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dBerriff
2009-09-08, 01:23
I have been using an SB3 for the last 30 months. I have been extremely happy with the SB3, and later my Boom, but have never been entirely happy with the ripping/ tagging/ storage/ distribution side. I want good quality sound but I want the hardware to fade into the background so I do not feel the urge to keep tinkering with it. To me that is the great advantage of digital storage and replay - the music comes first and is accessible.

I have been down a few blind alleys with the hardware/software side. PC/SqueezeCenter worked ok but I don't want or need my PC on all the time. Mac/SqueezeCenter worked ok but I do not really want a music server running on my iMac all the time as well as iTunes. Ubuntu-Server/SqueezeCenter worked best of all on a dedicated Dell server (cheap but fast) at the expense of noise and electricity waste. Netgear NAS: worked but too slow for me especially when using iPeng.

I have used dbPowerAmp for ripping to FLAC but I find it a slightly odd product in that it works well but installation and upgrade can be confusing and their website does not inspire confidence in me.

The tagging side is just a pain in the proverbial. For some reason I ended up with a good fraction of my tracks seen as compilation tracks, even Jaikoz (bought to fix this problem) showed the flag was not set.

As I approach retirement and need to cut costs, I decided to review all the boxes I had around the house consuming electricity and to try to cut our running costs. The result does not include any Logitech elements, except for my Boom being used for internet radio.

I realised I could do everything with an Apple TV (previously a disappointment but we had one anyway) or Airport Express, active speakers with TOSLINK digitial interface, and iTunes on our iMac, with an iPod Touch to control it all. I might hang on to dbPowerAmp for Accurate Rip and then convert FLAC to Apple Lossless. So far I have had no problems with the usability and while I have doubts about the ripping side of iTunes I have no doubts about its ability to manage my library, create playlists and deliver the songs. It "just works" for me and in my experience over the last 3 years works with complete reliability. I have 2 libraries, one lossy and one lossless. That is a pain but I was having to do it anyway. All I have done is moved the SqueezeCenter library across to iTunes lossless.

OK, so what is the point of this post? Please don't waste your time telling me how awful iTunes is as a closed system or about the shortcomings of the Apple TV (I already have my opinions based on my experience and my particular requirements). Any system is a compromise. Instead, show me the error of my ways by responding to the following scenario:

If a neighbour or friend came to you today and asked for advice on a complete, turnkey setup and they were someone who just wanted to replay music and not spend their time tinkering with the software or pleading for help on these bulletin boards: what would you recommend? Assumptions: the end user owns a computer but is only computer literate to point of being able to install software, browse the web, deal with e-mails and use MS Office (this is meant to be the "typical user"). They have and use an MP3 player or iPod. They have WiFi but haven't touched it since their ISP told them how to configure it. You will not be there to hold their hands during the install process. They want good quality sound driving an existing "stereo system" (let's assume an analogue input is most likely here, and that they are not an audiophile) in their living area and might like a Boom or Radio at some point for multi-room listening. The system should use Logitech hardware (Touch?) (this is their forum after all). So you need to propose a complete system up to the point where they connect to the stereo.

Over to you ...

pippin
2009-09-08, 01:34
Buy a Mac mini. Connect it to your screen once. Install SqueezeCenter. Copy your Music to it. Done.

pippin
2009-09-08, 01:35
Cheaper and even simpler alternative: Buy a VortexBox.

pablolie
2009-09-08, 01:40
It is not the SB3's fault that you are in a *transition*. It is like blaming your Blueray player for the fact that you have to find a way to do something about that VCR collection you have.

For new music, I have a choice - buy the CD and rip it losslessly, or buy it as a compromised MP3 source. In my case, the convenience of the online download wins out every time these days. It is again not the SB3s fault, it is the way I chose to consume music given new technology available.

If I had friends I'd tell them to take their time in ripping their music and enjoy the process, since -while inconvenient, is part of the ritual. Or put all their CDs in a big box and send them off to a ripping service, since that'll make them think about the music they really listen to.

The system itself? Lots of choice, but I think Logitech offers a great variety and a great product. Especially now with the Touch, when things can be very self-contained. The SC software is great for me. For most people, a drive off the SBT is all they need. And I may transition to that eventually.

pippin
2009-09-08, 02:05
The system itself? Lots of choice, but I think Logitech offers a great variety and a great product. Especially now with the Touch, when things can be very self-contained. The SC software is great for me. For most people, a drive off the SBT is all they need. And I may transition to that eventually.

Sorry, I don't think this hits his point.
OP's issue was more with tagging than with actually running the server and for that you need a platform where you can do that.

On the Mac you can use iTunes (which I personally have lots of problem with regarding management of my library, but he seems to be fine) and VortexBox also has a set of ripping/tagging tools on the platform. The latter is also controllable over the WebUI.

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 02:28
It is not the SB3's fault that you are in a *transition*.

I have posted quite a few thoughts on these issues and I have been very careful NOT to blame the SB3 or the Boom. In fact I have on a number of occasions stated my belief that they are the best hardware devices of their type available. Please stick to the scenario. I am trying to be positive by asking: what would you do? I want to learn from your answers. If you read around these forums many beginners are asking the same question.

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 02:36
Buy a Mac mini. Connect it to your screen once. Install SqueezeCenter. Copy your Music to it. Done.

Yes, this would work. I borrowed a mini and tried it. However, for the beginner, would you recommend they use iTunes for all the ripping? It has to be a turnkey system and my scenario user probably has a load of unripped CDs. I really am curious about complete, effective solutions to the scenario (and I realise there could be many). :-)

In my case I just cannot justify buying a mini for this for a while; I've only just bought the AVI speakers.

pippin
2009-09-08, 02:41
...However, for the beginner, would you recommend they use iTunes for all the ripping?...

For a beginner: Yes.
If you are looking into lossless, the VortexBox may be the better solution, I believe it's also more efficient WRT ripping.


In my case I just cannot justify buying a mini for this for a while; I've only just bought the AVI speakers.
You're not a beginner.
In your case, I would check back in December how SC 7.4 -noweb (aka TinySC) performs on your ReadyNAS.

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 02:58
Pippin raises tagging and iTunes. I don't have any problems except for:

a) Classical music. I still haven't worked out if I want the conductor or orchestra to be the artist. I usually think of composer, piece, orchestra or conductor in that order when I want to listen to something. Anyway, this is not a serious problem for me and it is to do with standard tags, not iTunes.

b) Silly or just incorrect "look-up" tag entries. As I have most of these fixed now I don't mind fixing new albums or tracks one at a time. I get the same problem with any look-up service; I am sure we all have our own preferences.

c) I don't entirely trust its ripping because I'm not sure how it handles the small number of my CDs that have errors. I value Accurate Rip or one of the secure ripping alternatives. I have been using dbPowerAmp.

Beyond this iTunes has been rock-solid for me (as has SqueezeCenter to fair). Where iTunes wins is its handling of playlists and the integration with the iTunes Store (contentious I know - but is suits my needs). But this is enough about my usage - what do you recommend?

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 03:10
In your case, I would check back in December how SC 7.4 -noweb (aka TinySC) performs on your ReadyNAS.

OK, I will do that. I am hanging on to my ReadyNAS as the ultimate big folder backup device (my lossless library is currently around 230 Gigs and I can backup FLAC as well as Apple Lossless to avoid yet another batch conversion).

