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View Full Version : Help restore my love of the Squeezebox



Xorro
2007-11-24, 14:52
I rip to FLAC, and some tracks stutter during playback and some don't.

In particular Munich from the Editors always skips, unless I rip it to 320 MP3, but the other half can tell the difference between lossless formats and not, so MP3s are not an option.

I have recently installed a new disk, on IDE. I was previously streaming from my main HDD on SATA. There is nothing on the new disk other than music, I have turned off all disk scanning and indexing to ensure that disk reads are being performed unnecessarily.

I am running Windows Vista Home Premium, I have a 54mps wirless netgear router, running b&g. I have also tried using only b and changing the wireless channel. According to slimserver the player gets 75% signal strength. I've not used a microwave during playback and I live in a detached house, so not sure if I will get any interference.

And it still skips.

I don't know what else to try, I might just end up selling it, which is a shame as its a good concept and a nice looking bit of kit.

What else can I try??

Thanks in advance.

bpa
2007-11-24, 16:10
How is your server connected to the router - wired or wireless. If it is wireless then you may have bandwidth problems with Flac.

Run the Network test under Plugins on the SB - what is the maximum speed you can sustain at 100% for say 10 mins.

jaysung
2007-11-24, 17:34
Try hardwiring everything for a test. If you still getting drops you've got a software problem if not well wifi sucks!
Hard wiring my setup really made administrating my home network far more easy.
Cheers
Jay

cliveb
2007-11-25, 01:44
I have recently installed a new disk, on IDE. I was previously streaming from my main HDD on SATA. There is nothing on the new disk other than music, I have turned off all disk scanning and indexing to ensure that disk reads are being performed unnecessarily. ... I am running Windows Vista Home Premium
It would be worth checking that the IDE disk is not running in PIO mode. Don't know exactly how you'd check this on Vista, but I suspect it will be similar to XP. Obviously there might be some differences in Vista, but the small experience I've had with it suggests to me that under the covers Vista is the same core as XP, and most of the administrative dialogs I've seen are basically the same. So:

Bring up Device Manager, expand out the IDE/ATAPI controllers, and look at the properties of the appropriate controller (primary or secondary). On the Advanced Settings tab, make sure the transfer mode is set to "DMA if available" and the current transfer mode is some form of DMA rather than PIO.

If you find you cannot get the disk out of PIO mode, try uninstalling the relevant controller driver and rebooting. This should reinstall the driver and reset it to DMA capability.

BigTony
2007-11-25, 04:51
Stuttering with 75% signal is very wierd. I only have 20% signal and I can stream FLAC and even LPCM wihout a problem, so you should be fine with FLAC.

If you play the FLAC files on your PC directly do they play fine? (i.e. make sure the problem isn't the source).

Things to try .. make the buffer on the SB bigger so it will be less reliant on the wireless signal.

Convert a FLAC file to WAV and stream native WAV (in server settings set it so that it doesn't convert WAV to anything) - this will check the ability of your wireless network to drive the load.

Is there anything else in the house thats putting a load on your wireless network?

Hope you get to the bottom of the problem, I've found my SB the salvation of my music collection!

BT

Xorro
2007-11-29, 00:48
Hi, yes the FLAC files play fine on the PC.

How do I increase the buffer size on the SB?

I've just done the network test, it said -

64kbps: 100%
Avg: 100%

peejay
2007-11-29, 01:46
Hi, yes the FLAC files play fine on the PC.

How do I increase the buffer size on the SB?

I suspect the buffer size of the SB3 is fixed either by physical memory size or firmware. I could be wrong..I can't find a setting for it in the Slimserver interface but others may know how to do this. If the buffer fullness is a problem then increasing it may not make any difference. I'd take the suggestions of other respondents to this thread and wire everything first. Check if indeed the wireless connection is a problem. It (wireless) does generally introduce a number of nasty to track down problems, although there are a number of very good guides here on the forum to sort these types of problems out. Good luck

bpa
2007-11-29, 01:49
Repeat the network test at different speeds (use up/down keys on remote to find the maximum speed at 100%.

