" because it means that the SB can do that. So logically, something is mostly likely wrong with YOUR setup. And perhaps always has been.

Anyway, it's your money. Go spend it and buy yourself a computer. Or, if money is important to you, best to explore and see whether or not you have some configuration option wrong that's making these sound different. I tried to help by mentioning replaygain and volume normalizing, but you never did answer whether or not you had verified if those were disabled.
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
I really don't appriciated your tone. The settings were fine on my squeezebox and I'm telling you that the PC sounds better. I have been listening to the same system everyday for 2 years, I know when it's improved. According to what you're saying all devices will sound exactly the same if they are playing bit perfect audio through the same DAC. I don't think many people will agree with you on that.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sperandeo View Post

I really don't appriciated your tone. The settings were fine on my squeezebox and I'm telling you that the PC sounds better. I have been listening to the same system everyday for 2 years, I know when it's improved. According to what you're saying all devices will sound exactly the same if they are playing bit perfect audio through the same DAC. I don't think many people will agree with you on that.


Yes. If a perfect reproduction of the same exact audio file is preproduced with bit perfect audio and sent via bitstream to the same DAC with the same connection from two different sources, it should sound the same. Do you even know what bit perfect means? I owned a Squeezebox Classic for four years, and my experience tells me that the logical conclusion is that the file has been changed somehow, and that the most likely way that is happening is through something you have configured (or no configured). And a knowledgeable person that really understood the technology would typically be willing to discuss their configurations so others could understand, instead of just repeating it "sounds better."
.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
I understand what bit perfect means and I'm afraid you are wrong in believing that every player putting out a bit perfect signal would sound the same. Keep your squeezebox and never try anything else. What would be the point, according to you it would sound the same.
We agree to disagree, that's fine with me.
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