I might by unlucky with the fan in my ReadyNAS but I just wish it was not so noisy. The Mac mini was far quieter and could sit in our living room.

And no, I am not a beginner. I thought the scenario was a better place to start from though. (A bit like the joke: well, if you want to go to [insert town of choice] I would not start from here...)

shevans
2009-09-08, 03:13
If going with the Mac route, seriously look at Max, a ripper/converter and by the same chap his new "Rip" program which will rip to FLAC using Accurate Rip.

FLAC is supported natively by the majority of the Squeezebox devices. ALAC will be supported by the Touch and Radio natively when they arrive. Max converts very easily between these audio formats.

http://sbooth.org/

P.S. I also bought an Apple TV which went on eBay a few months later....

pippin
2009-09-08, 03:21
ALAC will be supported by the Touch and Radio natively when they arrive.

Really? Do they?

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 03:23
If going with the Mac route, seriously look at Max, a ripper/converter and by the same chap his new "Rip" program both of which will rip to FLAC using Accurate Rip.

FLAC is supported natively by the majority of the Squeezebox devices. ALAC will be supported by the Touch and Radio natively when they arrive. Max converts very easily between these audio formats.

http://sbooth.org/

Already have Max and it is a good product. Rip is closer to what I think beginners need but it is still in Beta and got track lengths wrong for one CD I tried (each track finished playing 15s before the end as shown on the time-line in SqueezeCenter - I did not know this could even happen. Max did a perfect rip on the same CD).

I have standardised on FLAC as my archive format because I suspect it will become or already is the main lossless download format. I then use Max to derive Apple Lossless files. A bit inefficient perhaps and most definitely not a way of working I would recommend to our beginner. I am hedging my bets at the moment, as they say.

shevans
2009-09-08, 03:33
Really? Do they?

http://www.logitechsqueezebox.com/products/squeezebox-touch.html#tab2

http://www.logitechsqueezebox.com/products/squeezebox-radio.html#tab2

Audio formats
MP3, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, Apple Lossless
WMA Lossless, APE, MPC and WavPack supported through transcoding
Some formats may require additional software installation

Implying the Apple Lossless is natively supported on both - I hope!

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 03:35
Our beginner doesn't have a clue what you mean by native ALAC support and why he or she would need it. :-}

shevans
2009-09-08, 03:38
Our beginner doesn't have a clue what you mean by native ALAC support and why he or she would need it. :-}

Well in that case the beginner should use just iTunes on a Mac.

ddewey
2009-09-08, 06:52
Quoting dBerriff (dBerriff.3y6r1z1252398241 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com):

> I realised I could do everything with an Apple TV (previously a
> disappointment but we had one anyway) or Airport Express, active
> speakers with TOSLINK digitial interface, and iTunes on our iMac, with
> an iPod Touch to control it all. I might hang on to dbPowerAmp for
> Accurate Rip and then convert FLAC to Apple Lossless. So far I have had
> no problems with the usability and while I have doubts about the ripping
> side of iTunes I have no doubts about its ability to manage my library,
> create playlists and deliver the songs. It "just works" for me and in my
> experience over the last 3 years works with complete reliability. I have
> 2 libraries, one lossy and one lossless. That is a pain but I was having
> to do it anyway. All I have done is moved the SqueezeCenter library
> across to iTunes lossless.

I've spent a lot of time over the past couple of years counseling
these 'standard' users about alternatives to iTunes. I'm glad (but
surprised) that your experience has been so positive. As more and
more people acquire more and more digital music, iTunes (espescially
the PC version) is prone to falling over. I've had to rebuild my
library countless times, deal with it marking perfectly present
songs as 'missing' by the thousands etc. And all I use it for is
syncing my iPhone and iPod. It's crazy. I certainly would never
recommend an iTunes-based solution to anyone with a sizable music
collection who wanted things to 'just work.' Too unstable.

pablolie
2009-09-08, 07:50
... I certainly would never
recommend an iTunes-based solution to anyone with a sizable music
collection who wanted things to 'just work.' Too unstable.

I entirely agree.

My wife falls into the user scenario you describe.

She has fully simply moved from a music world to another? She owns CDs from the past. But ripping? Not interested. She simply builds up a new library over time.

How does she use the SB? She uses the Pandora channels she made me set up for her.

That's all she wants: music on her iPhone, and Pandora round the house.

I think only a minority of new users care or concern themselves with ripping. It is not what people do. They simply are building up new digital libraries.

Oh, and I *hate* iTunes. I do not think it any more user friendly than Windows Media Player, and the way it tries to lock people in without offering tangible benefits on top (other than Apple brand religion)... No thanks.

aubuti
2009-09-08, 08:57
If a neighbour or friend came to you today and asked for advice on a complete, turnkey setup and they were someone who just wanted to replay music and not spend their time tinkering with the software or pleading for help on these bulletin boards: what would you recommend? Assumptions: the end user owns a computer but is only computer literate to point of being able to install software, browse the web, deal with e-mails and use MS Office (this is meant to be the "typical user"). They have and use an MP3 player or iPod. They have WiFi but haven't touched it since their ISP told them how to configure it. You will not be there to hold their hands during the install process. They want good quality sound driving an existing "stereo system" (let's assume an analogue input is most likely here, and that they are not an audiophile) in their living area and might like a Boom or Radio at some point for multi-room listening. The system should use Logitech hardware (Touch?) (this is their forum after all). So you need to propose a complete system up to the point where they connect to the stereo.
Please clarify something. You say that this user doesn't want to tinker with software and don't mention ripping and tagging as part of his/her "typical user" literacy. But then subsequent posts talk about what ripping software to use. Does this user want to rip his/her CD collection or not? A lot of people I know have no interest in ripping their CDs -- all the music on their portable players and computers was downloaded.

Even though I think the SB system is great, if the user only has one stereo system and doesn't want to rip, then I'd recommend (a) keeping the exisiting CD player, and (b) getting one of those iDock-thingies for the iPod, ideally one with a remote control. It can still be Logitech, as they make iPod accessories, too. The main downside is that the library is divided in two between the music on CDs and the music on the iPod, which can't be mixed together in the same playlist.

If ripping isn't too big a hurdle for the user, then that might be a different story. Similarly, it would help to know the probability on liking a player in another room at some point, because imo multi-room listening is a *major* factor in whether or not a network music system is worth the effort.

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 09:31
Please clarify something. You say that this user doesn't want to tinker with software and don't mention ripping and tagging as part of his/her "typical user" literacy. But then subsequent posts talk about what ripping software to use. Does this user want to rip his/her CD collection or not? A lot of people I know have no interest in ripping their CDs -- all the music on their portable players and computers was downloaded.

Good point - I wonder what the norm is? I hate ripping CDs. The Red Book standard is way out of date and it is just nuts to go from Pro Tools to 44.1/16 wav files to Red Book from which you have to re-extract digital files, hoping you don't pick up errors on the way.

Let's forget about CDs then and concentrate on library management (you can always suggest a CD ripping service as someone else suggested).

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 09:34
There are many advantages to the SqueezeBox setup and I agree access to your music and multi-room distribution are an important if not critical part of this.

Returning to the scenario, what are you going to suggest as a server platform for our fictional new adopter?

