Tell me why should I buy a sqeezebox
Mar 31, 2006 at 3:59 PM Post #2 of 40

chadh

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It depends what you want to use it for.

I use a wireless squeezebox in my main stereo system. It allows me to keep my whole music collection conveniently on hard disc and serve it at will to my amps and speakers/headphone amp. The interface is pretty reasonable, so it's easy to use. Given that I can do all of this and be seperated physically from the PC (and any hard disc noise) , the first thing to say about it is that it's phenomenally convenient.

The music collection is ripped in EAC, so I avoid read errors that I would usually associate with a normal CD player; is stored as a FLAC file, so I don't deal with any lossy compression; and is wirelessly transmitted to the player which has no moving parts, so I minimise jitter from the player. So the technology makes it a pretty damn good transport.

It is emminently modifiable. For example, Red Wine Audio and The Bolder Cable Company produce reportedly excellent modifications for the squeezebox, whether you wish to use it as a digital transport preceeding your DAC or use the analog outs. With some relatively inexpensive mods to the player itself, and an upgrade to the power supply, many report that their squeezeboxes outperform CD transports/players costing many thousands of dollars.

It comes with an excellent digital volume control, so it doesn't require you to use any other attenuation stage. Many people report hearing their system at its finest using the squeezebox directly to power amps. In a headphone set-up, this would mean you wouldn't need a nasty pot in your headamp.

The slimserver software is open source, and there's a big community of enthusiastic users producing improvements in software and functionality all the time.

Having said all of that, if you like having your headphone amplifier/stereo system sitting next to your computer, then there's probably no advantage to using the squeezebox over a well designed USB DAC or high quality sound card. Right now, I'm at work feeding music to my Corda Aria via USB cable. I never even considered getting a squeezebox for this system, as most of its advantages are sort of redundant. But at home, the squeezebox allows me the opportunity to get truly excellent audio quality and unbelievable convenience without having to be tied to my computer. And relatively speaking, it's dirt cheap.

Chad
 
Mar 31, 2006 at 4:00 PM Post #3 of 40

chadh

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It depends what you want to use it for.

I use a wireless squeezebox in my main stereo system. It allows me to keep my whole music collection conveniently on hard disc and serve it at will to my amps and speakers/headphone amp. The interface is pretty reasonable, so it's easy to use. Given that I can do all of this and be seperated physically from the PC (and any hard disc noise) , the first thing to say about it is that it's phenomenally convenient.

The music collection is ripped in EAC, so I avoid read errors that I would usually associate with a normal CD player; is stored as a FLAC file, so I don't deal with any lossy compression; and is wirelessly transmitted to the player which has no moving parts, so I minimise jitter from the player. So the technology makes it a pretty damn good transport.

It is emminently modifiable. For example, Red Wine Audio and The Bolder Cable Company produce reportedly excellent modifications for the squeezebox, whether you wish to use it as a digital transport preceeding your DAC or use the analog outs. With some relatively inexpensive mods to the player itself, and an upgrade to the power supply, many report that their squeezeboxes outperform CD transports/players costing many thousands of dollars.

It comes with an excellent digital volume control, so it doesn't require you to use any other attenuation stage. Many people report hearing their system at its finest using the squeezebox directly to power amps. In a headphone set-up, this would mean you wouldn't need a nasty pot in your headamp.

The slimserver software is open source, and there's a big community of enthusiastic users producing improvements in software and functionality all the time.

Having said all of that, if you like having your headphone amplifier/stereo system sitting next to your computer, then there's probably no advantage to using the squeezebox over a well designed USB DAC or high quality sound card. Right now, I'm at work feeding music to my Corda Aria via USB cable. I never even considered getting a squeezebox for this system, as most of its advantages are sort of redundant. But at home, the squeezebox allows me the opportunity to get truly excellent audio quality and unbelievable convenience without having to be tied to my computer. And relatively speaking, it's dirt cheap.

Chad
 
Mar 31, 2006 at 4:00 PM Post #4 of 40

chadh

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It depends what you want to use it for.

I use a wireless squeezebox in my main stereo system. It allows me to keep my whole music collection conveniently on hard disc and serve it at will to my amps and speakers/headphone amp. The interface is pretty reasonable, so it's easy to use. Given that I can do all of this and be seperated physically from the PC (and any hard disc noise) , the first thing to say about it is that it's phenomenally convenient.

The music collection is ripped in EAC, so I avoid read errors that I would usually associate with a normal CD player; is stored as a FLAC file, so I don't deal with any lossy compression; and is wirelessly transmitted to the player which has no moving parts, so I minimise jitter from the player. So the technology makes it a pretty damn good transport.

