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Thread: audiophile cred

  1. #1
    momerath
    Guest

    audiophile cred

    Hi,

    I got my squeezebox last week and I'm really pleased with it so far.
    I think it sounds great as transport for my Ack dAck, which is fairly
    transport sensitive, and I was very pleased with the analog out
    quality from the little critical listening I've done of it so far. I
    trust my ears more than other audio enthusiasts, but there is a
    recently started thread on my discussion forum of choice (head-fi.org)
    concerning the design of the SB. The last comment posted was this:

    well, unless there are components mounted from bottom, which I don't
    believe, than there is no serious analog output circuitry, I can't see
    chip markings from the pic here, what I see is some Micronas IC, some
    all-in-one solution with integrated DACs and amps and everything, and
    some smaller one next to it, probably some logic.. regarding digital
    output, there is no transformer coupling.. I'd say it's as simple and
    cheap as you can get.. my comments are based purely on seeing this pic
    here.


    I just wanted to give those here, who might have knowledge to the
    contrary, to chime in and, perhaps, prevent potential customers from
    being turned off. And, of course, I'd love to know that the $280 I
    spent wasnt on something "as simple and cheap as you can get".

    The thread can be found here:
    http://curie.rad.mcw.edu/exchweb/bin...hreadid=106254

    ~Thanks,
    Michael

  2. #2
    Thomas B. Malsbury
    Guest

    audiophile cred

    momerath wrote:

    >Hi,
    >
    >I got my squeezebox last week and I'm really pleased with it so far.
    >I think it sounds great as transport for my Ack dAck, which is fairly
    >transport sensitive, and I was very pleased with the analog out
    >quality from the little critical listening I've done of it so far. I
    >trust my ears more than other audio enthusiasts, but there is a
    >recently started thread on my discussion forum of choice (head-fi.org)
    >concerning the design of the SB. The last comment posted was this:
    >
    >well, unless there are components mounted from bottom, which I don't
    >believe, than there is no serious analog output circuitry, I can't see
    >chip markings from the pic here, what I see is some Micronas IC, some
    >all-in-one solution with integrated DACs and amps and everything, and
    >some smaller one next to it, probably some logic.. regarding digital
    >output, there is no transformer coupling.. I'd say it's as simple and
    >cheap as you can get.. my comments are based purely on seeing this pic
    >here.
    >
    >
    >I just wanted to give those here, who might have knowledge to the
    >contrary, to chime in and, perhaps, prevent potential customers from
    >being turned off. And, of course, I'd love to know that the $280 I
    >spent wasnt on something "as simple and cheap as you can get".
    >
    >The thread can be found here:
    >http://curie.rad.mcw.edu/exchweb/bin...hreadid=106254
    >
    >~Thanks,
    >Michael
    >

  3. #3
    momerath
    Guest

    audiophile cred

    Oops *blush*

    I pasted from the email they send me about threads I'm subscribed to
    without reading the URL. Thanks Thomas.


    On Wed, 16 Feb 2005 12:16:47 -0500, Thomas B. Malsbury
    <slim (AT) malsbury (DOT) net> wrote:
    > momerath wrote:
    >
    > >Hi,
    > >
    > >I got my squeezebox last week and I'm really pleased with it so far.
    > >I think it sounds great as transport for my Ack dAck, which is fairly
    > >transport sensitive, and I was very pleased with the analog out
    > >quality from the little critical listening I've done of it so far. I
    > >trust my ears more than other audio enthusiasts, but there is a
    > >recently started thread on my discussion forum of choice (head-fi.org)
    > >concerning the design of the SB. The last comment posted was this:
    > >
    > >well, unless there are components mounted from bottom, which I don't
    > >believe, than there is no serious analog output circuitry, I can't see
    > >chip markings from the pic here, what I see is some Micronas IC, some
    > >all-in-one solution with integrated DACs and amps and everything, and
    > >some smaller one next to it, probably some logic.. regarding digital
    > >output, there is no transformer coupling.. I'd say it's as simple and
    > >cheap as you can get.. my comments are based purely on seeing this pic
    > >here.
    > >
    > >
    > >I just wanted to give those here, who might have knowledge to the
    > >contrary, to chime in and, perhaps, prevent potential customers from
    > >being turned off. And, of course, I'd love to know that the $280 I
    > >spent wasnt on something "as simple and cheap as you can get".
    > >
    > >The thread can be found here:
    > >http://curie.rad.mcw.edu/exchweb/bin...hreadid=106254
    > >
    > >~Thanks,
    > >Michael
    > >

  4. #4
    momerath
    Guest

    audiophile cred

    Thanks for the links. I actually hadn't seen either of those. I'm
    not complaining about head-fi.org, though. - I love it- its one of the
    best communities I've come across, and its specifically geared toward
    headphone hifi, which is the only sort I can afford I'd just like
    to know how accurate that post was.

