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flac or wav (lossless) to streamed mp3 on-the-fly for devices around home

rjamesd

Standard Member
I am putting my CD collection as the lossless (original quality) .flac files on a Lacie 2Big NAS RAID1 network drive.

I would like to play this music via devices (streamed) around my home such as the Revo PicoStation. This is so that I'm not tied to the PC in one place.

However many of these devices support streaming/playlisting in MP3 format.

Is there a dedicated networked media hardware appliance device that can read from FLAC (or WAV) files and stream to MP3 on the fly?

I'm not looking to have complete mp3 files generated alongside their FLAC originals. By on the fly I mean not convert the whole file to the mp3. All I need is for the device to read a chunk of the FLAC file at a time, convert it to a chunk of MP3 and stream it - much like any radio station streaming server would do.

I'm looking for a dedicated hardware network media application solution rather than any sort of hobbyist PC based solution, on the grounds of cost, size, lower noise, quicker startup time, aesthetics (nice looks) and less involvement in tinkering and setting up and maintaining (e.g. software updates etc.). I'm an experienced computing professional but I really don't want to come home and have to deal with computers when I've been doing it all day.

I don't want to convert my music collection to mp3. I'm investing time in ripping the stuff from CD and when storage is cheap why use anything less than the original fidelity?

Eventually devices may support streaming FLAC - yes this format CAN be streamed - see the official page for it (on sourceforge I think). But in the meantime I need something that can convert from flac to mp3 on the fly. The lower bandwidth mp3 streaming is also efficient for network bandwidth usage.
 

rjamesd

Standard Member
buy a squeezebox it can do this for you

Are you sure? Do you have one? I looked at the specs online - they aren't detailed enough to confirm this. Do you have a web URL link to confirm this? I would be so glad if it did - that does seem like the sort of thing I am looking for.

Thank you for your quick response. Let me know more about your experiences with this.
 

lechacal

Active Member
He's right. The Squeezebox streams and plays FLACs natively over wireless. I've had a Classic for three weeks now and I love it. If you want a streamer purely for music and you don't need the fancy Sonos multiroom functionality then I don't think you can go wrong with a Squeezebox.
 

Mr_Orange

Well-known Member
Like the others have said, the Squeezebox works perfectly. FLAC is its native format. You've probably realised that you need to have the server software (Squeezecenter) running on a PC or NAS in order to stream the music. Multiple players around the house can be synchronized as well.

If you want to try it out free of charge, download and install Squeezecenter and SqueezePlay, which is a software emulator. This will give you an idea as to whether it's the right solution for you.

Given your core requirements of FLAC and streaming, I would say the Squeezebox is just what you are looking for.

HTH.
 

rjamesd

Standard Member
Folks, while I am pleased the Squeezebox works for you, I'm still not sure whether it meets my original requirement as titled "flac or wav (lossless) to streamed mp3 on-the-fly for devices around home".

To go for the Squeezebox as a solution it should:

  1. Access my FLAC-based music collection on my NAS storage, without requiring a PC (as stated in original post)
  2. Be able to access a FLAC music file and stream it as MP3 streamed (as stated in original post)
I'm looking for MP3 streamed as many "client" devices (i.e. that would receive the stream) support this format but not FLAC. For example the portable Revo Pico RadioStation
Revo Pico RadioStation: The Definitive Multi-Format Portable Radio

To address your responses specifically:
He's right. The Squeezebox streams and plays FLACs natively over wireless.

Given your core requirements of FLAC and streaming, I would say the Squeezebox is just what you are looking for.
Unfortunately, it is not doing my original requirement of the device accessing the FLAC files and **streaming them as MP3** as needed in original post.

You've probably realised that you need to have the server software (Squeezecenter) running on a PC or NAS in order to stream the music.
That's a real shame that I have to tinker (which I don't want - as said in original post) with my NAS to put their server software on it. This is totally unnecessary as the NAS has a built-in file server to share its files through standard Internet protocols which should be more than adequate. Any Squeezebox functionality required in addition to this should be on the Squeezebox itself, surely? What a bad design, having to make people adjust their equipment rather than seamlessly fit in. Besides, I think Squeezebox only supports Netgear ReadyNAS at the moment from reading the official documentation, here:
http://www.slimdevices.com/marketing/Squeezebox-v3-Datasheet.pdf [Adobe PDF]
and
here:
http://www.slimdevices.com/documentation/Squeezebox-v3-Owners-Guide-older.pdf
[Adobe PDF]
 

lechacal

Active Member
Sorry. It was just that this para:
Eventually devices may support streaming FLAC - yes this format CAN be streamed - see the official page for it (on sourceforge I think). But in the meantime I need something that can convert from flac to mp3 on the fly. The lower bandwidth mp3 streaming is also efficient for network bandwidth usage.
led me to think you would like to stream FLAC but didn't think that there were devices that would do it. Streaming FLAC really doesn't use that much bandwidth, but if you really must stream MP3 from FLAC files and want on COTS solution, I don't know of anything that does that. It's not a common requirement.
 

blisteringblue

Active Member
Unfortunately, it is not doing my original requirement of the device accessing the FLAC files and **streaming them as MP3** as needed in original post.

