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View Full Version : 2 questions - slimp3 vs. sb and music format



PAUL WILLIAMSON
2004-04-03, 04:29
What is the major difference between the slimp3 and sb?
Other than an updated appearance and the possibility
for wireless, are there any other major differences?
I have been thinking about buying one just to play around with it, and the slimp3 blowout seems very
attractive. It would work great in my garage. I can't
seem to find a close up picture of the device to see
the details of exactly what it looks like compared to
the sb.

Also, what are most people doing for music format?
I have well over 2,000 CDs and the thought of ripping
these to another format does not excite me. Right now,
everything is in 192 mp3 format. I've thought about
ripping them again to a better format, but I'm more
concerned about reproduction of music quality, not
space.

Thanks,
Paul

Mark Bennett
2004-04-03, 06:53
PAUL WILLIAMSON wrote:
> What is the major difference between the slimp3 and sb?
> Other than an updated appearance and the possibility
> for wireless, are there any other major differences?
> I have been thinking about buying one just to play around with it, and the slimp3 blowout seems very
> attractive. It would work great in my garage. I can't
> seem to find a close up picture of the device to see
> the details of exactly what it looks like compared to
> the sb.

One key advantage of the SB over the SLIMP3 is the support
for WAV streaming. This means that the box can support
encoding options other than MP3.

As a result his allows Ogg Vorbis and FL AC to be supported.
Currently this is in server side decoding to WAV, but Slim
have said they'll be looking at Client side decoding for
FL AC. I haven't heard any comment on this for Ogg Vorbis,
but I suspect it's theoretically possible and is a matter
of time and effort rather than any technical hurdle.

Also the SLIMP3 has reached its limit in terms of features.
It will never be possible to put the WAV support, or any
other new feature of the SB back into the SLIMP3.

For the garage, where you're probably not worried about
sound quality too much, then MP3 is probably all you need,
and you probably don't care so much about the other features
and expandability. Based on this the SLIMP3 is probably fine.

For appearance try:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/technology/3097615.stm

Some pictures without the box:
http://www.dfred.net/misc/slimp3/

Couldn't find much else quickly, sorry.

> Also, what are most people doing for music format?
> I have well over 2,000 CDs and the thought of ripping
> these to another format does not excite me. Right now,
> everything is in 192 mp3 format. I've thought about
> ripping them again to a better format, but I'm more
> concerned about reproduction of music quality, not
> space.

192kbit MP3 will probably give quality that's good enough
for most people, but it's not the best in the world.

Ogg Vorbis is a free codec which gives better sound quality
for the same bit rate (therefore disc space) than MP3 at
any given bit rate. Encoders/decoders are widely available
off the net, along with plugins for WinAmp etc. It is supported
by Slim for the SB using server side decoding, but not for
the SLIMP3.

If you're really interested in high quality then lossless
is the way to go. Of course there's the WAV option, but this
uses lot's of disc space. My preferred option for this is to
use FL AC (Free Lossless Audio Compression) which is another
free codec which is similarly widely available. This gets
down to around 60% of the disk usage of WAV, but is still
pretty disc intensive. This is again supported through server
side decoding on the SB, but not on the SLIMP3.

Since it's lossless the sound quality is as good as the CD,
and tests so far have shown that with an external DAC
connected to the SB it's probably as good as you get with a
high end CD player.

Having said all this, I have 418 CD's encoded up with FL AC
at the highest compression settings, and this is using 145GB
of disk space. Multiply this by 5 to allow for your 2000 CD's
and you're currently taking about a lot of hard disks.

In any case, if you decide to re-rip your CD's, you're in for
probably weeks of ripping. It's taken about 3 weeks for me
to rip my 400+ CD's, sometimes using two machines in parallel,
to get them done in my spare time.

Of course, nothing (apart from disk space) stops you doing
this gradually, and re-ripping your favourite albums first,
and taking six months or more to do them all. You can still
use MP3 for the disks you don't listen to so often.

There's no point in re-encoding your MP3's, since you've
already lost all of the details in the MP3 encoding format.

jacobdp
2004-04-03, 07:31
On Sat, 03 Apr 2004 14:53:47 +0100, you wrote:
>As a result his allows Ogg Vorbis and FL AC to be supported.
>Currently this is in server side decoding to WAV, but Slim
>have said they'll be looking at Client side decoding for
>FL AC. I haven't heard any comment on this for Ogg Vorbis,
>but I suspect it's theoretically possible and is a matter
>of time and effort rather than any technical hurdle.

I believe Sean said that the Squeezebox's CPU isn't powerful enough to
do Vorbis. FLAC is designed to be fairly easy to decode, but even then
it may be a tight squeeze (pun indended...)

- Jacob

Jack Coates
2004-04-03, 09:33
On Sat, 2004-04-03 at 03:29, PAUL WILLIAMSON wrote:
> What is the major difference between the slimp3 and sb?
> Other than an updated appearance and the possibility
> for wireless, are there any other major differences?
> I have been thinking about buying one just to play around with it, and the slimp3 blowout seems very
> attractive. It would work great in my garage. I can't
> seem to find a close up picture of the device to see
> the details of exactly what it looks like compared to
> the sb.
>

slim only accepts mp3, other formats are transcoded on the server at a
certain CPU cost. Squeezebox supports more formats directly.

Slim's development is essentially stopped (just the firmware, the server
software is continually improving). Squeezebox firmware is in progress.
For most users this means nothing, but there are users who have bugs
with Squeeze; I can't think of any outstanding Slimp3 firmware bugs.

Squeezebox has digital outputs as well as analogue; slim is analogue
only.

> Also, what are most people doing for music format?
> I have well over 2,000 CDs and the thought of ripping
> these to another format does not excite me. Right now,
> everything is in 192 mp3 format. I've thought about
> ripping them again to a better format, but I'm more
> concerned about reproduction of music quality, not
> space.
>

Mine are in 192 MP3 too, with a smattering in 320, some more in 128, and
a decent chunk of ogg. I can't really tell any difference between these,
YMMV. Opinions on the list range from people like me to utter and
complete audiophile nuts who keep hooking their squeezeboxes up to
stereo systems that cost more than the typical car. On average, everyone
is satisfied with the sound.
--
Jack at Monkeynoodle Dot Org: It's A Scientific Venture...
************************************************** ********************
* "If you want to dance with Billy on the piano, you can." *
* -- Mannish Boy from Sucking in the Seventies by The Rolling Stones *
************************************************** ********************

Jack Coates
2004-04-03, 09:39
On Sat, 2004-04-03 at 05:53, Mark Bennett wrote:
....
> One key advantage of the SB over the SLIMP3 is the support
> for WAV streaming. This means that the box can support
> encoding options other than MP3.
>
> As a result his allows Ogg Vorbis and FL AC to be supported.
> Currently this is in server side decoding to WAV, but Slim
> have said they'll be looking at Client side decoding for
> FL AC. I haven't heard any comment on this for Ogg Vorbis,
> but I suspect it's theoretically possible and is a matter
> of time and effort rather than any technical hurdle.
>

please note that I'm listening to an .ogg right now on my slimp3 -- it's
just transcoding to mp3 instead of to wav. That's probably not okay for
a monster audiophile nut since it's from lossy to lossy, but it sounds
great to me.


--
Jack at Monkeynoodle Dot Org: It's A Scientific Venture...
************************************************** ********************
* "Won't you take me far away from the mucky-muck now!" *
* -- Wonderboy by Tenacious D *
************************************************** ********************