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 09:49
Quoting dBerriff (dBerriff.3y6r1z1252398241 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com):
[color=blue]

I've spent a lot of time over the past couple of years counseling
these 'standard' users about alternatives to iTunes. I'm glad (but
surprised) that your experience has been so positive. As more and
more people acquire more and more digital music, iTunes (espescially
the PC version) is prone to falling over. I've had to rebuild my
library countless times, deal with it marking perfectly present
songs as 'missing' by the thousands etc. And all I use it for is
syncing my iPhone and iPod. It's crazy. I certainly would never
recommend an iTunes-based solution to anyone with a sizable music
collection who wanted things to 'just work.' Too unstable.

I should emphasise that I use iTunes on Macs. I can accept that it is a whole different experience on a PC (I have used it at work but not in any depth). My current library size might be modest by current standards (9835 songs, 231.50 GB) but I cannot remember a single instability issues over the last 3 years. For new downloads or rips I personally find it easier to revise tags to my own requirements using iTunes. Anyway, the point of this is to propose stable, preferred solutions.

Mac / OS X / iTunes / Apple TV or Airport Express is, in my particular experience, stable and easy to use but it is not a preferred solution because it is not Squeeze-product based. So what do you recommend instead? What works as a complete setup? (We have already had the Mac Mini as a partial solution. It would work fine but you would be wasting money on software that would not be used. Also, many people are just not going to buy a Mac because it is an Apple computer.).

pablolie
2009-09-08, 10:06
There are many advantages to the SqueezeBox setup and I agree access to your music and multi-room distribution are an important if not critical part of this.

Returning to the scenario, what are you going to suggest as a server platform for our fictional new adopter?

For a new adopter - get the SB Touch and use that as the server, with USB memory off the site. That's all you need now.

Or sure, if you want to marry into the Apple vision for life, invest in their stuff. I think the "ease of use" is a big mystique that is no longer justified, and you give up a lot of flexibility.

But it really depends on what platform people are familiar with. And the SBTouch pretty much eliminates that altogether.

Now someone is going to ask about "what about library management"? Most people don't need r think about that, either. They have their stuff on an iPhone or iPod, short-sighted as it may be.

Furthermore, I think stuff like Pandora, with inreasingly personalized content, is all most people are going to care about soon enough. Why even own music? Let the cloud provide me with what I like when I am in the modd to listen. It is a small (and probably decreasing) minority of people that care about the particular artist and song and interpretation.

aubuti
2009-09-08, 10:26
Now someone is going to ask about "what about library management"? Most people don't need r think about that, either. They have their stuff on an iPhone or iPod, short-sighted as it may be.

Furthermore, I think stuff like Pandora, with inreasingly personalized content, is all most people are going to care about soon enough. Why even own music? Let the cloud provide me with what I like when I am in the modd to listen.
Agreed. And with the iPod Touch (and I presume the iPhone) you can get Pandora. Increasingly downloads are direct to the portable player, further reducing the need to get a standard computer involved, or even an SB Touch.

I don't own an iAnything and don't plan to (my portable players are my Blackberry and a Sansa), whereas I have more SBs than I can use right now. But if your hypothetical user doesn't want to rip, tag, or otherwise faff about with music files on a computer and already has a portable player, then I think any network music solution (SB, Sonos, Cisco, Sooloos, etc) is just asking for frustration. Some people shouldn't sew their own clothes, some people shouldn't drive manual transmissions, and some people shouldn't run network music systems. Maybe I'm just not a good proselytizer....

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 11:15
What people don't like is not the issue here; what works for Logitech Squeezeboxes is. My reasons for buying into Apple technology have nothing whatsoever to do with this thread, anymore than my using Windows XP to run Visual Web Developer to implement .NET systems.

I have been asking "what works" to drive SqueezeBoxes. I posed a scenario to try to keep the discussion positive. As the thread lengthens this approach gets less effective.

I accept the point that ripping is at best a transitory phase for most people and the present, let alone the future, is downloads, or...

... more radically don't own music but just listen to the "cloud". I have a daughter who has Last.FM on all day and I suppose I should look into Spotify. We live in interesting times.

Beyond that I don't think I have learnt anything except that the Touch can run a server as well as act as a client. That is interesting. I have suggested elsewhere that Logitech should support a preferred server solution without compromising the current, open nature of the system. Could this be it in such a small box? Plus an external drive of course until the cost of solid-state memory comes down.

Unless some other suggestions come along I think I am going to save up for a Tranquil workstation (virtually silent, I am told), load Ubuntu Server on it and hope I can remember how to get Samba working as easily as I did last time. This doesn't meet the scenario requirements I know, but this thread does not seem to be heading in that direction anyway. Time to move on to other things.

Cheers.

pablolie
2009-09-08, 11:29
... some people shouldn't run network music systems. Maybe I'm just not a good proselytizer....

I totally agree.

A good example are VCR and DVDs. I do not have a Blueray player. I do not have the ability to play my old VCRs in my current system. And I am not all too worried about losing the ability to play my DVDs (even though I have many) simply because with a product like the Roku box I have access to Neflix movies and Amazon movies... and that is all I need when it comes to consuming video.

I am no film buff and do not *care* enough to keep a library of stuff. I consume it as it comes. And that is the way the vast majority of people feels about music.

aubuti
2009-09-08, 11:35
What people don't like is not the issue here; what works for Logitech Squeezeboxes is.
How's that? Your premise was "someone who just wanted to replay music and not spend their time tinkering with the software or pleading for help on these bulletin boards: what would you recommend". If that's not about what people want/like/don't like I don't know what is. It's not about liking specific products, but about liking specific features and requirements of different products.


I have been asking "what works" to drive SqueezeBoxes. I posed a scenario to try to keep the discussion positive. As the thread lengthens this approach gets less effective.
I think it is positive. I also think it's just not pro-SB for this particular user. Logitech would still be interested in this user -- just maybe not for their SB line. I don't see what's negative about saying a particular product is not a good match for a particular user.


Unless some other suggestions come along I think I am going to save up for a Tranquil workstation (virtually silent, I am told), load Ubuntu Server on it and hope I can remember how to get Samba working as easily as I did last time. This doesn't meet the scenario requirements I know, but this thread does not seem to be heading in that direction anyway. Time to move on to other things.
The Tranquil PC sounds like a good system, and I'm a big fan of Ubuntu. But this doesn't sound anything at all like the turnkey system you said was the goal. The Vortexbox Appliance (running Vortexbox, of course) is much, much closer to a turnkey solution.

On the SB side use any of the SB players that support IR remote: Classic, Touch, Boom, Radio, or Transporter. The SB Controller has worked pretty well for me, but I don't think it's as robust as the other systems.

Nostromo
2009-09-08, 11:40
Our beginner doesn't have a clue what you mean by native ALAC support and why he or she would need it. :-}

If you don't have native support, it means no rwd or ffw.

pablolie
2009-09-08, 11:47
What people don't like is not the issue here; what works for Logitech Squeezeboxes is. My reasons for buying into Apple technology have nothing whatsoever to do with this thread, anymore than my using Windows XP to run Visual Web Developer to implement .NET systems.

I have been asking "what works" to drive SqueezeBoxes. I posed a scenario to try to keep the discussion positive. As the thread lengthens this approach gets less effective.

I accept the point that ripping is at best a transitory phase for most people and the present, let alone the future, is downloads, or...

