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gnnash
2010-03-22, 09:59
Well, I'm pretty sick of my local radio stations' low-bitrate online radio streams. I love my Boom for pandora and my own music, but don't want a separate radio as well when I could just have one device!

So I will be purchasing a radio tuner for my PC, and streaming from that to my squeezebox. I've seen information on how to do this, but I was wondering if there is a way to re-tune my tuner from the squeezebox itself. Perhaps the squeezebox will point to a different stream file on my PC, and some sort of software will recognize this and re-tune my tuner to a different station.

Does anyone know of anything that could do this? I'm tired of listening to highly compressed radio with a 20+ second delay from live.

bpa
2010-03-22, 10:19
I have a plugin for a Griffin RadioShark ( http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/radioshark2 ) which supports tuning. It only supports Windows and Linux - not OSX.

gnnash
2010-03-22, 12:26
This sounds very nice. Are the preset buttons able to be set to the stations?

bpa
2010-03-22, 12:35
Tuning is done by defining an url with "shark://" prefix so that

shark://98.1 - will tune to 98.1MHz FM
shark://2400 - will tune to 2400kHz AM.

Usually save a few "shark://" URLs of known stations as favorites and then you can use them as you like for example in alarms or presets.

gnnash
2010-03-22, 12:41
Sounds excellent. However, I've heard some bad things about radio sharks and reception quality. What are your experiences? I'll be using this in a metropolitan area, with some pretty noisy radio reception in the first place unless I use an external antenna.

bpa
2010-03-22, 13:39
I found it works OK for me but we don't have lots of stations but I don't use an external antenna with it. I mainly use for wakeup alarm audio stream as using the internet stream of the station was not reliable for a variety of reasons.

I think the RadioShark is of similar quality as a FM radio of about twice the price in Ireland - a HiFi tuner it is not. An external antenna can be used with the RadioShark and you can use a v. long USB cable so that it can be positioned for best reception away from PC and other sources of interference/shielding.

SBS takes a PCM stream from the RadioShark and streams it as Flac and at a guess the audio quality is probably about the same as a 128kbit/s MP3 but I cannot be sure as local FM stations all have low speed internet streams.

Not sure what you mean by "noisy reception" - is it weak/distant signal or adjacent stations or something else ?

I have also tried TV/FM tuner cards which were terrible unless a big external antenna was attached (and even then they had 32Khz PCM stream). and an ADS InstantFM usb adapter (Silabs chipset) which has RDS. The Griffin was most reliable as the software to drive the Silabs based units didn't worked all the time.

FM adaptors are now hard to find as digital radio becomes prevalent.

gnnash
2010-03-23, 05:57
Thanks for the information. I'll have to check on the status of the Radio Shark and Windows 7. I've heard that they weren't compatible.

With the InstantFM adapter, were you able to get any sort of RDS feedback to the squeezebox? I was looking at that adapter as well, but mainly for the RDS capability, and the lower price.

bpa
2010-03-23, 06:34
I can't see why RadioShark plugin won't work with W7. The audio stream appears as a standard USB audio stream so as long as W7 support the USB standard it is OK. Tuning & LED control is done with custom s/w which I ported from Linux and the interface used is standard USB stuff.

The Silabs unit would get the RDS info - just the software module to tune and return the RDS info was unreliable and I didn't see much point in spending time trying to get it to work. I was using the code from here
http://code.google.com/p/silabsradiodll/

gnnash
2010-03-23, 06:44
Alright. Do you have any WIP plugins from when you were tinkering with this? I don't have a clue how to get the RDS info from this code into the stream for the SB.

Looks like I will likely end up going for the Radio Shark, though RDS would be awesome. I've seen this page https://www.lafargue.name/article2773.html on how to get the RDS info into the stream in linux, but no information on how to do it in Windows.

bpa
2010-03-23, 07:14
Alright. Do you have any WIP plugins from when you were tinkering with this? I don't have a clue how to get the RDS info from this code into the stream for the SB.

Looks like I will likely end up going for the Radio Shark, though RDS would be awesome. I've seen this page https://www.lafargue.name/article2773.html on how to get the RDS info into the stream in linux, but no information on how to do it in Windows.

I couldn't get the code as-is to work reliably - to make it work with SBS would require a lot of new code which I never started because I had no confidence in it.

I think "awesome" might be overstating it - most of the time RDS info is the station name which can be defined within SBS. I found very very few stations provide info (e.g. track/artist) which changes.

gnnash
2010-03-23, 07:17
Nearly all of my stations (in the US) do have live track/artist information via RDS, which would have been nice to see. However, it looks like the Radio Shark will be my best bet. It will certainly be no worse than the radio I've been using for years!

Thanks for the info, and your plugin. I'm sure I'll be putting it to good use!