IIRC For stutterfree Flac you will need about 1000-1500kbps at 100%.

ceejay
2007-11-29, 01:51
So, first, have you tried running this with the SB wired instead of wireless? You really need to do that FIRST so you know which route to explore.

The other thing to note is the one thing that you know you have changed, which is to install a new disc. If you copy that same album back to your SATA disc (create a mini library with just a couple of albums in it), point SS at that library and rescan, and play .... what happens?

Here's another test: instead of re-ripping the file to MP3, force slimserver to transcode it on the fly: this will exercise the disc just as much as reading the FLAC but use the lower bandwidth of MP3. Go to server settings - file types and select FLAC-MP3 conversion (and unselect other FLAC conversions).

Either of these tests should help tell the difference between a disc problem and a network problem. Do both and report back!

Its a little unusual mixing IDE and SATA discs in a box - is the IDE hard drive sharing a channel with something else that is slowing it down?

Ceejay

Xorro
2007-11-29, 02:45
I haven't tried it wired as the PC and router are upstairs and the SB3 is downstairs with the amp. I either need a really long bit of CAT5, or I'll have to move one or the other up/down stairs.

To clarify, playback stuttered from my SATA disk, so I installed the IDE disk (a spare I had) to see if it was the disk, but it stutters on both.
The IDE disk is sharing with the optical drive.

If I do FLAC to MP3, won't that lower the quality of the playback? Remember, my partner can tell the different between lossless and lossy formats! :)

I'll try the network test at other speeds when I get home.

I also have Nintendo Wii which is wirelessly connected, however I was getting stuttery playback before I bought it.

cliveb
2007-11-29, 05:27
I haven't tried it wired as the PC and router are upstairs and the SB3 is downstairs with the amp. I either need a really long bit of CAT5, or I'll have to move one or the other up/down stairs.
Moving the SB3 isn't exactly a major logistical operation. You don't need the amp & speakers. Just take the SB3 and pair of headphones upstairs and connect it to the router via wired ethernet. Finding out whether your playback problem is wireless-related is the first thing to establish so you can limit what needs to be checked. If it still stutters when connected via ethernet, there's no point doing any more wireless tests. And if it doesn't stutter via ethernet, there's no point doing anything other than fix the wireless network.


To clarify, playback stuttered from my SATA disk, so I installed the IDE disk (a spare I had) to see if it was the disk, but it stutters on both.
Ah right. Sorry, I got the impression from your original post that perhaps the SATA disk was OK. It's still worth checking that the IDE disk is running in DMA rather than PIO mode, though.

The IDE disk is sharing with the optical drive.
I've heard stories of some optical drives not playing nice with disks on the same IDE channel. If you can move the disk to a different channel that would be worth trying.

ceejay
2007-11-29, 12:37
If I do FLAC to MP3, won't that lower the quality of the playback? Remember, my partner can tell the different between lossless and lossy formats! :)



Yes, it will. This wan't meant to be a solution, more of a test to uncover where the problem is. Now we understand that you have the same problem with both discs, its almost certain you have a wireless problem.

At the risk of getting boring, you really do need to try this wired to verify this however.

Ceejay

Xorro
2007-11-30, 11:24
I have the SB connected to the router, I've turned off wireless on the router and now the SB won't connect at all, I was hoping it would auto detect and connect via the cable.

Have I got to reset the SB?

P.S. I got 100% on all the network tests up to 5000kbps.

Thanks to everyone for the help

*edit*

I've just re-ripped the stuttering tracks as WAV and they play fine.

Xorro
2007-11-30, 12:17
Convert a FLAC file to WAV and stream native WAV (in server settings set it so that it doesn't convert WAV to anything) - this will check the ability of your wireless network to drive the load.

Thumbs up to Big Tony, I've unticked the following so FLAC will convert to WAV.

File Format Stream Format Decoder
FLAC FLAC (built-in)

Seems to have done the trick! :D

CatBus
2007-11-30, 14:42
If you don't tell your other half that they're now listening to 320kbps MP3s, the only way they'll notice the difference is by the guilty look on your face.