... more radically don't own music but just listen to the "cloud". I have a daughter who has Last.FM on all day and I suppose I should look into Spotify. We live in interesting times.

Beyond that I don't think I have learnt anything except that the Touch can run a server as well as act as a client. That is interesting. I have suggested elsewhere that Logitech should support a preferred server solution without compromising the current, open nature of the system. Could this be it in such a small box? Plus an external drive of course until the cost of solid-state memory comes down.

Unless some other suggestions come along I think I am going to save up for a Tranquil workstation (virtually silent, I am told), load Ubuntu Server on it and hope I can remember how to get Samba working as easily as I did last time. This doesn't meet the scenario requirements I know, but this thread does not seem to be heading in that direction anyway. Time to move on to other things.

Cheers.

You asked what we'd recommend a neighbor. We did - get yourself something like Boom and listen to Pandora, or similar. For the vast majority of people, that is what they are after.

But it seems now it's down to what works for *you* based on what *you* like or approve of, and that is a different question altogether.

By the way, you mentioned the SC as a noisy and energy wasteful device. That is your computer. I have an utterly silent workstation, and since it is on all the time for other things, I happen to run SC on it. Even though it is high end and very fast, it consumes less than 45W as a server (monitor off, processor has slowed down) and will go into sleep after 10 mins, and wake up quickly and seamlessly when you ask it to.

Even though I am a huge Linux fan and supporter, I would never recommend it to the average person. Way too much tinkering is required to make it a truly flexible multimedia platform for all of a household's needs.

iPhone
2009-09-08, 11:50
Buy whatever Squeezebox product you want to use. Buy a Vortexbox appliance (or create one with the free download if you have an old PC and can follow directions). Plug in the Vortexbox and either feed it CDs or transfer your files to it over the network. Turn on your Squeezebox of choice and follow setup.

Enjoy the music.

The Vortexbox is pretty good on power and fairly low noise. If you build your own, it can be a little better on power and you could pick a totally fanless solution.

I can't think of a single ripping program that handles Classical properly. Ripping was created basically for MP3s which are mainly Pop and Rock IE Artist/Group, Album, Song. Classical is just never going to fit into that mold.

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 12:05
How's that? Your premise was "someone who just wanted to replay music and not spend their time tinkering with the software or pleading for help on these bulletin boards: what would you recommend". If that's not about what people want/like/don't like I don't know what is. It's not about liking specific products, but about liking specific features and requirements of different products.


I think it is positive. I also think it's just not pro-SB for this particular user. Logitech would still be interested in this user -- just maybe not for their SB line. I don't see what's negative about saying a particular product is not a good match for a particular user.


The Tranquil PC sounds like a good system, and I'm a big fan of Ubuntu. But this doesn't sound anything at all like the turnkey system you said was the goal. The Vortexbox Appliance (running Vortexbox, of course) is much, much closer to a turnkey solution.

On the SB side use any of the SB players that support IR remote: Classic, Touch, Boom, Radio, or Transporter. The SB Controller has worked pretty well for me, but I don't think it's as robust as the other systems.

I did not express myself very well. You don't like Apple - fair enough, there is lots I don't like. But where do we go from here? I was hoping we would get some input on media servers that are easy to set up and work well with SqueezeCenter. I agree - it is what about end users will like and use (or not use).

And yes, I prematurely abandoned the scenario although I genuinely would like to know what to recommend to friends and family. Perhaps I should be more patient and give this another day but I thought we would be getting more on media servers like the Vortexbox or Windows Media Server for example by now. I genuinely have other things I need to do in the meantime.

Thank you for your input.

Nostromo
2009-09-08, 12:19
I use EAC and Tag&Rename.

But I assume that most iPod/iPhone users are fairly happy with iTunes. I use it with my iPod and its OK. So if someone who doesn't know anything about computers or doesn't want the bother asked me, I'd recommend using iTunes. Its not the best solution, but its good enough for most people.

The next stumbling block is the wireless network. They can be a real pain in the ass. If that person can hardwire his Squeezebox, then he'd save himself a lot of headaches. Either that or have someone handy who can fix the problem.

aubuti
2009-09-08, 12:21
I did not express myself very well. You don't like Apple - fair enough, there is lots I don't like.
Actually I don't dislike Apple at all. Otherwise I wouldn't recommend it to someone else. I was doing that sincerely because their products seem to fit the needs of users just like the one you described. I have considered various Apple products, but usually they lose out because of compatibility problems, such as software I need for work, or what type of email server my employer supports, or getting a 4GB Sansa + 8GB SD card for $50.


I was hoping we would get some input on media servers that are easy to set up and work well with SqueezeCenter. I agree - it is what about end users will like and use (or not use).

And yes, I prematurely abandoned the scenario although I genuinely would like to know what to recommend to friends and family. Perhaps I should be more patient and give this another day but I thought we would be getting more on media servers like the Vortexbox or Windows Media Server for example by now.
Considering your aversion to ripping and tagging that you noted in the OP, I assumed that those solutions were out of the running. Especially because as you learned with your compilations problem, tagging can continue to be a nuisance long after the ripping is finished.


I genuinely have other things I need to do in the meantime.
Oh sorry, I thought you were the OP. :-/

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 13:15
Considering your aversion to ripping and tagging that you noted in the OP, I assumed that those solutions were out of the running. Especially because as you learned with your compilations problem, tagging can continue to be a nuisance long after the ripping is finished.


Oh sorry, I thought you were the OP. :-/

Sorry, it was someone else who did not like Apple.

I have assumed ripping and tagging to be necessary but I thought workable with something like the Vortexbox or Brennan JB7. Ripping it has been suggested is perhaps not necessary as the CD dies off. It is already becoming a marginalised media in our music stores. Tagging is the only way I know of organising music locally but perhaps even this concept is outdated. The future perhaps is online services? The new Touch perhaps provides a better interface for this - and the Radio of course.

Yes, I am the OP but it is getting late in the UK and I'm already in trouble for not getting around to doing the washing up last night. I'll get back tomorrow. ;-)

Goodsounds
2009-09-08, 13:36
dBerriff,

You seem to be not only unhappy with what you have, but equally unhappy with the good suggestions people have offered.

As far as I know, a fully integrated solution from one supplier doesn't exist. But that's no big deal. Complaining about that too won't change anything and won't get you anywhere.

One can always find fault or complain if that is the goal. What you have should serve you well, but apparently it doesn't. I wish you better days, my friend.

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 13:39
You asked what we'd recommend a neighbor. We did - get yourself something like Boom and listen to Pandora, or similar. For the vast majority of people, that is what they are after.

But it seems now it's down to what works for *you* based on what *you* like or approve of, and that is a different question altogether.

By the way, you mentioned the SC as a noisy and energy wasteful device. That is your computer. I have an utterly silent workstation, and since it is on all the time for other things, I happen to run SC on it. Even though it is high end and very fast, it consumes less than 45W as a server (monitor off, processor has slowed down) and will go into sleep after 10 mins, and wake up quickly and seamlessly when you ask it to.

Even though I am a huge Linux fan and supporter, I would never recommend it to the average person. Way too much tinkering is required to make it a truly flexible multimedia platform for all of a household's needs.

First para - yes, that is a good suggestion and one I had not really thought of being stuck in the music server mindset that has served me well over the last few years.

