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bec143
2005-09-11, 11:13
Well I have had my SB2 for a while now, and after eventually deciding that I like my Naim CD player more for regular listening, I have used my SB2 primarily for radio since the Spring. With reports of all sorts of new mods on the horizon, I decided to check out the SB2 compared to my CD again. I should add that I would love to be able to eventually switch completely to a SB2-based system someday.

The problem is, I still am plauged with frequent dropouts when playing ripped music, whetehr it's AIFF, Apple lossless, or even just AAC files. This never happens with the radio, and it makes listening to the SB2 nearly impossible, since you never know when it's going to happen.

I use Apple Extreme and a 1.5 Mhz G4 as the server, and signal strength as reported by my SB2, never dips below 55%. I have the lattest firmware etc., and have tried everything suggested whrn I brought this up last spring, but now I'm out of things to try.

I'm sure this might be cured with a hard-wired system, but its not an option in my house. It will need to be wireless, or just a radio. Any new advances in solving this problem?

Thanks,

Bruce

dean
2005-09-11, 11:18
Bruce,

Can you do an experiment and try it with an ethernet cable
temporarily? That would let us know if it is an issue with your
wireless connection.


On Sep 11, 2005, at 11:13 AM, bec143 wrote:

>
> Well I have had my SB2 for a while now, and after eventually deciding
> that I like my Naim CD player more for regular listening, I have used
> my SB2 primarily for radio since the Spring. With reports of all
> sorts
> of new mods on the horizon, I decided to check out the SB2
> compared to
> my CD again. I should add that I would love to be able to eventually
> switch completely to a SB2-based system someday.
>
> The problem is, I still am plauged with frequent dropouts when playing
> ripped music, whetehr it's AIFF, Apple lossless, or even just AAC
> files. This never happens with the radio, and it makes listening to
> the SB2 nearly impossible, since you never know when it's going to
> happen.
>
> I use Apple Extreme and a 1.5 Mhz G4 as the server, and signal
> strength
> as reported by my SB2, never dips below 55%. I have the lattest
> firmware
> etc., and have tried everything suggested whrn I brought this up last
> spring, but now I'm out of things to try.
>
> I'm sure this might be cured with a hard-wired system, but its not an
> option in my house. It will need to be wireless, or just a radio.
> Any
> new advances in solving this problem?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Bruce
>
>
> --
> bec143
>

pfarrell
2005-09-11, 11:25
On Sun, 2005-09-11 at 11:13 -0700, bec143 wrote:
> The problem is, I still am plauged with frequent dropouts when playing
> ripped music, whetehr it's AIFF, Apple lossless, or even just AAC
> files. This never happens with the radio, and it makes listening to
> the SB2 nearly impossible, since you never know when it's going to
> happen.

Try using FLAC for some songs, as a problem isolation technique.
As with the trial wire posted by others. Just lay the wire
out on the open, which will totally fail the WAF test, but
helps isolate things.

Let us know what these do.

--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

bec143
2005-09-11, 12:19
I'll give it a shot, but need to find an ethernet cable that's close to 100ft long. The cable modem and airport are upstairs, whereas everything else is is downstairs. Point-to-point the distance between the SB2 and the airport is much closer.

Is FLAC really going to require less bandwidth than AIFF or Apple lossless? I've neve tried Flac files, is ut easy to rip CDs this way on my Mac and get theminto iTunes?

Thanks,

Bruce

kjg
2005-09-11, 12:38
One thing you might try is changing the wireless channel you're using.
In my area, I can detect 5 or 6 access points on the default channel my
AP uses (channel 11), and switching to a less crowded channel
significantly improved the reliability with my SB 1.

Ken

bec143 wrote:

>Well I have had my SB2 for a while now, and after eventually deciding
>that I like my Naim CD player more for regular listening, I have used
>my SB2 primarily for radio since the Spring. With reports of all sorts
>of new mods on the horizon, I decided to check out the SB2 compared to
>my CD again. I should add that I would love to be able to eventually
>switch completely to a SB2-based system someday.
>
>The problem is, I still am plauged with frequent dropouts when playing
>ripped music, whetehr it's AIFF, Apple lossless, or even just AAC
>files. This never happens with the radio, and it makes listening to
>the SB2 nearly impossible, since you never know when it's going to
>happen.
>
>I use Apple Extreme and a 1.5 Mhz G4 as the server, and signal strength
>as reported by my SB2, never dips below 55%. I have the lattest firmware
>etc., and have tried everything suggested whrn I brought this up last
>spring, but now I'm out of things to try.
>
>I'm sure this might be cured with a hard-wired system, but its not an
>option in my house. It will need to be wireless, or just a radio. Any
>new advances in solving this problem?
>
>Thanks,
>
>Bruce
>
>
>
>

pfarrell
2005-09-11, 12:45
On Sun, 2005-09-11 at 12:19 -0700, bec143 wrote:
> I'll give it a shot, but need to find an ethernet cable that's close to
> 100ft long. The cable modem and airport are upstairs, whereas
> everything else is is downstairs. Point-to-point the distance between
> the SB2 and the airport is much closer.

