PDA

View Full Version : New SB Classic owner! Lots of questions!



kurtphyre
2008-10-10, 23:56
Hello everyone,

I'm new to this forum and am glad to say I've bought my first Squeezebox. It's brand new and should be arriving next week in the mail! I probably would have never bought one of these if it wasn't for the outstanding comments about it over at the Steve Hoffman forums. I have some questions.

I'll be using the Squeezebox in my living room and will run a wired connection between it and my wired Linksys router. I use Windows XP and store most of my music in FLAC format. I use Foobar for ASIO playback on my PC.

1.) Which Squeezecenter version would be the best for me? I've read some pretty negative things about 7.2 (the newest version).

2.) What are some must have plug-ins? One guy recommened Lazy Search but I know of no other must haves.

3.) Would a <$500 DAC improve sound quality enough to justify the <$500? Or the DAC inside of it better than a <$500 DAC?

4.) What else should I know?

Phil Leigh
2008-10-11, 00:55
Welcome!

You should use 7.2. It is extremely stable on XP. Most of the isssues reported are Mac or Vista related..and to be fair most of the issues are not problems with SC itself.

A must-have plugin is a very personal judgement. For me, Lazy Search and AlienBBC are mandatory, as are MusicIP and Spicefly, Lyrics and Biography

The internal DAC is very good for the price. Certainly it will compete with most $500 CD players. To really get a clear improvement from an outboard DAC you need to get into Benchmark territory or higher... and you also have the additional cost of digital cabling.
DAC's are another very personal area of choice. To me they are like vinyl cartridges. Most of them work fine, but some are preferred in some systems to others. The DAC will not make as much contribution to the sound as the speakers...

Even the very best DAC won't overcome poor speakers, amps and cabling.
Before you add an external DAC, try a replacement linear power supply on the SB. These do not cost much and believe the consensus is that the internal DAC in the SB seems to benefit.


Enjoy your new purchase!

JJZolx
2008-10-11, 01:13
1.) Which Squeezecenter version would be the best for me? I've read some pretty negative things about 7.2 (the newest version).

You want the latest versions, 7.2. If you go back far enough in the forum archives you'll read some pretty negative things about every version that was ever released. :)


2.) What are some must have plug-ins? One guy recommened Lazy Search but I know of no other must haves.

IMO, none. Most plugins have nothing to do with listening to music.


3.) Would a <$500 DAC improve sound quality enough to justify the <$500? Or the DAC inside of it better than a <$500 DAC?

Who can say if you would personally prefer a different sound from another DAC. Or if you would even hear a difference on your audio system.


4.) What else should I know?

Have fun.

Be meticulous in ripping your CD library to hard disk and be anal about keeping it backed up so that you never lose all your hard work. Before it's done you may come to realize that the most valuable part of the entire computer/Squeezebox system will be the time that you've invested in ripping your library and making sure that it's correctly and thoroughly tagged. The Squeezebox is far and away the most dispensable piece in the equation. If you decided to replace it next year with a PC or Mac plus a USB DAC, or else some other standalone player, then you'll be able to retain the most valuable system component - the library.

Themis
2008-10-11, 01:15
Welcome to the forums, kurtphyre !



3.) Would a <$500 DAC improve sound quality enough to justify the <$500? Or the DAC inside of it better than a <$500 DAC?There are some people who have a better experience with some sub-500$ dacs. But, as Phil says, you should give us some more details about your hifi system if you wish some advice on a dac. An external dac is not an obvious all-purpose answer.


4.) What else should I know?The SB is pretty much a plug-and-play component. Nevertheless, there are plenty of advanced configuration details, and some people might get overwhelmed when trying to customize. You should know that whatever difficulties you may have in configuring and/or using your SB, there will always be some people here to help you.

dsdreamer
2008-10-11, 02:51
1) If you are using a library that is FLAC only, I think you will find 7.2 works just fine. However, I would be tempted to use 7.2.1 from the nightly builds which has a number of bug fixes included. The list of issues fixed so far in 7.2.1 be found at the top of this file: http://svn.slimdevices.com/repos/slim/7.2/trunk/server/Changelog7.html It may be that none of these is relevant to you, in which case go for the formally released 7.2 version.

2) Make sure you have your basic server functionality stable before going mad with trying various plugins. Whether you like lazy search will depend on whether you plan to rely on the IR remote for selecting music to play, or will use a laptop, or web-enabled phone or PDA as your main interface. If you habitually have a Windows Laptop handy when listening to music, consider using the curiously named Moose (http://www.rusticrhino.com/drlovegrove/ ) for seriously slick library browsing and remote control.

3) I know a $1000 DAC made a significant difference for me (Benchmark DAC1), but I think you should listen first to your new box. If you decide to move ahead, try to purchase your DAC under a 30-day return policy. The new Cambridge Audio DACMagic is about to go on sale for $400 in the US, and might be worth a listen.

4) i) Get your server running now; there's no need to wait until the hardware arrives (download it from here http://www.slimdevices.com/su_downloads.html or perhaps here: http://downloads.slimdevices.com/nightly/latest/7.2.1/ ). Check you can scan your entire music library and browse it from a web browser from elsewhere on the network. Perhaps play a few tracks remotely using softsqueeze.
ii) In case of any trouble doing the above, check your antivirus software and/or firewall in case it is interfering with either the scanning process or now allowing the needed ports to be open for streaming or the web interface.
iii) Set the SB player's digital volume control to 100% (or disable it in squeeze center) assuming you can control the volume using an analog volume control in your amp or preamp.
iv) Always use an analog volume control somewhere between your SB and the power amplifiers, i.e., don't try to use the SB3 as a pre-amp.

Goodsounds
2008-10-11, 08:47
Hey Kurt, welcome

Not much to add to accumulated good comments, other than to say I would start out keeping things plain vanilla for awhile. Get your basic stuff set up and running, use it, try out the different capabilities, see what features you like and dislike, etc. Accumulate some experience, then think about what you want to change.

I very much agree with the comment that most plugins are unnecessary. I use a few, I'm attached to none of them and I could easily do without them.

You mention that you plan to run a wire to your SB. If your home is wired and the connections are conveniently located, great. If not, don't hesitate to try wireless. Many SB owners do use wireless transport to their SBs (I do with 2) and it works very well. Be aware that it can complicate the setup because the process can unearth home network problems, airwave congestion and interference, etc.

Last hint - unless you've been fastidious along the way, many new SB users find that they have a lot of screwed up file tags - I know I did. If that applies to you, set aside some time for cleanup because having good tags is really important. The forums have many suggestions about recommended approaches to take and software to use to help the task.

Good luck and enjoy your music!

peter
2008-10-11, 12:23
Phil Leigh wrote:
> Before you add an external DAC, try a replacement linear power supply
> on the SB. These do not cost much and believe the consensus is that
> the internal DAC in the SB seems to benefit.
>

A consensus? That's news to me!

Regards,
Peter

kurtphyre
2008-10-16, 15:01
Thanks a lot for your helps guys. I got it up and running yesterday and I love it so far but I have one problem. How do I get last.FM to work with? When you listen to music it kicks you out of SqueezeNetwork and loads up Squeezecenter. But last.FM only seems to work while SqueezeNetwork is connected. How can I get last.FM to work with Squeezecenter?

MeSue
2008-10-16, 18:47
There are some instructions here:
http://www.slimdevices.com/dev_lastfm.html

I think they are incomplete, though. You also have to go to LastFM under player settings and enable it for each player you want to use.