    ~Michael


    On Wed, 16 Feb 2005 17:25:12 -0000, Patrick Dixon
    <patrickdixon (AT) btinternet (DOT) com> wrote:
    > I recommend you try a different forum!
    > For example: http://pinkfishmedia.net/forum/ or
    > http://www.zerogain.com/forum
    >
    >
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com
    > [mailto:discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com]On Behalf Of momerath
    > Sent: 16 February 2005 17:03
    > To: Slim Devices Discussion
    > Subject: [slim] audiophile cred
    >
    > Hi,
    >
    > I got my squeezebox last week and I'm really pleased with it so far.
    > I think it sounds great as transport for my Ack dAck, which is fairly
    > transport sensitive, and I was very pleased with the analog out
    > quality from the little critical listening I've done of it so far. I
    > trust my ears more than other audio enthusiasts, but there is a
    > recently started thread on my discussion forum of choice (head-fi.org)
    > concerning the design of the SB. The last comment posted was this:
    >
    > well, unless there are components mounted from bottom, which I don't
    > believe, than there is no serious analog output circuitry, I can't see
    > chip markings from the pic here, what I see is some Micronas IC, some
    > all-in-one solution with integrated DACs and amps and everything, and
    > some smaller one next to it, probably some logic.. regarding digital
    > output, there is no transformer coupling.. I'd say it's as simple and
    > cheap as you can get.. my comments are based purely on seeing this pic
    > here.
    >
    > I just wanted to give those here, who might have knowledge to the
    > contrary, to chime in and, perhaps, prevent potential customers from
    > being turned off. And, of course, I'd love to know that the $280 I
    > spent wasnt on something "as simple and cheap as you can get".
    >
    > The thread can be found here:
    > http://curie.rad.mcw.edu/exchweb/bin....head-fi.org/f
    > orums/showthread.php?threadid=106254
    >
    > ~Thanks,
    > Michael
    >

  5. #5
    NOT a Slim Devices Employee kdf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    9,493

    audiophile cred

    Quoting momerath <michael.warnock (AT) gmail (DOT) com>:

    > Thanks for the links. I actually hadn't seen either of those. I'm
    > not complaining about head-fi.org, though. - I love it- its one of the
    > best communities I've come across, and its specifically geared toward
    > headphone hifi, which is the only sort I can afford I'd just like
    > to know how accurate that post was.
    >
    > ~Michael


    Part of the cost would be volume. A lot of components become a lot cheaper when
    you can buy in lots of 10,000 or 100,000. Squeezebox, I'm sure, sells well,
    but not that well. The VFD display is actually the most expensive part. If
    you take the example of another device on the market, which offers two sizes of
    display, the cost is another $100 or so, and the only difference is the
    display.

    On a side note, I get rather tired of people who present some sort of 'expert'
    criticism while comparing a $280 device with another that generally sells for
    well over 1k. I guess they woudln't be real audiophiles if they didnt

    -kdf

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    8,410

    audiophile cred

    Michael,

    If you want serious hifi and are using an external DAC then you don't want lots of analogue stuff in the transport! Why pay for it?

    With a separate DAC, the beauty of devices like the squeezebox is that they are only responsible for sending a digital bitstream out
    of the back end. The signal is in the digital domain the whole way though so no errors which are induced. Assuming you have a good
    digital copy of the original music on your server and stream it uncompressed to the squeezebox, an accurate bitstream will come out
    of the digital out. Arguably if you rip your music with something like EAC (which checks for errors at reading time) and store an
    uncompressesed or losslessly compressed (e.g. FLAC) copy, then you have a more accurate copy on your hard disk than many CD players
    manage to read.