See if you can borrow one from a techy friend.
If you are in the Wash DC area, I could lend you one.


> Is FLAC really going to require less bandwidth than AIFF or Apple
> lossless? I've neve tried Flac files, is ut easy to rip CDs this way on
> my Mac and get theminto iTunes?

Yes, since SB2 support native FLAC, the compressed data is sent
from the server to the SB2. Cuts the bandwidth requirements about
in half, which with WiFi may mean more than 50% improvement
due to collisions, etc.

I don't speak mac, can't address the iTunes part

Pat



--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

MrC
2005-09-11, 13:07
A 55% signal strength is not what I'd call stellar. I've found that even small adjustments to some APs in terms of placement and orientation can vastly affect signal strength and performance. I even placed mine in the bathroom in my office for a while so that my wife could work across the house in the living room! I found the change in location and orientation brought her from a weak signal to a excellent, full speed signal.

Replacing the crusty old 11mpbs B model AP with a newer G model (Belkin's Pre-N MIMO) moved the AP out of the bathroom and put it back where it belonged.

Anyway, try moving the AP around the room a bit and change the orientation to see if that helps; also try the same your SB2.

Hiroyuki
2005-09-11, 14:07
Bruce,

I used to have the same issue (to a lesser extent) but somehow I
don't have it anymore... I thought about getting a nice transport at
some point also. Only things I did between now and then was switch
to the OSX Tiger and kept doing whatever the airport updates. But I
have G5 dual so that might make a difference... Also, I thought
there was a slight improvement when I changed a setting called
multicast rate (go to Airport Admin Utility, click on the base
station, click wireless options).

If the signal strength is 55% you can also boost it by getting a
directional antenna or a big omni antenna. My 2nd Airport gets
signal from my main building which is about 400 feet away from where
I am right now(the first one has a cable connection). The signal
strength is about 80%. Here is the site I got my antenna from:
http://www.radiolabs.com/products/wireless/apple-airport-amplifier.php
I got the one called aFire and I added an external omni antenna to
it. You probably only need aFire. Give them a call and ask.

Best,

Hiroyuki
On Sep 11, 2005, at 2:13 PM, bec143 wrote:

>
> Well I have had my SB2 for a while now, and after eventually deciding
> that I like my Naim CD player more for regular listening, I have used
> my SB2 primarily for radio since the Spring. With reports of all
> sorts
> of new mods on the horizon, I decided to check out the SB2
> compared to
> my CD again. I should add that I would love to be able to eventually
> switch completely to a SB2-based system someday.
>
> The problem is, I still am plauged with frequent dropouts when playing
> ripped music, whetehr it's AIFF, Apple lossless, or even just AAC
> files. This never happens with the radio, and it makes listening to
> the SB2 nearly impossible, since you never know when it's going to
> happen.
>
> I use Apple Extreme and a 1.5 Mhz G4 as the server, and signal
> strength
> as reported by my SB2, never dips below 55%. I have the lattest
> firmware
> etc., and have tried everything suggested whrn I brought this up last
> spring, but now I'm out of things to try.
>
> I'm sure this might be cured with a hard-wired system, but its not an
> option in my house. It will need to be wireless, or just a radio.
> Any
> new advances in solving this problem?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Bruce
>
>
> --
> bec143
>

dean
2005-09-11, 16:30
On Sep 11, 2005, at 12:19 PM, bec143 wrote:

>
> I'll give it a shot, but need to find an ethernet cable that's
> close to
> 100ft long. The cable modem and airport are upstairs, whereas
> everything else is is downstairs. Point-to-point the distance between
> the SB2 and the airport is much closer.
Try moving the player temporarily and see if it works better via
ethernet. Then you'll know if you should start messing with your
wireless configuration.

