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View Full Version : I love Squeezebox - My system - A few questions



Scott Crawford
2014-10-17, 17:33
Hi everyone,

First off I am an audiophile and techno geek but not a coder. I ran two Squeezebox Radios for a number of years but this year I got serious about it. I absolutely love my Squeezebox Radios and believe they can't be beat (Maybe for any price).


My system:

2363 albums - WMA Variable Bit Rate 40 to 75. ( I have an identical library in WMA Lossless I hope to someday try.)

Dedicated (Circa 2003) Dell Server running Windows 8.1 (2.00 GB Ram - I Know, a bit on the low end), Nighthawk 6700 Router.

Logitech Media Server Version 7.8.1, Squeezebox Radios - 7.7.3. r16676.

Squeezebox Control for Android devices. All radios are synced together in every way possible.

2 Radios in the bedroom set to stereo + a Radio connected to a Sunfire SDS8 8" Powered Subwoofer.

2 Radios in the living room set to stereo + a Radio connected to a Sunfire SDS8 8" Powered Subwoofer.

1 Radio in the kitchen, dining room, office, guest room, craft room, TV room.

Yes, that's 12 Radios. I know it sounds a bit excessive but it has been a perfect fit for the house and I got most of them at a relative bargain on eBay.


I do have a few questions I am hoping someone can answer:

1. There seems to be an occasional "phase shift" when listening to two radios in the same room (stereo, monaural, doesn't matter, one radio will become louder & "sound slightly different" then it will change to the other one and back again). This can happen whether I am running 2 or 12 radios.

2. Just a few albums have a "within the album" - song sort order problem . Death Cab for Cutie - Plans, and Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon, where it's really obvious, are two of them. The songs appear in the proper order when using other media players.

3. I would like to use a headless(?) product from the Squeezebox universe for my subs and free up the 2 Squeezebox Radios for use elsewhere. Which product would you recommend for syncing/powering the subs.


That's it. Thanks in advance for any replies.


Scott

Mnyb
2014-10-17, 18:34
Re nr 2.

How do you play from album or artist or " music folder " menu ?

It matters ,music folder view is just that it does not use any meta data in the files it just play them as sorted in the folder .
May people would not notice as the name the tracks like "01_track" . Try via the artist or album menu ( it is also faster as it uses the tag info gained from the files during the scanning in its database ).
Music folder is basically a way to play with files that are not tagged or badly tagged btw .

Otherwise I suggest examine them with a tag editor like mp3tag . WMP is not always reliable in this case it can use internal databases for track info that's not present/stored in the files if you used WMP to rip them .
Have a look at the track number tag .
You can have LMS reveal the tags to ! There is a more info and view tags info if dive deep enough into,the menu of a track !

Good luck with all the radios :)

I can merely speculate about nr 1 question phase shift are time errors and actually syncing errors who can be network related problems, so it can depend on so many things especially with that many players are they all on wifi ? And are all synced or just some etc .A systematic approach may help ,try to determine if one or some players have not so good network speed compared to the rest ,one player with marginal connection affect the whole sync group as the server tries to keep the timing between all players playing the same thing .

Scott Crawford
2014-10-17, 20:40
Hi Mnyb,

Thanks for the reply and the ideas (a place to start). I went to the Squeeze Control app on my Android Phone (& the Web Control on the Server) and in both cases when I am in "Artist" & "Album" it shows the songs in the wrong order. When I go into "Music Folder" they are in the right order and I can see that they are numbered correctly (since it shows the numbers at the beginning of the song). Again it isn't happening on every album, just a few. I will look at the metadata and see if I can learn something else. I just wonder if it is a setting somewhere. I think I will also re-record the albums as a cross check and see if that changes the song order.

As far as the phase shift, I appreciate your ideas there as well. You helped me to understand I need to further clarify what's happening. Phase shift might not be the best description of what's happening. At no time while it's happening do the two players go out of sync, instead the sound just changes in which radio sounds pre-eminent, almost like it changes from soundstage to concert venue, like an EQ has been turned on and off, sorry I know that's not very clear, it's hard to describe. Also, it happens whether I am running 2 radios or 12. I have a great router and I don't think that's the problem. It doesn't seem like a network speed problem to me, they are all at 90% of signal or above. Thanks again for your ideas, I really appreciate it.

