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Newbie requires urgent help re squeezebox

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by dboo, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. dboo

    dboo
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    I presently store all my CDs in MP3 format on my PC. My wife now wants the PC out of the lounge and upstairs as I now intend to buy either the Denon 2805 or Marantz 7400 receiver with Mordaunt Short Premier Plus speaker package. Regarding my collection of cds, my intention was to either buy a cd player capable of playing MP3 such as Marantz 7300. I then saw a review of the Perception Digital Hercules PD-480 which would allow me to transfer my MP3s to this digital music player which I can then connect to my receiver.

    However I have now seen again references to the squeezebox which would allow me to continue to play my music upstairs but then listen to it in the lounge through the receiver.

    Can you educate me please on how this is done and what I would require to be able to do so? Also how much would the whole kit cost? If anyone also has the Perception Digital, please let me know how it plays.
     
  2. cbemoore

    cbemoore
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    Here's a summary - sorry if I'm saying anything obvious!

    To use a squeezebox, you need to have a Local Area Network (LAN) already set up. Your squeezebox and PC will talk to each other over the LAN.

    There are 2 versions of the squeezebox - the wired version connects to your LAN via a network cable, whereas the wireless version connects to a wireless access point which can be anywhere in your house.

    The advantage with the wireless version is that you don't need any wires between the squeezebox in the lounge and the computer upstairs. If you don't mind a long cable running up the stairs, then save money and get the wired version!

    The Squeezebox costs around £200 for the wireless version, and about £130 for the wired version. On top of that, you'll need a network card in your PC (you might already have one built in) and a wireless access point if you want to use a wireless connection.

    I already had a wireless network in my house, so I only needed to buy the squeezebox itself. Its brilliant - its really simple to set up, totally intuitive to use, and the sound quality (via a digital connection to my amp) is better than my CD player!

    To communicate with the Squeezebox, you need to install a server application called "Slimserver" onto your PC, which will handle your music collection and control the music streaming over your LAN. This is free to download, and it also includes "Softsqueeze", a nifty Java application which runs on your PC and simulates the squeezebox.

    The website is here:
    http://www.slimdevices.com/

    If you're interested, then I'd definitely recommend downloading Slimserver, running Softsqueeze and having a play. If you like it, then buy a Squeezebox. If you don't like it, then it hasn't cost you anything!

    Good luck, and let me know if you've got any more questions.

    Chris
     
  3. dboo

    dboo
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    Thanks for the info. Sorry to sound thick, how do I create the LAN. What would I need to but to create the network access point?
     
  4. cbemoore

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    I'm not a network expert so I probably won't be using the correct terminology here!! I'd probably recommend posting on a computing list instead....

    Firstly, each device in your network needs an Ethernet port. If your PC doesn't have a built in Ethernet port, then you'll need to buy a network card. (The Squeezebox already comes with an Ethernet port)

    You then need a router (I think that's the right term!!) which acts as the hub of your network. Every device in your network plugs into the router using an ethernet cable.

    If you only have 2 devices in your network (in this case your PC and the Squeezebox), then you don't need to go to the additional cost of a router. Instead, you can connect the 2 devices directly, using a "crossover" cable (a specially wired Ethernet cable).

    Once you have all your devices plugged together, then you should be able to go into the Windows Control Panel on your PC and set up the network using the network wizard.

    A wireless device will have an aerial instead of an ethernet port. If you want to attach a wireless device, then you need to buy a wireless access point, and attach it to your router using an ethernet cable. Any wireless devices then talk to the router via the wireless access point.

    Before I make any recommendations, how do you connect to the internet with your PC? Do you have broadband, or do you use dialup?

    Chris
     
  5. richard plumb

    richard plumb
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    If you only have one PC, and have a USB connection for internet (do you have broadband?), then I'd still use a router.

    Buy a wireless 'g' access point/ADSL modem/router for about £70, and an ethernet card for your PC (about £10). Ethernet connects to the router, router connects to your phone line for internet. Router stays on the internet all the time, so if you have other PCs at other times, they can access the internet even if the other PC is switched off.

    Then you just need a wireless squeezebox downstairs, and you are sorted.
     
