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Goodsounds
2018-10-29, 09:47
I'm helping a friend set up a small SB location for his bedroom. For alarm, music at a soft setting, etc., Me, I already have an in-place and working multi-room SB home and all's well.


Here's the question - a used SB Radio can be found for under $75. A used Touch is $150 or more. I understand the headphone jack on the Radio could function just fine as audio-out to small powered speakers. Or, the normal analog RCA outputs from a Touch of course work too.


This is for a bedroom, not for a major listening location and not for profound enjoyment of high resolution music. Keeping in mind the intended usage, is there a substantial difference in sound quality to justify the extra cost of buying a Touch? Assume that the screen display doesn't matter and that input and control will be accomplished using a smartphone app.


Thanks in advance for any thoughts you can share.

d6jg
2018-10-29, 12:43
If you don’t need a screen what about a Google Chromecast and Phillipe’s plugin. Great value for money and not bad sound.

Goodsounds
2018-10-29, 13:29
Yes, I'm considering that approach too. Any downsides to that? Is the sound quality at least to an SB Boom level?

I thought I'd seen that free Pandora will not play to non-SB hardware ?

d6jg
2018-10-29, 13:41
I’d say better than a Boom if your Active Speakers are of sufficient quality. Certainly something like Audioengine A2 would be better.

Pandora. I use local FLACs, Spotify & BBC iPlayer. All are fine via a Chromecast (now I know how to set it up for gapless) I can’t see why Pandora would or could be any different.

Goodsounds
2018-10-29, 15:26
If there are no other in-the-know responses, I have another friend who has an audio Chromecast, so I can take a laptop over to his house and see what happens with LMS before having my other friend buy the hardware. Yeah, it's cheap, but it'll let me know if the choice involves some use-compromise he should consider and he can decide what he wants.


On your other comment, I've never fully understood the enthusiasm about gapless playback. Am I missing something about it? The next track starts as the other ends, with no gap, no brief moment of silence. Is that all it is?

garym
2018-10-29, 15:36
On your other comment, I've never fully understood the enthusiasm about gapless playback. Am I missing something about it? The next track starts as the other ends, with no gap, no brief moment of silence. Is that all it is?

Yes that is all it is. But very annoying. You must not listen to many live albums (or things like the Beatles Abby Road (side 2) or Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon). For me, the most annoying is a really nice live album with a cool transition from one song to the next (think Grateful Dead) and then you get the break with a second or two of silence. It is only a second, but is very annoying and definitely kills the buzz....

d6jg
2018-10-29, 15:39
If there are no other in-the-know responses, I have another friend who has an audio Chromecast, so I can take a laptop over to his house and see what happens with LMS before having my other friend buy the hardware. Yeah, it's cheap, but it'll let me know if the choice involves some use-compromise he should consider and he can decide what he wants.


On your other comment, I've never fully understood the enthusiasm about gapless playback. Am I missing something about it? The next track starts as the other ends, with no gap, no brief moment of silence. Is that all it is?

Gapless. Yes but if you don’t have music that requires it you wouldn’t notice the lack of it. A good example is Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. The tracks flow into the next track. Without gapless playback you hear a micro second Gap that shouldn’t be there.

Goodsounds
2018-10-30, 12:36
Does anyone know, will free Pandora stream from LMS---> a Chromecast audio device in the US? (I won't be seeing my friend to try it myself for a couple of weeks). Thanks

garym
2018-10-30, 12:41
Does anyone know, will free Pandora stream from LMS---> a Chromecast audio device in the US? (I won't be seeing my friend to try it myself for a couple of weeks). Thanks

Yes. Free pandora will stream. I haven't tried with anything but a real squeezebox player.

Goodsounds
2018-10-30, 14:22
Okay, thanks. I'll tell him to go ahead and pick up a Chromecast audio device.

The gapless thing isn't an issue for me but I'm glad to better understand. I do have a few albums that I think of as thematic or ongoing from song to song. Abbey Rd is one you've reminded me of. Tull's Thick as a Brick is another but the CD version is in two parts (vinyl front and back?) and isn't separated by tracks. I guess it's not something I've ever paid that much attention to with others. I do have a moderate number of live recordings but I more often listen to music from a playlist of multiple artists and in shuffle mode than just one album. When I listen to one album, I often don't turn off the shuffle unless it's something where there's a sense to the order (like those mentioned, or a play or film soundtrack).

Even with diminishing participation, it's a great forum for getting useful information. Much appreciated.

garym
2018-10-30, 14:23
Okay, thanks. I'll tell him to go ahead and pick up a Chromecast audio device.

