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Roku SoundBridge Network Music Player

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salnajjar

Guest
I had one for a while and then traded it for a Squeezebox v3. What was it you wanted to know? I may be able to help.

Seri
 

BigDawg

Standard Member
I just wanted to know how these things work..I have hundreds of CD albums and wanted to be able to play them through my stereo.

So, do I have all my CD's on my computer with a wireless access point (Netgear), then stream it through the Roku or Squeezbox? How does that work? How do I then get it in other rooms in my house?

All sounds good..but how, how, how...:)

Advice appreciated

Craig
 
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salnajjar

Guest
Okay, well the Roku can (and most users do) use the SlimDevices SlimServer software, this software will run on Windows/Linux/BSD/Solaris/OsX/etc.

Basically, the server software sits on a computer somewhere in your house that's connected to your homes network (wired or wireless, it doesn't matter). The server has all the codecs it needs to play every type of unprotected audio you might be using (FLAC, APE, WAV, OGG, AIF, MP3, WMA, AAC), the only thing it can't do is play protected audio (protected WMA and AAC).

So, if you have about 200 cd's you would need to rip them and store them somewhere on your server. You could either rip them to a completely lossless format (WAV/FLAC/APE) or you could compress them down (MP3/OGG/AAC/WMA), either way when your player goes to play them (either Roku or Squeezebox) the server and itself negotiate how much bandwidth is available between them and the server then re-encodes the file on the fly for the best available quality. The player buffers as much of the audio as it can in case it temporarilly looses network conectivity.

Now, if you wanted to have multiple players, they all access the same server, and hence, the same music collection. There's even a virtual SqueezeBox written in Java "SoftSqueeze".

What I would personally recomend is downloading the SlimDevices SlimServer software from their website and playing with it. It's free and includes a copy of SoftSqueeze. I can pretty much say though that the SoftSqueeze client in no way does the real SqueezeBox any justice, my two have definately been an objects of desire for visitors that we have.

Things to remember is that neither the Roku or the SlimDevices players have any built in amp or speakers, so they need to be connected to a stereo unless you only plan on using them with headphones. The SqueezeBox has Optical and Coax S/PDIF out, stereo Phono connectors and a head phone socket.

If you can't be bothered to go to the hassle of installing the SlimServer software then send me a PM and I'll pass you a link to my home install you can play with.

Seri
 

andrew1810

Established Member
Can't really add anything to what salnajjar said, excellent description.

I was also a previous Roku owner who then 'upgraded' to a squeezebox and haven't looked back since (I have owned/currently own Roku M1000, Squeezebox 2, Netgear MP101, Terratec Noxon, Philips Streamium SL50i, SL300i & AudioRequest ARQ-1 and the Squeezebox is the best of the lot)

If you need a hand getting the software up and running, ripping CD's etc. just let me know, I sell a range of music servers so have installed it all a good few times!!

Andrew
 

BigDawg

Standard Member
So, just so I know what is going on then.

I have lots of CD's, and I have them in MP3 format, so no probs there.

At home I have the following:

Normal computer (40bg hard drive)
External hard drive (100gb)
Netgear DG834GT

So I have a Squeezebox connected to my stereo, I have seperates, so no problem to add it to that. I would have my computer on, the SB connects to this and reads my library and plays through the stereo and the SB. I assume that I plug in an more SB's in other rooms and it is then streamed to those SB's. All at once? or one at a time?

Is it best to get another large internal/external drive? I was gonna get a iPOD to store them all on and then plug that into the stereo and play through that...

What does the SlimDevices SlimServer software do then?
 

andrew1810

Established Member
BigDawg said:
So, just so I know what is going on then.

I have lots of CD's, and I have them in MP3 format, so no probs there.

At home I have the following:

Normal computer (40bg hard drive)
External hard drive (100gb)
Netgear DG834GT

So I have a Squeezebox connected to my stereo, I have seperates, so no problem to add it to that. I would have my computer on, the SB connects to this and reads my library and plays through the stereo and the SB. I assume that I plug in an more SB's in other rooms and it is then streamed to those SB's. All at once? or one at a time?

Is it best to get another large internal/external drive? I was gonna get a iPOD to store them all on and then plug that into the stereo and play through that...

What does the SlimDevices SlimServer software do then?

Thats it, you can add an external hard disk to store the music and point slimserver to that, or if you didn't want your computer on, either get a compatible NAS, or build a server to hide away.

Slimserver does everything, finds files, transcodes, sends to the player, power the menu's etc. The player itself does very little, pretty much everything is done by slimserver.