  6. mi_july

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    Technically the router acts as a switch usually. There is only one problem with the wireless alternative and that is, if you get bad reception, due to RSJ's etc. then the audio can become somewhat sketchy, due to the lack of bandwidth available i do believe that the wireless version is 802.11b and not G so your looking at 11mb/s instead of 54, or if you used wired 100mb/s! personally I would use the wired alternative by a couple of N.I.C's so you can all connect to the network, and a router such as the SMC Barricade series which also have an intergrated firewall.
     
  7. jinky32

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    HI, I'm really interested in this product as well as a whole host of other similar hardware.

    I have over 10k tunes on mp3 and wonder how i can easily scroll through my folders on this (or netgear mp101 etc) when I only have the display on the squeezebox to look at. surely 1) it will take years to go through all the tunes and 2) I'll have to get up and sit infront of the box so I can read the writing!

    Can anyone tell me if I am wrong in this or what the best equipment is that allows me to scroll through my (iTunes) library on a TV screen?

    Thanks!
     
  8. detailmeister

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    You can browse many tracks on the squeezebox quite easily on it's 2 line display. It depends on how you've setup your MP3s. If you've tagged them properly then you can select by Artist or by Album, you can also browse by Genre.

    It is easier to setup playlists on the PC and then pick the playlists from the squeezebox if you want to pick lots of un-related tracks to listen to. The display is very bright (it is dimmable) and the text size can be altered so I don't have a problem reading it.

    Other devices can use the TV to display the information, but then you have to have the TV on to use them. I prefer not.

    Ideal way is to use a wifi PDA or laptop to control the squeezebox from your sofa when you need to fiddle and use the remote most other times.

    Hope that helps.
     
  9. jinky32

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    cheers. i've been doing some web snooping and quite fancy the philips streamium sl400 - it will work via tv or through it's display. I'd been looking at getting one of the KiSS range DVD players to stream DivX from my pc, but the streamium seems to have all bases covered.
     
  10. detailmeister

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    For me the squeezebox was the best option for it's support for ogg and /or flac files (trade-off between size and quality) and for proper gap-less playback. I can't stand listening to tracks with pauses where there shouldn't be, eg live albums and mix albums.
     
  11. Mike-M

    Mike-M
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    Has anyone had a chance to demo many of these streaming devices. I have a Squeeze box which is ok (now it's hard wired) I got one of the new D-Link DSM-320's and I felt the sound was better than the SB. But it had a fault and went back. May well try another one in a while when the "new product" bug's have been ironed out. I'm interest in knowing if there is a great difference in sound quality between various makes but because if the nature of the beast you can't pop into your local audio shop and try then out side by side.
     
  12. davepuma

    davepuma
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    I've got a D-Link 320 and it's excellent. I haven't had any snags. I must admit though, you do need to know your way around networking beforehand. I ended up spending hours waiting to get through to D-Link to iron out a few snags but well worth it in the end.
     
  13. Chris Frost

    Chris Frost
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    jinky32, you should also have a look at the SL300i. It does pretty much the same as the SL400i apart from it has no front panel display. I have a 300 connected to my AV system via phonos and to the 32" TV via SCART.

    For reference I'm using a Netgear DG834G router/ADSL modem for the main home network and a Belkin F5D7010 PCMCIA card with the laptop.

    You can fast access tracks using the remote's alphanumeric buttons. You can skip to tracks starting with a certain letter, it works similiar to Sky's A-Z listing.

    Regards
     
  14. Chris Frost

    Chris Frost
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    Hi dboo, there may be an easier way to get music from the PC to your living room than getting involved in wireless routers etc.

    Something like one of
    these wireless transmitters will plug in to a spare USB port on the PC and allow you to stream music and video to a wireless receiver that connects to your HiFi or TV.

    This simple A-to-B connection is called an Ad-hoc network. It takes about 20 minutes to install and set-up :) The transmitter in the link is small, about the size of a pack of 20 cigarettes. The SL50 and SL300 Philips receivers are small too and have no ugly aerials sticking out so they're a little more wife friendly.

    All the kit above is WiFi certified so it will work with other brands of WiFi certified networking gear if you decide to expand in the future.

    Regards
     

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