Scott

toby10
2014-10-18, 01:22
Phase shift mean they are possibly drifting while in Sync? This happen when you are playing local music or online stream?

Next time it happens while players are Synced, press and hold the PAUSE button on the player itself (will say STPPED). Now press PLAY button on player.
Problem go away?

Apesbrain
2014-10-18, 06:41
Phase shift might not be the best description of what's happening. At no time while it's happening do the two players go out of sync, instead the sound just changes in which radio sounds pre-eminent, almost like it changes from soundstage to concert venue, like an EQ has been turned on and off, sorry I know that's not very clear, it's hard to describe.
I also have two Radios configured in stereo and they do the exact same thing. Thinking it might be a wireless issue I wired them and they still do it from time to time. Seems like an idiosyncrasy of sync that has no "solution". It doesn't happen often enough to be bothersome. A way around it would be to use one Radio to drive a pair of powered speakers via its headphone jack.

As for a headless player you may want to read up on piCorePlayer elsewhere in the Forum. Ask in that thread if users are having any issues with sync. The parts for a Raspberry Pi-based player cost about $75 on Amazon.

Mnyb
2014-10-18, 06:52
I would also consider converting the WMA lossles files to flac if you plan to use them as source .

WMA lossles is not natively supported on the player so the server would transcode all the time ,so no real issues with playback provided powerfull enough server on windows ! , but WMA lossles is windows proprietary and is not always reverse engineered enough to work on for example a Linux server or a NAS box .

Better use an open source format that works on all OS , and on windows there are plenty of alternatives to WMP that support flac .

With as much as 12 players ! And probably soon to be more if you build/get a stationary player to conect to a hifi or active speakers . I would also consider wiring the server computer with ethernet to the router if not already done . It halves the network load , keep the Radios you lug around on wifi and wire some of the more stationary ones if possible ( if the home decor can stand it )

Scott Crawford
2014-10-18, 09:23
Phase shift mean they are possibly drifting while in Sync? This happen when you are playing local music or online stream?

Next time it happens while players are Synced, press and hold the PAUSE button on the player itself (will say STPPED). Now press PLAY button on player.
Problem go away?

Hi Toby10,

Thanks for the reply, It happens with both local and online music (I really only stream Pandora) and it happens quickly, it's started and finished in a few seconds and yes, the music is definitely staying in sync while it's happening. I will try and catch it though and let you know if pausing stops it.

Scott Crawford
2014-10-18, 09:32
I also have two Radios configured in stereo and they do the exact same thing. Thinking it might be a wireless issue I wired them and they still do it from time to time. Seems like an idiosyncrasy of sync that has no "solution". It doesn't happen often enough to be bothersome. A way around it would be to use one Radio to drive a pair of powered speakers via its headphone jack.

As for a headless player you may want to read up on piCorePlayer elsewhere in the Forum. Ask in that thread if users are having any issues with sync. The parts for a Raspberry Pi-based player cost about $75 on Amazon.

Hi Apesbrain,

Thanks for the reply, Glad to know someone else is experiencing it. I thought it might have something to do with LMS, rather than the radios themselves. It would definitely be a fix to run two speakers with one radio but I would hate to lose the stereo aspect where I have that enabled and also the ability to space them far apart wirelessly.

I will check into the piCorePlayer as well, although I was thinking more about the Squeezebox versions that preceded the Squeezebox Radio. Thanks again for your suggestions!

Scott Crawford
2014-10-18, 09:59
I would also consider converting the WMA lossles files to flac if you plan to use them as source .

WMA lossles is not natively supported on the player so the server would transcode all the time ,so no real issues with playback provided powerfull enough server on windows ! , but WMA lossles is windows proprietary and is not always reverse engineered enough to work on for example a Linux server or a NAS box .

Better use an open source format that works on all OS , and on windows there are plenty of alternatives to WMP that support flac .

With as much as 12 players ! And probably soon to be more if you build/get a stationary player to conect to a hifi or active speakers . I would also consider wiring the server computer with ethernet to the router if not already done . It halves the network load , keep the Radios you lug around on wifi and wire some of the more stationary ones if possible ( if the home decor can stand it )

Hi Mnyb,

I'm thinking it would be a huge amount of work to convert my Lossless library so if the LMS server can handle it I would probably go that route, even if it would mean upgrading to more powerful hardware. I have often thought about Flac but never made the jump and at this point I am pretty much committed to WMA.