Not that dishonesty gets you far in a relationship, but creative omission might help here.

peejay
2007-11-30, 20:44
Thumbs up to Big Tony, I've unticked the following so FLAC will convert to WAV.

File Format Stream Format Decoder
FLAC FLAC (built-in)

Seems to have done the trick! :D
So streaming larger files across the wireless network stopped the stuttering? Am I missing something here? I would have thought that streaming flac to the SB and having the SB de-compress it to WAV was more efficient than streaming WAV...I guess not....

Xorro
2007-12-01, 02:23
If you don't tell your other half that they're now listening to 320kbps MP3s, the only way they'll notice the difference is by the guilty look on your face.

Not that dishonesty gets you far in a relationship, but creative omission might help here.

I already tested this out, I ripped the tracks at flac and mp3, played both without saying which was which and she could tell the difference!

Xorro
2007-12-01, 02:25
So streaming larger files across the wireless network stopped the stuttering? Am I missing something here? I would have thought that streaming flac to the SB and having the SB de-compress it to WAV was more efficient than streaming WAV...I guess not....

As my music was already ripped as flac it seemed easier to do what I have done, than to re-rip everything as wav.

I can only tell you what I am experiencing.

Simple fact is, streaming flac and converting them to wav works for me and that's all the matters in the end, whether it works or not.

Plus you don't get tag support with wavs

bpa
2007-12-01, 02:49
What did you use to encode the files to Flac - the app and version ?
There may be a incompatibility between the decoder in the SB and the encoder. If so then the problem can be reproduced by others.

Xorro
2007-12-01, 02:58
I use Winamp 5.35 and in the encoder tab I have "FLAC Encoder (Flake SVN r117)"

The slider on Encoder Options is set to Best Compression, rather than Fast Encoding.

Pale Blue Ego
2007-12-01, 06:12
I suspect something is wrong with your FLAC encoder.

ceejay
2007-12-01, 06:29
I agree with PaleBlueEgo: flake is not the same program as flac, although it attempts to do the same thing. Have a look at this thread - admittedly a bit old.

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=45013

There are suggestions there that flake may in early versions have generated block sizes that the squeezebox decoder doesn't like. There may be an option on flake to change this, or (much simpler) you could revert to using the standard flac executable.

Ceejay

Mark Lanctot
2007-12-01, 14:40
I use Winamp 5.35 and in the encoder tab I have "FLAC Encoder (Flake SVN r117)"

The slider on Encoder Options is set to Best Compression, rather than Fast Encoding.

That's it, see http://forums.slimdevices.com/showpost.php?p=221343&postcount=7

Note that Josh is the FLAC developer. Note also that the problems occur at max (i.e. best) compression.

peejay
2007-12-02, 03:58
Bingo Mark! Flac isn't always flac. Here's a new debugging question to ask on the forum? Stuttering isn't always about the bandwidth of the wireless network. I guess the lesson here is to stay away from anything that is flakey!

CatBus
2007-12-03, 22:55
I already tested this out, I ripped the tracks at flac and mp3, played both without saying which was which and she could tell the difference!

Ah well. At least now you know you should never play poker against her. She can read you like a book. Not necessarily a bad thing...

maggior
2007-12-04, 09:19
I agree with PaleBlueEgo: flake is not the same program as flac, although it attempts to do the same thing. Have a look at this thread - admittedly a bit old.

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=45013

There are suggestions there that flake may in early versions have generated block sizes that the squeezebox decoder doesn't like. There may be an option on flake to change this, or (much simpler) you could revert to using the standard flac executable.

Ceejay


Wow, this is one to file away for future reference.

One thing you could do to avoid re-ripping your files is to use foobar2000 (or dbPowerAmp) to reencode your FLACs using the standard FLAC library. dbPowerAmp would have the advantage of allowing you to automatically delete the source file once done, though you may not want to do that in case something goes wrong.

Either of these tools would allow you to reencode all of your FLACs in one step, though it may run for quite a while depending on how many files you have.

Good luck! Glad your love of the squeezebox was restored.