Second para - I thought I had managed to steer clear of "approval"; if not it was not deliberate. What works for me was a starting point; the rest was to respond to specific posts. It may have confused the discussion; sorry.

Third para - I agree and I would not recommend "traditional" server hardware - it just happened to be what I has at the time. I really would like to know what could be recommended with recent hardware developments and there have been some interesting suggestions.

Fourth para - this follows from the second comment you have made. Of course I want to sort out my own solution but I should be more patient and let the wider context unfold so hopefully it is of general interest.

Thank you for correcting the drift.

dBerriff
2009-09-08, 14:15
dBerriff,

You seem to be not only unhappy with what you have, but equally unhappy with the good suggestions people have offered.

As far as I know, a fully integrated solution from one supplier doesn't exist. But that's no big deal. Complaining about that too won't change anything and won't get you anywhere.

One can always find fault or complain if that is the goal. What you have should serve you well, but apparently it doesn't. I wish you better days, my friend.

Whose complaining? I seek the truth through discussion, consideration, proposal and counter proposal. Some great points have been made here that will make me think again and question my assumptions. There seems to be a trend for a question or reasonable challenge to be thought of as a criticism or "complaint". I genuinely wish to a) learn what works for other people and I cannot be alone in that and b) have any incorrect assumptions I have made corrected.

I have had to review some of the past solutions I have tried with a view to cutting running costs and energy wastage. This is adapting to circumstances.

I am happy with the solution I have except it doesn't include my SB3. That doesn't feel right and I am not yet ready to abandon it. Part of the point of this exercise was to find out what was feasible, especially given the recent release of the Touch and Radio.

I assure you I might have questioned everything but I have not rejected it.

An integrated solution does not exist... Well they do actually from Naim and Meridian, but they are extremely expensive. Brennan.co.uk offers another integrated solution, although with a very specific hardware interface. Perhaps the Touch will move a step closer to this for Logitech.

Complaining won't change anything? Again, I didn't think I was complaining, just evaluating. Discussion won't change anything? I sincerely hope this is not true.

I am very grateful for the suggestions made here and I hope they will be of interest to other forum members too. I need more reflection before choosing a way ahead or deciding to stay with what I have.

I clearly lack the ability to communicate my thoughts and intentions correctly in the context of this forum. I have a genuine interest in the future of music distribution but perhaps I should quietly get on with enjoying the music using a system that does, despite any impressions to the contrary, give me an immense amount of pleasure. And leave the discussion to others.

pablolie
2009-09-08, 14:36
First para - yes, that is a good suggestion and one I had not really thought of being stuck in the music server mindset that has served me well over the last few years.

Second para - I thought I had managed to steer clear of "approval"; if not it was not deliberate. What works for me was a starting point; the rest was to respond to specific posts. It may have confused the discussion; sorry.

Third para - I agree and I would not recommend "traditional" server hardware - it just happened to be what I has at the time. I really would like to know what could be recommended with recent hardware developments and there have been some interesting suggestions.

Fourth para - this follows from the second comment you have made. Of course I want to sort out my own solution but I should be more patient and let the wider context unfold so hopefully it is of general interest.

Thank you for correcting the drift.

Hey, these forums would be very tedious without our being opinionated and passionate at times. But I also think *that* is what differentiates us from 95% of the mass market: the fact that *we* are passionate about the music - its interpretation and history. And that we have very often very definite needs and know exactly what we must listen to; or worship at the shrine of music by somewhat aimlessly browsing through the treasures we have put together through the years. *We* rip, we catalog, we organize. *We* care about music quality (as evidenced by those *WONDERFUL* ADM 9.1 you have). So very often, when others listen to our system and detect it's something special and ask us, we go overboard in our explanation. While I know several people that are now happy with their SB setup, I also know people who initially copied my approach to then desist and quietly abandon it because it was total overkill for them, and too much upkeep.

For an enthusiast system, which at the end of the day I think is what is we are talking here, I think the SB concept has many advantages in the reproduction. But I agree - the ripping and server front end is a hassle. And I don't think there is a lot that can be done about the ripping. I do use dbPoweramp and think it the best around - the Mediaguide interface has a *lot* of even obscure albums, but there will always be the painful exception. And I must say the loss of the album art and the notes (musicians, thank you notes, artist comments) is something I miss, but they are even absent from several CDs these days. I think there is a loss there. I think Deutsche Grammophon does it right: every download comes with a PDF file. It's the way it should be, but customers don't demand it enough. Shame. Oh, another side-track. In a nutshell - the ripping sucks, we all agree. And I for one think dbPoweramp is as good as it'll get. In another few years there'll be no need for it - it'll be like trying to find a dual Betamax and VHS player...

The server... I think this is where the market will go into different categories. I for one like an always-on home server. Power management capabilities are imperative. Not just because of the electricity bill, but simply because personally I don't like to be wasteful out of laziness. I think many chipsets so quite well with power these days (I use an Intel E8600 in mine, but there is the whole Atom line that is very cool, and the Via stuff also). I use Ubuntu as a Linux system, but I have to say Vista does a better power management job on my system, at least out of the box. Linux is way too complex for most people - I take pride in the occasional configuration wars, but most people need not apply. Heck, most people get all disoriented when it is a different user interface than they are used to...

I have voiced my opinions on being trapped in a proprietary Apple world. If it always worked it'd be nice, but I have witnessed my iTunes buying history being wiped out twice in the Apple store, and iTunes crash spectacularly. Just my opinion - I know it works for many.

Windows Media Server... I had one set up, and it was just OK. The Linksys media box I used was a disaster and in the end mercifully decided to euthanize itself. I never bothered to replace it - I guess it means my video needs are already served "from the cloud". I have a nice TV (SO is a big TV person, I am not) and it is connected to (a) a DVD player/recorder that is gathering dust (b) the Roku streaming box, which downloads stuff from Netflix and Amazon on the fly as needed. I would not be surprised if in the end that is the way music is distibuted: I simply buy a license, but it stays on the Amazon server, and whenever I want to play it streams. But that is the future.

For now, since I am a music enthusiast, I love the SB. Of course, when I bought into it there weren't as many other choices. But I like the fact I have a wide choice of "slaves" I can pick from for different environments, and the fact the software is flexible and runs on a number of platforms. But those are arguments that would have most people's eyes glazing over. Platform? FLAC? 24 bit? Staging? What? :-)

Given what you write, I think you'd be very happy with a lightweight, highly energy efficient mini server. Look at the Atom boards from Intel. I have found Vista 64 to be rock solid for many things, but it costs $. I have made excellent experiences with Ubuntu Linux, which works very well with the SB concept (occasional hair pulling when we go one upgrade too far excepted).

pfarrell
2009-09-08, 14:49
dBerriff wrote:
> Whose complaining?

Troll

Do not feed the trolls



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

dBerriff
2009-09-09, 04:00
Hey, these forums would be very tedious without our being opinionated and passionate at times.

Thank you for your lengthy and considered reply. It is interesting that we have such different experiences with iTunes but I suspect that is down to individual configuration issues. I moved to an Apple iMac for the 24" screen and specific software including iPhoto and Logic Studio. It made sense to use it to host an iTunes library and it hasn't let me down yet.

Yes, I am passionate about music, both listening and playing. I also teach Web classes and I am seriously interested in the direction that digital media distribution will take. I am also trying to cut down the number of computers, switches, WiFi basestations and other sundry devices soaking up the kWatts in our house. The wonderful AVI speakers are part of that :-) They are so revealing - but that is yet another story.

I am guilty of persuing too many agendas here which is what had me tripping over my replies.

My mindset was locked in the ripping, tagging, serving model even though I had all the evidence in front of me. Rental already makes more sense for movies and it is interesting to see music licencing moving the same way.

Ripping - R.I.P. and not a moment too soon. I already download classical music from Passionato but have limited lossy pop/rock/electronica downloads to tracks where quality is not such an issue. I can see that I - and my mythical scenario friend - needs to embrace the new virtual library and let go of our CD security blanket. So that is conclusion 1 that I have drawn from this discussion.

Tagging - I don't really see how this can go away just yet, at least until we fully embrace the cloud. I have returned to my own personal sanctuary of iTunes, accepting that it does not work for all users and there are serious problems on some platforms. I have Jaikoz as a reasonable alternative, but now my library is how I like it I don't expect to use it much in future (appologies to the developer who is a really keen, commited guy).

I have found SqueezeCenter works well fed a properly (individual taste again!) structured library but I still don't know what I would recommend to a PC user to massage the library into shape, except to use dbPowerAmp and get it right in the first place. I have found the dbPowerAmp tag editor is ok for individual tracks and albums but not for mass editing - unless I have missed something which is quite possible.

To be continued ...

GlenL
2009-09-09, 05:03
but I still don't know what I would recommend to a PC user to massage the library into shape, except to use dbPowerAmp and get it right in the first place. I have found the dbPowerAmp tag editor is ok for individual tracks and albums but not for mass editing - unless I have missed something which is quite possible.

To be continued ...

For a PC user, I would recommend MediaMonkey for mass editing, tagging etc.

Slightly intimidating at first glance, but very powerful.
It can also do ripping, burning and iPod/IPhone synchronisation.

aubuti
2009-09-09, 05:42
mp3tag is also extremely good at editing tags, and despite the name handles FLAC as well as MP3. It's great for mass tagging and has a very powerful macro language. It's great for Windows and runs well under Wine on Linux. Oh, and it is free.

And if saving energy is a big motivator, unless you're running a server farm your fridge matters more than any of computers, switches, and routers in your house. Cleaning the dust bunnies from fridge coils regularly isn't as sexy as a fanless 4w mini-itx server, but it does more to save energy costs.

KMorgan
2009-09-09, 06:06
I've got 2x SBRs 1x SBC and 1x Boom.

Guests are quite impressed by this, especially my ability to select anything I want from the remote (Napster subscription you see) but when they ask how do I get this for myself I don't know what to say. It all seems too hard to explain. I would say they are of the "typical user" type mentioned in the first post. So what would I recommend as a starting point?

Get a small,cheap netbook, preferably a pretty one coz it's going to be in the lounge. Download the Spotify software. Connect the headphone-out to your stereo analogue-in. Select what you want to listen to on the netbook and press play. Ta da! A library of gazillions of tracks at your fingertips. If the ads annoy you take out a premium sub. If in due course you want better quality or a full function remote, come back and we'll chat again.

Keith

chinablues
2009-09-09, 07:01
In an earlier post, the OP mentioned:

"Let's forget about CDs then and concentrate on library management"

This is for me the crux of any workable SB solution. It's a lot of work and is not something your average joe would wish to do. I used EAC extensively in the beginning, then db Poweramp for the ripping part. But as has been mentioned, ripping accurately to FLAC is only part of the puzzle, and it's perhaps only 10% at that. Tagging correctly is the other 90%. I use Tag&Rename extensively for that. Sometimes mp3tag has it's uses too, but nowhere as useful as Tag&Rename. Even a downloaded FLAC always (in my library) has to be retagged, or have tagging checked before it's deemed acceptable. Anal I know, and I agree this can be the aspect of the whole solution that drives people away.

I know lots of folks that are interested in the SB solution and indeed I have got a few up & running successfully. BUT they want me to handle their 'library management'. Mostly they want something that 'just works'. SB can do that with a good library. I don't know how good the ripping services are, but I suspect for many that would be a good starting point. Get their existing CD library ripped by a ripping service & make sure they include that cost in the assessment of overall system costs in the move to 'networked music'.

As others have mentioned, Itunes means for me death to a well structured libraries....it destroys them and feeds the user with it's own version of what 'it thinks' the album should be. The users I have got running have strict instructions to stay clear from iTunes...doubtless some have got it working, but deep under the hood it seems to 'mess about' with my very carefully structured library.

As the book library goes the way of the dodo, perhaps there's a new career out there for some of the unemployed. Music Library Managers. The OP mentioned the 'retirement' word I believe. Maybe it's not retirement, just an new career opportunity!

Dan

KMorgan
2009-09-09, 07:43
In an earlier post, the OP mentioned:

"Let's forget about CDs then and concentrate on library management"

This is for me the crux of any workable SB solution. It's a lot of work and is not something your average joe would wish to do.

Dan

Absolutely. There's the problem. It's all just too complex when you start to talk about ripping, tagging, finding album art etc. If you are "in to" this kind of thing the way most people on this forum probabaly are, it's all part of the fun. For everybody else it's a PITA and enough to put them off.

My pals are far more impressed with convenience and choice than absolute sound quality. For that reason I believe that on-demand streaming is the future. Well the present actually. You don't need a local music library when it's all available from Spotify or Napster. The best solution right now would be the one that puts the whole Spotify catalogue on your remote control, and streams it at 320kbps Ogg to your hifi.

I'm halfway there. I can have my home computer off, connect my Duet to Napster via Squeezenetwork, and stream whatever I want to my hifi. It's 128kbps WMA, but to be honest that sounds fine to me. This especially so when I can pick almost anything to listen to.

Personally I think there is a big market opportunity for a dedicated Spotify or Napster player. Send the royalties to me!!

Maybe the new Touch with it's built in TinySC, and selected to "Napster Mode" would be the perfect vehicle for this. No server, and all your music streamed straight off the interenet.

Keith

stevek1006
2009-09-09, 07:56
For a turnkey solution, you might also consider the RipNAS. It is built by the dBpoweramp people and comes with SC and the dBpoweramp ripper installed. It is a Windows Home Server with a CD built in tested by Spoon to work with AccurateRip.It is more expensive than the VortexBox, but mine has worked flawlessly, does the best job of tagging of any solution I have tried, and is completely silent.

http://www.ripnas.com/

There are still the issues of library management since no automatic tagging system is perfect, but there are lots of options out there and most have already been mentioned.

aubuti
2009-09-09, 08:49
Maybe the new Touch with it's built in TinySC, and selected to "Napster Mode" would be the perfect vehicle for this. No server, and all your music streamed straight off the interenet.
You don't need the SB Touch or TinySC for that. You can do it right now via SqueezeNetwork with any of the current SB players except the SliMP3 and the original SB1. You can even customize the SN menu so it *only* shows Napster.

pablolie
2009-09-09, 09:04
You don't need the SB Touch or TinySC for that. You can do it right now via SqueezeNetwork with any of the current SB players except the SliMP3 and the original SB1. You can even customize the SN menu so it *only* shows Napster.

I was about to mention that.

I fully admit I have always utterly underused Squeezenetwork. Because I have always been about *my* playlists and *my* library. Very seldom have I shown off Squeezenetwork to people asking questions about my setup, even though quite probably it would be the most interesting feature to them.