The server and the router are connected by gigabit Ethernet and everything else is wireless (spread out all over the house). My house doesn't really offer much of an opportunity for Ethernet installation. When I moved in I did what I could using the existing channels in the basement but I was only able to add 5 Ethernet ports throughout the house, most of them in the basement. I do have one heck of a powerful router and again, I rarely if ever experience load or disconnect issues.

One last thing, I tried to hide the radios in plain sight as much as possible so it doesn't look like I am running a used radio store. They are mostly tucked into book shelves and the rest are located on a kitchen counter, a desk, and two nightstands. The subwoofers (with radios) are tucked out of sight as well. :-)

Thanks again for your great comments.

garym
2014-10-18, 12:49
converting the WMA lossless files to FLAC is very, very simple. Use something like dbpoweramp (not free), or foobar2000 (free). Load up the thousands of files and batch convert from WMA lossless to FLAC. If setup properly, all your metadata and artwork and file organization structure moves over exactly as it was (or as you want it to be). So a few settings, click "convert" and depending how many files you have, come back a few hours (or days) later and all is automatically converted. And since your converting from lossless to lossless, there is not transcoding quality problem to worry about.

pippin
2014-10-18, 13:29
Regarding the phase shift: are you absolutely sure you have set the two radios to use left and right channel respectively? Mono signals are very, very sensitive to phase shift, you can easily hear the 10ms delay that LMS allows for synced devices through a change in apparent direction.

However, the same is not true for stereo signals which are not identical so whenever you run two radios in one room you really want the. To use the different channels. Even having both play the stereo signal will obviously result in identical signals from a mono speaker, obviously :)

d6jg
2014-10-18, 15:16
I have to say I am a bit confused. To the OP you describe yourself as an audiophile. With the greatest of respect to the SB Radio (I have one) it's internal speaker can hardly be described as high end either in Mono or as a L or R in a pair. Have you tried an SB3 or Touch (or a Duet for that matter) into a decent hi-fi amp with some decent hi-fi speakers?

PS Wired will always be better / more stable than wireless.

Scott Crawford
2014-10-18, 16:59
converting the WMA lossless files to FLAC is very, very simple. Use something like dbpoweramp (not free), or foobar2000 (free). Load up the thousands of files and batch convert from WMA lossless to FLAC. If setup properly, all your metadata and artwork and file organization structure moves over exactly as it was (or as you want it to be). So a few settings, click "convert" and depending how many files you have, come back a few hours (or days) later and all is automatically converted. And since your converting from lossless to lossless, there is not transcoding quality problem to worry about.

Hi Garym,

Thanks for the comment. I've done batch file conversions before (mostly with photos) and I know there's a plethora of file conversion software out there but I'd convinced myself it would be harder and less successful than you are saying (I've been very thorough with metadata). You have me encouraged.

It's what I was hoping for when I built a Lossless library. That I could change it to another file type someday and it would remain lossless. I will look into it. Thanks!

Scott Crawford
2014-10-18, 17:18
Regarding the phase shift: are you absolutely sure you have set the two radios to use left and right channel respectively? Mono signals are very, very sensitive to phase shift, you can easily hear the 10ms delay that LMS allows for synced devices through a change in apparent direction.

However, the same is not true for stereo signals which are not identical so whenever you run two radios in one room you really want the. To use the different channels. Even having both play the stereo signal will obviously result in identical signals from a mono speaker, obviously :)

Hi Pippin,

Thanks for the reply, Yes it occurs both when they are set to stereo and mono. In an earlier configuration I had two radios on opposite sides of a room (25 feet apart). I didn't think stereo was a good option for two speakers set so far apart so they were set to mono. "Phase shift" occurred regularly in that configuration.

When I purchased another radio, I put it close to one of them (on the same wall 8 feet apart) and set them to stereo (the third one is still 25 feet away, set to mono). The stereo pair "phase shift" as often as the previous mono configuration did. I didn't know mono was more sensitive to phase shift. Great stuff, thanks.

pippin
2014-10-18, 17:58
By "stereo" you mean you set them to different channels (one left and one right) so that each one actually played a mono channel (but different ones)? In that configuration you really should only be able to experience phase shift if you play mono material (or you are really right in the middle; even then it should be much lower).