The gapless thing isn't an issue for me but I'm glad to better understand. I do have a few album that I think of as thematic or ongoing from song to song. Abbey Rd is one you've reminded me of. Tull's Thick as a Brick is another but the CD version is in two parts (vinyl front and back?) and isn't separated by tracks. I guess it's not something I've ever paid attention to.

note that I couldn't confirm whether free pandora would stream with a chromecast device....

Goodsounds
2018-10-30, 14:41
note that I couldn't confirm whether free pandora would stream with a chromecast device....

haha, I thought you did when you said "Yes. Free pandora will stream." I know it will to SB hardware because I do that myself but that was the secondary question I had to get answered in considering the Chromecast alternative.

Okay, back to Plan B. I'll be seeing my friend with one I can try it out on in a few weeks so absent anyone else's thoughts, that should work. Thanks again for taking the time to help.

garym
2018-10-30, 14:52
haha, I thought you did when you said "Yes. Free pandora will stream." I know it will to SB hardware because I do that myself but that was the secondary question I had to get answered in considering the Chromecast alternative.

Okay, back to Plan B. I'll be seeing my friend with one I can try it out on in a few weeks so absent anyone else's thoughts, that should work. Thanks again for taking the time to help.

when I try to use free pandora to stream to a squeezelite player on my laptop, I get the message that I must be a paid subscriber to stream to this device. I don't have a chromecast device connected to test. My suspicion is it will get the same message, but who knows....

Goodsounds
2018-10-30, 15:06
when I try to use free pandora to stream to a squeezelite player on my laptop, I get the message that I must be a paid subscriber to stream to this device. I don't have a chromecast device connected to test. My suspicion is it will get the same message, but who knows....

Exactly, that's what I saw when I tried it with Squeezeplay on my PC.

Any thoughts about using a Radio as a front end to modest speakers instead of a Touch for a lower cost solution? I don't have a Radio to run a test with. Do you have a few moments to try it (comparing A/B vs the Touch) with yours? I'm thinking maybe there'd be a difference with the DAC but I not enough of a techie or audio jockey to know or compare other than by sound. Thanks

garym
2018-10-30, 15:09
Exactly, that's what I saw when I tried it with Squeezeplay on my PC.

Any thoughts about using a Radio as a front end instead of a Touch for a low cost streaming solution?

Given that we're talking about music as alarms, low level listening, etc. it seems to me that the easiest thing to do is use the Radio itself and its built in speaker. Works fine for that sort of use.

Goodsounds
2018-10-30, 15:20
Given that we're talking about music as alarms, low level listening, etc. it seems to me that the easiest thing to do is use the Radio itself and its built in speaker. Works fine for that sort of use.

He'd said he wanted stereo and not mono, despite the modest system. The streaming he wants to do from time to time is in addition to playing his music collection.

It's one of those things where I'm just trying to help someone out. I saw in your sig that you have a Radio and so I thought maybe I could ask a few minutes of help from you. Sorry, thanks anyway

garym
2018-10-30, 16:02
He'd said he wanted stereo and not mono, despite the modest system. The streaming he wants to do from time to time is in addition to playing his music collection.

It's one of those things where I'm just trying to help someone out. I saw in your sig that you have a Radio and so I thought maybe I could ask a few minutes of help from you. Sorry, thanks anyway

I'm confused. Did I not test something you wanted tested? Maybe I misread something. I have a radio and it works fine as a bedroom player through its internal speaker, including playing free Pandora. I don't have a chromecast LMS setup or any powered speakers at home with the radio to test anything else about it.

edit: The Radio is fine for what it is. Sounds good for a desktop radio in my bedroom or kitchen. My touch is connected as a player through a major home AV system (not powered speakers) so sounds WAY better than the radio with its internal speaker. If I was going to obtain a squeezebox player for use to feed self-powered speakers, I'd definitely go for the TOUCH. It's designed for this and the Radio is not really designed for this. The recommendation of a Touch feeding Audioengine A2s should sound fantastic. I use a pair of Audioengine A2s at the office and they sound very nice and are plenty loud if needed.

