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  1. #1
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    Seeking Rec's on optimizing sound quality.

    I recently purchased the Squeeze Box Duet and would like recommendations on common practices used to optimize sound quality. I suppose this would included everything from the file format employed i.e. flac vs. wav to selecting well regarded media player application. If this question has been addressed in the past a simple link would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member aubuti's Avatar
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    Take a look at the Beginner's Guide in the Slim Devices wiki wiki.slimdevices.com. Most of all you want to rip your CDs to a lossless format. FLAC won't sound any better -- or any worse -- than WAV because they are both lossless, but FLAC is much more convenient for several reasons. FLAC is good because it has very good tag support (Vorbis comments), it takes up only 30-50% of the disk space and bandwidth. It is also is decoded natively by the Squeezebox family. Use a good ripper (EAC or dbpoweramp if you're on Windows) to make sure your rips are clean. And welcome to the forums!!
    Temporarily downsized: Living Room: Raspberry Pi3 > SB3 > Audioengine HD6 ; Bedroom: SB Radio.

  3. #3
    Senior Member JadeMonkee's Avatar
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    I agree with aubuti.
    One thing I've heard:
    If you are using the digital out, apparently you are better off locking the volume to 100% (an option in Squeezecentre), and using your amp to control the volume. Apparently the digital signal has to be modified to change the volume, and this goes against the digital purity philosophy.
    I use analog out for this reason; my speakers (and their in-built DAC) don't have a remote control, so I have to rely on the SqueezeBox to adjust the volume. Plus, the DAC in the SB3 sounds good to me, so I'm happy sticking with it.
    2x Squeezebox Classics | 2x Squeezebox Booms | 2x Squeezebox Receivers | 1x Raspberry Pi 2 B w/ piCorePlayer, 7" touch screen (IQAudio DAC+ now deprecated in favour of Receiver) | OrangeSqueeze as Android controller
    LMS v7.9.2 running as a Docker in Unraid on a HP MicroServer gen8
    4522 albums with 39058 songs by 8214 artists - and always growing

  4. #4
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    Hello everybody,

    so this is also my first post in this forum after reading 3 months or so. After struggling heavily with setting up a Duet (very anoying network problems solved by powerline ethernet) and ripping my 1100 CD collection, i┤m pretty happy with it (beside the strange control wheel on the controler). I┤m located in Germany so please don┤t expect a too nice english (although i try to do what i can). ;-)

    @JadeMonkee (and all others)

    One short question regarding the 100% setting in SC:
    I┤m using an external DAC feeding two different integrated amps (one with, one without volume remote control), that┤s why i like the volume control on the SBC. On the other hand i am a audiophile and i┤m asking myself if there is any difference sonicly having the volume control on the controler itself set to 100% and fixing it to 100% in Squeeze Center. That is maybe not so easy for me to test, because restarting the NAS after changing the setting takes too long for comparing the results seriously, at least for my brain ;-).

    Thank you for the reply in advance.

    Rossi

    Edit: The very best solution for me would be to have the volume control on the SBC to control by IR my amp, but that is not possible so far. :-(
    Last edited by rossi; 2008-12-03 at 02:51. Reason: additional idea

  5. #5
    Senior Member socistep's Avatar
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    Hi Rossi

    I currently link my Duet via the analog cables to my standard mini system, in terms of sound quality I found it to be better setting the SBC to 100% and then controlling with the Hi-Fi remote.

    Did you rip your CD's to FLAC ?

    Ian


    Quote Originally Posted by rossi View Post
    Hello everybody,

    so this is also my first post in this forum after reading 3 months or so. After struggling heavily with setting up a Duet (very anoying network problems solved by powerline ethernet) and ripping my 1100 CD collection, i┤m pretty happy with it (beside the strange control wheel on the controler). I┤m located in Germany so please don┤t expect a too nice english (although i try to do what i can). ;-)

    @JadeMonkee (and all others)

    One short question regarding the 100% setting in SC:
    I┤m using an external DAC feeding two different integrated amps (one with, one without volume remote control), that┤s why i like the volume control on the SBC. On the other hand i am a audiophile and i┤m asking myself if there is any difference sonicly having the volume control on the controler itself set to 100% and fixing it to 100% in Squeeze Center. That is maybe not so easy for me to test, because restarting the NAS after changing the setting takes too long for comparing the results seriously, at least for my brain ;-).

