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View Full Version : FLAC support in first-gen squeezebox?



PaladinOfKaos
2008-05-18, 11:26
Hi everyone. We've had a squeezebox for a while now, and we've been streaming WAV files to it. At this point, though, the WAV files are starting to take up a lot of space, and I've been looking for a lossless compression format, preferably one that supports tagging so we can ditch the iTunes database file we've been using to keep track of all the song information.

FLAC looks good, but I wanted to make sure it's supported by the first-gen squeezebox. If it isn't, are there any lossless, taggable formats that it does support?

Thanks in advance,
Branan

pfarrell
2008-05-18, 11:40
PaladinOfKaos wrote:
> FLAC looks good, but I wanted to make sure it's supported by the
> first-gen squeezebox. If it isn't, are there any lossless, taggable
> formats that it does support?

Flac is handled natively on SB2 and all later squeezeboxen

MP3 and PCM only on the really ancient stuff, but they are getting rare.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

Siduhe
2008-05-18, 11:41
I'm pretty sure that the SB1 does not have native FLAC support but can transcode FLAC into into WAV server side. Would be fairly CPU intensive, but if you have a decent server and network connection (esp. if you can run the SB1 wired) then this shouldn't be too much of an issue for you.

PaladinOfKaos
2008-05-18, 11:48
We've been running the SB1 wired off of WAV files, so we have the bandwidth. And the machine we'd be using as the server can play FLAC without even breaking a sweat, so it should be able to transcode OK. Thanks for the replies!

pfarrell
2008-05-18, 11:54
PaladinOfKaos wrote:
> We've been running the SB1 wired off of WAV files, so we have the
> bandwidth. And the machine we'd be using as the server can play FLAC
> without even breaking a sweat, so it should be able to transcode OK.

I ran my SB1 wired playing FLAC for years. Worked great.
I would not recommend wireless on the SB1 with flac, as it pushes the
limit of the bandwidth in old 11b networks. The SB2 supported native
flac, and doubled the internal buffers, which makes it have four times
the usable buffer, so it works fine.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

Mark Lanctot
2008-05-30, 08:32
And the machine we'd be using as the server can play FLAC without even breaking a sweat, so it should be able to transcode OK.

Decompressing FLAC to WAV is designed to be light on CPU. The relatively weak CPU in the SB2+ can handle it just fine. So if the server can run SS/SC it probably has more than enough power to decode FLAC.

Now transcoding FLAC to MP3 is another story especially with high quality MP3 settings because you're simultaneously decoding to WAV and re-encoding to MP3. You'd do this if you were connecting remotely. With a high quality MP3 setting I could bring my previous P4 2.8 GHz machine to its knees.

radish
2008-05-30, 08:42
I don't believe playing FLAC and transcoding FLAC are the same thing (not sure if a software player decodes FLAC to WAV first, it probably doesn't).

The process of playing a FLAC file on a machine inolves reading the file, parsing it, converting the compressed FLAC data to a PCM stream and sending that to the O/S for playback. These steps happen in various components (the player, codec modules, etc) but overall - that's what happens. When SC transcodes the file for playback it does exactly the same thing, the difference being that the PCM stream is sent to the player over the network rather than to the soundcard.

FLAC decompression is very lightweight, I'd be amazed if anyone's running a server which couldn't handle it!

Mark Lanctot
2008-05-30, 08:51
The process of playing a FLAC file on a machine inolves reading the file, parsing it, converting the compressed FLAC data to a PCM stream and sending that to the O/S for playback. These steps happen in various components (the player, codec modules, etc) but overall - that's what happens. When SC transcodes the file for playback it does exactly the same thing, the difference being that the PCM stream is sent to the player over the network rather than to the soundcard.

Ah I wasn't fully aware of that. I'll edit then.


FLAC decompression is very lightweight, I'd be amazed if anyone's running a server which couldn't handle it!

Definitely, anyone can check this by decoding a flac using "flac -d [filename]". It's blazingly fast, an order of magnitude faster than real-time even on a slow machine.

maggior
2008-05-30, 10:24
It's blazingly fast, an order of magnitude faster than real-time even on a slow machine.


For a few months, I had a slimserver running using Linux on an AMD K6 350MHz with 256 MB of RAM. The machine itself was woefully slow, but it was able to even transcode to mp3. It took a bit to get started, but once it did, there were no dropouts.

Mark Lanctot
2008-05-30, 10:28
For a few months, I had a slimserver running using Linux on an AMD K6 350MHz with 256 MB of RAM. The machine itself was woefully slow, but it was able to even transcode to mp3. It took a bit to get started, but once it did, there were no dropouts.

At the risk of going OT - I have almost the same machine, a K6-2 400 MHz, 192 MB RAM. Xubuntu 8.04 runs surprisingly well on it. I have never attempted to install SqueezeCenter on it though, but it might be interesting to try.