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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triode View Post
    perhaps we need to settle on one or a small number of recommended devices and package for them.
    Certainly.
    Who would guess "sata_sil.slow_down=1" is a solution to audio glitches ?
    3 SB 3 • Libratone Loop, Zipp Mini • iPeng (iPhone + iPad) • LMS 7.9 (linux) with plugins: CD Player, WaveInput, Triode's BBC iPlayer by bpa • IRBlaster by Gwendesign (Felix) • Server Power Control by Gordon Harris • Smart Mix, Music Walk With Me, What Was That Tune? by Michael Herger • PowerSave by Jason Holtzapple • Song Info, Song Lyrics by Erland Isaksson • AirPlay Bridge by philippe_44 • WeatherTime by Martin Rehfeld • Auto Dim Display, SaverSwitcher, ContextMenu by Peter Watkins.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triode View Post
    I'm not sure whether we can turn this into a community product, but my personal view is that an effective Squeezebox replacement for the community can be made from a small existing arm based device + an external usb dac. This means all the audio engineering can be part of the dac and you can spend from $5 to $5000 based on your preference....

    The device itself is probably based on something already available such as an android stick, raspberry pi or other such device - perhaps we need to settle on one or a small number of recommended devices and package for them. The one thing that most devices have now with hdmi, so a user interface using hdmi + control over that is probably required/sensible. This is not a mass market consumer product, but it gets us to a very viable solution for community enthusiasts... (and focusses much of the effort on software and packaging rather than hardware design and the necessary volumes this brings)

    Squeezelite part of my steps in this direction. I'd like to look at UI solutions, perhaps integration with XBMC or alternative user interfaces hdmi - any takers?
    It appears the consensus of most is that a "new device" built from the ground up would be too time consuming and possibly the market to the masses is not there. So to Triodes point as well as others, what about looking into existing ARM based products and pairing them with a nice external DAC for the use with squeezelite?

    I have done some research on new and upcoming devices. I found the following:

    Allwinner A10 Device from Rhombus-Tech (still under development):
    http://rhombus-tech.net/allwinner_a10/

    Cubieboard:
    http://cubieboard.org/
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/cubie...731449083.html

    Hackberry (maybe really nice since it has wifi built in):
    https://www.miniand.com/products/Hac...eloper%20Board

    MiniX (Has IR as well)
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/NEW-M...632885305.html
    http://dx.com/p/mini-android-2-3-hd-...tf-blue-134679

    Other "set top" products that could work:
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-G...530565258.html
    http://dx.com/p/compact-hd-1080p-2-5...ax-black-57177
    http://dx.com/p/mele-1080p-android-2...-lan-sd-119913
    Last edited by dustinsterk; 2013-01-20 at 15:15.

  3. #13
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    2 cts

    Well I didn't look a *all* the links above.

    I'd like to see a platform with clean audio out (SPDIF first and USB second. USB audio is too finicky IMHO) and an array of ports that allows to add peripherals.

    - I would go for a VFD or (large) e-paper screen+controller in an instant (or show me a square 12" PC monitor.)
    - Possibility to integrate home automation (IR Blaster and more)
    - I think I'd like to see how a second line out (IR Blaster) works with a vocal UI (I guess I should test w/ squeezeslave for that); I like the RFID tag reader idea (thread.)
    - Some processor capable of computing audio room correction ?
    - A local alarm clock module, capability to run on batteries, possibility to integrate/control a digital amp, line in support (Radio/Boom replacement)
    - Automagic wireless mesh networking (control channel at least) ?
    - The all-important iThing integration (to the extent of what's possible)

    Given my current experience with the PC engines Alix, I think mixing server capability with player capability is difficult (I/O and CPU spikes.) A recommended ~5W server package (preferably with sata/e-sata capability) could go along the player package.

    The RasPi can do many of the things above, AFAIK, and should have one interesting characteristic, same as "pro" devices: a longer lifecycle compared to consumer devices. I don't think it is reasonable to choose a platform that will fade away in 12 months, as many consumer products do.
    3 SB 3 • Libratone Loop, Zipp Mini • iPeng (iPhone + iPad) • LMS 7.9 (linux) with plugins: CD Player, WaveInput, Triode's BBC iPlayer by bpa • IRBlaster by Gwendesign (Felix) • Server Power Control by Gordon Harris • Smart Mix, Music Walk With Me, What Was That Tune? by Michael Herger • PowerSave by Jason Holtzapple • Song Info, Song Lyrics by Erland Isaksson • AirPlay Bridge by philippe_44 • WeatherTime by Martin Rehfeld • Auto Dim Display, SaverSwitcher, ContextMenu by Peter Watkins.

