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View Full Version : Need advise on a Squeezebox system



Beech
2011-06-04, 03:11
Hi folks. This is my first time posting so I would just like to say hi from Dublin!

I have just finished ripping my cd collection to HD using XLD (Mac ripper). Let me say that I am a Mac person and have little knowledge of the Windows OS. I am also very familiar with iTunes.

So, here is the situation. I have three locations where I would like my music available.

A) The recording studio. This has an analog console and the main speakers are ATC SCM 300s.
B) The office. This has a pair of Dynaudio BM6a active speakers.
C) Home, which is next door to the studio. Again, a pair of Dynaudio BM6a active speakers will be in the kitchen (hopefully!).

The studio has a central machine room for computers, amps etc. There is an ethernet patchbay here and there are ethernet lines running to all three of the above locations. I was thinking of storing the HD in the machine room and getting a Mac mini. It is the next step I really need help with.

The Squeezebox Touch looks like a great product with good D/A. Running an ethernet cable from the machine room to the studio and taking an analog output from the Touch to feed into the console seems simple enough.
However, I'm unsure of two things.

1. When I run an ethernet feed to the office and connect a Touch, do I need a volume control for the Dynaudios and if so, can someone recommend one. I presume the Squeezebox does not control volume? This same question also applies to the Dynaudios in the house. I seem to recall hearing about a remote, maybe that would do it?

2. I have my heart set on not using WiFi as the ethernet is already there. However I do need to split the feed from the server output (Mac) to the three destinations. I guess a simple cat5 splitter will do the job.

That's it for now. Thanks in advance for any advise.

toby10
2011-06-04, 03:18
Yes, Touch has volume control.

Yes, a simple Cat5 switch will work within a wired network to share the network/internet.
But I'd suggest describing your network details. I assume you have a router on your network?
You only mention "splitting" ethernet after the Mac, that won't work.

Beech
2011-06-04, 03:39
Yes, Touch has volume control.

Yes, a simple Cat5 switch will work within a wired network to share the network/internet.
But I'd suggest describing your network details. I assume you have a router on your network?
You only mention "splitting" ethernet after the Mac, that won't work.

Thanks for the quick response. Good news on the volume control, that means one less expense although I've a feeling these something I havn't forseen.

I'm under pressure from my 11 year old daughter to bring her cycling so I'll have to go. Will describe in more detail the Cat5 situation soon ...

epoch1970
2011-06-04, 03:40
Unless I am wrong Touch will do digital volume control, you erase some bits to lower the volume.
I use the old-style SB3 set to volume=100% and through its jack port I control my amps for volume up/down with the IR Blaster plugin. So I use full digital resolution all the time, the volume button on my amps rotate up and down when I press volume up/down in iPeng or the SB IR remote. I don't think IR Blaster works with Touch but I may be wrong.

I don't understand the "cat5 splitter" thing you mention. If you have a single network a single cable will do up to the patchbay. If you want to use 2 separate networks then another patchbay or a cheap switch will do. If you intend to use multiple networks at the same time (eg all music on the Office LAN and SBs on the Home LAN) then you need to connect something to the patchbay and go through that.
It could be a router with 2 or more interfaces but I think the best solution would be to use a switch that can handle VLANs. Virtual lans give you multiple virtual links over a single cable. Defining VLANs gives you the same effect as running additional sets of cables throughout the site.

The SB players cannot handle VLANs (neither can your favorite printer) but you can configure the switch to make a specific port part of a specific LAN.
The mac (since 10.5 AFAIK) is very apt at handling VLANs. I use a 2010 mac mini as my desktop computer in my home office. It is configured to belong to 6 or 7 separate networks (yes, I know…) and it uses a single cable up to a VLAN-capable switch.
Configuration is very easy. Just add a (virtual) network interface in the GUI listening to the appropriate VLAN number.
FYI, a switch like Netgear ProSafe GS108T has the feature-set you're looking for if you go the VLAN route. The basic requirement is to have a way to configure VLANs on ports, pro switches will provide a serial link and command-line shell for provisioning. Prosumer stuff like the Prosafe I mention offer a web interface to configure the switch.