Phase effects between the two radios should actually only happen if they play the exact same signal, which is the case if both are set to play the stereo signal (the same one) since they are only mono radios (so both channels will be combined into a single signal).
The problem with identical signals is that the since waves will overlay or cancel each other out, depending in the phase shift which is a pretty dramatic effect (if you play a single sine wave and the shift is half the wavelength they would theoretically even completely cancel each other out in some places). Now, while this effect itself is usually not too noticeable because music consists of a continuum of wavelengths and your room reflects a continuum of waves through multiple paths, actual _changes_ in the phase will be immediately noticeable because the have rather big effects to the resulting frequency mix.
Also, the ear is extremely sensitive to this because it's how it's deriving direction information from sound which is extremely important when, say, you are hiding from a tiger in the jungle. Which is the kind of thing our ears were originally designed for,

Scott Crawford
2014-10-18, 18:37
I have to say I am a bit confused. To the OP you describe yourself as an audiophile. With the greatest of respect to the SB Radio (I have one) it's internal speaker can hardly be described as high end either in Mono or as a L or R in a pair. Have you tried an SB3 or Touch (or a Duet for that matter) into a decent hi-fi amp with some decent hi-fi speakers?

PS Wired will always be better / more stable than wireless.

Hi d6jg,

I wondered if I was going to pay for using that word. ;-)

I guess I should explain. From 93 to 97, I purchased the best, most powerful, and sonically pure system I could possibly afford, put it in a gorgeous cabinet, and loved it. Then life got busy, and my stereo (and the house) fell silent. I just didn't seem to have the time (kids, careers, commitments) to put on an album, or CD, face the speakers, and listen (remember that Memorex commercial?) Fast forward ten years and I pick up a Squeezebox, then another. One button, Pandora, Some music I had converted from CD, and I am listening. Turn it on in one second, turn it off in one second, and the house has music again. Fast forward a few more years, a few more Squeezeboxes, and I have decided that the sound the Squeezeboxes deliver is "definitely good enough". Add in two subwoofers for some low end and I am really happy. Sound in every room, sound that follows you, sound that sounds "good enough" (and is actually being used). Considering I spent more for just the amplifier (not including the tuner) in my fancy sound system than I have in all of my Squeezeboxes and Subwoofers combined, I'm feeling pretty good about the compromise.

I love the convenience of the digital experience but I also know it's "very" expensive to go full Digital HiFi so, I settled for my current system. Call me a practical audiophile.

P.S. I couldn't agree more that wired is better than wireless but considering my original system had wires as big as my fingers and my house would be nearly impossible to wire, I made another compromise and went wireless.

Hope that clears it up for you. Thanks for the comment. :-)

w3wilkes
2014-10-18, 22:22
On wired vs wireless in the Squeezebox world, bits are bits. If your wireless connection is solid there is absolutely ZERO sound quality difference between wired and wireless. If your wireless signal is sketchy you will have dropouts in your sound while it re-buffers, but the sound quality when it's playing is the same as it would be if it were wired.

Mnyb
2014-10-18, 23:18
Your hifi can come out to play again ,try to find a used squeezebox touch or get some of th home grown solutions that is popular on this forum :)

Then your hifi will be a part of the whole house music experience .

w3wilkes
2014-10-18, 23:30
Your hifi can come out to play again ,try to find a used squeezebox touch or get some of th home grown solutions that is popular on this forum :)
.

I would sure give this a big thumbs up! With what some folks are asking for their used devices I'd definitely be looking at the home grown solutions. I don't think you'd go wrong from either a sound quality or price perspective!

d6jg
2014-10-19, 00:53
Yes get that hi-fi connected!!
On wireless yes a bit is a bit but with that many devices connecting you are going to experience some issues at some point or another. Home plug?

Mnyb
2014-10-19, 04:27
It also depends on what you stream when you start to use lossles files the demand on the network gets higher , but you will see for yourself . Soundquality is ofcourse not affected ,but drop outs and decreased ability to keep several players in sync are signs to watch for once you start using your lossles files instead of the very low bitrate lossles you use for the radio's

Julf
2014-10-20, 05:40
I've done batch file conversions before (mostly with photos) and I know there's a plethora of file conversion software out there but I'd convinced myself it would be harder and less successful than you are saying (I've been very thorough with metadata).