It is emminently modifiable. For example, Red Wine Audio and The Bolder Cable Company produce reportedly excellent modifications for the squeezebox, whether you wish to use it as a digital transport preceeding your DAC or use the analog outs. With some relatively inexpensive mods to the player itself, and an upgrade to the power supply, many report that their squeezeboxes outperform CD transports/players costing many thousands of dollars.

It comes with an excellent digital volume control, so it doesn't require you to use any other attenuation stage. Many people report hearing their system at its finest using the squeezebox directly to power amps. In a headphone set-up, this would mean you wouldn't need a nasty pot in your headamp.

The slimserver software is open source, and there's a big community of enthusiastic users producing improvements in software and functionality all the time.

Having said all of that, if you like having your headphone amplifier/stereo system sitting next to your computer, then there's probably no advantage to using the squeezebox over a well designed USB DAC or high quality sound card. Right now, I'm at work feeding music to my Corda Aria via USB cable. I never even considered getting a squeezebox for this system, as most of its advantages are sort of redundant. But at home, the squeezebox allows me the opportunity to get truly excellent audio quality and unbelievable convenience without having to be tied to my computer. And relatively speaking, it's dirt cheap.

Chad
 
Mar 31, 2006 at 4:01 PM Post #5 of 40

chadh

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It depends what you want to use it for.

I use a wireless squeezebox in my main stereo system. It allows me to keep my whole music collection conveniently on hard disc and serve it at will to my amps and speakers/headphone amp. The interface is pretty reasonable, so it's easy to use. Given that I can do all of this and be seperated physically from the PC (and any hard disc noise) , the first thing to say about it is that it's phenomenally convenient.

The music collection is ripped in EAC, so I avoid read errors that I would usually associate with a normal CD player; is stored as a FLAC file, so I don't deal with any lossy compression; and is wirelessly transmitted to the player which has no moving parts, so I minimise jitter from the player. So the technology makes it a pretty damn good transport.

It is emminently modifiable. For example, Red Wine Audio and The Bolder Cable Company produce reportedly excellent modifications for the squeezebox, whether you wish to use it as a digital transport preceeding your DAC or use the analog outs. With some relatively inexpensive mods to the player itself, and an upgrade to the power supply, many report that their squeezeboxes outperform CD transports/players costing many thousands of dollars.

It comes with an excellent digital volume control, so it doesn't require you to use any other attenuation stage. Many people report hearing their system at its finest using the squeezebox directly to power amps. In a headphone set-up, this would mean you wouldn't need a nasty pot in your headamp.

The slimserver software is open source, and there's a big community of enthusiastic users producing improvements in software and functionality all the time.

Having said all of that, if you like having your headphone amplifier/stereo system sitting next to your computer, then there's probably no advantage to using the squeezebox over a well designed USB DAC or high quality sound card. Right now, I'm at work feeding music to my Corda Aria via USB cable. I never even considered getting a squeezebox for this system, as most of its advantages are sort of redundant. But at home, the squeezebox allows me the opportunity to get truly excellent audio quality and unbelievable convenience without having to be tied to my computer. And relatively speaking, it's dirt cheap.

Chad
 
Mar 31, 2006 at 8:18 PM Post #6 of 40

Iostream

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Funny you would mention that, I have a couple of Squeezebox as well, and in fact use an SB3 -> Corda Aria -> AKG K701 as my computer setup. The advantages I see there, it seems to sound slightly better than the USB -> Aria (though not a huge difference), I dont have to worry about it as I am doing major work with my computer, and the interface is just nice, I can see the display at a glance, etc. Nothing will try to interrupt my music (if for instance a website loads some nasty background flash music). I like the fact that it just gets out of the way and does it's job well.
 
Mar 31, 2006 at 8:43 PM Post #7 of 40

episiarch

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I have four of them scattered around the house (plus a computer running SoftSqueeze in the den). For me there are two big benefits:

- It's great to be able to summon any piece of music to any room, without having to think, "hmm, where did I last see that particular CD."

- I can devote much less premium physical space to media storage. A lot of our CDs are in a locker offsite at this point.
 
Mar 31, 2006 at 8:46 PM Post #8 of 40

philodox

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Squeezebox is great. Nice interface, nice look, online radio and live music archives are lots of fun. If you are using it with an external DAC no mods are really needed, though a battery PSU might be interesting.

I'm not so sure about the digital control though. Everything I know about digital volume controls tells me that you lose bits. This is not ideal. I would use whatever control you already have in your preamp or headphone amp and just max the squeezebox out.
 