But if I, as an enthusiast, have basically stopped buying CDs and am entirely happy with buying stuff at amazon in 256k MP3 format... and if I find myself increasingly fine-tuning Pandora stations... it seems the way this is all headed is pre-determined.

Oh and if I had to set up a system right now, I'd hook up good active speakers to the SB3 directly. No $7k+ integrated amps and CD players for me. No $10k+ speakers...

Things are changing indeed.

dBerriff
2009-09-09, 09:09
To continue...

Great advice here with a clear message that we continue to be in a state of flux and online services seem to be the future rather than the local library-based approach we have used over the last few years.

The Touch is beginning to make a lot more sense than first impressions suggested - some of its features I did not pick up from the current product page and thought it was just an SB3 with a touch screen. Initial responses on this forum did not disabuse me.

To summarise for the far distant scenario from these posts and my personal experience:

Ripping should be outsourced as a dying requirement.

Tagging they might need help with, including the choice of a clear policy over issues such as compilations, genres and classical music.

Storage: Perhaps it is not needed at all with Spotify or Napster solution. Assuming that is a step too far for some, I would suggest an external drive for the library. There are pros and cons for internal vs external (USB 2, Firewire, SATA External all easily fast enough) but as it is probably going to be in the living room most important of all it needs to be very quiet. For a novice an external drive might give more flexibility if you need to help with the setup.

One great feature of SqueezeCenter is that it does not care about the folder structure but works straight from the tags. In practice our user just needs to drop any new music files into the correct root folder or sub-folder and re-scan the library. This is until the library dissapears into the Cloud.

Backup policy: essential if local files are used! If you pay for music (sorry for this, but I know a few people who do not) just work out what your investment is...

Mac: just use a Mac Mini or iMac if you have one. iTunes works for some, not for others and it is going to be a love it or hate it relationship. For our scenario I would tend to suggest it as a starting point, especially as SqueezeCenter links to it by default.

The SB family opens up additional control and music selection options beyond a pure Apple solution; also SqueezeCenter gives easier management of multi-room audio in my opinion. You also give access to the superb Boom and the presumably (I have not seen one let alone tried one) superb Radio for more than Internet-delivered services. To me this is a critical advantage but it might not apply to our scenario. I am hearing that Spotify (for example) could be enough.

PC

For the PC don't touch iTunes with the proverbial but use something like dbPowerAmp and the tag editing suggestions above - or get someone else to manage your library.

There are many attractive small, all but silent PCs and one of these could provide a fully usable library and SqueezeCenter host.

Windows Home Server got one short mention but I cannot see a place in our recommendation because I don't know what it would add, perhaps out of my ignorance. Perhaps it enforces file security where optional backup regimes do not.

WiFi

Wired is easiest but a straw poll of my adult students suggests WiFi is in pretty widespread use.

WiFi, if I remember rightly, has not been mentioned. Should we suggest dual band and seperate out -n for workstations and -g for Squeeze devices?

I notice the Touch has: "One-touch setup (with compatible WPS-supporting routers)". I have never tried it and list of compatible routers would be helpful. Sounds like a welcome feature though.

Turnkey Solutions

Vortexbox gets a lot positive comments elsewhere so this might be an option if the Mac or PC solution does not appeal and we are not ready for the cloud. I presume we could just recommend the integrated box for an easy life or offer to install the software for them if they prefer a different platform.

Interesting Times

I'm not ready to give up the security blanket of my CDs yet, but I am beginning to wonder why. Perhaps I still don't believe that I have ripped them without errors. I need to let go as...

This is clearly an outdated attitude and we should recommend a virtual solution on local disk storage or more radically, in "the Cloud".

The Squeeze devices get a clear recommendation as providing the best of mix of replay-hardware-options, control & accessibility, with multi-room playback.

The Touch should get a clear recommendation when it is available if only because the touch screen will make set-up a lot easier and it has some new capabilities.

While there is no one, clear solution - there are solutions.

My plan to defect was ill-thought out. Time to start saving for low power, quiet server I can live with because I cannot live without SqueezeCenter for my SB3 and Boom, for the time being anyway. I need to investigate more radical options further before abandoning my local library.

Appologies for any typos - this has been typed up in a bit of a rush.

iPhone
2009-09-09, 14:03
To continue...

Great advice here with a clear message that we continue to be in a state of flux and online services seem to be the future rather than the local library-based approach we have used over the last few years.


I couldn't disagree more with that!

The future is really going to have to change for that to apply to me. First, available everywhere Internet is going to have to cost about $30 a month for true unlimited bandwidth that is available anywhere I go. Second, the online services are going to have to stream in 24/96 with a minimum of 16/44.1. Third, I would have to have access to just about every song ever published on a physical media through their service. Fourth, their service is going to have to cost less then $300 a year.

If not, then no thank you no. I will rip the music I want, play it when I want, take it where I want, and listen to it at a lossless rate. Don't get me wrong, I like the variety of Internet Radio, I just can't stand to listen to it for more then 1 to 2 hours at a time due to poor sound quality (the 2 hour limit only applies if I am doing something and the music is mainly background).

Another thing to think about, the RIAA, Artists, and Music Companies probably don't like that model. The only reason they tolerate iTunes is the revenue stream it provides over lost sales of CDs mainly due to their price point and file sharing. If CDs were cheap enough, I really think it would put a dent in illegal sharing.

I hope the future holds a reshaping of the music business where downloads of whole albums in 24/96 are priced around $5 and Artists make money off of touring, merchandise, and downloads that cut the RIAA out of the loop.

After all with a Touch, all I need is a big USB drive and I have lossless audio anywhere I want it! I take the Touch from home with a USB Drive and put it in the SUV. Listen to "My Music" while driving to the mountains. Take the Touch w/ USB Drive into the Cabin and have music all weekend where there is no Internet and only cellular service when I find the right high ground. Touch back into the SUV for music on the way home. Touch back into the house for music whenever and wherever.

These are of course just my opinions and YMMV. The CD is not dead yet (dying a slow death), but I would never have thought it wouldn't outlast me as the media of choice when I bought my first CD back in the early 80's. "Hey switch to these, they will last forever!"

dBerriff
2009-09-09, 23:58
I couldn't disagree more with that!



I was only trying to paraphrase the discussion and I see no harm in thinking radically. A rental rather purchase model might be the future for some and it could provide an alternative revenue stream for the industry, including the musicians. Anything is better than the wholesale theft that I am told is going on at the moment.

Please note my proposed solutions include a traditional disc-based library. Personally I'm with you, I still haven't given up on CDs even.

I had not covered the requirements for travelling. At the moment I take an iPod, but if there is no library that model breaks down. Good point and one that should be factored in.

Nonreality
2009-09-10, 00:32
The problem with itunes is that if you do have a problem it's usually a huge problem where it has corrupted files or more. It's a nice program with too much overhead, doesn't work well with external hard drives and likes to do everything it's own way. I'd much rather use dbpoweramp with mp3tag and if needed for organizing, mediamonkey. The above problems will never happen in this setup. Wait until you do have a problem with a large library in itunes. Anyone that has knows what I mean. Make damn sure if you do use it that you have backups that it can't touch. This is my opinion for the PC only mind you.

dBerriff
2009-09-10, 02:24
The problem with itunes is that if you do have a problem it's usually a huge problem where it has corrupted files or more. It's a nice program with too much overhead, doesn't work well with external hard drives and likes to do everything it's own way. I'd much rather use dbpoweramp with mp3tag and if needed for organizing, mediamonkey. The above problems will never happen in this setup. Wait until you do have a problem with a large library in itunes. Anyone that has knows what I mean. Make damn sure if you do use it that you have backups that it can't touch. This is my opinion for the PC only mind you.

