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shawkie
2006-02-11, 12:35
Is it just me thats having audio problems with the Squeezebox? I can't understand how anyone can be using succesfully.

I have a Squeezebox 3 and SlimServer 6.2.2 on Windows XP Pro.

I've already noticed that WMA VBR files don't play properly. They get filled with unwanted silences.

Now I've discovered that FLAC and WAV files (and possibly other files) are not being played all the way through before the next track starts! Strangely you can play the same transition twice and the track will be cut short in different places each time.

I'm amazed that people bother to use EAC and worry about how good or bad their DAC is when there seem to be much more serious problems with the Squeezebox sound quality.

ceejay
2006-02-11, 14:47
Well, you'd be right, there's no point fiddling with EAC and DACs if we're having bits of files chopped off... so the inference may be that its just you! I only use FLAC (and a few AACs) but I've not seen any gaps being chopped recently, and I think I would have spotted it as some of it is gapless classical stuff.

So we need to find out what's unusual about your setup.

A good place to start mught be to check that Crossfade is turned off (Player Settings /Audio).

Then to confirm exactly which build of 6.2.2 you have (bottom of Server Settings page).

Ceejay

radish
2006-02-11, 15:16
Indeed, in general there's nothing inherently wrong the the SBs sound reproduction, in fact it's generally excellent. Dropouts are fairly common if you have network issues, beyond that there is a known issue with FLAC files sometimes missing the very end of the file, leading to slightly "glitchy" transitions. In my experience we're talking about considerably less than a second, but it is annoying. The workaround (if this is the issue you're facing) is to switch off native FLAC and stream as PCM. Doing that leads to 100% perfect playback on my setup.

If you're interested, the bug report is here: http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1434

shawkie
2006-02-11, 16:53
Okay, I've just done a fairly controlled test. It looks like I'm seeing bug #1434 plus a completely different network or buffering problem. I checked the Server and Network Health whilst running the tests and it indicated that a low buffer was my only problem. So I'm no closer to finding out what is causing the low buffer. I have to repeat this test with WMA VBR but I believe the dropouts I am seeing there occur even when I have a 100% full buffer.

SlimServer Version: 6.2.2 - 6200 - Windows XP - EN - cp1252

Netgear WGR614v4 wireless router
PC and Squeezebox both connected to router via 100Mbit ethernet
Windows firewall disabled
Windows XP Pro SP2
Pentium 4 2.6GHz

Cross-fading is switched off


FLAC native

Buffer goes to 10%
Buffer goes down to 0% and stays there for a long time
Frequent dropouts
Buffer increases slowly to 100%
End of track is missing


FLAC to WAV

Buffer goes to 0% and stays there
Frequent dropouts
Buffer does not increase
End of track is present



WAV native

Buffer goes to 0% and stays there
Massive dropouts
Buffer does not increase
End of track is present



WAV to FLAC

Buffer goes to 100% quickly and stays there
No obvious dropouts
End of track is missing

radish
2006-02-11, 17:11
Low buffers are caused by not having enough bandwidth on the network. You've got a weak signal, interference, or both.

shawkie
2006-02-11, 17:29
Both PC and Squeezebox are connected to the router by cable!

The Network Test plugin indicates I have at least 4Mbits of bandwidth.

Oh, and my WMA VBR has gotten off to a good start. The first track stopped half way through (which looks a lot like bug #2938).

jmpage2
2006-02-11, 17:58
Thousands of us are running the server successfully without hiccups. I actually run a box over wireless without any issues.

Since you are running the Windows version of Slimserver it might be helpful for you to start by disabling all other applications on the box including network firewall, virus scanners, etc. See if a process is spiking at the times you are getting the audio dropouts.

radish
2006-02-11, 18:43
I've never heard of problems with a cabled connection, but if the data's not arriving at the SB (which it isn't) then it mustn't be being sent. I'd agree with jmpage - you must have something eating up cpu or bandwidth at the server end. What does task manager look like? What are your server specs?

shawkie
2006-02-12, 02:34
I don't run anti-virus and have already disabled the Firewall (as I said). CPU usage is very low with no spikes. Looking at Server and Network Health all requests are being processed in a very short time.

My server is a Pentium 4 2.6GHz with 512MB RAM.

Whats really wierd is that the buffer stays at 0% for a long time and then increases to 100% very slowly with native FLAC but playing the same track as WAV transcoded to FLAC by SlimServer the buffer goes almost straight to 100%! Perhaps there is a problem with my FLAC files?

