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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Slimserver, Shoutcast and Winamp

    Executive Summary:

    Winamp (v5.32 basic)has no problem playing Shoutcast Internet radio streams on my system; Slimserver hardly ever manages a connection (although it does OK on Alien BBC, for example).

    The full story:

    I have been lurking and reading other people's threads on similar issues here for months; I'm the kind of guy who tries everything he can think of and more himself before asking others.

    I have SlimServer running on Win XP2 (have tried it on 2 different machines) and an SB3. SlimServer has no problems streaming mp3s from my computer to the SB3, works great. However, when I try to use Slim to connect to even the most obvious of Shoutcast stations, such as SomaFM or Digitally Imported, at best it connects for a few seconds or maybe minute or two before the buffer exhausts and rebuffering never works. I have been downloading nightly updates of 6.5.1 for months in the hope that it might get solved, but it never does.

    Here's some of what I've tried:

    - Increasing the buffer size, all the way up to 30 seconds, in stages

    - Increasing the timeout, up to 60 seconds

    - Uninstalling SlimServer and reinstalling (but note that I see the same issue on two machines)

    - Deleting the cache

    - Disabling anti-virus scanning

    There are a number of ways in which the issue can arise - most often the stream never starts (with an Error no items found in playlist showing on the SB3) or at best it plays for a few seconds or minutes, runs out of buffer and does not rebuffer.

    My current settings are 20 secs on radio station buffer and 45 secs on radio station timeout.

    The important thing to note here is that Winamp (plain vanilla default install) never has a problem, never drops or jitters.

    I am very disappointed, I bought the SB3 in major part to listen to Internet radio. BTW, FWIW, Alien BBC works fine, but the Sirius plug-in gets as far as showing the track info but never plays the music.

    The only "unusual" thing about my setup is that I'm on a satellite broadband connection, with typical d/l speeds of 2Mb (plenty of bandwidth) and 150-400kb up. Problem (insoluble, due to laws of physics and where I live) is the latency, which is between 800 and 1200ms. BUT I would have thought that the buffer and timeout would take care of this - and again, Winamp never has a problem.

    I'm not trying to laud Winamp here - I'm trying to get SlimServer to work. But worst case scenario might there be a way to capture and send the Winamp audio to the SB3?

    All suggestions will be read with interest. Any useful ones will be rewarded with praise and acknowledgment!

    SlimServer Version: 6.5.1 - 11099 - Windows XP - EN - cp1252
    Server IP address: 192.168.0.100
    Perl Version: 5.8.8 MSWin32-x86-multi-thread
    MySQL Version: 5.0.22-community-nt

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Hi,
    Your problems with mp3 radio streams may well be caused by your connection; even with DSL connections some ISP's use technology that is incompatible with the Squeezebox. When I first received my S/B twelve months ago I could happily play shoutcast streams all day long on 1meg DSL connection then in the spring my ISP did something to the line and goodbye mp3 streaming through S/B, although with Winamp etc I had no problems. I gave up on ISP's help line and changed provider.
    Out of curiosity what happens if you uncheck mp3 in "file types" and restart slimserver.
    If this doesn't work it may be possible to force transcoding to flac but that is beond me.
    Doug.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Dougal

    Glad to see someone else has documented a similar issue.

    And yes, I have tried unchecking mp3 in file types; all it achieved was the inability to play files stored locally, it did nothing to improve streaming.

    I would not be in the least surprised if the complex system of proxies and accelerators that satellite providers use were "breaking" SlimServer (and for that matter the use of SqueezeNetwork directly from the SB3); however, with Winamp's continued ability to cope my wish is for SS to improve to meet the same standard of performance.

  4. #4
    MrSinatra
    Guest
    i would guess you've read my posts and threads on this subject.

    here are my conclusions:

    IF someone can stream a station via winamp with no problems, then their connection is GOOD ENOUGH TO DO SO! (sounds obvious, but sometimes around here it needs stressed).

    if winamp, (or whatever), has proven that the connection is indeed good enough, then imo, SD must also make their products, (whether it be software or hardware) able to play the streams equally as well.

    imo, the SB is simply NOT AS ROBUST as winamp for tuning in streaming stations.

    i btw have a cable modem connection, which is what most of consumer america uses for broadband. (it was adelphia, now its comcast).

    here's what i think happened, and this is based on my understanding of the facts, which could easily be wrong:

    SS 6.3.1 and earlier used to feed the stream to SS first, THEN to the SB.

    as of 6.5 and later, it now feeds the stream DIRECTLY to the SB.

    this is the better way to do it from a "usability" standpoint, IF it is in fact true that the hardware is as robust a methodology for tuning in, (as it is in winamp), or as it was in SS/SB in ver 6.3.1 or earlier.

    it is my belief however, that the hardware is in fact NOT AS ROBUST and therefore, IF your ISP is in ANY WAY flaky, the SB hardware will reveal the problems of your ISP, while winamp will not, (b/c winamp is more robust).

    an interesting test you could do, (which i haven't yet, b/c as of recently, my streaming is working again. as i said in other threads, its a here again, gone again issue), would be to totally uninstall whatever SS you have, delete all dirs, etc... and install 6.3.1 and see if it "fixes" your problem.

    if it does, (and if i'm correct that that ver is the last one that sent tuned in station to SS first b4 sending it on to the SB), then i think thats proof positive that the hardware is not robust enough.

    one caveat to all this...