Squeezecenter will do this as it will transcode on the fly if bandwidth is a concern for you? And I quote from within squeezecentre

Bitrate Limiting
SqueezeCenter can automatically convert your music files to WAV/AIFF or MP3 on-the-fly to lower the bitrate of the data streamed to your player. This is useful if you are connecting your player to SqueezeCenter across the Internet or are having intermittent problems using a wireless network. You can choose the maximum bitrate that SqueezeCenter will stream to your player. MP3 songs encoded at a bitrate lower than below won't be converted. If you choose No Limit, SqueezeCenter will stream your MP3 files without conversion and your other file types as uncompressed PCM audio.


However you really might as well leave it as FLAC as this streams fine on a decent quality 11g wireless connection.

Squeezecenter is a little fussy about what NAS devices it runs on, and yours is not a model they support, and they will only work with squeezecenter.

You can leave your music stored on your NAS and have squeezecenter point to that drive while running on a PC, but you will need to leave the PC on or configure WOL as I do with mine.

There are more expensive offerings that will do what you want, but Squeeze devices are cheaper, so it's your choice at the end of the day.
 

glenlevisohn

Active Member
If Squeezebox's requirement for server side software is putting you off, you could always look at Sonos.
Sonos devices have built in SMB/CIFS client software so can talk to pretty much any NAS directly.

Like Squeezbox, Sonos can stream FLAC natively.

Both Sonos and Squeezebox also provide access to 1000s of internet radio stations as well as music services like Last.fm, Pandora, Napster etc (country limitations not withstanding)

Personally, if I were you, I would ditch the Pico RadioStation(s) and replace them with Sonos boxes.
That way you have a massive selection of internet radio stations, native FLAC streaming (which your original post implies you would like to move to eventually), access to music services such as Pandora, Napster etc. and no pesky server software to install.
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
You could try tversity, its a upnp server that can be installed on a PC and many NAS's - not sure if you can install it on yours though. It's trick is that it will trancode virtually any format to the format required by device, i.e. FLAC -> MP3. Does vidio too. The upnp player just sees the tracks as normal, works pretty seemlessly.

You would be better of with a Squeezebox or Sonos and stream the FLAC's dirrectly. No offensive, but the pico does not hold a candle to them.

FYI, Squeezebox/Squeezecenter was designed a mutliroom solution, but are equally brilliant own thier own. The power of these devices is in the server, this a much more efficient and cost effective solution. upnp is very limited, Squeezecenter gives you true mutilroom and syncing, access to online serveis like Napster and Last.FM, plugins (BBC iPlayer etc).
 
P

Peter Galbavy

Guest
AFAICR the sqeezecenter software can also make an MP£ stream available from a URL - a duplicate of whatever is playing on the players (if any players are involved).

Download Sqeezecenter for you PC and try it - go through the configs. It's free.

I looked, see here: http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/RemoteStreaming
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
AFAICR the sqeezecenter software can also make an MP£ stream available from a URL - a duplicate of whatever is playing on the players (if any players are involved).

Download Sqeezecenter for you PC and try it - go through the configs. It's free.

I looked, see here: RemoteStreaming - SqueezeboxWiki

thats true, but you would to control it via the web interface or maybe a squeezebox controller or ipod touch.
 

Mr_Orange

Well-known Member
I don't want to convert my music collection to mp3. I'm investing time in ripping the stuff from CD and when storage is cheap why use anything less than the original fidelity?

You want to store your music as high fidelity - makes perfect sense, but then you want to stream it as mp3 :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: - why?

Eventually devices may support streaming FLAC - yes this format CAN be streamed - see the official page for it (on sourceforge I think). But in the meantime I need something that can convert from flac to mp3 on the fly. The lower bandwidth mp3 streaming is also efficient for network bandwidth usage.

No "eventually" about it, they do now. The Squeezebox for one.

Besides, I think Squeezebox only supports Netgear ReadyNAS at the moment

Slim Devices only officially support and provide an installer for the Netgear NAS boxes, but there are others (QNAP springs to mind) that can run Squeezecenter. Google is your friend, or other forum members who can advise you which NAS boxes they use.

  1. Access my FLAC-based music collection on my NAS storage, without requiring a PC (as stated in original post)
  2. Be able to access a FLAC music file and stream it as MP3 streamed (as stated in original post)
1. Actually you didn't. You said you didn't want to be tied to the PC's location. The Squeezebox does not do that. It operates wirelessly, and only requires the PC to be on, not connected to it.
2. There's no need for that since the Squeezebox supports streaming and playing FLAC files natively.

Hope that clarifies.
 

amcluesent

Distinguished Member
>Eventually devices may support streaming FLAC - yes this format CAN be streamed .... lower bandwidth mp3 streaming is also efficient for network bandwidth usage.<

I think you need to read-up on what's available, Squeezebox/Sonos/Linn/Naim etc. will all stream FLAC.

Bandwidth shouldn't be a problem, you can stream FLAC on 802.11b, multiple streams on 802.11g or 802.11n.
 

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