While you're troubleshooting the problems, (especially determining whether it is insufficient wifi bandwidth or straining an underpowered NAS, could you temporarily run an ethernet cable across the floor? That is, before you get serious with drilling holes, running through walls, installing wallplates, and messing with drywall or spackle (my least favorite, yuck). Even though wired connections are always good, that's a lot of sweat if it turns out that the main problem is your NAS's resources.
I am sure you can get back to the wired/wifi question again by doing a factory reset of the Touch and re-doing the setup process. You can do that by pressing the very small button just above where the power cable connects to the Touch, and hold it for about 10-15 seconds, until the screen says "Factory reset" or something similar. I'm just not sure if you can change to wired without doing a full reset on the Touch.
Ah, Apple Lossless. I don't have any of those, so I don't follow those events, but one of the developers (andyg) has reported that the ALAC decoder in the Touch is buggy, so SBS uses transcoding on the server when possible (see this thread for a little info, search the forums for more: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=84823). So it's possible that your NAS isn't able to transcode enough of the track in the < 10 seconds before it starts playing the first track. Does the same thing happen if you are in the middle of a track and then skip to the next track?
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Thread: Help with NAS + Touch + iPhone
2011-05-03, 09:59 #11
2011-05-03, 10:14 #12
- Join Date
- May 2011
Good idea about that cable. I was thinking the same thing. I may have a super-long cable lying around that I could try, but my quote above suggests that buffering is not the problem.
The pause occurs only on the first song of an album; after that the later songs play with no pause, at least so far. I was looking at that transcoding setting. It looks like the options for FLAC or MP3 playback are grayed-out on my SBS settings for Apple Lossless (I see no "native" setting); my only choices are PCM > "faad" or "Disabled;" I have no idea if that would account for the interruptions. If I use an external DAC would that still happen, I wonder? I'm afraid so. The one I ordered should get here later this week.
Last edited by Zonker92; 2011-05-03 at 10:24.
2011-05-03, 10:43 #13
If your NAS has a utility like 'top' you could check to see if the CPU is pegged at 100% when trying to get that first track transcoded and out the door. If I recall correctly, that NAS's CPU doesn't do floating point operations, which could be another constraint for transcoding, though I don't know for sure. I have no idea if an external DAC will help -- I don't know enough about if/how that affects the decoding process.
One other test to consider: make FLAC copies of one or more of your ALAC albums and see if you have the same problems when you play it/them. Send the stream as FLAC to be decoded natively on the Touch.
2011-05-03, 10:47 #14
- Join Date
- May 2011
I'll check both those possibilities; thanks.
And I just spent a few minutes testing: The "pause" occurred on some of my Apple Lossless albums sometimes, and not on the same albums or tracks at other times. Sometimes it happened on the first track and sometimes on later tracks. I tried a WAV album and it didn't happen, but that doesn't mean much because the problem's intermittent.
Gotta love intermittent problems ...
2011-05-03, 11:28 #15
2011-05-03, 14:47 #16
- Join Date
- May 2011
OK, I hard-wired it and used the advanced settings to connect it to the ethernet cable. I also tried a bunch of different formats (MP3, Apple Lossless and WAVs).
The good news is, I don't have to climb under the house: The problem persists even with a cable. The bad news is, the problem occurs only with Apple Lossless files, which is almost all the CDs I owned, ripped, then sold last year. Maybe it won't happen if I use an outboard DAC, but I'm not holding my breath.
I see that the Squeezeserver has had ALAC problems and aI variety of changes over time. But I'm not finding any threads on my exact problem. The only usable settings I can see for this format are PCM > "faad" or "Disabled." It's on faad right now. Any thoughts?
2011-05-03, 14:54 #17
Hello - maybe I can offer some advice re. the NAS as I have some specific experience in this area
The Duo processor is very much tuned for low power and data transfer support; it is not a good processor for running applications - even the Duo's own configuration interface which works similarly to SBS can be sluggish. The net result tends to be that audio streaming usually works very well, but interacting with SBS, particularly via the web interface can be very slow. iPhone based controllers and the like usually work reasonably well, but the sluggishness in things like volume control is probably a consequence of the low powered processor.
Regarding ALAC (which I also use), transcoding those to PCM is a separate task to the SBS application and isn't a particularly "heavy" operation. So this is typically well within the capability of the Duo processor. With that in mind & given the reports of intermittent pauses without any real pattern, I'd also be most inclined to first ensure this wasn't an issue of poor wifi reception by temporarily wiring the Touch to the NAS as already suggested - it is the more likely based on the info so far given. Perhaps for the purpose of a test you could temporarily relocate the touch close to the NAS and use some portable speakers if you have them?
If that doesn't work, it is possible to analyze the processor utilization - but I would suggest that is a later task only if all else fails.
EDIT: didn't see the previous post until after I made this response. "faad" is the appropriate setting in SBS. FYI I did recently do a test for someone streaming 96/24 ALAC using a ReadyNAS NV+ (4 bay version of the Duo, same processor) and it worked perfectly - but that was with SBS 7.6. Maybe that is an option?
2011-05-03, 14:59 #18
- Join Date
- May 2011
Thanks for the advice! Is the NAS doing the volume control or the decoding? I had supposed those processes were done inside the Touch itself.
Actually, I have now hard-wired the Touch to my four-port router (where the NAS is also connected) and the problem persists, but occurs only with ALAC problems. And strangely, although it's intermittent, when it does happen it seems to occur at the same point each time: A song plays for about four seconds, the sound stops, then maybe two seconds later it resumes and after that it plays fine. Usually, it happens only with the first track on an album, but on rare occasions, when I manually switch tracks it will happen on subsequent tracks. If I go back to the starting track it doesn't usually happen again.
So even though this stuff is mainly way over my head, I do think this is an issue with how the Touch (or NAS?) is handling my Apple Lossless files.
Oh, now I see your edit: Yes, it's still set on "faad;" thanks. Is the "native" option coming back one of these days, I wonder? Would it help to use an external DAC? (I have one coming in this week.)
Last edited by Zonker92; 2011-05-03 at 15:09.
2011-05-03, 15:16 #19
I wouldn't have thought a DAC would make any difference - the source of the issue appears to be the streaming from SBS to the Touch; ie the problem is occurring before the audio data is fed to the DAC
Do you have any other addons running on your Duo? Anything else communicating with the Duo that could be loading it?
I'd be happy to try one of your problem ALAC files on my NV+ if you needed a sanity check. Otherwise you would need to investigate the Duo utilization more carefully, or alternatively try out SBS 7.6.
BTW - you don't appear to mention which version of SBS you are using. The Duo firmware is typically behind - have you upgraded to 7.5.4?
2011-05-03, 15:18 #20
Any particular reason for using Apple Lossless? If not, then you could batch convert from ALAC to FLAC and there wouldn't be any loss in music quality, because lossless is lossless. If you want ALAC for an iPod or something then that's not a solution for you, but otherwise there aren't any drawbacks. You can just set a computer going on your ALAC library and check back when it's done. There are various software packages that can do it.
Fyi, SBS does the volume control. By default, decoding is done on the player (eg, Touch) for codecs that the player can natively decode, and on the server for other codecs. You can also override those settings to decode on the server instead of player. In your case, because the ALAC decoder on the Touch is buggy, the decoding is done at the server. I have no idea if/when ALAC native will ever lose its greyed out status, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting.