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  1. #1
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    Roon, a SqueezeBox ecosystem alternative ?

    Hi all,
    I’m a quite 10 years SqueezeBox ecosystem happy user.

    I own a medium size music library (7000 albums mainly classical), running LMS 7.9 on a ReadyNAS which also hosts Plex Media Server and my film library. I use mainly SBT's and SB3 devices feeding external DAC’s along with SqueezePlay / SqueezeLite players on various computers in my home.

    I’m also using excellents Erland’s Custom Plugins, Pippin’s Ipeng and Mherger’s Smartmix and gain access to TIDAL HIFI with no issues via ickStream (thank's all three for the very good work and user support, also for the global "vision" and cleaver expression !!!)

    LMS and plugins are now quite robust and stable. i like the ecosystem but due to the current situation (Logitech fail, lack of hardware evolution) i’m interested in planning my future audio system (hard and soft) for the next years with two main goals:

    • 1) Sound Quality enhancement: Squeeze devices replacement by more "high-end" audio streamers. Using http://forums.slimdevices.com/showth...d-uPNP-devices might be a solution ?

    • 2) Global User Experience enhancement: Better navigation, UI, Metada agregation, seamless integration between local data and streaming services. About that i've read some positive chronicles on the emerging non UPnP solution Roon from Roonlabs, https://roonlabs.com/


    IMHO key point is if they will be successful in deploying RoonSpeakers protocol to audio hardware vendors (network streamers, DAC, modern integrated "connected" amps) witch are currently only using UPnP / DLNA (and sometimes Airplay and Songcast) protocols.

    I’m interested in feedback and discussion about potential Roon alternative from Squeezebox users point of view.
    According to https://community.roonlabs.com/t/squ...x-support/1043 SqueezeBox devices support might be "planned" by RoonLabs ?

    Regards
    Volpone
    Last edited by volpone; 2015-07-28 at 04:13.
    SqueezeBoxServer 7.9 / ReadyNas Pro (x86) | SBTouch - SB3 - Duet - Boom - Ipeng
    SBTouch => Rega DAC => Rega Brio R amp => Harbeth SLH5 speakers
    see details & photos here, 4 slides

  2. #2
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    Will keep an eye on this and add input over on the roon forum.

    Really only currently interested in a solution which utilises my existing sb duet and boom plus squeezelite using hifiberry and all can be sync'd together.

    So there could be something here. ..quite a price tag but if it works and incorporates spotify and a few other things then I'd be interested

  3. #3
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by volpone View Post
    Sound Quality enhancement: Squeeze devices replacement by more "high-end" audio streamers.
    Just use an external DAC.

    IMHO key point is if they will be successful in deploying RoonSpeakers protocol to audio hardware vendors (network streamers, DAC, modern integrated "connected" amps) witch are currently only using UPnP / DLNA (and sometimes Airplay and Songcast) protocols.
    Do we need another proprietary protocol?
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julf View Post
    Just use an external DAC.
    I do ... also agree with you than from SQ point of view streaming functions are less important than DAC.

    Interested in ABX blind tests between, for example, SBT (spdif digital output) , and near 2000$ top end UPnP streamers (Bel Canto, Auralic, Moon Mind ... ) with the same good DAC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Julf View Post
    Do we need another proprietary protocol?
    That's my point ....
    SqueezeBoxServer 7.9 / ReadyNas Pro (x86) | SBTouch - SB3 - Duet - Boom - Ipeng
    SBTouch => Rega DAC => Rega Brio R amp => Harbeth SLH5 speakers
    see details & photos here, 4 slides

  5. #5
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by volpone View Post
    Interested in ABX blind tests between, for example, SBT (spdif digital output) , and near 2000$ top end UPnP streamers (Bel Canto, Auralic, Moon Mind ... ) with the same good DAC.
    Archimago, are you listening?
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

  6. #6
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by volpone View Post
    Interested in ABX blind tests between, for example, SBT (spdif digital output) , and near 2000$ top end UPnP streamers (Bel Canto, Auralic, Moon Mind ... ) with the same good DAC.
    Just curious, what do you think could/would cause any difference in the sound?
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julf View Post
    Just curious, what do you think could/would cause any difference in the sound?
    Price ?
    Sorry but that's also my point.

    Audiophiles magazines and fora are full of reviews about such huge "differences" but technically i'm quite curious about the reasons ...
    SqueezeBoxServer 7.9 / ReadyNas Pro (x86) | SBTouch - SB3 - Duet - Boom - Ipeng
    SBTouch => Rega DAC => Rega Brio R amp => Harbeth SLH5 speakers
    see details & photos here, 4 slides

  8. #8
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by volpone View Post
    Price?
    That would indeed be the most important difference. The other being a heavy, airspace-grade milled aluminium enclosure...

