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View Full Version : O2 Joggler v Squeezebox Touch for Audio Quality



DannyKudos
2012-10-23, 13:12
Hello.

I just picked up an O2 Joggler in Ebay to use as a 2nd player. It should arrive tomorrow. I plan to install squeezeplay os.
http://birdslikewires.co.uk/articles/squeezeplay-os
I already own a Touch.

One of the features that I find particularly attractive (a feature not on the Touch) is that it can be used as an Airplay audio device.

So, I was thinking of, perhaps, using the Touch as my 2nd player (in my kitchen) and use the Joggler in my living room attached to my main stereo. My only concern is the audio quality from the Joggler v Touch.
Anyone have both who can provide a comparison ?
I currently just use the phono outs on the touch (my amp doesnt have digital in or a DAC) and would be using the phono jack out on the Joggler.
Apparently you can use an external USB sound card on the Joggler also. Would such a card raise the audio quality of the Joggler to the Touch (line out) ?

Any guidance greatly appreciated.

aubuti
2012-10-23, 13:29
Anyone have both who can provide a comparison ?
I only have a Touch, and my advice is probably too obvious, but here goes.

My hunch is that the Touch's sound quality is better, but whether I'm right or wrong about that, you may not hear any difference given the other components in your systems, the acoustics of your rooms, the music you listen to, and your own ears. As of tomorrow you will have both, so you be the judge. Take some time using each of them of each location to see if you hear any differences, and if so, which you prefer. Then factor in any added convenience of the Joggler supporting AirPlay.

Good luck and enjoy.

Apesbrain
2012-10-23, 16:17
Some very interesting stuff over in this Joggler Forum thread starting about here (http://www.jogglerwiki.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=740&start=40#p13394).

DannyKudos
2012-10-24, 01:32
Some very interesting stuff over in this Joggler Forum thread starting about here (http://www.jogglerwiki.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=740&start=40#p13394).

Yes, I checked that thread out. All a bit too audiophile for me. After years of abuse my ears aren't what they were, so I think going the way of spdif out to hardcore external DACs is probably overkill. I have seen elsewhere that the quality of phono out on the Joggler ain't great. I'm certainly up for spending an extra 30 on an external USB sound card to improve matters, but not up for learning how to code and then spending 150+ on a dac for a device whose main selling point to me was price.

I'm happy with the sound from my Touch (with phono out). If I can bring the joggler up to that standard by adding an external USB sound card, then great, I will use it in the living room to take advantage of the airplay feature.

Yes I know I could a/b them when I get it, but it would be useful to also have a technical opinion so as to help remove any nagging doubts. Listening tests are a nightmare. Often something sounds acceptable on a test listen only for irritations to creep in on prolonged listening....

simbo
2012-10-24, 01:39
I've compared an SB3 (Classic) with a Joggler, and I can safely say, even without a double-blind-ab-test, that the analogue output of the SB3 is far superior to the Joggler.

Like you I tried swapping out my main SB with the Joggler as it's aesthetically nicer and easier to control, but the sound quality made me immediately switch it back. Another problem I found was that the volume level coming out of the Joggler was too low, which meant I had to up the preamp db level, which caused a nasty pop when it turned on.

A USB audio dongle is the way to go I think if you want to use the Joggler, as long as you don't mind it sticking out the side, or you get a 90-degree cable and stick it behind.

DannyKudos
2012-10-24, 02:33
Thanks Simbo. Good to hear from someone with first hand experience.
Did you ever try it with an external sound card ?

jimbobvfr400
2012-10-24, 02:58
I have 3 Jogglers and 1 Squeezebox radio running in my system, and I previously owned a SB3 so feel I can comment on this.

The Joggler has a 3.5mm output. The audio chip on-board has several options including digital and line out however only the headphones output is used and connected to the the jack on the back. This means the output is not up to the standards of a real squeezebox (if you have a touch I believe they have headphone jacks, imagine using them instead of the RCA outs) So out of the box its not really suitable as a high quality audio device. The output can be tweaked by the way so the low volume issue can be sorted but its still not the best. I do use the standard output with the Joggler in my bedroom connected to a cheap 2.1 speaker set I got included with a Dell PC a while ago, its perfectly acceptable for that purpose, once the gain has been adjusted to combat the low audio levels mentioned above

One of my other Jogglers has been modified by myself to have an optical port, this was actually quite an easy mod to do, its 3 wires soldered to points on the motherboard and this feeds the on-board DAC in my Arcam AVR amplifier. I have tried this Joggler feeding the DAC in a mates entirely Linn based system (I don't recall the model numbers of his kit, I was too distracted by the pile of expensive Linn kit, including a rather lovely TT he owns) TBH the Joggler feeding FLAC (ripped from CD so 16/44.4) was indistinguishable from CDs played through the same DAC. I'm not pretending we did a proper ABX blind test but to both of our ears we were perfectly happy with the digital output from my Joggler. My mate has since bought one which I've modded with the optical output for him and he's a happy bunny.