> Is FLAC really going to require less bandwidth than AIFF or Apple
> lossless? I've neve tried Flac files, is ut easy to rip CDs this
> way on
> my Mac and get theminto iTunes?
If it's a Squeezebox2, then it doesn't matter. SlimServer will
automatically compress your AIFF files to FLAC for transmission. You
get the benefit of FLAC's lower bandwidth, and since it's lossless
you won't hear a difference.

bec143
2005-09-11, 17:34
Thanks for everyone's help

Dean- I'll need to get the long cable rather than move the SB2, since I wouldn't be able to reach preamp if I move the SB2. Just to clarify- you are saying that with my SB2 and Slimserver there is no further benefit to reripping to FLAC, thatthis happens automatically already?

Hiroyuki- Thanks for the antenna info. I'm already on OS 10.4

MrC- Thanks. I have messed around with moving the Airport Extreme around a bit. At one point I had it placed somewhere invovenient that led to about 70% signal on the SB2, but no help with dropouts. The rest of our wireless apps all run great anywhere in the house, and bandwidth meter checks from the laptop I use with the SB2 are always smokin.

kjg- I went thru all the channels with the MacStumbler on many times, but never found anything better than any other.


Pat- thanks for your suggestions.

Looks like the next step is to find a lonng cable, but if that's the problemm not sure how I'll be able to fix it.

Thanks again,

Bruce

radish
2005-09-11, 17:52
I'll need to get the long cable rather than move the SB2, since I wouldn't be able to reach preamp if I move the SB2.
Headphones?

bec143
2005-09-11, 18:00
Dean- one more question.. On the server settings it looks like this:

File Format Stream Format Decoder
AIFF AIFF (built-in)
AIFF FLAC flac
AIFF MP3 lame


Do I need to disable the first and kast options to insure that the player is deconing the AIFF files into FLAC. I did it both ways,and it didn't seem to make a difference- still tons of dropouts.

abdomen
2005-09-11, 18:37
One thing you might try is changing the wireless channel you're using.
In my area, I can detect 5 or 6 access points on the default channel my
AP uses (channel 11), and switching to a less crowded channel
significantly improved the reliability with my SB 1.

I realize that bec143 has tried various channels, but below is the list of access point settings I changed (all at once, unfortunately, so who knows which were most helpful) after first setting up the SB2 and experiencing dropouts at sporadic intervals (perhaps one to two times per hour). Before making the changes, my wireless signal strength was never below 84%, but the problem nevertheless proved to be in the wireless connection. Since I made these changes, I have not experienced a single dropout (in probably 100+ hours of listening).

(Hardware: Belkin 802.11g "router", model F5D7230-4, operating in Access Point mode)

Setting name: Old setting (occasional dropouts), New setting (no dropouts)
Channel: (don't remember), 4
Wireless Mode: 54-G Auto, 54-G Only
Protected Mode: Off, On
Turbo Mode: On, Off

mwpmo
2005-09-11, 18:41
> Looks like the next step is to find a lonng cable, but if that's the problemm not sure how I'll be able to fix it.

Not need to buy a long ethernet cable ot move you pre-amp !

Just plug in your headphone to the headphone plug at the right head side of the unit to debug your SB2.

However, make sure you turn down volume of SB2 first !!!
Cause a full output from SB2 may damage your headphone or your own pair of ear.

MrC
2005-09-11, 19:09
Another debug tool - install slim server on your laptop and bring it near your SB2. Create an adhoc network and see how that performs. The test should only take a couple of minutes.

bec143
2005-09-12, 09:46
OK, so I did the ethernet/headphones test- no dropouts at all, so I think the the wireless implementation.

On the positive side- I installed yet another Airport Extreme base station update, and things may have improved somewhat, although it is too early too tell.

Bruce

mwpmo
2005-09-12, 20:59
OK, so I did the ethernet/headphones test- no dropouts at all, so I think the the wireless implementation.

.....

Bruce

Another means to debug / check the signal strenght of wireless lan is to check the buffer status in the VFD display.

Just enable the "buffer status" as the screensaver.

MrC
2005-09-12, 21:39
Another means to debug / check the signal strenght of wireless lan is to check the buffer status in the VFD display.

Just enable the "buffer status" as the screensaver.

I'm not so sure about this. Wireless signal strengh does not imply that all the packets are transmitted successfully, or at full bandwidth. A strong signal is required to obtain maximum speed, but this does not imply that packets are received, not interferred with, or not dropped for other reasons.