Mar 31, 2006 at 9:18 PM Post #10 of 40

episiarch

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NOT only on PC. From the web site, "SlimServer 6.2 runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD and Solaris." Basically SlimServer will run on any platform with a TCP/IP stack and a Perl implementation. Extremists have been known to run it on the little processors in NAS devices.
 
Mar 31, 2006 at 9:35 PM Post #11 of 40

rwooda

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Quote:

Originally Posted by boodi
So it's (mainly) a way to have all of your music at hand on command without moving cds , and it's possible only on pc.

right ?



Yeah, but it also has some Internet audio streaming built in too -- e.g., various Internet radio formats as well as Pandora and there is a plugin in for last.fm.

I just bought one a couple of days ago. I love it. If you buy two right now you get $100 off. I mean right now, the sale ends today.

Cheers.
 
Apr 1, 2006 at 5:38 AM Post #12 of 40

chadh

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Quote:

Originally Posted by philodox
I'm not so sure about the digital control though. Everything I know about digital volume controls tells me that you lose bits. This is not ideal. I would use whatever control you already have in your preamp or headphone amp and just max the squeezebox out.


This was a response from somebody on another forum on the issue:

"Using the term 'dropping bits' is at best very misleading, and in the context of the units we're talking about, probably wrong.

'Dropping bits' did happen in very early digital volume implementations where everybody was limited to 16 bit output samples. It's probable that some cheezy computer interfaces and/or software also do this, although the higher-end stuff certainly doesn't.

*IF* we assume that all these units are using a 24 bit word size, then the artifacts of the computational aspects of digital volume control are down at -144dB below full scale, and hence of no concern to anybody.

The practical limitation of virtually any well-implemented digital volume control is the low-level linearity of the DAC chip used. This is slightly different than the S/N or THD+N number, but it is related. In essence, when the LSB of the input signal gets shifted down to the point that it starts hitting the low-level limts of the DAC, then distortion will occur. For good DAC chips, this limit is maybe -110dB or so. This is 14dB below full-scale for CD signals, so you "should be able to" attenuate the signal by that much with pretty much 'perfect' results.

It's possible that dithering the signal at either 17 or 18 bits rather than letting it 'fall into' the DAC noise floor would result in better subjective performance, but I have never tried it.

In practice, the crux of the issue with digital volume control is to ensure that you never need too much. If you can adjust the overall gain of the system so that you're never having to use more than ~10dB of attenuation, you should be in good shape. This is probably a challenge to do in many cases, though, since everyone seems to like really hot voltage levels, and amps always seem to have way too much gain.
"

The whole thread is here: http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/v...+bits&start=20

The squeezebox is apparently even less prone to problems associated with loss of resolution when using the digital volume control than other devices because it converts all the digital information into 24-bit word lengths.

If you have both the digital volume control and an analog volume control in the signal path, then you may be better off using the analog volume control. But the resolution offered by the squeezebox volume control is by all reports sufficiently good that you can gain a great deal by relying solely on the SB volume control and eliminating the analog volume control from the signal path altogether.

Chad
 
Apr 1, 2006 at 7:53 AM Post #13 of 40

kin0kin

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what's so wonderful?

1) Dead quiet. No moving parts, no spinning noise.
2) Wireless, and it acts as a wireless receiver as well.
3) Lots of format supported (ape, flac, alac...w00t!)

these three points are good enough to convince me to buy them. but of coz, i'd only get them if i had a dac
biggrin.gif
 
Apr 1, 2006 at 1:20 PM Post #14 of 40

Jeff E

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Quote:

Originally Posted by boodi
So it's (mainly) a way to have all of your music at hand on command without moving cds , and it's possible only on pc.

right ?



It also improves radio access at my stereo. Since we moved 4 years ago I have been dissatisfied with my attempts to use radio as a source due to poorer reception. Until SB my attempt to send internet radio to my main rig (Kima) has been a disaster. With the SB, I can even choose among a substantial selection of internet radio stations with my computer off. I was considering a $400-$600 antenna rig but no more.
 
Apr 1, 2006 at 6:16 PM Post #15 of 40

philodox

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chadh - Thanks for the response. I actually recieved a similar response from a guy at the Lavry Engineering forums. Dan Lavry is still arguing against digital volume control though.

This is great news for me. Since my Lavry Black DA10 has a volume control that is a digitally switched resistive network, I can set it's volume to optimumly feed my amp [once it is build] and use the squeezebox to control overall gain.
smily_headphones1.gif


Thanks,

Jason
 

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