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View Full Version : Is it time to retire my Squeezebox?



healy
2008-01-02, 06:00
Hey All,

It's been about 18 months since I've posted here...

I'm getting audio dropouts that are driving me crazy. Sometimes I'll go weeks without an issue, and sometimes I'll get them constantly for days. It's gotten to the point that I'll reboot my computer server, blow away the mysql cache directory and restart the server software before I have a party.

I'm running a Squeezebox 1 (Wirelessly). The dedicated server hardware is a Mac G4 (400mhz) with 1gb of Ram. My music library contains 2413 albums with 32197 songs by 643 artists. My server software is:

SlimServer Version: 6.5.4 - 12568 - Mac OS X 10.4.11 (8S165) - EN - utf8
Perl Version: 5.8.6 darwin-thread-multi-2level
MySQL Version: 5.0.22-standard

My WAP is fine for the rest of the devices in my house. I am able to run a AppleTV wirelessly downstairs just fine plus multiple laptops, etc.

I'm looking for ideas here. I've had dropouts ever since I've used the product (both with the Slimp3 and the Squeezebox 1). My server software has changed multiple times through the years (Windows, Linux, Mac, different configurations, etc, etc - I'm a sysadmin for a living). I've tried both Wired and Wireless with little or no change. The two constants in the mix have been my large (over 30 thousand song) library and the slim hardware itself. It takes between 3-4 hours to completely build my library from scratch.

I only use my Squeezebox once or twice a month but the audio dropouts make it a frustrating experience. I'm wondering if it's finally time to retire my Squeezebox 1 and look at a current release or if I'm going to have this problem with the version 3 hardware too. I bought an AppleTV last summer because I was looking for a music device for the downstairs of my house. Frankly when I saw that it was the same price as a squeezebox and it tied into my HD-TV, I went with it for my home theater room. It works fine and does what I want for that area of the house. No dropouts whatsoever. All I want for the upstairs is a music device that I can play a few times a month that doesn't drop out in mid song. Have I been in a cave so long that this issue was long ago fixed by new hardware revisions or is the dreaded audio dropout still the nemesis of the Squeezebox?

Thanks in advance,

-Healy

mherger
2008-01-02, 06:12
> I'm looking for ideas here.

What file formats are you using?

Michael

healy
2008-01-02, 06:18
> I'm looking for ideas here.

What file formats are you using?

Michael

All are 320 vbr MP3's.

healy
2008-01-03, 08:11
Anyone? Beuler? Beuler?

Can anyone with a large library tell me if the dropout problem been fixed in new hardware revisions?

mherger
2008-01-03, 08:38
Some more data points might be needed:

- try wiring your player - if the dropouts continue, then it's not a WLAN problem. If they go away, it is.

- when you encounter drop outs, is there some other background activity going on on your server?

- what's the machine's general memory and CPU load?

- are you using any 3rd party plugins?

Michael

davep
2008-01-03, 08:43
I have a SB1 also, as well as a couple of SB2's and a TP. Even though the SB1 is the only one of the 4 boxes which is actually wired to the router - the others are all wireless - it is the only one that has dropouts. I put this down to a combination of running an all-flac library and the small size of the buffer in the SB1. My cure has been to implement bitrate limiting for this player to 192 kbps and that seems to have done the trick.

The newer boxes have an upsized buffer and, as I said, I can stream full strength flac to them all with no dropouts, so a new SB3 would no doubt solve your problem - assuming it is not some other network issue such as a neighbour's new wifi router on the same channel, or a microwave oven or cordless phone somewhere nearby causing interference. You could try the bitrate limiting trick on your SB1 to see if that fixes it.

davep

mherger
2008-01-03, 09:30
> The newer boxes have an upsized buffer and, as I said, I can stream
> full strength flac to them all with no dropouts, so a new SB3 would no

Additionally the SB2+ can play FLAC natively. For SB1 it has to be transcoded to WAV which almost doubles the bandwidth and buffer size needed.

Michael

healy
2008-01-03, 19:16
Some more data points might be needed:

- try wiring your player - if the dropouts continue, then it's not a WLAN problem. If they go away, it is.

- when you encounter drop outs, is there some other background activity going on on your server?

- what's the machine's general memory and CPU load?

- are you using any 3rd party plugins?

Michael


I've run it both wired & wireless - no change

No other activity going on. I've had a rsync process run at 90% cpu and absolutely no dropouts, then one day I'll have dropouts galore and the cpu isn't even breathing heavy...

Memory & CPU load are well within normal - it's a dedicated server w/ nothing else going on.

I've unloaded all plugins except for rescan library and a couple of default ones.

healy
2008-01-03, 19:17
I have a SB1 also, as well as a couple of SB2's and a TP. Even though the SB1 is the only one of the 4 boxes which is actually wired to the router - the others are all wireless - it is the only one that has dropouts. I put this down to a combination of running an all-flac library and the small size of the buffer in the SB1. My cure has been to implement bitrate limiting for this player to 192 kbps and that seems to have done the trick.