There can be many TCP retransmissions occuring, indicating a problematic connection, while signal strenght is high. The buffer might look full from the client's point of view, but the AP might be retransmitting constantly. Consider the anology of filling a leaking water cup with a powerful water stream. Despite the cup overflowing after a short time, the cup still leaks.

bludragon
2005-09-13, 00:37
Are you saying it would put packets that have crc error'd into the buffer? Would it not drop them before that?

mwpmo
2005-09-13, 02:18
I think the network card in SB2 (ehternet or wlan) will just drop all packets with error directly and ask the server to resend, without putting these data to the buffer.

abdomen
2005-09-13, 06:20
I don't believe it will help him much to watch the buffer screensaver, because he can hear dropouts when the buffer empties.

MrC
2005-09-13, 08:26
Are you saying it would put packets that have crc error'd into the buffer? Would it not drop them before that?
No, not at all. I realize now my analogy was flawed. My point was that the problems are occurring in the transport, not in the buffer or player. If the buffer has data, it will be played and emptied. But dropouts would imply that the buffer is empty, and there's nothing left to play but silence. So, you will see what you'd expect to see when there were dropouts - an empty buffer meter.

bec143
2005-09-13, 09:05
I'll check out what's happening in the buffer duringthe dropouts tonight.

brillo
2005-09-16, 12:00
Have you considered using Powerline adapters (e.g., http://netgear.com/products/details/XE102.php) instead of going wireless?

bec143
2005-09-24, 19:19
Dudes, I just can't get rid of my dropouts, no matter what I do. The major improvemnet of late came with the new Airport Extreme firmware, but even that is still plagued by bouts of skips that can last for minutes.

Must say the internet radio is brilliant from the laptop (never a skip or dropout over many many hours), but the inability to guarantee uninterrupted uncompresssed digital music is totally bumming me out.

Bruce

m1abrams
2005-09-24, 19:29
Do you by chance have 2.4Ghz cordless phones in the house or at a close neighbors?

If you have the phones, unplug the power to ALL 2.4GHz cordless phone base stations so to insure they are off and unpowered.

Now test to see if you get dropouts. Also make sure you dont use the microwave during testing.

If this solves the problem, I suggest either buying some cheap but still very good 900Mhz phones to replace your 2.4Ghz or upgrade to 5.8Ghz cordless phones.

I know in my house my biggest issue with wireless was my Panasonic 2.4Ghz phones.

Jeff Moore
2005-09-26, 09:12
2005-09-24-22:29:24 m1abrams:
> If this solves the problem, I suggest either buying some cheap but
> still very good 900Mhz phones to replace your 2.4Ghz or upgrade to
> 5.8Ghz cordless phones.

....and if you do this, and want to go the 5.8GHz route, make sure the
phone you choose does all its work in that frequency range. Note that
some phones labelled "5.8GHz" communicate in one direction (I'm guessing
base to phone) in the 5.8GHz band and the other way in the 2.4GHz band.

Some brands of 5.8 phones actually stay completely in that band, and
thus actually avoid tromping on wireless networking. I believe Uniden
is one of those brands.

I've been told that some of the Panasonic phones are particularly sloppy
about coloring inside the lines, frequency-wise. I do know that I used
to use a phone from their Gigarange Extreme line, and while it did
indeed have great useful range, it sometimes blew down the wireless
network connection.

hifiresource
2005-10-12, 15:04
I had the same problem with dropouts where my squeezebox would just drop its wireless connection for about a second then come back up. This happend after I switched from a Linksys wireless router to a Motorola Surfboard 9000. This seemed random, but perhaps around every 15-30 minutes it would drop the stream. I ended up changing the broadcast channel on my Motorola Surfboard cable modem to channel 1 and it is now streaming without interruption. I assume this might have been from other homes with wireless usage causing some kind of cross-interferance. I strongly suggest trying some of the other channels in your wireless router.

Bob
****************************
HiFiClassifieds.com
Online Stuff for the HiFi Fanatic
http://www.hificlassifieds.com

bec143
2005-10-24, 14:42
Bob,

Been through all of the channels on my Airport Extreme, disconnected all the phones, etc. Still with too many dropouts to live with. The SB2 has now become my tuner, but I don't even try to play my iTunes library anymore.

Bruce

ceejay
2005-10-24, 16:02
Well, at one point in debugging a wireless problem I was having, I found what I think is the same symptom as you - internet radio plays ok, streaming FLACs from the server giving lots of dropouts.

