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HalNineThousand
2007-07-16, 12:03
I'm considering buying either a Squeezebox or a Roku box and will eventually expand whatever system I get. I've asked these (or similar questions) on the Roku forums and I'd like to give people here a chance to answer the same questions. I'm new to this field and didn't know there were wireless music products until just a week or so ago when I found out about it on a forum for flac users.

My server runs on Linux (Debian Sarge, soon to upgrade to Etch). If I understand correctly, I can use Slimserver, which is even in the Debian repository. I understand I can use wifi or CAT5 cables (I've never gotten into wifi before, so that's an option, but I'm worried about security issues since my computer that handles everything for my business is on the net.)

So here are my questions, separated so they're easier to respond to one or two:

1) From what I've read, if I have 2 or more Squeezeboxes, I play the same music synced through both so they stay in sync so someone standing in the door between two rooms won't hear the same song playing differently on two devices. Is that right?

2) Are there other programs I can use other than Slimserver?

3) I've heard a few people say that Slimserver is a memory hog and bloated. Is there a problem if I run Slimserver on a LAN server that also handles print, file, dns, and other functions for a LAN?

4) How much control do I have with the remote? I don't care about making up play lists with the remote, but I'd like to be able to pick the album or playlist with the remote instead of having to set it at the computer.

5) Do people have any comments on Squeezebox vs. Roku boxes? (Without flame wars, please!)

I know that's a lot of questions. I didn't know, until a week or so ago, that there were products like this on the market. I've been reading up on them, but I just want to be sure they'll actually do what I would like before I start spending money on them.

Thanks!

Mark Lanctot
2007-07-16, 12:17
(I've never gotten into wifi before, so that's an option, but I'm worried about security issues since my computer that handles everything for my business is on the net.)

WPA/WPA2 is very secure provided you use a complex passphrase. Don't use WEP.


1) From what I've read, if I have 2 or more Squeezeboxes, I play the same music synced through both so they stay in sync so someone standing in the door between two rooms won't hear the same song playing differently on two devices. Is that right?

More or less. But keep in mind that sound moves so slowly that you will get an annoying delay of a few milliseconds even if synch is perfect - in the millisecond range, it'll make music sound odd or echoey.


2) Are there other programs I can use other than Slimserver?

No.


3) I've heard a few people say that Slimserver is a memory hog and bloated. Is there a problem if I run Slimserver on a LAN server that also handles print, file, dns, and other functions for a LAN?

Lots of people use their servers for these purposes along with SlimServer. SlimServer runs better on Linux and Linux has better memory management so the effects are minimized.


4) How much control do I have with the remote? I don't care about making up play lists with the remote, but I'd like to be able to pick the album or playlist with the remote instead of having to set it at the computer.

You do have this sort of control, you have more or less the same control as you do with the web interface.


5) Do people have any comments on Squeezebox vs. Roku boxes? (Without flame wars, please!)

- Squeezebox supports 802.11g and WPA/WPA2 should you ever get into wireless
- Squeezebox has a better display
- Squeezebox does not resample all streams to 48 kHz (better sound quality)

4mula1
2007-07-16, 12:20
1: That's correct. They can be playing the same song synchronized or different songs.

2: No. You must use SlimServer to run your Squeezeboxes locally. There is Squeezenetwork but that is a remote stream.

3: If you run it on Linux you'll be fine. I ran it on Windows XP and couldn't be happier now that I run it on Solaris.

4: You'll find the remote much quicker than the computer. You can do most if not all functions to play music with the remote, including playlists.

5: Can't answer that one.

Download SlimServer and SoftSqueeze and try it out. SoftSqueeze is a Java based Squeezebox emulator that works pretty well. I use it on my PC at home as well as at work.

snarlydwarf
2007-07-16, 12:21
I
My server runs on Linux (Debian Sarge, soon to upgrade to Etch). If I understand correctly, I can use Slimserver, which is even in the Debian repository. I understand I can use wifi or CAT5 cables (I've never gotten into wifi before, so that's an option, but I'm worried about security issues since my computer that handles everything for my business is on the net.)

Use the Slim-hosted respository instead of Debian. Certain items (like logos and firmware) can't be easily distributed with Debian's policies, and the Slim repository is more up to date. (Sorta like the fun with IceWeasel...)



1) From what I've read, if I have 2 or more Squeezeboxes, I play the same music synced through both so they stay in sync so someone standing in the door between two rooms won't hear the same song playing differently on two devices. Is that right?

