CH-F103 CDDB update

MickyMick

Standard Member
Hi All!

First time poster so apologies if this is not right place to post.

I recently purchased the Denon CH-F103 system (inc. DRA-F102), my 1st Denon system, and have been fairly impressed with it so far...but...I was under the impression that the gracenote CDDb could be updated via the net using the ethernet cable connection as mentioned in several reviews of the system. I have it setup to my LAN and can access internet radio but when i read the instructions on updating the CDDB it states i must purchase a CD from a Denon supplier.

i tired accesing the menu on the system and sure enough the only option is to insert a CD - it even opens the cd tray automatically for you!

Does anyone know a way around this? Can it be done with the Denon software that came with the system (I can't access my laptop at the mo to load it!) or can it be downloaded and burned to disk from elsewhere on the Net?

Thanks in advance...MM
 

Eddy Boy

Novice Member
It can go off via the LAN connection and your router and access the Gracenote database if it reads a disc not in its ownboard list. Don't believe it updates itself via the web. The only list that changes via the LAN connection is the radio list.
 

EddyTedwood

Standard Member
Hi MickyMick,

I came across your post in these forums as I was searching for a solution for the same kind of problem. I too have the Denon CH-F103/DF-103DAB system and since purchasing it in October 2006 have never really bothered with the network functionality. However although many of the cds in my collection are already recognised by the hard disk's built in database/library of albums etc. I also have many which frustratingly aren't. So I have recently been connecting the unit to the internet CDDB Gracenote database to try and obtain info for these albums - which it says in the manual you are supposed to be able to do. Just like you I have had no problem receiving internet radio broadcasts but I just can't get hold of any information from the Gracenote server which is supposedly somewhere out there in the ether!

I know your post was enquiring about whether the unit can get a complete library update over the internet - which I guess by now you realise it doesn't do. But I am wondering whether you have since managed to get album info for your cds which aren't listed on the hard disk over the internet. I'd be most interested to know this. I've already tried contacting Denon support through their website but with no luck so far!

I think it's a great little system apart from this one issue - I'm not sure about you but I'm running mine through a pair of Bowers and Wilkins CM1 monitors which really are special and bring out the best from the system - it sounds fantastic. Did you stick with Denon's own speakers or go for something else?

I'd be really grateful for any reply you can give me.
Thanks in advance, Eddyted

Hi All!

First time poster so apologies if this is not right place to post.

I recently purchased the Denon CH-F103 system (inc. DRA-F102), my 1st Denon system, and have been fairly impressed with it so far...but...I was under the impression that the gracenote CDDb could be updated via the net using the ethernet cable connection as mentioned in several reviews of the system. I have it setup to my LAN and can access internet radio but when i read the instructions on updating the CDDB it states i must purchase a CD from a Denon supplier.

i tired accesing the menu on the system and sure enough the only option is to insert a CD - it even opens the cd tray automatically for you!

Does anyone know a way around this? Can it be done with the Denon software that came with the system (I can't access my laptop at the mo to load it!) or can it be downloaded and burned to disk from elsewhere on the Net?

Thanks in advance...MM
 

EddyTedwood

Standard Member
I would just like to quickly add that my request for help in the previous post is of course open / extended to anyone else out there who might be in a position to help me understand why I can't access the Gracenote information over the internet! ANY help will be more than gratefully received and I look forward to suggestions from anybody - there must be someone out there who can help me.......Please! Thanks, Eddyted
 

MickyMick

Standard Member
Hi guys!

To the 2 Eddy's sorry for taking so long to get back but thanks for your input.

Eddy T: I have managed to get updates for my CD's when connected to the internet. Are you able to recieve signals from the internet radio stations? if you are i would try phoning Denon as my system just plugged'n'played so to speak.

I have also been able to set it up to connect wirelessly using two Belkin F5d-7231's in bridging mode. if you need any further info on my internet settings please get in touch.