If you have put in a lot of effort in getting the metadata right, I really encourage you to go FLAC - where the tag support is much better supported and standardized. That way you can be sure the effort you put into tagging doesn't get wasted. As an additional bonus, you double your disk space and the number of devices your network can support :)

Scott Crawford
2014-10-22, 21:57
Hi All,

Thanks for the great responses and sorry it took me awhile to reply, I had a few big projects I needed to complete for work. It sounds like I am definitely going to give Flac a try, it just might take me awhile to figure out the best way to get my WMA Lossless library converted. I have to say I am very pleased with the sense of community that this forum has. Everyone has had such solid and well thought out suggestions. They are very appreciated.

A few questions.

1. I assume I will be able to hear a difference going to lossless (even with the "smallish" Squeezebox Radio speaker)?

2. I know it will put a larger load on my wireless network, but what are some of the experiences you guys have had with lossless over a Squeezebox wireless network? (Right now my wireless is rock solid)

3. Still curious if there is a setting that I am overlooking that seems to be reordering my songs within an album. It seems strange that in WMP and Zune the (same) songs are displayed properly within an album.

Also,

I will look into ways to incorporate some of my Hi-Fi pieces into my home system but in the meantime are there any suggestions as to what device in the Squeezebox line I could use to drive my subs? Something with a small profile that could still sync up properly with LMS? Thanks for any suggestions.

P.S. You guys have me thinking. I have a set of Audioengine A5's and A2's. Seems like they might be a good option to improve the quality of my system. Any thoughts?

Thanks again to anyone who has any ideas.

Scott

Mnyb
2014-10-22, 22:14
1. maybe slightly , but probably so if you conect the hifi .

2. If it works it's just fine if it does not work you get very clear dropouts and rebuffering , so if it breaks it's not subtle when it works it's perfect , the you get get with Ethernet is reliability .

Hires can be another game , I would not count on using 24/192 on a modified Touch over wifi . 24/96 can work ,but I'll go wired here normal cd quality lossles 16/44.1 no problems

3. No it's all in the tags or lack thereoff , unless yo ticked shuffle play but that reorders all albums and playlists :)

toby10
2014-10-23, 02:24
1. not likely, with well ripped lossy vs lossless it can be difficult to hear a difference even on a higher end system

2. lossless is still a small bandwidth for most WiFi setups, should not be an issue, best to have server wired if possible

I have A5's as well. Great little speakers, but hardly audiophile quality. But certainly an improvement over a small SB Radio speaker.

Mnyb
2014-10-23, 04:38
1. not likely, with well ripped lossy vs lossless it can be difficult to hear a difference even on a higher end system

2. lossless is still a small bandwidth for most WiFi setups, should not be an issue, best to have server wired if possible

I have A5's as well. Great little speakers, but hardly audiophile quality. But certainly an improvement over a small SB Radio speaker.

OP uses "WMA Variable Bit Rate 40 to 75." thats not to good I suspect even a radio can expose this quality . I did not think anybody doing thier own files went below 128kBs most mp3 user today go >256kBps

garym
2014-10-23, 04:44
OP uses "WMA Variable Bit Rate 40 to 75." thats not to good I suspect even a radio can expose this quality . I did not think anybody doing thier own files went below 128kBs most mp3 user today go >256kBps

wow. yes, unlikely to hear difference in most music, if it is high enough bit rate lossy (192kb, or maybe 160kb), but 40 to 75kbs should sound pretty bad compared to lossless (or wven 128kbs!).

p.s. yes, double check your shuffle or random settings in LMS. And have you looked at your tags carefully to make sure that the track number is correct.

d6jg
2014-10-23, 13:41
You will definitely hear a difference between 40-75kbps and Flac even on the SB radios.
On decent kit I believe only 10% of people can tell the difference between 320kbps mp3s and Flac. Only a very few can distinguish CDs and Flac.
The kit is however quite important.
Your Q about the subs. Any of Touch, SB3 or Duet would do it but they are all way better than a SB radio. The homebrew stuff Pi etc may not sync well enough.

pippin
2014-10-23, 14:32
Everyone with a more severe hearing impairment who's upper hearing limit is below 12kHz will immediately notice the difference at any bitrate.