No. From the door you will quite likely hear a delay (but, then you would with anything even radio ... sound moves at a constant speed, and acoustics of rooms vary a lot...). Anyone who claims they can match them exactly to pass that test is lying. Two FM radios can have an audible delay in that test depending on the rooms.

Just don't do that: they will be off, probably by fractions of a second, but in practice fixing that is impossible.

There are various suggestions to get the syncing closer, but think of watching a tennis game and noticing the delay between seeing the ball hit and the sound of it getting to you. Sound moves amazingly slow and our ears can pick this up easily.



2) Are there other programs I can use other than Slimserver?

Nothing stopping you other than that no one has written one... Slimserver is GPL'd so you can dink with it all day if you want.



3) I've heard a few people say that Slimserver is a memory hog and bloated. Is there a problem if I run Slimserver on a LAN server that also handles print, file, dns, and other functions for a LAN?

Mine is a router, DNS-masq box, web server, etc. And I don't have problems. It is a plain old $200 Dell "no operating system" machine from Dell running Debian.



4) How much control do I have with the remote? I don't care about making up play lists with the remote, but I'd like to be able to pick the album or playlist with the remote instead of having to set it at the computer.

Download slimserver and install it and then look under Help and then Softsqueeze... it isnt a perfect emulation of a Squeezebox, but it does a reasonable job. That should let you see the remote interface. I think the remote is slick. Very very nice UI and I actually rarely use the PC at home at all. (I see them enough at work.)



5) Do people have any comments on Squeezebox vs. Roku boxes? (Without flame wars, please!)

Upsampling is evil.

Your only real choice with a Roku is either UPNP (which as I understand it is pretty simplistic, basically a cheapo file browser) or Slimserver (not supported by either Roku or Slim) if you are running Linux on your server...

So, with a SB not only do you avoid the upsampling evilness. you also get supported software...

4mula1
2007-07-16, 12:22
(I've never gotten into wifi before, so that's an option, but I'm worried about security issues since my computer that handles everything for my business is on the net.)

I forgot to add, disable SSID broadcast and your network will be hidden. Also use WPA/WPA2 as those encryption methods haven't been broken like WEP has.

bpa
2007-07-16, 12:37
Roku is 802.11b - not 802.11g.
Roku doesn't support Flac or OGG natively.
There can be issues with v. large collections and uPNP servers.

mherger
2007-07-16, 12:46
> 2: No. You must use SlimServer to run your Squeezeboxes locally.
> There is Squeezenetwork but that is a remote stream.

You can use mp3tunes.com to host your files and access them through
SqueezeNetwork.

Michael

Ron F.
2007-07-16, 17:31
HalNineThousand,

2) I am not aware of any other program I would want to use to stream to my SB3 - even if they could. You can use iTunes, or something else to manage your collection. I use a wireless Windows laptop for managing my collection: dBpowerAMP for ripping, Tag&Rename for fixing tags, and Slimserver running on my music server is only used to stream to the Squeezebox. I control my SB3 using my universal remote. If I am streaming from Squeeze Network, then I use my wireless laptop to select music from Rhapsody. If I hear something on Squeeze Network I like, I use the remote to jump to Rhapsody and browse the most popular albums from that band... It is VERY addicting.

3) I have been running Slimserver 6.5.2 on a very small Debian-based music server with only 256 Mbytes of RAM for several months now without a reboot. I have a local library of ten thousand flac files, and I also stream mp3, wma, and aac+ off the web. It does not appear bloated to me. Slimserver is lean mean all-format streaming machine.

5) I believe that at least on paper, the SB3 has a better DAC. The SB3 supports 802.11g, the Roku does not. That might not seem important at first, but I have read that putting an 802.11b device on your 802.11g network will slow down other devices on the network. I have been streaming to as many as three SB3s at once, while ripping more CDs into my collection, etc.

It all just works. I don't remember the last time I turned on my poor CD player. The Squeezebox is CD player killer.

-Ron

CatBus
2007-07-16, 22:07
I'll go ahead and elaborate on my experiences here.


My server runs on Linux (Debian Sarge, soon to upgrade to Etch). If I understand correctly, I can use Slimserver, which is even in the Debian repository. I understand I can use wifi or CAT5 cables (I've never gotten into wifi before, so that's an option, but I'm worried about security issues since my computer that handles everything for my business is on the net.)