I'm currently using the speakers i had with my old (15yrs!) aiwa hi-fi and it still sounds amazing. will be looking to upgrade shortly and have been advised that the Wharfdale Diamond 9.1's are excellent although i am open to other suggestions/advice!

I've found a couple of things that are starting to annoy me with the functionality of the system the main one probably being the inability to fast-forward/rewind digital tracks on your HDD or network, but in general it is an excellant system.

as i said if anyone is having problems with setting up the network features and would like to know my settings please leave a post.

cheers,
MM
 

EddyTedwood

Standard Member
Hi MM,

No need to apologise for slow response - I'm as bad! Glad to hear you can now get your online updates. Since writing I figured out that my problem was not with the unit but with the way I was connecting over the internet. Yes I could get internet radio and that's why I was confused I couldn't get the updates as well. But I was fighting convention, as I like to try to sometimes, and not using a router. If this makes any sense - I was using Internet Connection Sharing in Windows 98 SE with the chrf103 connected via ethernet cable to the pci ethernet adapter of my pc. I asked a networking specialist and was told very quickly that it would not work this way even though I could get internet radio. This is because Microsoft's ICS does not allow the chrf103 have direct access to the Gracenote database port on the internet even though it does allow others - such as denonradio.com. It was worth trying though!

I've since opted for BT total broadband with a Home hub wireless router and have had great success with this - in combination with a D-Link DWL-G810 54Mbps Wireless Ethernet Bridge.

Good luck with the speaker choice. I too have heard that the Diamond 9.1's are good value. If you haven't already purchased yet I would recommend a demo of the B&W CM1's anyhow just to see what you think as I use these - they blew away all other speakers I dem'd in terms of bass, clarity soundstaging and realism, hence why I have them!

I agree about the lack of fast-forward/rewind on tracks but I only find this on tracks from my memory stick slot. It is possible to fast-forward/rewind through tracks on the HDD though - if you can't I should seek help from Denon servicing. Having said that it is a rather slow fast-forward/rewind - one tip to speed it up a bit is to pause the track first!

By the way I spotted your other post on this site about putting the serial number of the unit in to download a firmware update. I tried this too with the same result - it doesn't recognise my unit either, very strange! I am a little concerned that my unit my have developed a fault actually. When I first bought the unit it used to spin cds very quickly when copying tracks to the HDD - I could hear it wizzing pretty fast. But now its seems to go rather slowly. I normally wouldn't really worry about this but I think it may be the cause of another problem which I am going to have to get sorted under warranty. When I play back tracks ripped from cds into WMA 128 and WMA 192 quality some of the tracks have a small fraction missing form the start of them. It doesn't seem to happen on LPCM rips though. Have you had this problem at all - either the low speed spin/copy issue or the corrupted rips? I thought this may have been cured by the firmware update apparently available but until I can access the site I wont know!

Sorry for the length!

Cheers,
EddyTed
 

denonandon01

Standard Member
I've just bought a CH-F103 and love the sound but can't get Gracenote or Internet Radio to work. I have a wired 100MB ethernet home network based on a router, the service is PPoA and the patch cable checks out OK with a laptop. I can't see anything else in the manual that might be wrong.... Any suggestions gratefully receieved!
 

denonandon01

Standard Member
Fixed my own problem! Seems the ethernet cables were too long, maybe the network card drivers on the CHR0F103 weren't quite up to it. Once I go to the router with a cable of <15m, everything worked. Really a superb piece of kit, have access to my PC Music via Twonkymedia, Internet Radio functions OK, and Gracenote is coming up with correct track detals. Plus it all sounds great! Now if only I can swap he 40GB disk for something bigger - has anyone tried this?
 

benr22

Novice Member
Fixed my own problem! Seems the ethernet cables were too long, maybe the network card drivers on the CHR0F103 weren't quite up to it. Once I go to the router with a cable of <15m, everything worked. Really a superb piece of kit, have access to my PC Music via Twonkymedia, Internet Radio functions OK, and Gracenote is coming up with correct track detals. Plus it all sounds great! Now if only I can swap he 40GB disk for something bigger - has anyone tried this?
I've recently got one of these and have tried to upgrade the hard drive.

