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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Oct 2006
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    considering buying

    I have a couple of questions regarding Squeezebox and if it will meet my needs or not.

    Desire/Goal
    I have a computer network with all of my music files. I want to be able to access these files from the opposite side of the house (small house). I have/had been considering trying to find a cheap laptop that could access it and simply hook up some semi-decent computer speakers to it. I have since learned about a variety of devices that maybe able to accomplish this for much cheaper (i.e. Squeezebox).

    Current Setup
    I currently have my mp3s all in a folder (Music) with various subfolders. I have categories such as Easy, Regular Artist, Movie Soundtracks, Games, Final Fantasy, & Collections. I then have subfolders within those. For regular artists, it has a folder for each artist, then a subfolder by alblum with the tracks within the alblum folder. Other folders, such as the Final Fantasy category, have further categories within it such as Piano, Soundtracks, and Other. Those then have the individual alblums. For multi-disc sets there are disc folders within the alblum folder. I also have 3 subcategories within my loose mp3 folder with random individual mp3 files that don't belong to any specific artist or catergory (i.e. humor mp3s, random instrumental mp3s, single song mp3). Most of these I ripped some time ago. Several of them are imports that don't have real track, title, or other information. Most of these files are simply named 01alblumname.mp3 or somethings similar to that. I don't know what tags, if any, are part of the mp3 files. I do not have playlists for any of it. I simply go to the folder and hit "play all" on the menu on the left within Windows XP.

    Questions / Concerns

    1) Ease of navigation. From what I've seen, navigating through the files can be a pain. I use the folder system describe above since it makes sense and is easy to me. I was never able to get Windows Media player to read my stuff or categorize it correctly. Is this going to cause issues for me? What steps can be taken to solve this?

    2) No stereo system. I want to simply hook up a $30-$50 pair of computer speakers to a device in the bedroom. I'm assuming I can do this through the RCA to computer jack converter. I've gone from computer to RCA in the past, going the other way should be a simple Radio Shack converter.

    3) Sleep button on the remote. This seems silly, but it serves a large part of the whole motivation for this setup to begin with. My wife and I listen to music at night as we go to sleep. I don't mind the music playing, but don't want it running all night. I previously ran a boombox into an old stereo (cd player on the stereo was broken) just for the sleep feature of the stereo. I want access to all my music though (not all my music is on cd anymore) and don't want to have to mess with cds (discs are downstairs, room upstairs).

    4) Price sensitive. At the end of the day, I would love to have this setup, but it is an extra. I don't have $300-$500 to spend on this. I was looking for a cheap laptop initially (even goodwill laptops). The cheapest solutions I found there was around $350, which is simply more than I can justify at the moment for this. I have seen some devices ranging from $200-$400. The $200 is probably doable, maybe upward to mid-200s (i.e. eventually ends up right around $300). I'm willing to look and see what it would take to do what I want, but the well may run dry before I can get what I want.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2005
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    7,099
    Quote Originally Posted by Dale View Post
    1) Ease of navigation. From what I've seen, navigating through the files can be a pain. I use the folder system describe above since it makes sense and is easy to me. I was never able to get Windows Media player to read my stuff or categorize it correctly. Is this going to cause issues for me? What steps can be taken to solve this?
    Yes, you may have problems. Though the organization may seem logical to you, it does not follow a consistent pattern. You could get around this by ensuring all files have proper tags, but if not, there's nothing consistent to make guesses on.

    Fixing it into a conventional artist/album/title folder structure may not be as hard as you think with tools like Mp3tag though. But first all the files will have to have proper tags - if they don't, SlimServer will try to guess album/artist/title from where they sit in the directory - this won't work consistently in your case.

    You can specify multiple guess strings like artist/title but it may be difficult in your case.

    It'll depend how many files you have.

    SlimServer is free - you can download it right now and try it out. I wouldn't expect it to recognize all your music properly at this stage though.

    2) No stereo system. I want to simply hook up a $30-$50 pair of computer speakers to a device in the bedroom. I'm assuming I can do this through the RCA to computer jack converter. I've gone from computer to RCA in the past, going the other way should be a simple Radio Shack converter.
    Works fine for me.

    3) Sleep button on the remote. This seems silly, but it serves a large part of the whole motivation for this setup to begin with. My wife and I listen to music at night as we go to sleep. I don't mind the music playing, but don't want it running all night. I previously ran a boombox into an old stereo (cd player on the stereo was broken) just for the sleep feature of the stereo. I want access to all my music though (not all my music is on cd anymore) and don't want to have to mess with cds (discs are downstairs, room upstairs).
    Yes, there's a sleep button on the remote.

    4) Price sensitive. At the end of the day, I would love to have this setup, but it is an extra. I don't have $300-$500 to spend on this. I was looking for a cheap laptop initially (even goodwill laptops). The cheapest solutions I found there was around $350, which is simply more than I can justify at the moment for this. I have seen some devices ranging from $200-$400. The $200 is probably doable, maybe upward to mid-200s (i.e. eventually ends up right around $300). I'm willing to look and see what it would take to do what I want, but the well may run dry before I can get what I want.
    May be a bit of a problem here. New Squeezeboxes are $299 wireless, $249 wired. They aren't much cheaper on eBay either as they hold on to their value quite well (a testament to their quality) - the going rate is about $260 for wireless.

