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View Full Version : Long delay before music plays with SB3



oriordan
2006-08-08, 21:34
I'm having performance issues when using SB3 to the point that my wife wants to throw the thing away. Menus to navigate (e.g. Browse Music -> Browse Albums) are very sluggish.

Worse, it can take easily 60 seconds from the time I select a song to the time it actually starts playing. It gets to the point where we're not sure if the box is actually responding or not, and definitely far too long when our 4-year old wants to hear her favourite song right now...

Once I select an album and it starts playing, there are no break-ups, clicks, pops, or delays; it moves smoothly from one track to the next. But stopping an album and choosing something else puts me back in the same mode, though definitely not as slow as on the initial selection).

I have an IBM T42 Thinkpad running Win XP; connectivity is via a wired ethernet. I am running 6.3 on the SB3. My library has about 500 albums and 6000 tracks so it's reasonably large.

Things seem to have gotten worse recently. I assume all the delays are on the PC side. Any suggestions on fixes, or where to look for the source of the long delays?

mherger
2006-08-09, 00:08
> I have an IBM T42 Thinkpad running Win XP;

How much memory, what does the task manager say about memory and cpu load?

--

Michael

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ceejay
2006-08-09, 00:18
Another question: what format is the music in - does it have to be transcoded on the server? Is it possible that the server is unnecessarily transcoding?

Ceejay

tommypeters
2006-08-09, 02:27
Yes, it really sounds like the music is transcoded. That "File Types" settings is the least intuitive part of the browser interface, btw.

oriordan
2006-08-09, 08:08
Thanks for the responses. Answers to both threads:

The system has 512K of memory. There's between 50K and 100K free in the steady-state. It's hard for me to gauge CPU utilization right when this is happening since the SB3 is in another room.

The files were all imported using iTunes with a .M4A filetype. mp3tag tells me they're all in MPEG-4 AAC format. How can I tell if I'm transcoding or not?

tommypeters
2006-08-09, 08:14
MPEG-4 AAC can't be played natively, so it's transcoded to AIFF, FLAC or MP3 depending on your File Types settings.

oriordan
2006-08-09, 12:59
Is there a transcoding you'd recommend that is less CPU intensive? Sound quality is less of an issue than responsiveness.

Also, where do I set the format to transcode to?
I looked under home/server settings/file types but it just gives me a list of formats to enable; not the format to transcode to.

radish
2006-08-09, 13:52
Is there a transcoding you'd recommend that is less CPU intensive? Sound quality is less of an issue than responsiveness.

Also, where do I set the format to transcode to?
I looked under home/server settings/file types but it just gives me a list of formats to enable; not the format to transcode to.

If you bandwidth can handle it WAV (PCM) is the least CPU expensive transcoding. You can control which format is used by disabling the formats you don't want to use, if that makes sense.

ceejay
2006-08-09, 14:43
Thanks for the responses. Answers to both threads:

The system has 512K of memory. There's between 50K and 100K free in the steady-state. It's hard for me to gauge CPU utilization right when this is happening since the SB3 is in another room.

The files were all imported using iTunes with a .M4A filetype. mp3tag tells me they're all in MPEG-4 AAC format. How can I tell if I'm transcoding or not?

I hope you really meant 512M not 512k ... !

I'd suggest reinstalling quicktime (comes bundled with itunes) as thats what slimserver will be using, I believe, to transcode AAC files... there may be a problem with it of some kind...

HTH
Ceejay

oriordan
2006-08-09, 16:32
Yes, 512MB. I guess it would defnitely explain slowness if it werw 512KB ;-)

I have downloaded LAME using pointer on the WIKI, selected WAV PCM (which requires LAME)file format and reinstalled Quick Time. I'll try all these changes tonight and report back.

Thanks for all the suggestions thus far.

oriordan
2006-08-10, 10:27
Here are some numbers I measured last night:
From Browse Albums, I push Right Arrow. It takes about 30-40 seconds for the 1st album to display.

From the time I select a song to the time it starts playing takes about 20 seconds for the first song after turning SB3 on. There is no delay when it goes to play the next song. I suspect this is the time it takes to load mov123.exe and lame.ext

If I select a different song entirely, it takes about 8-10 seconds.

Do these numbers seem reasonable? If my theory about loading the transcoder programs is correct, is there a way to pre-start them so that delay can be removed?

tommypeters
2006-08-10, 10:45
Is there a transcoding you'd recommend that is less CPU intensive? Sound quality is less of an issue than responsiveness.

Also, where do I set the format to transcode to?
I looked under home/server settings/file types but it just gives me a list of formats to enable; not the format to transcode to.
No, that's a list of transcodings (and non-transcodings = direct transfers) to enable.

If possible, convert the music to a lossless format that can natively be played by the SB and you will lose that delay. You could take a few albums now and then and convert.

jimdibb
2006-08-10, 11:00
This part of the problem cannot be a transcoding problem, unless he means
that while a song is already playing it take 30-40 seconds. If it takes
that long without music, something else must be wrong. Maybe the HD is set
to spin-down if the system is idle.

My laptop server under linux seems to be initially sluggish when I go to do
the 'first' thing as well.

On 8/10/06, oriordan <oriordan.2cc4bz1155231001 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
wrote:
>
>
> Here are some numbers I measured last night:
> >From Browse Albums, I push Right Arrow. It takes about 30-40 seconds
> for the 1st album to display.
>
>

oriordan
2006-08-10, 11:33
This part of the problem cannot be a transcoding problem, unless he means
that while a song is already playing it take 30-40 seconds. If it takes
that long without music, something else must be wrong. Maybe the HD is set
to spin-down if the system is idle.

My laptop server under linux seems to be initially sluggish when I go to do
the 'first' thing as well.

On 8/10/06, oriordan <oriordan.2cc4bz1155231001 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
wrote:
>
>
> Here are some numbers I measured last night:
> >From Browse Albums, I push Right Arrow. It takes about 30-40 seconds
> for the 1st album to display.
>
>

To answer the first point, the 30 - 40 second delay on selecting "Browse Albums" is with nothing happening; no music playing, etc. I assume it's the time it takes to get the entire library loaded. My laptop is configured to not spin down the HD and while I have several windows open (Outlook, IE, Excel, etc.), there aren't any other heavy duty applications actively running at the time.

You are right that it's nothing to do with transcoding at this point since nothing is playing.

As a side experiment, if I launch Slimserver on my PC, and click on "Browse Albums", it takes about 15 seconds for the library to appear.

The second delay (from "play" to music actually starting) may be attributable to transcoding. Since I'm not an expert in this area (can you tell?) can someone suggest how I'd convert an album to a lossless format so I can see if that makes a difference?