My third Joggler uses a Behringer USB soundcard (UAC something or other from memory, possible 302?) feeding a modest stereo setup (Cambridge Audio A5 Amp, Mordaunt Short MS906 speakers) I have directly compared the Joggler with Behringer to my Cambridge CD player, I couldn't compare the SB3 directly as I sold it a while ago but this is the system I used to have the SB3 connected to. I have to be honest I don't think I could tell them apart. The sound quality is certainly good enough for my ears and modest setup.

The Joggler in some ways is what the Touch should have been. A lovely 7" screen. Its powerful enough to run a full LMS, either using network shares or a USB device for your tunes. My Joggler with the SP-DIF mod runs the latest LMS, including a fair few plugins, including PLAYWMA and PLAYREAL with Mplayer to transcode these screens. Even Triodes spotify plug in works, but not the official one. Theres even a hacked version of Triodes EDO plugin that some people have apparently used with decent USB DACS to have high res playback.

Regarding the USB port on the side, personally I found this location to be a pain, however if you're not using the WiFi then you can actually remove the internal wifi card which frees up another USB port internally, I drilled a hole on the back case and stuck a small usb evtension cable in it so I have a captive lead on the back. you can then use a Hub to connect multiple devices to the USB.

So for me (I'm from Yorkshire so a bit tight) I have 3 zones and a perfectly capable LMS server machine for less money (including the previously mentioned Behringer soundcard) than I spent on the SBR. I love my Jogglers but they do require a little more effort than just plugging in a genuine squeezebox to shine

simbo
2012-10-24, 03:28
Thanks Simbo. Good to hear from someone with first hand experience.
Did you ever try it with an external sound card ?
Unfortunately not... I've now relegated it to my study and pass it through some basic speakers :-(

EDIT: jimbobvfr400's post above shows some excellent experiences.

DannyKudos
2012-10-24, 04:58
jimbobvfr400, great reply !. Thanks !
I think I'll invest in that Behringer USB soundcard. Actually, thinking about it, I have a Creative X-Fi USB card somewhere which might also do the trick.
I certainly can't see myself learning to solder. My stereo system is also pretty modest (Ancient Marantz receiver, Keff speakers).
Joggler has just arrived. I'll let you know how I get on.

Again, thanks for the feedback !!.

bobkoure
2012-10-24, 06:14
Speaking as someone who uses that Behringer 302 USB/DAC (squeezeslave output from my PC), I can tell you that the DAC in that unit is OK but not wonderful.
From the comments above, it's an improvement on the Joggler.
If you're setting up somewhere where you already have a receiver, get a toslink cable and a/b/a between audio output from the Behringer (that DAC) and toslink to your receiver (receiver's DAC). My mid-range Yamaha gear (RXV series) was clearly better (mid-range Burr-Brown DACs, but one per channel)

I took a Behringer 302 apart at one point (long ago) and looked up the chips in use. As I remember there's a single chip that's a TI combination DAC and digital audio converter. Given the A/B/A above, this calls the digital audio converter somewhat into question, but I haven't gotten around to trying a higher end converter. I'm using a PC and ASIO so that higher-end would be a Musiland. If I had a portable device and wanted analog audio output as good as a SB3, I'd think about an Audioquest Dragonfly, but that's in the $200+ range (the SB3 DAC is quite good, and, considering the price of the dragonfly, not overpriced)

DannyKudos
2012-10-24, 08:50
When say Marantz "Receiver" I mean in the old analogue sense; so an amp combined with an analogue radio. Not a Toslink or SPDIF in sight !
As I say, my ears are sub audiophile, as are my pockets !. If I can get the sound quality of the Joggler to something equivalent of a Touch (playing via phonos) I would be happy, but Im not up for spending any more than 50 to achieve this.

Thanks again folks.

DannyKudos
2012-10-31, 16:23
Ok, I found an old Creative xmod x-fi USB sound card and have now a/b'd the Touch (on phonos out) against the Joggler using the xmod in vanilla setting (no enhancements) and to me the difference was pretty minimal.

So the Touch is now in the kitchen, and the Joggler, with its larger screen and Airplay mode has taken its place in the living room.