    To get the ultimate hifi quality you really need a dac which is capable of removing any jitter on the link from the slimserver.
    Although the jitter on the output is very low (as good as many CD transports to my ears), it is not the lowest. [My CD transport is
    noticably slightly better that the squeezebox with a simple dac - but then I've spent more that the cost of the squeezebox on
    upgrading the CD transport...!] However I would put it as good as many off the shelf transports. One of the problems with CD
    players is all the high current motors and servos necessary to read the disk can impact the clock and signal processing unless lots
    of attention is played to the power supply design - putting the cost up. For squeezebox and devices like it, there is no need as
    all this stuff is done in the PC.

    Audioasylum PCAudio: http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/pcaudio/bbs.html usually has interesting stuff to say about PC based hifi.

    Adrian
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "momerath" <michael.warnock (AT) gmail (DOT) com>
    To: "Slim Devices Discussion" <discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com>
    Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 5:03 PM
    Subject: [slim] audiophile cred


    > Hi,
    >
    > I got my squeezebox last week and I'm really pleased with it so far.
    > I think it sounds great as transport for my Ack dAck, which is fairly
    > transport sensitive, and I was very pleased with the analog out
    > quality from the little critical listening I've done of it so far. I
    > trust my ears more than other audio enthusiasts, but there is a
    > recently started thread on my discussion forum of choice (head-fi.org)
    > concerning the design of the SB. The last comment posted was this:
    >
    > well, unless there are components mounted from bottom, which I don't
    > believe, than there is no serious analog output circuitry, I can't see
    > chip markings from the pic here, what I see is some Micronas IC, some
    > all-in-one solution with integrated DACs and amps and everything, and
    > some smaller one next to it, probably some logic.. regarding digital
    > output, there is no transformer coupling.. I'd say it's as simple and
    > cheap as you can get.. my comments are based purely on seeing this pic
    > here.
    >
    >
    > I just wanted to give those here, who might have knowledge to the
    > contrary, to chime in and, perhaps, prevent potential customers from
    > being turned off. And, of course, I'd love to know that the $280 I
    > spent wasnt on something "as simple and cheap as you can get".
    >
    > The thread can be found here:
    > http://curie.rad.mcw.edu/exchweb/bin...hreadid=106254
    >
    > ~Thanks,
    > Michael
    >

  7. #7
    Mike Hartley
    Guest

    audiophile cred

    Triode,
    You hit the nail on the head. Support for multiple lossless formats+Digital
    out without conversion is a definite strong point for me, especially since
    most HTR receivers have their own DAC's anyway.

    Mike

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Triode" <triode1 (AT) btinternet (DOT) com>
    To: "Slim Devices Discussion" <discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com>
    Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 2:28 PM
    Subject: [slim] audiophile cred


    > Michael,
    >
    > If you want serious hifi and are using an external DAC then you don't want

    lots of analogue stuff in the transport! Why pay for it?
    >
    > With a separate DAC, the beauty of devices like the squeezebox is that

    they are only responsible for sending a digital bitstream out
    > of the back end. The signal is in the digital domain the whole way though

    so no errors which are induced. Assuming you have a good
    > digital copy of the original music on your server and stream it

    uncompressed to the squeezebox, an accurate bitstream will come out
    > of the digital out. Arguably if you rip your music with something like

    EAC (which checks for errors at reading time) and store an
    > uncompressesed or losslessly compressed (e.g. FLAC) copy, then you have a

    more accurate copy on your hard disk than many CD players
    > manage to read.
    >
    > To get the ultimate hifi quality you really need a dac which is capable of

    removing any jitter on the link from the slimserver.
    > Although the jitter on the output is very low (as good as many CD

    transports to my ears), it is not the lowest. [My CD transport is
    > noticably slightly better that the squeezebox with a simple dac - but then

    I've spent more that the cost of the squeezebox on
    > upgrading the CD transport...!] However I would put it as good as many

    off the shelf transports. One of the problems with CD
    > players is all the high current motors and servos necessary to read the

    disk can impact the clock and signal processing unless lots
    > of attention is played to the power supply design - putting the cost up.