Agree. I assume the tight integration of iTunes & QuickTime with OS-X does not transfer to iTunes & QuickTime with Windows. My conclusions did not include iTunes for the PC on the basis of the advice given in this thread.

Back up? Definitely, at least twice in my case as I have the disk space anyway. It was built into the conclusions. Big advantages, IMHO and compared to iTunes, of SqueezeCenter are that it does not write to the library, ignores the folder structure and is read only except for playlists.

I can see that library management is a potential problem with iTunes. Great when it works (as it has for me on my iMac) and if you are happy with its organisational logic, a disaster when it goes wrong.

chinablues
2009-09-10, 03:16
The OP's 'conclusion' post gave a good & detailed summary of the various postings, but I have to agree with the comment from iPhone...QUALITY enters into the picture for me. I started out on this music network quest with Audiotron (anyone remember that?) streaming MP3's. While I was at the computer trying to get it to work, my wife was in the sitting room shouting 'turn that crap off'. The lowish MP3 quality offended her ears. Then along came the Transporter & I found FLAC. Coupled with a good amp and a pair of Kef 205/2's, this is (for me) audio nirvana. I want a system that I KNOW is better than my ears. Just this last weekend I culled 766 128kbs MP3s from my collection. Anything lower than 128Kbps was gone a long time ago. I'm getting old, I don't have the time left to listen to crap.

I don't want music 'from the cloud', until as iPhone mentions, it comes in FLAC quality.

Thus for the naive user, perhaps the first question before embarking on networked music systems is: "Do you really spend time 'listening' to music, or are you just looking for a nice system to give you background noise?". Depending on the answer, you point them in the direction of the radio or SB Networked music. Or maybe the Touch with no personal library...just play from 'the cloud'...maybe that's the third option.

Dan

dBerriff
2009-09-10, 06:41
Thus for the naive user, perhaps the first question before embarking on networked music systems is: "Do you really spend time 'listening' to music, or are you just looking for a nice system to give you background noise?". Depending on the answer, you point them in the direction of the radio or SB Networked music. Or maybe the Touch with no personal library...just play from 'the cloud'...maybe that's the third option.

Dan

I thought I was one of a dying breed. All home listening is to FLAC files wherever possible. I only buy iTunes tracks when I need something quickly, usually to learn the bass part for a song.

My observation though is that most people are not too bothered although with a reasonable system they might concede that 192 is better than 128 kbps. This includes my daughters who, despite all their indoctrination with things "HiFi", humour me then go back to downloading all their tracks from iTunes (at least they pay for it all).

I'm not saying agree with this situation, but it is what I observe.

So your observation is spot on and must be added to the conclusions. Sorry I overlooked the point when iPhone made it.

socistep
2009-09-13, 14:51
A lot of different topics in this thread but an interesting discussion.

My view around ripping/tagging is that you are never going to get 100% correct first time but there are some great tools out there which will automate the process.

My personal approach is to use vortexbox on my small server, its great to get a new CD in the post, pop it in the server and 10-15 later its ripped, tagged, got cover art & available on my Squeezeboxes - this was particularly beneficial when I re-ripped my cd collection into FLAC earlier this year. I'm moving house at the moment, the Cd's are being boxed up and will stay that way, as I've got all my music stored on the server in lossless format then I have no need for having the cd's in a rack taking up a lot of space.

Of course, there are times when it doesn't get the correct information and I have to manually edit tags (I use mp3tag & the find cover art plugin for this).

Before buying my first Squeezebox I used iTunes for ripping music to then transfer to iPod/iPhone, to be honest I never had any problems and liked the software, as it stands I rarely use it now and using SB kit has opened my eyes to the limitations of Apple.

In terms of a "typical user", I fully understand where people come from with that, I have a group of friends, we're all late 20's and everyone has either an iPod or iPhone, out of that group I think perhaps only 2/3 from the 15 would be savvy enough to use SB kit - looking at the touch and the radio these are the type of products that may well push that number up. That might come across as slightly snobby but I think people will know what I mean.

pablolie
2009-09-13, 16:56
The OP's 'conclusion' post gave a good & detailed summary of the various postings, but I have to agree with the comment from iPhone...QUALITY enters into the picture for me. ...

indeed - but that was exactly my point when saying that most people reading and posting into this forum, and spending much thought on the subject, are the minority in the market. so don't assume your neighbor is going to need your setup, that's all. :-)

i agree with the quality statement, but then again quality from a certain point on is relative. the audiophile that laughs at someone spending $5k on esoteric cables (while having spent 10k on speakers himself) may in turn be laughed at by someone with a very clean, simple sub-$2k setup that actually can sound pretty darn good these days. where do you drawe the line for quality? i agree that 128k MP3 is unacceptable for truly concentrated listening - but think that 256k MP3s sond pretty good, and that a lot of music that audiophiles t this day use as a reference (Orff "carmina Burana" anyone) does not need FLAC, arguably the original recordning is not diminished an ounce at 192k. then again stuff like Kevin Mahogany's "pride and enjoy" - it begs for FLAC and a deserving system to breathe and induce utter musical bliss.

the point is - quality is very relative, and while no doubt is based on some truths in technology and setup, it also to a certain degree includes some less rational considerations with some regularity.

anyhow, anyone posting to this discussion is *not* representative of the market average, we think *way* too much about quality. most people do not even care to hear a difference between 128k and higher resolution and just want convenience and a nice background soundtrack here and there.

Pale Blue Ego
2009-09-14, 16:56
I would just tell them to get the Boom and use it with SqueezeNetwork.

pablolie
2009-09-14, 21:58
I would just tell them to get the Boom and use it with SqueezeNetwork.

true life story - i have made 2 people very happy with that suggestion. one of them only listens to free radio, the other has become a Pandora addict... and *both* discovered moderate audiophile pleasure in the end pairing the Boom to a $100 subwoofer... they are very happy users, and I am downright sick of them crediting me for it (if they'd bought a Transporter and paired it with B&Ws then maybe I'd take it graciously :))...

Nonreality
2009-09-16, 19:51
Find a ripper that you are comfortable with. I would go with dbpoweramp for the tagging but EAC is also excellent. Then a tagging program that you understand. Very important. I would use mp3tag but others like other programs. Try them until you are comfortable. That is really the whole story. Proper rips and proper tags. Then I guess is to organize them the way you want. It's not rocket science here people or else I wouldn't have had a chance.

Nonreality
2009-09-16, 20:13
I would just tell them to get the Boom and use it with SqueezeNetwork.

So basically don't use your own music? Why?

pablolie
2009-09-16, 21:26
So basically don't use your own music? Why?

right now people just download music to have it on their ipod and iphones, but over time i think the music repository will stay in amazon or itunes accounts, and just be streamed online if required. and stuff like pandora promises to deliver on the fly personalized music channels... the vast majority of the market is well served with that. at least i think so - my needs are certainly not the average person's...