It is easy to take apart and remove the hard drive.

It is a 2.5" (laptop size) hard drive using the IDE connector.

I've tried to fit a 160gb drive without success, I've tried the following methods...

1. Just fitting the new drive black in the hope that the F103 would format it - result: when you switch on just flashes 'please wait' for ever.

2. Connected the 40gb drive to my PC and examined the parition layout, there are 2 paritions, one called DENON_V0000 for 34gb formatted in fat32 which stores the music and playlists (but in a non standard format) and another hidden partion called DENON_CBBD, around 1.1gb, fat32 and around 140mb unused space. I then recreated this partition structure on the new drive but with the main parition 140gb in size and copied all the files across from the original.
Result: when you switch on just flashes 'please wait' for ever.

3. Used Acronis True image to creat a sector by sector copy of the original drive and restored that onto the 160gb drive - leaving the partions the original size (with the plan to resize later if it worked).
Result: when you switch on just flashes 'please wait' for ever.

So, I've almost given up, but I'm trying to find out if there is maybe a service menu you can access through the system to initialize a new hard drive or maybe get an answer from Denon if it is at all possible.
 

pierredurand

Novice Member
I have successfully upgraded my old CHR-F103 to 120 Gb.

After reading the last message from benr22, I decided to go for a maximum of 120 Gb instead of 160 Gb. My thinking was that some OS had a limit of 120 Gb back in the days, so perhaps the Denon firmware could not cope with more. Secondly, I decided to stick with the same family of drives in case the firmware would be looking to find the same type of drives.

The original HD is a Toshiba MK4032GAX. In the same family, you have the MK8032GAX (80 Gb), the MK1032GAX (100 Gb) and the MK1234GAX (120 Gb).

Given the small cost of purchasing such a drive these days, I got all three to run some tests. All three were successfully used in the Denon, so you can get, in real terms, a 72, 91 or 110 Gb partition to store tracks.

I proceeded as such:

- Once you have removed the top cover of the unit, careful to have the exact type of screwdriver to remove the screws holding the HD vertical bracket in place. There is not a lot of place to work inside the case, and removing/reinstalling the drive can be fiddly.

- With the old drive disconnected, you'll need to be able to mount it to your PC. Best to have an old IDE 2.5 external enclosure.

- I used Macrium Reflect (free) to make an image of the original drive. Then I copied the image to a bigger drive.

- After restoring the image, I used Macrorit Partition Expert (free) to:

a- Move the hidden DENON_CBBD partition to the end of the drive
b- Resize the DENON_V0000 partition to the maximum available.

- All three drive tested (80/100/120) worked fine in the Denon. At the beginning, you will have the message "'please wait" flashing up to about 8 times but the display will show either the usual Playlist, Album... or just No Track.

A few remarks:

- Initially, when looking at the HD Info function, the display can show 200%, 300% space available. If you delete all tracks and start with nothing, the space available will be correctly displayed (i.e. 100%). So it's worth backing up your tracks with the Denon Music Manager software so you can erase all albums/tracks before transferring or ripping tracks again.

- If the replacement drive does not have a jumper to make it a master, you will get a "please wait..." message that will last forever.

- The Denon firmware page (Denon Firmware/Changelog Download) has an update for the CHR-F103. You need to input your unit serial to access the download page. You'll have to make two CDs to update the unit. After updating the firmware, I did notice a change when putting the Denon in PC Connect mode. Now, the connection to the PC is working every time. Before, it was sometimes hit and miss.

- Music Manager works not only on XP but also on W7 and W10. So long as the PC recognises the unit when in PC Connect mode, then the program will work fine and you will be able to transfer MP3s to the drive.

That's it!
 

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