    For squeezebox and devices like it, there is no need as
    > all this stuff is done in the PC.
    >
    > Audioasylum PCAudio: http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/pcaudio/bbs.html

    usually has interesting stuff to say about PC based hifi.
    >
    > Adrian
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "momerath" <michael.warnock (AT) gmail (DOT) com>
    > To: "Slim Devices Discussion" <discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com>
    > Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 5:03 PM
    > Subject: [slim] audiophile cred
    >
    >
    > > Hi,
    > >
    > > I got my squeezebox last week and I'm really pleased with it so far.
    > > I think it sounds great as transport for my Ack dAck, which is fairly
    > > transport sensitive, and I was very pleased with the analog out
    > > quality from the little critical listening I've done of it so far. I
    > > trust my ears more than other audio enthusiasts, but there is a
    > > recently started thread on my discussion forum of choice (head-fi.org)
    > > concerning the design of the SB. The last comment posted was this:
    > >
    > > well, unless there are components mounted from bottom, which I don't
    > > believe, than there is no serious analog output circuitry, I can't see
    > > chip markings from the pic here, what I see is some Micronas IC, some
    > > all-in-one solution with integrated DACs and amps and everything, and
    > > some smaller one next to it, probably some logic.. regarding digital
    > > output, there is no transformer coupling.. I'd say it's as simple and
    > > cheap as you can get.. my comments are based purely on seeing this pic
    > > here.
    > >
    > >
    > > I just wanted to give those here, who might have knowledge to the
    > > contrary, to chime in and, perhaps, prevent potential customers from
    > > being turned off. And, of course, I'd love to know that the $280 I
    > > spent wasnt on something "as simple and cheap as you can get".
    > >
    > > The thread can be found here:
    > >

    http://curie.rad.mcw.edu/exchweb/bin....head-fi.org/f
    orums/showthread.php?threadid=106254
    > >
    > > ~Thanks,
    > > Michael
    > >

  8. #8
    momerath
    Guest

    audiophile cred

    As my original post states, I AM using an external DAC. The Ack
    Industries dAck! to be specific. I'm not personally concerned with
    the analog section, and, to my ears, the SB is at least as good a
    transport as my M-Audio Transit.

    I'm NOT complaining about the SB sound quality. The reason I started
    the discussion, which I think I made clear, is that there is a thread
    on head-fi.org (which is a rather large audio-enthusiast community
    with a growing computer-as-source contingent) in which the SB is being
    described as cheap and overly simple. It is not being compared with
    much more expensive stuff; it is simply being panned by someone with
    more audio-electronics background than me.

    I'm hoping to read some technical discussion about the design of the
    digital and analog stages of the SB by those in the know. For
    instance, I'd really like to know whether glassman is correct when he
    says "regarding digital output, there is no transformer coupling",
    and, if so, what reasons the designers had for leaving it out.

    I appreciate the desire to help by those making other suggestions, but
    from my perspective, links to other hifi forums, price comparisons
    with the soundbridge, and advice to buy a DAC (when I already have
    one), are off-topic.


