View Full Version : Playing back CDs directly through Squeezebox?

2007-03-15, 09:20
So, why do I want to do that, you might ask?

Well, two things: First of all, the D/A converters in the Squeezebox are a lot better than the ones on my CD player. Second, I want to play back some of my CDs without ripping them first. It takes a lot of disk space to rip everything in either lossless or AIFF-format.

Is it possible?

I am running Slimserver on OS X. Today I inserted a CD, made a symbolic link for the CD, and put the link in my Music folder. I can access the file fine, and I even notice that Slimserver can read everything about the file (length, bitrate, filetype, file size etc.) - it just can't play it back.

Why is this so? Is this supposed to work? It would be really nice if it was.

2007-03-15, 09:27
Funny you should create this thread because I was thinking about this yesterday.

On Windows, you would need a driver and/or shell extension that would present the .cda files on the CD as .wav files and allow them to be read as such. Years back, somebody I worked with mentioned he had something like this, but I've never been able to locate anything.

Not sure what the equivalent on OS X would be, but it's the same concept - present the .cda files on the CD in a format that can be read by slimserver (or any other player/editor for that matter).

Anybody know of such a thing?

2007-03-15, 09:45
Search the forums for 'icecast'.
This question must have been asked a hundred times before.
I'm pretty sure there must be an anwser, too... ;)


2007-03-15, 12:01
The name of the OS X version of icecast is, ta-da, Nicecast.

I just downloaded it, but it kinda defeats part one of my request, namely that I want to exploit the excellent 24-bit converters - and since Nicecast encodes the stream to mp3 (albeit 320kbps if I want), it is still a compressed file.

Playing the uncompressed CD file would be nicer.

Guess I'm hard to please. ;)

Thanks for the help, though. Nicecast looks like a, eh, nice app in any case!

2007-03-15, 13:31
...are three reasons to go ahead and rip lossless/FLAC files on your Mac.

Transport quality: one of the audiophile arguments for Squeezeboxes and Transporter is that modern hard drives can deliver much higher data throughput than is needed even for uncompressed Red Book CD audio files. Hard drives are designed to deliver bit-perfect copies of data embedded on their platters, while CDs are designed to be somewhat fault-tolerant. You're more likely to get bit-perfect data from a computer hard disk than a CD transport.

Disc errors: good audio-ripping software like 'cdparanoia' will force your computer to retry sections of the CD that give read errors. I've got one pop/rock CD from a friend whose surface is so damaged it won't play in any audio CD player I own (or any regular CD-playing computer software) -- not a single track. It took many hours for cdparanoia to rip the disc (vs. minutes for a good clean CD), but the resulting audio files are excellent. If you're using *any* CD transport that's playing "real time" and its buffer (see above) fills, that transport will try to drop/skip read errors. You'll get music based on imperfect data -- flawed sound.

Playing songs again: I'd suggest looking into tools like "tmpwatch" (I don't know if that's readily available for Mac OS X) that delete files that have not been used in some number of days/hours. Go ahead and rip lossless files to a special directory that you prune periodically (daily?). If you like a CD and keep listening to it, its files will remain on the disk. If not, let your pruning script remove them to free up space.

2007-03-16, 08:36
Very good advice there, peterw. Gave me plenty to think about. Thanks!