  4. #14
    Although I believe there is lots of talent here on the boards that could be invested in a project like this, I think the reality is that there is a difference between community build of a product versus the Olive approach of a crowd funded product.

    With that you need a company that will do everything from hiring the right people to do the design and build out of the product and as well as initiate all the necessary marketing and sales plans and objectives.

    I for one am monitoring the Olive One product and project carefully. I see it as a potential replacement down the road for my squeeze environment.

    It will all come down to the execution and delivery to market.

    Sure there are some things I see that I would like different with Olive One. The biggest is a headless product. I for one cant see wanting to have a big circle device in every room. The touch was more the footprint that I liked and even that just a receiver is all I wanted in some rooms.

    But I like that larger display for the wife factor. Even though I have spent hours with my wife using Ipeng she still get's it mixed up from time to time. What I end up doing is syncing a few devices in the house to a boom I have and then doing presets on the buttons for the 4 or 5 music sources she likes.

  5. #15
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    Hi guys,
    I want in on this! I have been thinking a lot about it over the last few months. I am well accomplished at the hardware design part of this. I'm not sure most of you are aware of this but I do part time consulting for high end hiFi companies wanting to get into digitaal audio, I have lots of hardware experience doing just what this project is about and making it into products for low volume production.

    There seems to be an assumption that you need very high volumes to get low prices, this is not really the case. You need high volumes to get REALLY low price, but medium range prices is can be had for fairly low volumes. For example something along the complexity of the Touch main board, can be manufactured for around $125 in 25 quantity, thats board, parts and assembly. That does NOT include the case, full assembly etc, just the board. At 50 quantity you can get down to $100 a board.

    I have done designs using off the shelf boards and ones that I have done the whole thing from scratch, my current thinking is that for more than a couple systems it actually winds up being cheaper to do the whole thing from scratch, that way you get EXACTLY what you want. When using an off the shelf board you have to try and shoehorn your design into sombody elses vision, which rarely matches yours exactly.

    For example, some people around here have mentioned things like IR remotes, if your chosen existing board doesn't have the capability, you either live without it or you have to add a board that does it, and figure out how to connect that into some port on the existing board. When you do the whole thing yourself it is MUCH easier to add things like that directly to the main board.

    When doing it yourself you have a wide range of options available for including in the device, that would be very difficult to add to an existing board. For example as has been mentioned having FPGA based filters is something that is easy to add to our own board, and adds very little cost. I can easily put in a VERY high quality S/PDIF interface that will be better than just about anything out there, or even a USB output optimized for audio use.

    I have been doing systems like these for many years now and the biggest time sinc has always been the UI. Since the SB line already has good external UI options, I think it makes more sense to design a product to be a black box (but with a web server for configuration etc so you get away from the Duet problems). Having a display and interface along the lines of the Touch seems to me to double or tripple the complexity of the project.

    I'm a little torn on one aspect of this, my passion is for very high quality DACs, having done systems similar to this several times I CAN say that I can do a better job for less money building very good DACs into the project than you can get by buying external DACs. It doesn't HAVE to be an either or. I can do a two board system, one board has the main guts and digital audio interfaces (S/PDIF USB) and another board that plugs in which has the DACs (it does NOT connect to the S/PDIF or USB). So if you want to spend the extra $400 you can get audio quality that will out perform external DACs costing many thousands. It is just so much easier to do a really good job of a DAC if you can build it into the architecture of the main system.

    Things I am NOT good at: industrial design, please don't ask me to design a really good looking case for this!

    John S.

  6. #16
    Senior Member JJZolx's Avatar
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    John, do you have experience designing a computer that includes a DAC? Or would the idea be to take some reference ARM design and basically design and build a DAC on the same board or on a daughter board?

    Than what about the writing of firmware? Would you handle that as well?

    Would you see this as basically mimicking a Touch, and then use the Lua code from that product?

  7. #17
    Senior Member chill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSwenson View Post
    Hi guys,
    I want in on this!
    Great news - I can't have been the only one to think "this sounds like a job for John Swenson" when Dustin posted his original suggestion . A version of the Duet Receiver, with a web interface and the option of a top quality DAC, seems like an excellent way to get started. Count me in for a bit of 'community funding'.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by chill View Post
    Great news - I can't have been the only one to think "this sounds like a job for John Swenson" when Dustin posted his original suggestion . A version of the Duet Receiver, with a web interface and the option of a top quality DAC, seems like an excellent way to get started. Count me in for a bit of 'community funding'.
    +1000
    Home: VortexBox 4TB (2.4) > LMS 7.9.1 > Transporter, Touch, Boom, Radio (all ethernet)
    Cottage: VBA 3TB (2.4) > LMS 7.9.1 > Touch > Benchmark DAC I, Boom, Radio w/Battery (all ethernet except Radio)
    Office: Win8(64) > LMS 7.9.1 > Squeezelite
    Spares: Transporter, Touch(3), Radio(3), Boom, SB3, CONTROLLER
    Controllers: iPhone6 & iPadAir2 (iPeng & Squeezepad), CONTROLLER, or SqueezePlay 7.8 on Win10(64) laptop
    Files: ripping: dbpoweramp > FLAC; post-rip: mp3tag, PerfectTunes; Streaming: Spotify