    AndyG at one point had me tune in some "soma" stations and in the time i listened to them, though of equal kbps, my hardware did not stutter and stall, and stop. it could be i didn't listen long enough, or that they used something other than shoutcast to broadcast... but it was interesting that on those servers, my ISP and my SB seemed up to the task, while on my LION Radio servers, they were not.

    please let me know what you discover and what you think of my conclusions so far. i'd like to really get proof that the problem is the SS/SB solution, not my ISP (flaky or not), my wireless, my neighbors, lee harvey oswald, or aliens.

    thx, -mdw

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Yes, I have seen your posts MrSinatra.

    And I have tried going back - I think as far as far as 6.3, but I have spent so much time messing with this that memory no longer serves, but at least to versions that appeared to work in the past and do not now.

    Whether SD "must" make their products, (whether it be software or hardware), as able to play the stream as Winamp on the same access is debatable; but certainly I would like SS to be as robust as Winamp - which too is not perfect, but far more successful.

    The developers - from whom I would love to hear on this - can tell us whether that's feasible or not.

    For now I have dedicated an old laptop to playing Winamp out to an Extigy and controlled by VNC; the SQ is almost as good as the SB3, but the power consumption probably 10x. Crude but at least I get to hear the music I want. The silly thing is that when I want to listen to my recorded music collection I have to switch the optical cable to the SB3, that's where any last vestige of elegance breaks down.

    Which is why I would like to see SS step up to the plate. Are you reading this, Jim Carlton?

  6. #6
    MrSinatra
    Guest
    so i take it when u "went back" it didn't fix it?

    well, you might then want to try 6.2.x which i am POSITIVE did not have problems tuning in streams, and which i am also positive did not send the stream directly to the SB, (meaning thats what i've been told/read).

    i know it is a huge pita to regress versions - firmware, (which explains why i haven't tried it yet). however, if and when the problem resurfaces for me, i will def try it.

    i really don't see how debatable it is as far as it needing to be as robust as winamp (or any other solution). why? b/c thats the ENTIRE POINT of this product... to serve music to you, whether it be local or off of the internet. thats what they advertise it does, all without the need of a computer even!

    there is a standard out there, WMP/Winamp/iTunes/Real, etc... have set it... they all work equally well with these streams; would SD seriously contend their products should not?

    i have never gotten an answer, from AndyG, the support email, etc... as to WHY does winamp work np while SD does not? they simply won't address it.

    i'd love to know if u do get one.

    (perhaps the closest anyone has come is to say "winamp can buffer more." well, perhaps it does, but i set SD stuff to 30secs, and it takes forever to load, and then still can't [sometimes] handle it... winamp starts playing right away, always problem free, and i don't think it buffers more than 5 seconds, although i don't know that for sure.

    it speaks to its robustness that i've never had to find that setting.

  7. #7
    MrSinatra
    Guest
    one other quick point...

    the SB couldn't even handle a 32kbps stream, while winamp and even multiple computers on my network could all play the 128kbps stream (via winamp or wmp or whatever) simultaneously, np.

    if SD can't handle a single 128, 96 or even 32kbps stream that other solutions do (even in multiple instances) with flying colors, then i think that says a lot.

  8. #8
    Former Squeezebox Guy andyg's Avatar
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    I think we've already been over this... the streams you claim don't work, do in fact work fine for me and others. I have yet to find a stream that works in Winamp and does not work on an SB, so I really can't do any sort of debugging or anything.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyg View Post
    I think we've already been over this... the streams you claim don't work, do in fact work fine for me and others. I have yet to find a stream that works in Winamp and does not work on an SB, so I really can't do any sort of debugging or anything.
    While you are lucky to be on a broadband connection that does not have these issues, clearly there are those in the world - let's just mention myself, dougal and mrsinatra for a start - who do have this problem, and probably many many others who are not posting but simply dismissing SS/SB as a poor product as a result.

    I'd be glad to work with you and beta test some kind of setup that would allow you to log the failure, if this could lead to a successful development.

  10. #10
    Former Squeezebox Guy andyg's Avatar
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    But if the broadband was the culprit, Winamp would not be able to keep the stream playing either.

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