    On Wed, 16 Feb 2005 19:28:21 -0000, Triode <triode1 (AT) btinternet (DOT) com> wrote:
    > Michael,
    >
    > If you want serious hifi and are using an external DAC then you don't want lots of analogue stuff in the transport! Why pay for it?
    >
    > With a separate DAC, the beauty of devices like the squeezebox is that they are only responsible for sending a digital bitstream out
    > of the back end. The signal is in the digital domain the whole way though so no errors which are induced. Assuming you have a good
    > digital copy of the original music on your server and stream it uncompressed to the squeezebox, an accurate bitstream will come out
    > of the digital out. Arguably if you rip your music with something like EAC (which checks for errors at reading time) and store an
    > uncompressesed or losslessly compressed (e.g. FLAC) copy, then you have a more accurate copy on your hard disk than many CD players
    > manage to read.
    >
    > To get the ultimate hifi quality you really need a dac which is capable of removing any jitter on the link from the slimserver.
    > Although the jitter on the output is very low (as good as many CD transports to my ears), it is not the lowest. [My CD transport is
    > noticably slightly better that the squeezebox with a simple dac - but then I've spent more that the cost of the squeezebox on
    > upgrading the CD transport...!] However I would put it as good as many off the shelf transports. One of the problems with CD
    > players is all the high current motors and servos necessary to read the disk can impact the clock and signal processing unless lots
    > of attention is played to the power supply design - putting the cost up. For squeezebox and devices like it, there is no need as
    > all this stuff is done in the PC.
    >
    > Audioasylum PCAudio: http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/pcaudio/bbs.html usually has interesting stuff to say about PC based hifi.
    >
    > Adrian
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "momerath" <michael.warnock (AT) gmail (DOT) com>
    > To: "Slim Devices Discussion" <discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com>
    > Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 5:03 PM
    > Subject: [slim] audiophile cred
    >
    > > Hi,
    > >
    > > I got my squeezebox last week and I'm really pleased with it so far.
    > > I think it sounds great as transport for my Ack dAck, which is fairly
    > > transport sensitive, and I was very pleased with the analog out
    > > quality from the little critical listening I've done of it so far. I
    > > trust my ears more than other audio enthusiasts, but there is a
    > > recently started thread on my discussion forum of choice (head-fi.org)
    > > concerning the design of the SB. The last comment posted was this:
    > >
    > > well, unless there are components mounted from bottom, which I don't
    > > believe, than there is no serious analog output circuitry, I can't see
    > > chip markings from the pic here, what I see is some Micronas IC, some
    > > all-in-one solution with integrated DACs and amps and everything, and
    > > some smaller one next to it, probably some logic.. regarding digital
    > > output, there is no transformer coupling.. I'd say it's as simple and
    > > cheap as you can get.. my comments are based purely on seeing this pic
    > > here.
    > >
    > >
    > > I just wanted to give those here, who might have knowledge to the
    > > contrary, to chime in and, perhaps, prevent potential customers from
    > > being turned off. And, of course, I'd love to know that the $280 I
    > > spent wasnt on something "as simple and cheap as you can get".
    > >
    > > The thread can be found here:
    > > http://curie.rad.mcw.edu/exchweb/bin...hreadid=106254
    > >
    > > ~Thanks,
    > > Michael
    > >

  9. #9
    Aaron Zinck
    Guest

    audiophile cred

    "momerath" wrote:
    > As my original post states, I AM using an external DAC. The Ack
    > Industries dAck! to be specific. I'm not personally concerned with
    > the analog section, and, to my ears, the SB is at least as good a
    > transport as my M-Audio Transit.
    >
    > I'm NOT complaining about the SB sound quality. The reason I started
    > the discussion, which I think I made clear, is that there is a thread
    > on head-fi.org (which is a rather large audio-enthusiast community
    > with a growing computer-as-source contingent) in which the SB is being
    > described as cheap and overly simple. It is not being compared with
    > much more expensive stuff; it is simply being panned by someone with
    > more audio-electronics background than me.
    >
    > I'm hoping to read some technical discussion about the design of the
    > digital and analog stages of the SB by those in the know. For
    > instance, I'd really like to know whether glassman is correct when he
    > says "regarding digital output, there is no transformer coupling",
    > and, if so, what reasons the designers had for leaving it out.
    >
    > I appreciate the desire to help by those making other suggestions, but
    > from my perspective, links to other hifi forums, price comparisons
    > with the soundbridge, and advice to buy a DAC (when I already have
    > one), are off-topic.
    >


    I have no idea what transformer coupling does but perhaps you yourself have
    already answered your question of why the designers left it out when you
    said that the squeezebox sounds great to your ears. Isn't that the goal
    really?

  10. #10
    Marc Sherman
    Guest

    audiophile cred

    momerath wrote:
    >
    > I'm NOT complaining about the SB sound quality. The reason I started
    > the discussion, which I think I made clear, is that there is a thread
    > on head-fi.org (which is a rather large audio-enthusiast community
    > with a growing computer-as-source contingent) in which the SB is being
    > described as cheap and overly simple. It is not being compared with
    > much more expensive stuff; it is simply being panned by someone with
    > more audio-electronics background than me.
    >
    > I'm hoping to read some technical discussion about the design of the
    > digital and analog stages of the SB by those in the know. For
    > instance, I'd really like to know whether glassman is correct when he
    > says "regarding digital output, there is no transformer coupling",
    > and, if so, what reasons the designers had for leaving it out.


    I can't speak to the digital part of your question, but I think that the
    analog part has already been adequately covered in this thread -- yes,
    the analog output is "cheap and overly simple", with the intention that
    audiophiles will be using digital out anyway so the cost of decent
    analog electronics in the SB would be wasted. For non-audiophiles like
    me, plugging the SB directly into a set of cheap powered speakers for
    background music over dinner and conversation, the analog output is
    perfectly fine.

    - Marc

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