Triode
2006-02-12, 03:50
To rule out network issues - do you see the same thing playing to softsqueeze?

How is you music stored - is it via a local hard disk or is it remote to the server [over a network or on slow USB link]?

shawkie
2006-02-12, 03:53
I haven't tried SoftSqueeze yet. I'll give it a go in a minute. I also want to try going back to SlimServer 6.2.1.

My music is on a fast local IDE hard disk.

And an update on WMA VBR. Another really wierd result is that WMA VBR transcoded to WAV is also missing the end of the track even though FLAC transcoded to WAV isn't.


WMA VBR native

Buffer increases to 100% slowly
Dropouts near start of track
Playback stops half-way through track with buffer still reading 100%



WMA VBR to FLAC

Buffer goes to 100% quickly and stays there
No obvious dropouts
End of track is missing



WMA VBR to WAV

Buffer goes to 0% and stays there for a long time (10s)
Frequent dropouts
Buffer increases to 100% slowly
End of track is missing

shawkie
2006-02-12, 04:56
I've got some interesting results from Softsqueeze. It doesn't have any of the buffering problems and it also doesn't have the problem with dropping the end of native FLAC files and files transcoded to FLAC. However, it does have the problem with dropping the end of WMA VBR files transcoded to WAV.

I'm going to try running Softsqueeze on a remote PC next.


SlimServer Version: 6.2.2 - 6200 - Windows XP - EN - cp1252

Softsqueeze
Windows firewall disabled
Windows XP Pro SP2
Pentium 4 2.6GHz



FLAC native

Buffer goes to 100% quickly and stays there
No obvious dropouts
End of track is present



WAV to FLAC

Buffer goes to 100% quickly and stays there
No obvious dropouts
End of track is present



WMA VBR to WAV

Buffer goes to 100% quickly and stays there
No obvious dropouts
End of track is missing

jonheal
2006-02-12, 05:06
Maybe you have a defective unit. Have you contacted Slim support?

shawkie
2006-02-12, 05:43
I've just done a test with SoftSqueeze running on a different PC. So far it looks like over a wired connection it behaves like Softsqueeze did when I ran it on the server PC whereas over a wireless connection it behaves like the Squeezebox. Which is another wierd result.

So it looks like:

1) FLAC files (or any other file transcoded to FLAC) don't play out properly on the Squeezebox but do on Softsqueeze

2) WMA VBR transcoded to WAV don't play out properly on the Squeezebox or on Softsqueeze

3) Buffering isn't working correctly on the Squeezebox (wired or wireless) or on a remote copy of Softsqueeze (wireless) but is working on a remote copy of Softsqueeze (wired). However, the behaviour varies depending on both the initial file format and the stream format (e.g. WMA VBR or WAV transcoded to FLAC does get buffered correctly in all cases).

The fact that a PC running Softsqueeze over a wireless connection behaves EXACTLY like my Squeezebox suggests to me its not a defective unit.

ceejay
2006-02-12, 05:50
Long shot, I know, but have you considered the possibility of a faulty (wired) network? I can recall at least one instance of someone having all sorts of problems that came down to a faulty LAN cable....

Ceejay

shawkie
2006-02-12, 06:04
I've just gone back to 6.2.1 and downgraded the Squeezebox firmware from 29 to 28 and all the buffering problems seem to have gone. I haven't tried it wirelessly yet and I haven't looked to see what its doing to the ends of tracks either. I think I'll leave the beta testing for others in future.

Oddly enough, Softsqueeze over wireless still isn't working right.

shawkie
2006-02-12, 07:20
Most things are now working with SlimServer 6.2.1. I can even stream WAV over wireless with no dropouts whatsoever (to the Squeezebox if not Softsqueeze). I still have the problem with the ends of FLAC files (#1434) and the problem with the ends of WMA VBR files transcoded to WAV (which isn't a known bug) and buffering of WMA VBR native files is still a problem (#2944) and the problem with WMA VBR native files stopping halfway through (#2938).

FLAC native
End of track is missing

WAV to FLAC
End of track is missing

FLAC to WAV
End of track is present

WAV native
End of track is present

WMA VBR to WAV
End of track is missing

WMA VBR native
Slow to fill buffer and dropouts near start of track
Stops halfway through with buffer still saying 100%