    Audiophiles magazines and fora are full of reviews about such huge "differences" but technically i'm quite curious about the reasons ...
    If there weren't huge "differences", why would we need audiophile magazines and fora?
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

  9. #9
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    Following a discussion (copied from http://forums.slimdevices.com/showth...l=1#post825399)
    This discussion i have today with philippe_44 is about LMS /UPnP/ Roon and architecture & protocols comparaison.
    In some aspects this in line with an interesting 2012 old thread about LMS / UPnP see http://forums.slimdevices.com/showth...pulls-the-plug

    Quote Originally Posted by Volpone
    Hi philippe_44,

    Sorry because it is a little "off topic", but i appreciate your work and expertise in linking SqueezeBox ecosystem to UpNp renderers devices witch are sadly the only "high end" alternative to Squeeze audio devices.

    Quote Originally Posted by philippe_44 View Post
    I don't know Roon well enough, but I'll look at it out of curiosity. About UPnP flaws, I agree this is very painful to deal with. I think there are 2 reasons.

    - It tries to do everything and to accommodate all the different industry vendors. As a result, this is the "camel = a race horse designed by a committee" problem.
    - There is no really good interoperability certification/validation so basically it is a jungle of non-interworkable devices (servers, control point, renderers).

    Working myself is systems that rely heavily on standards, I know how important it is to make the specification simple (don't offer 3 methods to do the same thing just to please vendors), avoid ambiguity as much as possible and because there are always ambiguities, then organize a very strong validation/certification system. The amount of renderer variations I had to deal with for my simple application is simply amazing ... I could also add that I think UPnP misses at least one very important feature for me: audio synchronization (UPnP 2.0 does but nobody seems to adopt it)

    About the thread, I read it quickly. Some statements wrt UPnP pain points are correct I think, but there was a long discussion that showed misunderstanding of what are network transport, sampling and clock rates and how they are (not) related, so I stopped a bit at that point as it is difficult to follow an argument where some of the initial hypothesis are wrong.

    I am personally, to be honest, satisfied with what I have from ex-Logitech. I'm a tinkerer, so I do my own PCB, 3D prints and software, so with squeezelite and RaspberryPi, it is easy to transform any other device/speaker into a LMS system, fully integrated, even if (unfortunately) Logitech does not develop any more hardware. It was a difficult learning curve, but I now know squeezelite very well so I can fix it if needed. What I'm still frustrated with is not being successful to synchronize my Sonos with squeezeboxes, but I'm still working on it, it will just be a lot of work ;-) If I can make that work, then that would give me all I want in term of tinkering possibilities as well as pre-made good looking devices (as you can guess, I'm not an audiophile high end guy).
    Quote Originally Posted by philippe_44 View Post
    I don't know Roon well enough, but I'll look at it out of curiosity.
    Thank you Philippe, interested in your feedback especially on RoonSpeakers.


    Quote Originally Posted by philippe_44
    About UPnP flaws, I agree this is very painful to deal with. I think there are 2 reasons.


    - It tries to do everything and to accommodate all the different industry vendors. As a result, this is the "camel = a race horse designed by a committee" problem.
    - There is no really good interoperability certification/validation so basically it is a jungle of non-interworkable devices (servers, control point, renderers).


    Working myself is systems that rely heavily on standards, I know how important it is to make the specification simple (don't offer 3 methods to do the same thing just to please vendors), avoid ambiguity as much as possible and because there are always ambiguities, then organize a very strong validation/certification system. The amount of renderer variations I had to deal with for my simple application is simply amazing ... I could also add that I think UPnP misses at least one very important feature for me: audio synchronization (UPnP 2.0 does but nobody seems to adopt it)
    Very interesting !


    Quote Originally Posted by philippe_44
    About the thread, I read it quickly. Some statements wrt UPnP pain points are correct I think

    The LINN extensions (aka OpenHome) solve a lot of functional problems (Gapless playback, playlist management ..) isnt'it ?


    The point about the lack of "brain" in UPnP architecture seems real for me. The application logic is in the server but also in the control point and sometimes in the renderer.
    How such a model could be effective to manage huge library with a lot of metadata ? For example the Lumin IOS app (one of the best today) use MinimServer for the tag tree but all the database management is running on the IPAD. I would prefer a true client / server model like SqueezeBox / LMS.


    Quote Originally Posted by philippe_44
    but there was a long discussion that showed misunderstanding of what are network transport, sampling and clock rates and how they are (not) related, so I stopped a bit at that point as it is difficult to follow an argument where some of the initial hypothesis are wrong.

    I'm interested in comparing the different protocols and architecture UpnP / AirPlay / SongCast / LMS (slim) / RoonSpeakers with a not too deep technical approach but to understand the main differences and pros and cons.
    Any link ? Any schematics ?