Beech
2011-06-04, 05:45
Unless I am wrong Touch will do digital volume control, you erase some bits to lower the volume.

That's what I'll go with for now ... full resolution will not be critical in the office or kitchen. In the studio is a different matter. I'll dedicate two channels for the touch on the conole.

I don't want to get into a discussion where I am out of my depth re Cat5 and networking but I will attach an image of my patchbay (which I did not wire but did specify).

Maybe I'm missing something simple here. How do I get the output from the Mac to the three Touches?

garym
2011-06-04, 06:14
That's what I'll go with for now ... full resolution will not be critical in the office or kitchen. In the studio is a different matter. I'll dedicate two channels for the touch on the conole.

I don't want to get into a discussion where I am out of my depth re Cat5 and networking but I will attach an image of my patchbay (which I did not wire but did specify).

Maybe I'm missing something simple here. How do I get the output from the Mac to the three Touches?

You will install SqueezeBoxServer (SbS) on one of the MACs. This is your music database (you point SbS at your music library...doesn't matter if something else is also using the same library tracks. That is, the library could be used by itunes, foobar2000, winamp, etc. AND ALSO can be identified as your SbS library).

download a version here and install on your Mac:

http://www.mysqueezebox.com/download

The Touch units will see this SbS on your local network and you can connect to it. You can play different things at the same time on all touch players or sync two or more to play the exact same thing.

p.s. re digital volume. Yes you can do this. I'm no expert on this, but folks I respect report that you're really losing nothing as long as volume is above, say, 70%. This is because the Touch/SbS is using 24 bits for volume control do the bits you're losing are not bits that matter to the music output. (yes, this is a simple explanation and probably technically wrong, but this is the point anyways).

Beech
2011-06-04, 06:47
You will install SqueezeBoxServer (SbS) on one of the MACs. This is your music database (you point SbS at your music library...doesn't matter if something else is also using the same library tracks. That is, the library could be used by itunes, foobar2000, winamp, etc. AND ALSO can be identified as your SbS library).

download a version here and install on your Mac:

http://www.mysqueezebox.com/download

The Touch units will see this SbS on your local network and you can connect to it. You can play different things at the same time on all touch players or sync two or more to play the exact same thing.

p.s. re digital volume. Yes you can do this. I'm no expert on this, but folks I respect report that you're really losing nothing as long as volume is above, say, 70%. This is because the Touch/SbS is using 24 bits for volume control do the bits you're losing are not bits that matter to the music output. (yes, this is a simple explanation and probably technically wrong, but this is the point anyways).

Thanks so much for that. It's exactly what I needed to know. I'll order a Touch and pickup a secondhand Mac mini this weekend and make a start! It took an absolute age to get all my cds onto HD and I'm really looking forward to being able to access them a the "touch" of a button!

garym
2011-06-04, 06:59
Thanks so much for that. It's exactly what I needed to know. I'll order a Touch and pickup a secondhand Mac mini this weekend and make a start! It took an absolute age to get all my cds onto HD and I'm really looking forward to being able to access them a the "touch" of a button!

Enjoy. don't hesitate to ask questions. The system is pretty simple, but there are odd things that until someone points it out you're stumped. Lots of helpful folks hang out here.

copperstate
2011-06-04, 13:20
Thanks so much for that. It's exactly what I needed to know. I'll order a Touch and pickup a secondhand Mac mini this weekend and make a start! It took an absolute age to get all my cds onto HD and I'm really looking forward to being able to access them a the "touch" of a button!

A MacMini is a great choice for a SBS. I would recommend getting an Intel MacMini though (as the SBS on my PB G4 has a tendency to crash at the most inopportune times - whereas the SBS on my Intel MacMini runs rock solid).

Beech
2011-06-05, 06:13
A MacMini is a great choice for a SBS. I would recommend getting an Intel MacMini though (as the SBS on my PB G4 has a tendency to crash at the most inopportune times - whereas the SBS on my Intel MacMini runs rock solid).

Understood.