Goodsounds
2018-10-30, 16:49
I'm confused. Did I not test something you wanted tested? Maybe I misread something. I have a radio and it works fine as a bedroom player through its internal speaker, including playing free Pandora. I don't have a chromecast LMS setup or any powered speakers at home with the radio to test anything else about it.

edit: The Radio is fine for what it is. Sounds good for a desktop radio in my bedroom or kitchen. My touch is connected as a player through a major home AV system (not powered speakers) so sounds WAY better than the radio with its internal speaker. If I was going to obtain a squeezebox player for use to feed self-powered speakers, I'd definitely go for the TOUCH. It's designed for this and the Radio is not really designed for this. The recommendation of a Touch feeding Audioengine A2s should sound fantastic. I use a pair of Audioengine A2s at the office and they sound very nice and are plenty loud if needed.

No but I think maybe I wasn't clear enough in an effort to be brief. I thought maybe someone had tried it or, failing that, with the right equipment could spend a few minutes moving stuff around to try it out and share the experience.

At best, much of what's on the used market is 10 years old. Much of it can be older. I know my own SB equip is starting to show its age, it's a wonder it's all lasted as long as it has.

I was trying to balance the purchase price risk vs functionality for my buddy. If a Radio works reasonably satisfactorily, it's likely to be a newer product and $100 less money on the table to buy something from a stranger. If people have found the sound not acceptable, then the choice is $35 for reasonable but incomplete functionality (Chromecast audio) or $150 to buy full functionality but something that might conk out in 6 months.

I was looking for some direction and experience but failing that, I'll just let him decide. His money, his consequence. Thanks

garym
2018-10-30, 17:20
No but I think maybe I wasn't clear enough in an effort to be brief. I thought maybe someone had tried it or, failing that, with the right equipment could spend a few minutes moving stuff around to try it out and share the experience.

At best, much of what's on the used market is 10 years old. Much of it can be older. I know my own SB equip is starting to show its age, it's a wonder it's all lasted as long as it has.

I was trying to balance the purchase price risk vs functionality for my buddy. If a Radio works reasonably satisfactorily, it's likely to be a newer product and $100 less money on the table to buy something from a stranger. If people have found the sound not acceptable, then the choice is $35 for reasonable but incomplete functionality (Chromecast audio) or $150 to buy full functionality but something that might conk out in 6 months.

I was looking for some direction and experience but failing that, I'll just let him decide. His money, his consequence. Thanks

OK. I understand your request now. If it was only sorta complicated, I'd be happy to test output from RADIO headphone jack vs output of TOUCH, both feeding same amp/speakers. Unfortunately, it would be quite a chore. My Touch is connected to my DAC/Preamp/Amp via a S/PDIF coaxial cable. So it is not a matter of simply pluging that cable into the RADIO. I'd need a different cable for the RADIO (and the TOUCH RCA outs instead of S/PDIF), a cable I don't currently own by the way (dual RCA on one end and headphone miniplug on the other). And to insert this different cable I'd have to have a friend come over to help me move a giant piece of furniture away from the wall that holds all my AV equipment inside (with a 65" TV on top of it). Then I'd need to use that different cable to connect radio vs Touch to A/B them. And accessing DACs, preamps, etc. inside this AV cabinet is not that easy.

Anyhow, we're talking 3 to 4 hours on a Saturday to get things moved out, tested, moved back in, etc. You get the idea.

But the next best thing is I did a search of this forum going back to when the Radios were first released. There were a few threads that addressed using the headphone out of the radio to feed a preamp or powered speakers instead of the TOUCH. The general consensus seemed to be that, although not perfect because the radio output not line-level and a bit noiser, it generally worked just fine for modest listening (although not as good as a TOUCH, which is made for this purpose). The major complaint is that the volume was way lower out of the radio headphone jack as compared with TOUCH line-level outputs (RCA analog outputs).

If not for the need for free Pandora, the answer (for me if recommending to a friend) would be very simple. I'd do one of two things.

1. connect a chromecast audio connector to a set of powered speakers and control with smart phone (all playing my own music or internet radio streams from LMS with the appropriate plugin from phillipe to make LMS work with chromecast).

2. Purchase a Rasberry Pi 3B+ with HifiBerry DAC+ hat, install PiCorePlayer (which will then be using squeezelite as the LMS player), add a small case to hold all this, and connect the analog outputs of the Rasberry Pi to the powered speakers. This is cheap, but not as cheap as the chromecast audio. But it is current technology. (p.s I'm not technology inclined....I did all this in about 15 minutes using a screwdriver (for the case) and snapping a couple of things together. Downloading a file (PiCorePlayer), copying to an SD CARD, plugging it in. No wiring or soldering etc. All following step-by-step instructions from this forum.

Goodsounds
2018-10-30, 20:14
I see, I get what you're saying.

