Can anyone recommend a lossless, wireless streaming music solution.

Mark Ward

Novice Member
I'm looking for an MP3/Streaming Music solution for the living room. I want to go lossless and also wireless to the living room. As an experiment I've converted some tracks to WAV from CD and stored on my PC. They will stream fine using Wireless-G to a laptop in the living room.

I'm after a wireless player (not portable) for my living room that will stream lossless encoded music that is also compatible with the iPod.

Ones I've heard of so far are Roku Soundridge, Slim Devices & Squeezbox, but what would be the best, hopefully cost effective solution?

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Mark.
 

andrew1810

Novice Member
I'd go for the Squeezebox ever.y time, it has the better sound quality of the two.

Also, if you are streaming large WAV files, you may struggle more with the Roku as it only supports the wireless b network where as the Squeezebox runs on the much much faster wireless G network.

If you want to give it a try beforehand, download the server software and a copy of softsqueeze, which is an exact emulation of the Squeezebox, menu's, remote, everything:

Slimserver: http://www.slimdevices.com/su_downloads.html

SoftSqueeze: http://softsqueeze.sourceforge.net/

If you have any other questions, just let me know, I sell and install all of the different media players so have encountered most problems!

Andrew
 

extremelydodgy

Active Member
The Squeezebox2 I believe also decodes FLAC natively instead of converting to WAV and streaming that.


By 'compatible with the iPod' it depends on what you mean. The SB will not play tracks purchased from iTMS. But it will convert AAC files to WAV in near-real-time and the same with Apple Lossless. It also has a fair degree of integration with iTunes.
 

Mark Ward

Novice Member
Thanks for the replies, a clear winner there then :)

By "Compatible" with iPod" I mean that I don't want to have to keep 2 copies of each track, 1 for the living room & another for the iPod.

I've never bought from iTunes (I don't even have the iPod yet, it's for the wife for Christmas) but if the tracks can't be played on other media players then I guess I won't be buying from them.

I need to be able to encode into a lossless format that can be streamed to the Squeezebox and loaded onto the iPod. What that lossless format would be I'm not sure.

Thanks again,

Mark.
 

andrew1810

Novice Member
The disadvantage of WAV is you can't put ID tags on it and if you are putting them on the ipod this would be difficult.

Not sure if the ipod can do FLAC, probably not so in that case I would suggest encoding everything into AIFF which is Apple's version of WAV, but it supports ID tags and is lossless. I use it myself on my squeezebox and all it does is convert to FLAC before sending to the player.

Andrew
 

extremelydodgy

Active Member
Mark Ward said:
Thanks for the replies, a clear winner there then :)

By "Compatible" with iPod" I mean that I don't want to have to keep 2 copies of each track, 1 for the living room & another for the iPod.

I've never bought from iTunes (I don't even have the iPod yet, it's for the wife for Christmas) but if the tracks can't be played on other media players then I guess I won't be buying from them.

I need to be able to encode into a lossless format that can be streamed to the Squeezebox and loaded onto the iPod. What that lossless format would be I'm not sure.

Thanks again,

Mark.
I've not used the lossless capabilities of either of my SB's recently, and certainly not since I upgraded one to the SB2. For a while, I did give it a whirl with Apple Lossless (with a Mu-Fi Trivista dac behind the Squeezebox) but it proved impractical for me.


The reason is that I have more of a mobile bias and as such, I didn't see the point of storing and playing back lossless audio give the hit on the battery life (you can expect ~9 hours from a 4G Photo iPod on Apple Lossless (ALAC), about 14 hours on 192K~256K MP3). I also frequently swap players so I needed a far more universal storage method than FLAC or ALAC. I went with 256K MP3 as my preferred storage method. At home I can dig out the CD's if I'm listening critically, but on the whole it is remarkably difficult to make out the difference between CD and 256K MP3 most of the time.


If you have more of a home bent, then it obviously makes sense to store in ALAC... but bear in mind that you take a pretty hefty hit on the battery life if you do go lossless and stick it on the iPod. The Squeezeboxes will support the playback of ALAC, by converting it into WAV on the fly. I don't recommend storing/archiving in WAV as it's not taggable, so should you lost your directory structure for some reason there's no way to tell what artist/album files are from. With FLAC and ALAC, the file format includes tag information.


The single major issue with the Squeezebox and similar devices is the size of the display. It can be difficult to see from beyond ~2m away and compared to a PC-based set-up, the scope of the display is quite limited.


Another option is the Apple Airport Express base station which you can control from iTunes, or a PC. This way with a laptop (or PC) in the living room you can control your music.


In my case, given the size of the plasma I have in my living room I re-thought that room and moved from a Squeezebox to a silenced computer running iTunes and j.River Media Center, controlled from a Gyromouse (still playing back aforesaid 256k MP3 library). I dispensed with the DAC and went with a cheap but well-regarded soundcard from RME directly feeding the integrated amp, and this is more than sufficient for casual listening. The SB's now live in the kitchen and bedroom.


There are LOTS of options. It just depends on how much work and money you're willing to expend.
 
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