Although you probably already have this, you should have at least your server on a wired connection. Having your audio do two wireless hops from the server to the WAP and from the WAP to the Squeezebox has caused pain for other users. I use SuSE for my server, no problems. For wireless security, use a long randomly-generated WPA2 key and you're as secure as you can get without periodically rotating keys. It's easy to get too paranoid here, but I'm happy with a crazy long random static key.


1) From what I've read, if I have 2 or more Squeezeboxes, I play the same music synced through both so they stay in sync so someone standing in the door between two rooms won't hear the same song playing differently on two devices. Is that right?

I have 3, and sync works great. Whatever sub-millisecond delay may technically exist is imperceptible. Doesn't matter whether you're all wired, all wireless, or mixed (as long as you have enough available bandwidth to feed the audio to all devices).


2) Are there other programs I can use other than Slimserver?

No idea. I imagine not, but I've never found the need.


3) I've heard a few people say that Slimserver is a memory hog and bloated. Is there a problem if I run Slimserver on a LAN server that also handles print, file, dns, and other functions for a LAN?

People confuse SlimServer with its web interface. The web interface is a little clunky and crowded. The actual server software, however, is one of the best-behaved services on my server. As long as you're not trying to run it on some underpowered NAS device, you won't have resource problems. I cannot emphasize enough how helpful it is that SlimServer is Open Source--I simply don't have to worry about future obsolescence/incompatibility--the source code is out there.


4) How much control do I have with the remote? I don't care about making up play lists with the remote, but I'd like to be able to pick the album or playlist with the remote instead of having to set it at the computer.

This is my preferred way of using my SB3. The remote is very usable, and I rarely if ever use the web interface.


5) Do people have any comments on Squeezebox vs. Roku boxes? (Without flame wars, please!)

I don't have a Roku, but I have to say I'm a big fan of SlimServer, and therefore the SB3. Many of the negative things you read about SlimServer are actually about the web interface--SlimServer itself is actually fantastic in my opinion.


I know that's a lot of questions. I didn't know, until a week or so ago, that there were products like this on the market. I've been reading up on them, but I just want to be sure they'll actually do what I would like before I start spending money on them.

You will be shocked at the huge change these things cause at your house. I simply don't listen to CDs anymore. At all. Sold the CD player, boxing up the CDs. I also don't listen to over-the-air local radio anymore--I just stream it, even if it's local. You'll also be surprised how addictive these little things are. I started out with one in the living room, then I wanted one in the kitchen, then I wanted one for the yard, and so on. Good luck!

mflint
2007-07-17, 01:33
I've never gotten into wifi before, so that's an option, but I'm worried about security issues since my computer that handles everything for my business is on the net.
I'll echo what other folks have said: disable SSID broadcasting, enable MAC address filtering and use WPA encryption.

Most people who use other folks' WiFi are just after the internet bandwidth, not the stuff on the local LAN. You don't need to make your wireless network absolutely impenetrable - just make it more secure than your neighbours.

Don't be the lowest-hanging fruit.


3) I've heard a few people say that Slimserver is a memory hog and bloated. Is there a problem if I run Slimserver on a LAN server that also handles print, file, dns, and other functions for a LAN?

My SlimServer box is a KuroBox (http://www.kurobox.com/), a 266MHz PPC machine with just 128Mb RAM. It runs Gentoo linux and also acts as NTP, NFS, Samba, CUPS, and Subversion server. My modest library has approx 3600 tracks, but I have no reason to believe it won't scale OK for the foreseeable future.

Hope you enjoy your purchase, whatever you decide on. I bought my second Squeezebox within a month of buying the first - it really was a revelation :-)

Matthew

HalNineThousand
2007-07-17, 09:03
Thanks for all the replies. I ordered my first SB3 yesterday from a local Mac store. They're the only dealer in the area and I figured they might get it faster than I would because they might get it from a distributor and, since I have no experience in this area, want someone local I can go to if there's a problem.

I posted something similar to my post here on the Roku forums (is that pronounced "rock you" or row-que?) as my last "test" to see what happened. The responses on the Roku forums were much slower and it took close to 24 hours before there was a really useful one that addressed most of my questions. Here I found people that know Linux and the answers I got were much clearer.

There were a few technical factors I was concerned about, such as Roku's insistence on upsampling everything to 48k and even an admission by some die hard Roku users that if I wanted to sync music in different rooms, SB3 was the way to go. Other than that, I wanted to make sure I was buying something with a good support community. In my experience, open source software breeds that kind of environment.

Thanks for all the helpful answers!