The better your hearing, the less you can distinguish them at high bitrates.

Encoding usually is much more important than bitrate. A poor encoder doing a fast encoding can always sound awful.

Scott Crawford
2014-11-06, 16:45
Hi All,

Once again it's been awhile since I have posted but I have checked-in on occasion. I really appreciate all of the great comments and am working through some of the idea's presented. I have made a few changes since last posting including changing the two Radio - right channel, left channel configuration in the living room to a single Radio set to both channels incorporating my Audioengine A5 speakers (Yes I know they are not HIFI ;-). That got rid of the noticeable "phase shift" and the speakers sound pretty darn good. I also purchased a KiDiGi cradle, put it in a central spot, and dedicated my Nexus 7 running Squeezebox Controller as the home stereo controller. I really love that. I am still working on figuring out the sort order within albums situation but it's not a big deal. Definitely still loving it. :-)

Long range goals include introducing some true HIFI components into the mix but I tell you, it really does sound amazing (for a roam about the house stereo) and I am also still planning on changing to my lossless library at some point. Seems like a good winter project (Need to cleanup some metadata descriptions in that database).

One quick question - Should I use LMS or Squeezebox.com to resize album art and why? I currently have it set to use LMS and not having any problems but I wonder which is best. Thanks in advance. :-)

Scott Crawford
2014-11-06, 17:20
OP uses "WMA Variable Bit Rate 40 to 75." thats not to good I suspect even a radio can expose this quality . I did not think anybody doing thier own files went below 128kBs most mp3 user today go >256kBps

Hi Mnyb,

I am probably deluding myself but I did a lot of research before choosing my (very portable) format and bitrate for bitrate the WMA VBR did very well against other formats and shows absolutely none of weird artifact sounds you can get with a lower size. No brutal chopping off of cymbals and high hats, no strange metallic noises and no tune altering distortion. Really, it sounds exceptional (for it's size) and I have been quite happy. When I compare my two databases (Lossless and 40 to 75) side by side of course I can hear the difference but it is remarkable what you still hear with the 40-75 VBR and an astonishingly low bitrate.

I think part of the reason I went so low initially was that I have been building the VBR database for more than 12 years and hard drive size at one time was an issue. The Lossless database is about 9 years of work. The full VBR database is over 9000 full albums ( I run a smaller one on my Squeezebox) and the Lossless database is almost that big.

Scott Crawford
2014-11-21, 17:56
Hi all,

I just purchased a third Sunfire SDS 8 Subwoofer so now I have one on all three floors of the house - the basement, 1st floor, and 2nd floor. It sounds pretty good for a "whole house" system. I also purchased another (probably final) Squeezebox Radio which brings the final number to 13. All of them are running flawlessly on my Netgear Nighthawk R7000. I run the Squeezebox's on the legacy 2.4 ghz frequency and everything else on 5 ghz. It must be a pretty good router. :-)

One question. My Nexus 7 (and my Droid Maxx at some point) will undoubtedly update soon to Android 5.0 Lolipop. Is anyone having any issues with Squeeze Control on the new OS?

Thanks in advance,

Scott

P.S. I am going to look into incorporating my Lossless collection soon.

w3wilkes
2014-11-21, 23:43
I'm running Orange Squeeze on my Nexus 5 which has updated OTA to Android 5.0.I'm guessing the Logitech app would work fine also.

Scott Crawford
2014-11-23, 15:50
I'm running Orange Squeeze on my Nexus 5 which has updated OTA to Android 5.0.I'm guessing the Logitech app would work fine also.

Hi w3wilkes, Thanks for the reply. Sounds like I'll be in good shape. :-)

Scott Crawford
2014-11-24, 20:26
Hi all,

I just have a quick question. How do I change it so my email address shows up instead of the previous owners when looking at a player in My Apps - Pandora - Player Settings, on mysqueezebox.com? Is that a situation where I need to call Logitech, or Pandora?

Thank you in advance,

Scott

toby10
2014-11-25, 04:14
.... Is that a situation where I need to call Logitech, or Pandora?

Depends. If Touch or Radio players then no, just do a Factory Reset and one of the Startup screens will ask if you want to keep the current MySB.com login (select NO). All other players do require you call Logitech with your players MAC address.