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View Full Version : Question regarding formats, compression and Connecting SB toan AV receiver



Mike Hartley
2004-12-01, 18:26
I'm seriously thinking of purchasing a Squeezebox to connect to a Yamaha HTR-5790 Surround receiver. I want to connect via Digital Co-ax or Optical, and am interested in getting the best sound fidelity possible possible. Although I can connect via coax, it will be very difficult logistically to do so, so I really need to utilize a wireless connection back to my music server so I plan to use an 802.11b wireless router. Currently, I have my music collection in WMA, highest quality format, with no file protection.

Originally, my plan was to stream the existing files to the SB via wireless and have it output via either the co-ax or optical digital connector to my receiver and let the receivers DAC's handle the DA conversion. However, I have seen some posts that indicate that this is probably not the best way to accomplish my goal because the Slimserver application actually converts the WMA file to an MP3 stream which then has to be converted to an SPDIF compatible output at the device. Is this correct? If not can someone briefly explain what the device does in this scenario? Is this arrangement ever going to result in good music results or always be one of compromise due to multiple conversions of the file?

Given that it's really important to me to have the output from the SB in a format that my receiver can handle on it's own (I know some people claim they cannot hear a difference between the SB's DAC and analog output, but I think the DAC's in my receiver should give higher fidelity and using them will avoid reprossessing) I am willing to re-rip all of my CD's to another format and even move to a dedicated server(I have a spare unused PC). Storage space isn't unlimited, but I am willing to add disk space. It's relatively cheap. But before I go to that trouble, I wanted to "go to the source" and ask for some opinions/recommendations here. Any input is welcome and greatly appreciated.

Thanks,


Mike

dean
2004-12-01, 22:10
Hi Mike,


On Dec 1, 2004, at 5:26 PM, Mike Hartley wrote:
> Originally, my plan was to stream the existing files to the SB via
> wireless and have it output via either the co-ax or optical digital
> connector to my receiver and let the receivers DAC's handle the DA
> conversion. However, I have seen some posts that indicate that this
> is probably not the best way to accomplish my goal because the
> Slimserver application actually converts the WMA file to an MP3 stream
> which then has to be converted to an SPDIF compatible output at the
> device. Is this correct?
Not really. For WMA audio, SlimServer uses Windows to uncompress the
audio, then streams the uncompressed data to the player over the
network, so there's no loss (as in when you recompress with MP3).

> Given that it's really important to me to have the output from the SB
> in a format that my receiver can handle on it's own (I know some
> people claim they cannot hear a difference between the SB's DAC and
> analog output, but I think the DAC's in my receiver should give
> higher fidelity and using them will avoid reprossessing) I am willing
> to re-rip all of my CD's to another format and even move to a
> dedicated server(I have a spare unused PC). Storage space isn't
> unlimited, but I am willing to add disk space. It's relatively cheap.
> But before I go to that trouble, I wanted to "go to the source" and
> ask for some opinions/recommendations here. Any input is welcome and
> greatly appreciated.
There's a variety of opinion on what the best format is, but most on
this list will agree that a lossless format like FLAC, Apple Lossless
or WMA Lossless are the best if you have the disk space. You get only
about a 2:1 compression ratio with these formats, but the as the
compression format is lossless it's exactly what came off the CD. FLAC
seems to be the favorite in this community, but since they are all
lossless, there's no harm choosing one and then converting later.

Since disk space is so cheap these days, this is what I recommend to
folks who are ripping now.

-dean

John L Fjellstad
2004-12-02, 06:55
On Thu, Dec 02, 2004 at 08:58:06AM -0500, Mike Hartley wrote:
> Dean,
> Thanks for the reply. Do you know how the Slim-server/SB device handles WMA
> Lossless (ie is it converted to MP3/something else prior to sending to the
> SB and how is it output from the digital outs?

If you have a squeezebox, it will be converted to pcm and sent over, and
if you are using a slimp3 device, it will be converted to a 320 bits
(default) mp3 file. All depending on your setting for the player in the
audio tab (check http://localhost:9000/)

--
John L. Fjellstad
web: http://www.fjellstad.org/ Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

Mike Hartley
2004-12-02, 06:58
Dean,
Thanks for the reply. Do you know how the Slim-server/SB device handles WMA
Lossless (ie is it converted to MP3/something else prior to sending to the
SB and how is it output from the digital outs?

