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Any reason I shouldn't buy a Squeezebox?, was: OK, one more question (Squeezebox)
danc6433
post Jun 4 2010, 01:14
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You were all very helpful in my previous post :

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=81372

It confirmed what I have been reading on this website. The one alternative or suggestion that kept coming (for the best audio quality) up was DAC or Squeezbox.

I have been reading up on squeezbox today and it looks sweet! There is even a Media Monkey plug-in which is an absolute for me...I like the skins and all of the info it provides when listening to music. I also want to keep track of play count and last played info, etc, and it's cool you can do them both simultaneously.

DAC is still confusing to me. From what I am reading (on both items) they seem to convert the digital signal into analog, which I thought was the OPPOSITE goal of what we were trying to achieve. Again, still learning so I am just throwing different thoughts out there.

I currently have a digital audio cable from computer to stereo. If I go with Squeezebox I certainly won't see any lessening of audio quality, will I? I'm not immune to the "shiny light syndrome"... I will add any new component as long as it blinks, looks cool or does something different than my current set up smile.gif. It sounds like SB could even potentially provide a better sound than my current setting? And I won't be streaming it wirelessly...I just don't trust that technology yet.

Again, to make a long story short...any reason audio related to NOT go with squeezebox? I'm cool with it just providing an aesthetic improvement.

P.S. I no longer go to any other sites when I need info...you seem to be the most objective and literate! Sorry if that leads to somewhat simple posts ohmy.gif Someday I hope to actually answer questions!
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DVDdoug
post Jun 4 2010, 01:55
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(I don't know much about the Squeezbox... I think the main feature is the Ethernet connection.)

QUOTE
DAC is still confusing to me. From what I am reading (on both items) they seem to convert the digital signal into analog...
At some point you need to convert to analog. The Squeeze box seems to have an analog output as well as a digital output.

All soundcards include a DAC. Some soundcards have a digital output, and if you use the digital output you are bypassing the soundcard's DAC.

With a digital output from your computer, you can use a stand-alone DAC (usually very expensive) or you can use the DAC built into your Home Theater Receiver.

P.S.
QUOTE
...which I thought was the OPPOSITE goal of what we were trying to achieve.
The opposite of a DAC is an ADC (Analog to Digital Converter). Every soundcard also includes an ADC (most-often used for recording or to digitize your voice for Skype or something like that...). Since we are usually playing digital audio (CDs, DVDs & computer files) we just need to convert to analog once.

Normally, when you play from an analog source (VHS, vinyl, cassette, FM radio, etc.) there is no digital conversion. (There are exceptions, such as receivers that use digital signal processing, or if you want to transmit an analog signal in digital format, such as with the Squeezebox.)

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Jun 4 2010, 02:12
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danc6433
post Jun 4 2010, 02:39
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Ahh...thank you...DAC= Digital-to Analog converter. Duh. Thanks

But I thought with today's technology there was no need for the analog process? Digital receivers, blu-ray, hdmi, flac...why is an analog converter even needed?

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Apesbrain
post Jun 4 2010, 02:46
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QUOTE (danc6433 @ Jun 3 2010, 20:14) *
I currently have a digital audio cable from computer to stereo.

Can you further describe this connection? What type of cable? How is it connected to the computer? To the stereo? Is the computer in the same room as the stereo?

QUOTE (danc6433 @ Jun 3 2010, 20:14) *
any reason audio related to NOT go with squeezebox?

I'm pretty sure the answer to this is "no". I own two Squeezebox devices the main purpose of which is to deliver computer-based music to playback systems that are not in the same room as the computer where the music files are located. The Squeezebox "system" has two parts: 1) server software that runs on the computer where your music library is located, and 2) any number of receivers that communicate with the server across a wired or wireless network. The receivers can be connected to headphones, powered speakers, and either the analog or digital inputs of a playback system. Some models of Squeezebox receiver (Boom and Radio) have built-in speakers and will play music on their own. Squeezebox supports PCM/WAV, FLAC, MP3 and other music file formats. WAV and FLAC files deliver data identical to the data found on a CD so there is no loss in audio quality.
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danc6433
post Jun 4 2010, 03:15
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"Can you further describe this connection? What type of cable? How is it connected to the computer? To the stereo? Is the computer in the same room as the stereo?"

Yes, connected directly from the PC to the Onkyo. It is the same room (about 25 feet), and the cable is Digital Audio. Thanks
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maggior
post Jun 4 2010, 05:17
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QUOTE (danc6433 @ Jun 3 2010, 20:14) *
Again, to make a long story short...any reason audio related to NOT go with squeezebox? I'm cool with it just providing an aesthetic improvement.


Short answer - no.