  9. #19
    Senior Member erland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJZolx View Post
    Would you see this as basically mimicking a Touch, and then use the Lua code from that product?
    For a headless box there isn't any need to take any lua code from the Touch.

    At the moment the easiest would be: Linux based OS + Squeezelite (or squeezeslave)
    In the future this can be adapted to: Linux based OS + the player software of your choice

    As long as it's Linux based and is a headless device, there is no reason to bring in the whole Touch lua based firmware which would introduce all kinds of copyright related complication since icons and similar things isn't freely re-distributable. As long as we don't have a display on the device it's much better to base it on something more lightweight, like Squeezelite. This way it's also just the player related code that have to be adapted if we want to use the box with another system in the future, like turning it into a AirPlay receiver, UPnP renderer or even a completely new system with similar features as the Squeezebox but independent from Logitech.

    Having a web server for configuration should be a piece of cake, there are plenty of people around here that can help implementing that.

    Some drivers would probably have to be implemented, but as long as you choose chipsets which have Linux support I suspect most of it is already available so it's more a matter of compiling/packaging them in suitable way.

    Having a display on the box would be attractive and so would IR support be, but since a UI adds a lot of complexity on the software side (and possibility also on hardware side) I would skip the display in the first iteration. If you want to make the hardware future proof, it might be reasonable to add a HDMI output so it in the future will be possible to add video drivers and output a image on a TV or external display, I'm just not sure if this would introduce a lot of extra complexity on the hardware side. If it introduce a lot of extra complexity it might be better to advice users to get an old used smart phone/tablet and put it in a docking station and use that as the display together with a suitable smartphone/tablet app.
    Erland Isaksson (My homepage)
    Lead platform developer of ickStream Music Platform - A world of music at your fingertips

    (Also developer of many plugins/applets)

  10. #20
    Senior Member erland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSwenson View Post
    When doing it yourself you have a wide range of options available for including in the device, that would be very difficult to add to an existing board. For example as has been mentioned having FPGA based filters is something that is easy to add to our own board, and adds very little cost. I can easily put in a VERY high quality S/PDIF interface that will be better than just about anything out there, or even a USB output optimized for audio use.
    Having S/PDIF interface will make it more attractive to a lot of people. There are a lot of people who already have an amplifier in their listening room, being able to just connect the device to one of the digital inputs of the amplifier will make it a lot easier than forcing everyone to acquire an external USB DAC. Making it easy for more people to use it is going to be important if you like to get more volumes in the future, with only support for USB I'm afraid you are going to be restricted to selling it to geeks and audiophiles.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSwenson View Post
    I'm a little torn on one aspect of this, my passion is for very high quality DACs, having done systems similar to this several times I CAN say that I can do a better job for less money building very good DACs into the project than you can get by buying external DACs. It doesn't HAVE to be an either or. I can do a two board system, one board has the main guts and digital audio interfaces (S/PDIF USB) and another board that plugs in which has the DACs (it does NOT connect to the S/PDIF or USB). So if you want to spend the extra $400 you can get audio quality that will out perform external DACs costing many thousands. It is just so much easier to do a really good job of a DAC if you can build it into the architecture of the main system.
    For someone who is satisfied with the quality of the DAC in the Touch, how much price difference would it be between a board without a DAC and a board with a DAC with similar quality as the Squeezebox Touch ?
    If we assume the low volume scenario, are we talking about $400 extra or is it a lot less ?

    I suspect a built-in DAC is mainly critical for people who want to connect the device to powered speakers, if you already have an external amplifier that's likely going to have digital inputs so you can just use the S/PDIF output. Based on this, I think the DAC either have to be an optional part for audiophiles (as you suggested) who aren't satisfied with the DAC in their external amplifier, or if it's included on the standard board it would have to be something which doesn't increase the price too much since its main purpose would be to be able to attract users who want to connect it to powered speakers where top notch audio quality isn't as critical as in the main listening room.
    Erland Isaksson (My homepage)
    Lead platform developer of ickStream Music Platform - A world of music at your fingertips

    (Also developer of many plugins/applets)

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