    If you find an older Squeezebox 1 that may fit the bill. The display isn't as high resolution, it's limited to 802.11b and WEP, the buffer is smaller and the audio won't be quite as good. No access to SqueezeNetwork (including Pandora) either.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    172
    The great thing about the Squeezebox is that the software is open-source ... and there is a Windows application called SoftSqueeze that lets you emulate the Squeezebox on your PC. So, you can download the software and test it for yourself before you invest one nickel ... which is what I did.

    Regarding hooking PC speakers directly to the Squeezebox ... I own four Squeezeboxes, three of which are connected to powered PC speakers through the headphone jack on the Squeezebox. Works great, as long as you use powered speakers.

    If you end up going the laptop route, you could still use the SlimServer software on your server with SoftSqueeze on the laptop (my brother does this, though I continue to try to talk him into investing on a Squeezebox) if you decide that you like the software.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    172

    One more thing ...

    The Squeezebox will let you directly browse your music folder ... perhaps this will let you do what you want without tagging your files? Try it out with SoftSqueeze ...

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Oct 2006
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    2
    It sounds like my biggest issue might be with the browsing. This sounds like it can be fixed by adding tags. I'll take a look at the software listed. I'm sure it allows for tagging multiple files at once, which would just mean tagging once for each album, which is doable.

    I'll also download the software and take a look at it and see if I like it.

    As to the purchase price, if it is a good quality product that does what I need, $260 would/could work. Are there retail options available such as Fry's, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc or do most do a direct purchase from the manufacturer? After I posted I did check out Ebay. The SB3's are going there for almost the same price as direct (as stated above as well).

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale View Post
    I'll take a look at the software listed. I'm sure it allows for tagging multiple files at once, which would just mean tagging once for each album, which is doable.
    Yes, and the sort feature can float untagged items to the top of the list, where you can perform batch-wise operations on them. Take a look here:

    http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?Mp3tagGuide

    As to the purchase price, if it is a good quality product that does what I need, $260 would/could work. Are there retail options available such as Fry's, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc or do most do a direct purchase from the manufacturer? After I posted I did check out Ebay. The SB3's are going there for almost the same price as direct (as stated above as well).
    No retail options at this point - direct from the Slim Devices website right now. That could change shortly since the company was bought out by Logitech and you may be able to obtain the SB3 at the retailers you mentioned.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2006
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    Washington, DC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale View Post
    It sounds like my biggest issue might be with the browsing. This sounds like it can be fixed by adding tags. I'll take a look at the software listed. I'm sure it allows for tagging multiple files at once, which would just mean tagging once for each album, which is doable.
    Most of us find tags to be much more flexible than merely using the directory structure, but if you really like your directory structure method then (as was mentioned by a previous poster) you can use the "Browse Music Folder" to browse your music just as you desire. Over time you might find you want to try the tagging thing. It's really quite useful as it allows you to browse your music in much more versatile ways. And as you and others have mentioned: there is excellent tagging software available which can make it a fairly speedy process.

    If you're interested in a Squeezebox 1 or 1g I have 1 or 2 that I'd be willing to sell (~$85 + shipping?). I've been using only SB1's for the past few years and just got my first SB2 last month. The SB1 will do everything you want and much more. While the SB2/3 adds some niceties, I'd have happily continued using my SB1's if it weren't for their lack of Rhapsody support which I consider a killer app.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    616
    1) I also have a very anal-retentively organized file/folder system that's just the way I like it. My Squeezebox navigates through the folder structure just fine (Browse Music Folder). That said, I'm currently in the process of cleaning up my tags so that I can use tag-based browsing, which Squeezebox actually does correctly unlike nearly every other device out there (e.g. it supports ARTISTSORT, ALBUMSORT, COMPILATION, multiple genres, etc). Short story: you'll be fine. It supports any organizational system you can dream up.

    2) An RCA converter is fine.

    3) There is a sleep button. Have you considered a Clapper?

    4) It's a good device. It will outlast your PC, and still have more functionality than any competitor when you buy your new PC. It will also sound great if you hook it up to better speakers ten years from now. Is that worth the cost? Only you can say.

    For a bedroom, though, a goodwill laptop is a mite noisy. The Squeezebox is dead silent (and smaller, and has a better remote...).

  9. #9
    Senior Member SteveEast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    599
    FWIW, using the "Live365" coupon will still save you $20 when buying through SD.

    Steve.
    Home: 3*SB3 (1 dead), 1*Touch, 1*Boom, 5*Radio, iPeng/SqueezePad on 2G iPad, SbS 7.5.1 on Acer Aspire easyStore H340 WHS.
    Cabin: 1*Touch running 7.5.0 on itself with 32GB SDHC card.

  10. #10
    Junior Member ebin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    25

    Stop Considering

    Hey

    I played around with the Slim Server software and
    SoftSqueeze for about a month before purchasing
    a SqueezeBox3, great way to learn the ease of operation.
    Finally bought one and love it,
    still havent watched TV in 2 weeks.
    (Bought a second one for the garage too)
    You wont be disappointed with this device, it
    works well and is very easy to use.

    Cheers
    Ebin

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