You can sychronise streaming to more than one, or have them all playing different tracks.

Hope this helps

Andrew
 

BigDawg

Standard Member
Ok, so Squeezebox looks good.

This is a daft questions I know, but I assume that I need a stereo on each SB, to relay the music. I can't simply put one in the kitchen and listen to music through it can I?

I have downloaded slimserver..where do I tell it to look for my music collection then?

When you mention music servers..what will these do for me?

Sorry to be a pain..but looking like I am gonna gte one
 

andrew1810

Established Member
You would need powered speakers for the kitchen, even PC speakers would work from the headphone out.

Once you have installed slimserver, load up your web browser and point it to http://localhost:9000
Then there is a menu option called server settings. In there you can point it to your music directory.

The idea of a music server is basically you don't need to have your computer on to use the squeezebox, but instead have a server hidden away doing all of the work. There is a link in my signature to the high end model, but I also custom build into older refurbished PC's to keep prices down.

If you need any help with slimserver, just let me know

Andrew
 
H

HFK1001

Guest
andrew1810 said:
Oh and Squeezebox, every time in my opinion (I hope I'm not too biased, I have owned/sold them both)

Andrew

Andrew,

I own an M1000 and am happy with it. What are your primary reasons for preferring the Squezzebox? I know that there are Roku-manics that prefer using Slimserver. Is that it, the software, or is there more to the story?

Thanks
 
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salnajjar

Guest
Okay, this is all subjective, but the reasons I prefer my Squeezebox 3 over the Roku Soundbridge:

Audio, the DAC in the Squeezebox performs really nice anti-aliasing on some of my worst quality music, making it sound pretty decent. The Roku sound quality isn't bad, but I could tell the difference.
Ease of use, my wife struggled with the Roku, the Squeezebox she picked up pretty easily.
Size, the Squeezebox is tiny, granted, the Roku aint huge, but it is bigger.
Wired to Wireless pass through, I don't use it that much, but it has been a life saver once or twice already.
Controlability, being able to control the device to such an extent from the web interface is great, plus the ability to use practically any other remote control with it instead of merely the stock on that comes with it.
Expandability, the ammount of plugins and extras to allow you to squeeze every last drop of functionality from such a teeny device.

Oh yes, Roku may have fixed it now, but when I had one they passed raw output to the optical out, meaning that the bitrate that came out of the S/PDIF port was matched to that of the music being playing, this caused my DAC to have many a hissy fit when playing VBR MP3s. The SqueezeBox scales everything up to either 44.1 or 48.

I'm sure there's more, so I may come back and edit later.

As I said before, this is all subjective and personal preference.

Seri
 

andrew1810

Established Member
Agree entirely with what was said above.

The sound quality of the squeezebox is better than the Roku (the Roku really needed a decent DAC)

The web interface was a big factor for me as it means I can control it from my laptop or PDA. I know the Roku had a simple thing, but the Squeezebox interface is some way ahead.

I don't know if its still the case, but the Roku also had to buffer each of my AIFF tracks before playing, where as the Squeezebox has a 30 second buffer built in. They may have fixed this as I had an early M1000.

Also, the VU meters look cool.

Its really a matter of personal opinion, I find the Squeezebox to be technically superior, but the Roku is easier to setup and use.

Andrew
 

spl23

Prominent Member
Just to post a dissenting view, as a very satisifed Roku M2000 owner....

I don't know what the sound quality of the Roku's analogue outputs is like, but I use the digital output with Windows Media Connect running on my server, and all my CDs ripped as WMA Lossless. My amp is HDCD compatible, and if I've ripped an HDCD disc to WMAL, the ripped version from the Roku's digital output is flagged as HDCD by the amp - so I'm getting bitwise-identical music to the original CD. (The Roku M2000 passes bitwise-identical streams, but the new M1001 resamples everything to 48 kHz - as a purist, I prefer the M2000's approach, but the resampling would help if your DAC struggles with different sample rates.)

The Squeezebox may be smaller, but the Roku M2000 is a standard hi-fi component width, so it matches the rest of my system. It also means that the display is enormous and clearly readable across the room.

The Roku web interface is still evolving, but there are free third-party apps that allow complete control of a whole network of SoundBridges from a PC or a PocketPC.

Finally, Roku's customer service is excellent - they are very responsive to customer requests and suggestions, and they release new firmware on a regular basis - they've already made two or three changes to firmware based on requests I'd made on their web forums. They are currently trialling 4 different display fonts in the latest beta software, and asking users to vote on which ones should make it into the final release, for example.