    Thank you for the reply in advance.

    Rossi

    Edit: The very best solution for me would be to have the volume control on the SBC to control by IR my amp, but that is not possible so far. :-(

  6. #6
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    Hi Ian

    Thanks for your reply.

    Yes i ripped almost all in FLAC, but have also some in WAV or even 24/96 because bandwidth is no issue (real 23Mbs without any drop outs!).

    I was concerned about the degradation of the digital signal when set to 100% in the receiver or in Squeeze Center itself.

    A strong analog signal feeding to an integrated amp (especially into a mini system) is never a mistake.

    Rainer
    CD > Ripstation Micro > QNAP209 (2*1TB) > SC7.2.1 > Allnet Powerline Ethernet > SB Duet/iPeng on IPod Touch/Linn Numerik > Triodesound Jona or Sonus Faber Musica > Lowther Fidelio (PM6A) or DIY with "Goodmans Twinaxiom 8" both supported by an ATS bass corner horn > ears > brain > mood > feet (or not)

  7. #7
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    Volume settings & quality

    Hi

    The volume settings are all done by Squeezecenter software telling the Duet or SB what to do.

    If using the volume control at all there is an effect on the signal when reducing from 100%. If using a 16 bit signal source the 24 bit DAC in SB and Duet can handle some reduction in volume with no major effect. However signal to noise will be affecting as you are reducing max signal out whilst not reducing the noise floor of the system.

    If you reduce volume beyond a certain point then the digital signal - and any subsequent DAC either external or within the SB /Duet will be changed from the original (16 bit data doesn't fit fully into less than 16 bit digital range).

    For casual listening (if volume is not reduced too far) this can have a relatively limited effect. For best quality digital and analogue volume should be set to 100%, and volume changes done by the subsequent pre-amp or integrated amplifier. This maximises the signal quality (assuming no signal clipping in the analogue amplifier stages) for a given playback volume.

    You stated that you have some 24 bit rips, these will always be changed if you use digital out without volume fixed to 100%. Also note that the Duet cannot process 96kHz 24 bit files (it will crudely down sample, well I think it misses out alternate bits - not good).

    There has been a lot of discussion on volume issues in the forums (including many contributions from Sean, the founder of Slim Devices). If you want more data I suggest a search.

    Just as an example of my approach, in my dedicated HiFi setup I use an SB Classic feeding a Lavry DA10 DAC into my amplifier (SB volume fixed at 100%). In my dining room I have an SB feeding a 40 year old valve amplifier, and use SB analogue out and SB Volume (I have attenuators in the leads so 100% SB Volume is max listening level, this minimises distortion effects).

    Long post but I hope it clarifies things.

    Regards

    Dave

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Digital Out @ 100% setting - fully transparent

    Finally many forum members have using the SB to deliver DTS coded signals to their AV systems with no problem, showing 100% volume is bit perfect. Others have recorded the digital out SPDIF signal and file compared with original, again no difference.

    Regards

    Dave

  9. #9
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    Dave, thank you very much for your detailed reply!

    Yes you are right. The 24/96s are not sounding as good as expected, but they were only a demo download for free. No big issue.

    I was expecting, that SC is shuting down / bypasing the digital attenuator when set to fixed 100% in the settings. So i thought there would be less processing in the signal leading to lower jitter etc.. If the signal is going the same route and the attenuator on the SBR is only disabled then i see only drawbacks for me disabling it.

    I think not loosing bits in the digital stream is only one of the goals.

    Regards
    Rainer
    Last edited by rossi; 2008-12-03 at 05:01. Reason: tipo
    CD > Ripstation Micro > QNAP209 (2*1TB) > SC7.2.1 > Allnet Powerline Ethernet > SB Duet/iPeng on IPod Touch/Linn Numerik > Triodesound Jona or Sonus Faber Musica > Lowther Fidelio (PM6A) or DIY with "Goodmans Twinaxiom 8" both supported by an ATS bass corner horn > ears > brain > mood > feet (or not)

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