While I've spent my adult life in Silicon Valley (and picked up my first SB3 and a few other purchases at the Slim Devices office in Mountain View, and also discovered a former colleague working there on one visit), I'm not an engineer or any other kind of technical person. The thought of cobbling together a Linux-running device from even pre-configured components holds no interest for me. None. I wouldn't do it for myself, much less for someone else's use. As I said, I'll leave it up to my buddy to decide the approach he wants from the conventional choices.

I have an old SB3 that I retired from active use some years ago due to erratic behavior. Maybe it's ready for prime-time again? I'll check it out and see if it wants to see daylight again.

For me, it's not about technology, it's about music. My friend has no choice, I'm the tour guide and we go and do what I choose! ;-). Or, he can go in the Sonos direction, something I've helped other friends with.

Thanks for the time to respond.

d6jg
2018-10-31, 02:04
I'm confused. Did I not test something you wanted tested? Maybe I misread something. I have a radio and it works fine as a bedroom player through its internal speaker, including playing free Pandora. I don't have a chromecast LMS setup or any powered speakers at home with the radio to test anything else about it.

edit: The Radio is fine for what it is. Sounds good for a desktop radio in my bedroom or kitchen. My touch is connected as a player through a major home AV system (not powered speakers) so sounds WAY better than the radio with its internal speaker. If I was going to obtain a squeezebox player for use to feed self-powered speakers, I'd definitely go for the TOUCH. It's designed for this and the Radio is not really designed for this. The recommendation of a Touch feeding Audioengine A2s should sound fantastic. I use a pair of Audioengine A2s at the office and they sound very nice and are plenty loud if needed.

Gary - Slightly off topic but what do you think of the Audioengine A2s ? I am considering a pair for our Guest Room driven by an O2 Joggler (USB) or perhaps a Touch (RCA) but they do seem expensive compared to other options e.g. Alesis M1 Active 330 USB at about half the cost which have the bonus that I already know they work over USB with a Joggler.

On topic. I can't test Chromecast (Phillipe's plugin) with Pandora being in UK but I can't see why it wouldn't work as it is an instance of squeezelite inside LMS but as I say I can't test. I'd put a Chromecast into our Guest Room but I currently have plenty of other spare kit.

Note. I use my Chromecast to a small headphone amp at my bedside. It is only ever used in this stand alone mode and never synced.

bpa
2018-10-31, 02:55
IIRC Pandora (free) requires a hardware players as that was part of the deal with Slimdevices/Logitech - I think this is checked using mac address.

There may be other problems with Pandora (paid up) and Chromecast
https://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?109130-Problem-with-Pandora-and-Chromecast

garym
2018-10-31, 05:45
I have an old SB3 that I retired from active use some years ago due to erratic behavior. Maybe it's ready for prime-time again? I'll check it out and see if it wants to see daylight again.


Using that old SB3 would be my first choice. Should work fine for many more years *and* can stream free Pandora.

garym
2018-10-31, 05:54
Gary - Slightly off topic but what do you think of the Audioengine A2s ? I am considering a pair for our Guest Room driven by an O2 Joggler (USB) or perhaps a Touch (RCA) but they do seem expensive compared to other options e.g. Alesis M1 Active 330 USB at about half the cost which have the bonus that I already know they work over USB with a Joggler.

They work very nicely and have a good sound (you'd think they were a much larger speaker). I've only used one other set of powered speakers (but they cost even more). I replaced a pair of Audioengine A5s at my weekend cottage connected to a TOUCH (which sounded very nice and covered a large combined living room/dining room) with something that sounded even better:

https://www.adam-audio.com/en/ax-series/a5x/

They should at about $1,000 a pair. One of the regular members at this forum uses a pair of Adam A3x speakers for his computer. I'm sure they are very nice too.

This all said, the Alesis M1 Actives would likely sound very good in this use. And no clue about using the A2s via USB....mine are hooked up via RCA analog outs.

d6jg
2018-10-31, 07:36
They work very nicely and have a good sound (you'd think they were a much larger speaker). I've only used one other set of powered speakers (but they cost even more). I replaced a pair of Audioengine A5s at my weekend cottage connected to a TOUCH (which sounded very nice and covered a large combined living room/dining room) with something that sounded even better:

https://www.adam-audio.com/en/ax-series/a5x/

They should at about $1,000 a pair. One of the regular members at this forum uses a pair of Adam A3x speakers for his computer. I'm sure they are very nice too.

This all said, the Alesis M1 Actives would likely sound very good in this use. And no clue about using the A2s via USB....mine are hooked up via RCA analog outs.

Cheers