I've not used the Squeezebox, so can't comment on it, but don't overlook the SoundBridge - it is a fantastic bit of kit.
 

spl23

Prominent Member
andrew1810 said:
Also, the VU meters look cool.
Oh, and I'm pretty sure that the SoundBridge has VU meters as one of the built-in visualisations while music is playing - along with various oscilloscope and spectrum analyser displays! And if you don't like those, you can turn the display off altogether, as I do...
 

g0pkh

Standard Member
spl23 said:
but don't overlook the SoundBridge - it is a fantastic bit of kit.

I couldn't agree more, I bought my first Soundbridge (an M1001) about 4 weeks ago. I use a NAS unit (NSLU2) running the mt-daapd itunes server on it.
I have been so impressed with the unit , and Roku's superb customer service via the Roku forums,that I have just bought another M1001 for use upstairs.

Can't comment on the Squeezebox personally, but what swayed the Roku for me, was the support for uPNP server software, compared to the dedicated Slimserver.

Pete
 

andrew1810

Established Member
spl23 said:
Oh, and I'm pretty sure that the SoundBridge has VU meters as one of the built-in visualisations while music is playing - along with various oscilloscope and spectrum analyser displays! And if you don't like those, you can turn the display off altogether, as I do...

Thats good to hear, I did have an early M1000 so it was missing quite a few of these features.

The Squeezebox also has an excellent support forum http://forums.slimdevices.com where the CEO answers questions and also as Slimserver itself is open source, most of the programmers for the software and plugins are on there.

It is all a matter of opinion, Squeezebox owners prefer the Squeezebox, Roku owners prefer the Roku, someone looking to buy doesn't prefer either and gets bombarded with pro's and con's of each!

I try to be as unbiased as possible and am glad to hear the Roku is improving, hopefully it will mean more people wanting a music server!

Andrew
 
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salnajjar

Guest
SPL23, all good comments, but nearly all the things that Roku are currently evolving into their system are things that the SqueezeBox already has. Also the fact that both the SlimServer software and the SqueezeBoxes own firmware are completely open source means that more and more features are being added faster than the Roku developers can keep up.

Fonts: The SqueezeBox already has a library of nearly a hundred pre-made fonts with the ability to create your own using a freely available utility. Also nearly all the fonts come in 4 sizes.

The SqueezeBox Can already be controlled via a PocketPC or Palm Device, either by using the devices own iR stack for infrared comms, or by using the lite web interface which is specifically made for small screen sizes.

The SlimServer software allows for the control of a nearly unlimited number of SqueezeBoxes or other devices, dependant only on bandwidth and the servers processing power. And these devices can be synchronised, independant or a mixture.

I will also agree that the Roku SoundBridge is a superb peice of kit, but so is the SqueezeBox. I was very happy with my SoundBridge until I went to a friends and played with their SqueezeBox.

As ever, this is all subjective, I think the best thing for the OP if it's an option is to find some way of being able to play with both of them and then make their own informed decision.

I think one thing it may come down to is that the SqueezeBox seems to be prefered by tinkerers and fiddlers due to the range of options.

Oh, and more due to the number of replies....
VU Meters in SqueezeBox = yes
Waveform = yes
Bar drops = yes
NewsTickers = yes
Weather Reports = yes
Internet Radio Streams = yes
Archive.org Concert Library = yes
Display off = yes
Lyrics to current song = yes
Information and reviews of song / band / album = yes
Last.FM Radio and Automatic Updating = yes

Heck, I even have my SqueezeBoxes performing Caller ID display so I can decide whether to get out of my chair or not.

Ach, I'll admit it, I'm biased, I love my damn Squeezebox too much not to be.
 

andrew1810

Established Member
99% of the time it is no harder, but every now and again there are wireless or software issues which can prove to be difficult, but it is very rare.

I have installed the software many times and only once or twice had an issue which most of the time was my fault anyway

Andrew
 

shane515

Established Member
salnajjar said:
Heck, I even have my SqueezeBoxes performing Caller ID display so I can decide whether to get out of my chair or not.

Hello Salnajjar

Would you mind telling me where you got the info on how to do that....very impressive :thumbsup:

thanks Shane
 
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salnajjar

Guest
Would have replied earlier but the internet connection from my clients site was absolutely awful.

CallerID on the SqueezeBox, unfortunately requires you to make sure that the SlimServer is running on a Linux/osX box as there's no easy way for it to interrogate a modem in Windows. Basically you need a modem that supports CallerID on your SlimServer, then simply download this plugin:
http://www.thespicers.net/cid.html
and follow the included instructions with it.

Seri
 

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