I eventually traced the problem to a faulty wireless router. Swapped it for a new one, never looked back. I assumed that the difference is due to the much lower data rate you need to sustain for internet radio vs FLAC.

One way of testing this theory (other than another router or WAP!) might be to temporarily force transcoding to a low bit rate MP3 (dare I say that in an "audiophile" board ?!)

Just a thought

Ceejay

pfarrell
2005-10-24, 16:20
On Mon, 2005-10-24 at 16:02 -0700, ceejay wrote:
> One way of testing this theory (other than another router or WAP!)
> might be to temporarily force transcoding to a low bit rate MP3 (dare I
> say that in an "audiophile" board ?!)

Of course, as a test, some audiophiles even use solid state amps.

The other obvious test is to drag an ethernet cable from the server
up to the SqueezeBox. Preferably while the SO is out shopping
as even temp cable dragging can make the WAF go into unacceptable
ranges.

Another easy test is to decompress the FLAC into wav files and
play them. I would not expect it to work, but it can
help problem isolation.

--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

bec143
2005-10-26, 12:44
No dropouts withthe Ethernet cable going down the steps, so it is the wireless network for sure.

What about putting an Airport Express next to the hifi, and than running an ethernet cable from the Airport Express to the Squeezebox 2. Is this likely to help at all?

Bruce

MrC
2005-10-26, 17:04
What about putting an Airport Express next to the hifi, and than running an ethernet cable from the Airport Express to the Squeezebox 2. Is this likely to help at all?

Its hard to say. Certainly being closer to the AP means that signals will be strongest. Some APs do not work very well when too close to the wireless card, so there is no perfect rule.

The best anyone can say is to try it to see what's best in your situation. Your situation is unique, as is mine, my neighbors, etc.

As I've indicated in several posts, 802.11 wireless has many weaknesses, with interference in the crowded 2.4Ghz spectrum being one of the most troublesome.

bec143
2005-10-31, 09:16
I started a new thread on this in the General Discussion Forum, but since is stated here, I'll double post...


I have been discussingmy dropout problems in the Audiophile forum, but I think this is better here, aince I may have noe new info.

I am running a wireless SB2 on a Mac system with an Airport Exreme. I have been plagued by dropouts, and have gone through many many suggestions, but to no avail. This onlyhappens with ripped CDS (Apple Lossless, AIFF, AAC-all the same). Internet radio works like a charm.

Well I finally set it up to continuously monitor the bufer while it is playing. I found that sometimes in mid-song the buffer gradually drops to 0% over a short time, and that's when the continous dropouts happen- and the buffer stays at 0% during this time. The signal strength has not changed when this happens, or when the buffer stays at 0%, and the wireless network is working otherwise during this time.

What might account for this, and how do I fix it??

Thanks,

Bruce

jonheal
2005-11-02, 06:29
bec143:

The Airport Express has known issues streaming "pause-free" audio. Check out this enormous thread:

http://discussions.info.apple.com/webx?128@882.WH41a57TTBX.2@.6897492e

abdomen
2005-11-02, 07:47
What might account for this, and how do I fix it??

What you are seeing suggests radio interference (signal strength indicators in my experience do not show this). I believe there is a new plugin for server statistics; perhaps this can show you how many packets are being lost due to interference. However, you might skip to trying to resolve the problem. There are lots of posts about troubleshooting interference. One recent one showed which channels are more effected by microwaves, and others discuss how to learn which channels are already in use by nearby wireless networks. Here is a post about what worked for me:

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showpost.php?p=52193&postcount=13

CardinalFang
2005-11-02, 13:05
I am running a wireless SB2 on a Mac system with an Airport Exreme. I have been plagued by dropouts, and have gone through many many suggestions, but to no avail. This onlyhappens with ripped CDS (Apple Lossless, AIFF, AAC-all the same). Internet radio works like a charm.

I run a Mac system too and had exactly the same symptoms (in fact I think I replied to your thread in the general forum!).

My dropoputs were cause by perl activity going through the roof - essentially SlimServer rescanning my iTunes library all the time (my daughter was using iTunes to play music and a plugin was updating album art on every track). I switched off all automatic library rescans and hey presto, no more dropouts.

This may not be the same problem as yours, but assuming that internet radio goes through a different code path and doesn't check for library changes, it could be related.

Paul

bec143
2005-11-03, 10:38
Paul

Could you point me specifically in the drection of where the boxes to disable the rescans are? I can't find any, except on rescan option in the server settings that doesn't seem to include a disable option.


Bruce