The newer boxes have an upsized buffer and, as I said, I can stream full strength flac to them all with no dropouts, so a new SB3 would no doubt solve your problem - assuming it is not some other network issue such as a neighbour's new wifi router on the same channel, or a microwave oven or cordless phone somewhere nearby causing interference. You could try the bitrate limiting trick on your SB1 to see if that fixes it.

davep

Thanks for the input, I appreciate it. I'll try the bitrate limiting, all of my files are 320 vbr mp3's so that's a good thought. I forget sometimes about the player settings you can tweak. It's good to know the sb3 has a bigger buffer.

Mitch Harding
2008-01-03, 19:38
For what it's worth, I used to have dropouts on my SB1 (wired with
FLAC), but I've never had them on my SB3 (wireless, also with FLAC).
Now I don't have them on either. I made several changes to eliminate
the dropouts, though. My SB1 was plugged into a gigabit switch when
it was experiencing the dropouts. Now it's plugged into a 10/100
switch. I also moved my server to more powerful hardware and switched
from Windows to Linux. Finally, and more recently, I moved to SC 7.0,
which I've found to be a big improvement over 6.5.x.

Since you still see your problem even with a wired network, then
bitrate limiting for the purpose of reducing network bandwidth
shouldn't matter, since the wired connection should have solved that.
However, I suppose it's possible that the higher quality mp3 files
were overrunning the SB1's buffer.

It may be worthwhile to try and narrow down exactly why you are seeing
the dropouts before getting the SB3. But that having been said, I
would be very surprised if the SB3 experienced dropouts. The downside
to just going to the SB3 is that you may still have some problem that
your SB3 is just masking.

On Jan 3, 2008 8:17 PM, healy
<healy.32n3jb1199413201 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
> davep;253860 Wrote:
> > I have a SB1 also, as well as a couple of SB2's and a TP. Even though
> > the SB1 is the only one of the 4 boxes which is actually wired to the
> > router - the others are all wireless - it is the only one that has
> > dropouts. I put this down to a combination of running an all-flac
> > library and the small size of the buffer in the SB1. My cure has been
> > to implement bitrate limiting for this player to 192 kbps and that
> > seems to have done the trick.
> >
> > The newer boxes have an upsized buffer and, as I said, I can stream
> > full strength flac to them all with no dropouts, so a new SB3 would no
> > doubt solve your problem - assuming it is not some other network issue
> > such as a neighbour's new wifi router on the same channel, or a
> > microwave oven or cordless phone somewhere nearby causing interference.
> > You could try the bitrate limiting trick on your SB1 to see if that
> > fixes it.
> >
> > davep
>
> Thanks for the input, I appreciate it. I'll try the bitrate limiting,
> all of my files are 320 vbr mp3's so that's a good thought. I forget
> sometimes about the player settings you can tweak. It's good to know
> the sb3 has a bigger buffer.
>
>
> --
> healy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> healy's Profile: http://forums.slimdevices.com/member.php?userid=112
>
> View this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=41669
>
>

Robin Bowes
2008-01-04, 04:34
Mitch Harding wrote:

> Since you still see your problem even with a wired network, then
> bitrate limiting for the purpose of reducing network bandwidth
> shouldn't matter, since the wired connection should have solved that.
> However, I suppose it's possible that the higher quality mp3 files
> were overrunning the SB1's buffer.

Actually, I believe that the wired connection on a SB1 was only
10Base-T, i.e. 10Mb/s. So, there's not actually much difference between
wired and wireless bandwidth, although the wired connection should be
more resilient.

This could just be a simple network congestion issue, which the SB2/3
will cope with better because of its larger buffer.

R.

gautscho
2008-01-04, 06:15
Try Slimserver Version 6.5.0 with firmware 64!
I had the same Problem with dropouts (wireless or Wired).
Version 6.5.0 seems to be the most stable.

www.slimdevices.com/downloads

looks like a firmware bug in other versions.

Cheers

maggior
2008-01-04, 07:32
Based on what I'm reading here, it looks like the bitrate limiting test will be very telling.

Something to keep in mind is the 30 day satisfaction guaranteed policy. If you order one and for some reason it doesn't solve your problem, send it back. Just make sure you'll be able to test it out pretty thoroughly in the first 30 days. And if you go over the 30 days, they are in high demand and would most likely go for the price you paid on ebay.

davep
2008-01-04, 10:03
Try Slimserver Version 6.5.0 with firmware 64!
I had the same Problem with dropouts (wireless or Wired).
Version 6.5.0 seems to be the most stable.

www.slimdevices.com/downloads

looks like a firmware bug in other versions.

Cheers
The latest firmware version for the SB1 is, I believe 40. Higher numbers such as 64 will only run on the SB2 or SB3.

davep

exile
2008-01-04, 10:14
I too used to have drop out problems and I also have a mac g4 setup. I ended up wiring my squeezebox 2 and then i also upgraded my cpu power from 767mhz to 1.5ghz.

since the upgrades I have virtually perfect squeezebox performance.