Mike
----- Original Message -----
From: "dean blackketter" <dean (AT) slimdevices (DOT) com>
To: "Slim Devices Discussion" <discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2004 12:10 AM
Subject: [slim] Question regarding formats, compression and Connecting
SBto an AV receiver


> Hi Mike,
>
>
> On Dec 1, 2004, at 5:26 PM, Mike Hartley wrote:
> > Originally, my plan was to stream the existing files to the SB via
> > wireless and have it output via either the co-ax or optical digital
> > connector to my receiver and let the receivers DAC's handle the DA
> > conversion. However, I have seen some posts that indicate that this
> > is probably not the best way to accomplish my goal because the
> > Slimserver application actually converts the WMA file to an MP3 stream
> > which then has to be converted to an SPDIF compatible output at the
> > device. Is this correct?
> Not really. For WMA audio, SlimServer uses Windows to uncompress the
> audio, then streams the uncompressed data to the player over the
> network, so there's no loss (as in when you recompress with MP3).
>
> > Given that it's really important to me to have the output from the SB
> > in a format that my receiver can handle on it's own (I know some
> > people claim they cannot hear a difference between the SB's DAC and
> > analog output, but I think the DAC's in my receiver should give
> > higher fidelity and using them will avoid reprossessing) I am willing
> > to re-rip all of my CD's to another format and even move to a
> > dedicated server(I have a spare unused PC). Storage space isn't
> > unlimited, but I am willing to add disk space. It's relatively cheap.
> > But before I go to that trouble, I wanted to "go to the source" and
> > ask for some opinions/recommendations here. Any input is welcome and
> > greatly appreciated.
> There's a variety of opinion on what the best format is, but most on
> this list will agree that a lossless format like FLAC, Apple Lossless
> or WMA Lossless are the best if you have the disk space. You get only
> about a 2:1 compression ratio with these formats, but the as the
> compression format is lossless it's exactly what came off the CD. FLAC
> seems to be the favorite in this community, but since they are all
> lossless, there's no harm choosing one and then converting later.
>
> Since disk space is so cheap these days, this is what I recommend to
> folks who are ripping now.
>
> -dean
>
>

Mike Hartley
2004-12-02, 07:59
John,
Thanks. PCM is an uncompressed DVD audio format, correct? So I guess it
would it be safe to assume it is compatible with the DACs on my receiver.
That's great news. Do you see any issue with bandwidth over wireless? The
SB will be the ONLY wireless device(s) on the network, and I do not
anticipate ever having more than two--although I am oly starting with a
single for now.

Mike


----- Original Message -----
From: "John L Fjellstad" <john-slimlist (AT) fjellstad (DOT) org>
To: <discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2004 8:55 AM
Subject: [slim] Question regarding formats, compression and
ConnectingSBto an AV receiver


> On Thu, Dec 02, 2004 at 08:58:06AM -0500, Mike Hartley wrote:
> > Dean,
> > Thanks for the reply. Do you know how the Slim-server/SB device handles
WMA
> > Lossless (ie is it converted to MP3/something else prior to sending to
the
> > SB and how is it output from the digital outs?
>
> If you have a squeezebox, it will be converted to pcm and sent over, and
> if you are using a slimp3 device, it will be converted to a 320 bits
> (default) mp3 file. All depending on your setting for the player in the
> audio tab (check http://localhost:9000/)
>
> --
> John L. Fjellstad
> web: http://www.fjellstad.org/ Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
>

Robin Bowes
2004-12-02, 08:24
Mike Hartley wrote:
> John,
> Thanks. PCM is an uncompressed DVD audio format, correct? So I guess it
> would it be safe to assume it is compatible with the DACs on my receiver.
> That's great news. Do you see any issue with bandwidth over wireless? The
> SB will be the ONLY wireless device(s) on the network, and I do not
> anticipate ever having more than two--although I am oly starting with a
> single for now.
>

Mike,

I use flac files which are streamed as PCM over my wireless network. I
have a WAP dedicated to the Squeezebox and I have never had any
network-related musc dropout problems.

YMMV,

R.
--
http://robinbowes.com