    Quote Originally Posted by philippe_44
    I am personally, to be honest, satisfied with what I have from ex-Logitech. I'm a tinkerer, so I do my own PCB, 3D prints and software, so with squeezelite and RaspberryPi, it is easy to transform any other device/speaker into a LMS system, fully integrated, even if (unfortunately) Logitech does not develop any more hardware. It was a difficult learning curve, but I now know squeezelite very well so I can fix it if needed. What I'm still frustrated with is not being successful to synchronize my Sonos with squeezeboxes, but I'm still working on it, it will just be a lot of work ;-) If I can make that work, then that would give me all I want in term of tinkering possibilities as well as pre-made good looking devices (as you can guess, I'm not an audiophile high end guy).

    I like too the LMS ecosystem but even if i'm not a true "Audiophile" i care about sound quality and above all user experience as a "melomane".
    In this aspect Roon seems interesting for a classical music lovers who like to "discover" new musics.
    Last edited by volpone; 2015-07-28 at 11:49.
    SqueezeBoxServer 7.9 / ReadyNas Pro (x86) | SBTouch - SB3 - Duet - Boom - Ipeng
    SBTouch => Rega DAC => Rega Brio R amp => Harbeth SLH5 speakers
    see details & photos here, 4 slides

  10. #10
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    As a continuation of http://forums.slimdevices.com/showth...l=1#post825439
    Quote Originally Posted by volpone View Post
    The LINN extensions (aka OpenHome) solve a lot of functional problems (Gapless playback, playlist management ..) isnt'it ?
    Seems to although UPnP offers gapless. Not all players implement it though and all seems to do it a bit differently. Still, there is no smart transition option.
    The point about the lack of "brain" in UPnP architecture seems real for me. The application logic is in the server but also in the control point and sometimes in the renderer.
    How such a model could be effective to manage huge library with a lot of metadata ? For example the Lumin IOS app (one of the best today) use MinimServer for the tag tree but all the database management is running on the IPAD. I would prefer a true client / server model like SqueezeBox / LMS.
    That I agree. In fact, I personally never heavily used UPnP/DLNA because of the interoperability problem but also because it is totally unusable as soon as you have any large library, the control point discovery phase takes forever. I know some are happy with various CP like BubbleUPnP. I can't say that I've used it much, so I'm not talking out of experience, but everytime I tried, I gave up quickly compared to what LMS + iPeng gave me in term of UE. To some extend, and at the risk of creating some angst, the strength of LMS (having a central server) is also a weakness, especially relying on a home computer (assuming not using mysqueezebox.com) is the complicated and unreliable part for non-technical users. I'm sitting here at the home of friends that have a LMS system but don't use it because of this complexity. They moved to Sonos just because the installation and management is much easier for a non technical person. I've tried to revive LMS by installing it on a cubieboard2 so that they don't have to rely on a big, always-on, crashy computer. Having said that, the openess of LMS makes it a much more powerful solution than Sonos (I can testify that on my own plugin development and current pain with Sonos)

    I'm interested in comparing the different protocols and architecture UpnP / AirPlay / SongCast / LMS (slim) / RoonSpeakers with a not too deep technical approach but to understand the main differences and pros and cons.
    Any link ? Any schematics ?
    Not really above what can be found on the web. As you pointed out, AirPlay and LMS assume pretty basic clients and the server/cp has to do the job. UPnP has this tri-component complexity that makes difficult to have many CP, I think. LMS and UPnP expect the client to integrate the codec which make thing complicated sometimes, especially if you want a large ecosystem of vendors (but that's not the case for LMS). I also think that the client side of UPnP is too complicated, leaving too much room to the player and I'm not sure OpenHome solves this. I did not see if OpenHome was adding synchronization which is a big thing in my opinion
    It would probably take a large post to list differences and I'm sure other people have smarter comments than mine on these topics.

    I like too the LMS ecosystem but even if i'm not a true "Audiophile" i care about sound quality and above all user experience as a "melomane".
    In this aspect Roon seems interesting for a classical music lover who like to "discover" new musics.
    Something I know from my professional life is that it is *extremely* difficult to design a SW client/protocol and expect it to be adopted by various HW vendors. However good is your solution, vendors like to either do their own (customer lock-in) or 'improve/re-implement' yours and here you go ... To have adoption of SW clients in embedded world, you need to have the scale so that HW vendors see the non-adoption of your SW client as a threat for them to loose share. And to create scale you need adoption - chicken and egg, quite often.

    Thank's and Regards.
    Volpone

    PS: Sorry for my english i live in Paris.
    [/QUOTE]
    ex-Paris as well
    Last edited by philippe_44; 2015-07-28 at 11:34.
    LMS 7.7, 7.8 and 7.9 - 5xRadio, 3xBoom, 4xDuet, 1xTouch, 1 SB2. Sonos PLAY:3, PLAY:5, Marantz NR1603, JBL OnBeat, XBoxOne, XBMC, Foobar2000, ShairPortW, JRiver 21, 2xChromecast Audio, Chromecast v1 and v2, , Pi B3, B2, Pi B+, 2xPi A+, Odroid-C1, Odroid-C2, Cubie2, Yamaha WX-010, AppleTV 4, Airport Express, GGMM E5

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