Extended response:
As an owner of 8 squeezeboxes that are setup throughout my house, I may be a little biased in saying there is no reason to not go with a squeezebox. All of the bedrooms have Booms. The kitchen has a Duet. My bedside table and the family room have SB3s. My main listening area has a squeezebox receiver. My "man chair" has a Touch setup next to it connected to a headphone amp setup.

For my "man chair" setup, I tried the "computer as audio player" route. No matter what I did, I could never get rid of glitches in the audio if I happened to open a large web page or something. ASIO and J.River MC got me close, but not all of the way there. There would also be issues if I was ripping CDs with one application and playing back FLACs using J.River. If my computer was dedicated to audio playback, it would have been fine. However, a squeezebox at full retail is still cheaper than dedicating a PC to audio playback.

(**)With the squeezebox, you do still need a computer to act as a server. It can be an oudated PC you have lying around collecting dust - squeezeboxserver doesn't need much horsepower to run, especially on Linux. 1 GB of RAM is recommended though. I bought an old P4 machine from Dell a few years ago that didn't cost me much. I have it running Linux. Works great!

I'm happy with the sound quality from my squeezeboxes. What I really like is how they can be used in conjunction. My squeezebox controller (handheld iPod like device) can be used to control ANY of my squeezeboxes. I can also sync some of my squeezeboxes (or all of them for that matter) for multi-room playback. Or, each can be playing something completely different. If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you can get an app to act as a controller.

You should check out http://forums.slimdevices.com for more info. It is the squeezebox forum, so they are a little biased. However, it is a pretty technical crowd and folks are friendly and willing to help out new or prospective users.

Good luck!


(**)There is an exception to this - the new squeezebox touch can run the server itself. However, it has performance limitations. Depending on the size of you music collection, the encoding used for you collection, and the number of squeezeboxes you plan on running, a PC as a server may be a better choice.
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cliveb
post Jun 4 2010, 08:44
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QUOTE (danc6433 @ Jun 4 2010, 01:14) *
Again, to make a long story short...any reason audio related to NOT go with squeezebox?.

As an enthusiastic Squeezebox user (I have a Transporter, a SB2 and a Duet), you might expect me to join the crowd encouraging you to get one. But I think I can rationalise things and explain when it may not be appropriate...

The core advantage of a Squeezebox setup (or Sonos) is that you have your music library controlled by a central server, which allows you to scatter multiple players around the house and share your library among them. To do this with "traditional" PC playback, you'd presumably stick your music on a NAS and have a PC/laptop in each listening area. The Squeezebox/Sonos approach is neater, and you don't need to have a TV or PC monitor switched on to control the playback.

One other possible factor is that spinning hard disks are not silent, so having them in the listening room *might* affect the background noise levels. Going with Squeezebox/Sonos allows you to locate the central server somewhere else and keep those noisy disks out of earshot. Of course, if you have a central NAS and use diskless PCs in the listening rooms, you can do the same.

So: if you are happy to use some sort of PC media player to control your listening, then you can easily do the same as a Squeezebox system would achieve. For a single listening room, you can just use a PC/laptop (provided the disks are quiet enough). For multiple rooms, you can use a NAS and some diskless PCs. If you're paranoid about sound quality you can use external DACs in either setup.

I happen to think the Squeezebox/Sonos approach is neater: I much prefer using a handheld remote with a display (eg. Squeezebox Controller, Sonos equivalent, iPod Touch or smartphone with appropriate app) than having to switch on a TV or monitor and run a media player. But that's down to personal preference.
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probedb
post Jun 4 2010, 12:14
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QUOTE (danc6433 @ Jun 4 2010, 02:39) *
Ahh...thank you...DAC= Digital-to Analog converter. Duh. Thanks

But I thought with today's technology there was no need for the analog process? Digital receivers, blu-ray, hdmi, flac...why is an analog converter even needed?


Speakers aren't digital, sound isn't digital when it comes through them, you can't output 0s and 1s through a speaker wink.gif Well you could be it'd sound like morse code or something.
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greynol
post Jun 4 2010, 16:37
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Class-D amplifiers?


--------------------
Your eyes cannot hear.
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googlebot
post Jun 4 2010, 17:06
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QUOTE (greynol @ Jun 4 2010, 17:37) *
Class-D amplifiers?


A Class-D amplifier's last stage is a reconstruction filter. So when something walks like a DAC, swims like like a DAC, and quacks like a DAC, ... wink.gif

This post has been edited by googlebot: Jun 4 2010, 17:08
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th00ht
post Aug 5 2010, 09:01
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QUOTE (greynol @ Jun 4 2010, 09:37) *
Class-D amplifiers?


Read this interesting article: http://www.audioholics.com/education/ampli...ss-d-amplifiers
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