Finally jumped in the water, need some help.

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Vic

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Finally jumped in the water, need some help.
« on: 2 Feb 2012, 06:13 am »
Digital audio experience limited to a ModWright Denon 5900. Bought a Squeezebox Touch this fall so the four Apple computers in the house could stream via an Airport Extreme. The convenience is simply wonderful but the fidelity is, well...you know.

Began shopping for a DAC and decided on a Musical Fidelity M1 but ended up ordering a Metrum Octave NOS DAC. I've been reading posts on The Computer Audiophile and I'm hoping I didn't get in over my head.

I assumed a simple SPDIF cable from the Squeezebox to the Octave and hide-y-ho. I think I have to:

Download and use Pure Audio? to oversample because it's a NOS DAC?

The Squeezebox may need to get a mod?

Use a USB SPDIF converter, Audiophilleo, WaveLink, Off Ramp, Pace Car?
It seems like Empirical Audio has the right tools but I'm not sure what to use.     

firedog

Re: Finally jumped in the water, need some help.
« Reply #1 on: 2 Feb 2012, 10:26 am »
An SPDIF cable from the SBT to the Metrum should work. If it doesn't, you should contact Metrum and ask them.

It's not clear from your post, but you do understand that the SBT becomes your main interface/controller in this situation? In other words, you need to use either the SBT itself, or multiple SB devices, the web interface for SB, or a SB app like Squeezeplay on another computer to control and play music.

But the feed to the Metrum will only work on the system directly connected (by SPDIF) to the DAC. Installations on other systems/computers will get the feed through networking - not the feed to the Metrum. So the "external" systems  to the one with the DAC will produce music based on whatever DAC/Soundcard they use for any other sounds.

wilsynet

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Re: Finally jumped in the water, need some help.
« Reply #2 on: 2 Feb 2012, 03:00 pm »
The answer to 1) Get Pure Music, 2) Get a mod for the SqueezeBox and 3) Get a USB to SPDIF converter are: No, Only if you want to, and No.

I don't understand how the Squeezebox Touch helps other computers stream through Airport Extreme. If the OP could expand on this, I think we may be able to help.

Anyway, you plug the SBTouch into the Metrum using a SPDIF cable.  That's it.  If you do any mods for the SBTouch, well, you could do the digital mods, that would likely improve digital performance, likely the jitter characteristics of the Touch.

Vic

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Re: Finally jumped in the water, need some help.
« Reply #3 on: 2 Feb 2012, 03:34 pm »
Thanks for the responses and sorry about my lack of computer/digital speak.

Currently all our computers have different iTune play lists and all use the Squeezebox software to access these playlists. This is all done wifi via the Airport Extreme. I guess my first question should have been:   

Is there a way to continue to use this wifi setup through the Squeezebox but increase the fidelity from the Squeezebox to my Reflection Audio Quantum preamplifier?

Does the Squeezebox > with or without a modification > USB or SPDIF > Pace Car running in mode xx > Metrum DAC > preamp facilitate an improvement in fidelity? Or, same setup but using a USB to SPDIF converter improve fidelity?

firedog

Re: Finally jumped in the water, need some help.
« Reply #4 on: 2 Feb 2012, 04:23 pm »
Again, you aren't being clear. Squeezebox is both hardware and software.

You can continue to use SB software as you are now. That has nothing directly to do with any SB Touch mods or added devices, such as a USB to SPDIF converter.

A SB Touch whether modded or not, whether hooked up to a Pace-Car or not, will connect/output to your DAC by SPDIF. The SB Touch itself doesn't have digital audio inputs, it's input is from the network. It can connect directly to a USB HD instead of the network, but even in this case your audio output will still be either the anlogue outs or the SPDIF outs. There is also no network AUDIO out on the Touch. The Touch sends and receives data over the network, but it isn't sending or recieving an AUDIO stream this way, just the data contained in your music files (and that isn't isn't an audio stream). When the Touch sends your music files as data, it is turned into audio with whatever audio setup is on the receiving end.

So getting a Touch and hooking it up to a DAC is a separate issue from your setup with the Airport Extreme. I think to do the same thing with SB software, you need to run an application like Squeezeplay on each computer. To do it with hardware (and have the devices synched) you need to add some kind of SB device (Touch or other SB device) connected to each computer.

In the above 2 scenarios, if you are using software, the quality of the playback will be determined by the setup of each individual computer. If you use hardware (additional SB devices)then the quality of playback will be determined by the quality of each SB device and how you use it to produce music (digital or analogue outs, and the rest of your sound playback hardware).

On the other hand, connecting a digital out from your SB Touch to your DAC should greatly improve the quality of playback - but only on that system, not on the other systems in your house. Adding a Pace-Car in would probably also help, but that's an expensive and limited solution in your case.  If you got a USB to SPDIF converter like the Off Ramp to feed your DAC, that would certainly sound great, but you'd be bypassing the SB Touch. The connection is Computer USB>Off Ramp>DAC. In this case you are bypassing the SB server software and hardware. (Note:There is probably a way you could install SB server software and Squeezeplay on your computer, setup an OFF Ramp as the default soundcard, and then play music from that computer using Squeezeplay as the player. But that seems a very odd way of setting up a system.)

If general, if you are interested in just getting better computer sound from your main system that the Metrum is part of, then an Off Ramp directly connected to the DAC will probably be your best bet. If you want to continue using the SB Touch in that system b/c you like the interface, then get a Pace-Car and your Touch modded to work with it.

But as your setup is today, the Touch directly connected via SPDIF to the Metrum should work and produce good sound from your main system. If that isn't working, something is wrong with either the Touch or the Metrum or the SPDIF cable. Get that working first and see if you are satisfied with the sound. It may be all you need.

Again, any setup like this with the SB Touch has no direct connection or influence over how your setup using the Airport Extreme sounds.

If you are asking how to improve the sound on the various other computers that are connected by the Airport Extreme to your system, then the answer lies in improving the playback on each of those systems. The Airport Extreme is giving each computer perfect data, but the soundcards, DACs, and speakers built in to those systems aren't up to snuff when converting that data to audio.

And I don't want to be mean, but it does sound like you don't have even a basic understanding of what the SB hardware and software do, or what the difference between an audio stream and a purely data (network) stream is. You should try to get yourself straight on that before spending any more money.

wilsynet

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Re: Finally jumped in the water, need some help.
« Reply #5 on: 2 Feb 2012, 06:03 pm »
Currently all our computers have different iTune play lists and all use the Squeezebox software to access these playlists.

I would suppose that this should all continue to work regardless of whether you have an outboard DAC (like the Metrum) available or not.


Is there a way to continue to use this wifi setup through the Squeezebox but increase the fidelity from the Squeezebox to my Reflection Audio Quantum preamplifier?

Yes, just plug the Squeezebox into the Metrum using a SPDIF cable.  The USB port on a Squeezebox is not (typically) used to output audio (although perhaps people have hacked it to do so from time to time).

A USB -> SPDIF converter is almost always used to bridge between a computer and an outboard DAC (that does not have a USB input option).


Does the Squeezebox > with or without a modification > USB or SPDIF > Pace Car running in mode xx > Metrum DAC > preamp facilitate an improvement in fidelity?

If you want better fidelity, the best option for the Squeezebox is to get the Bolder digital mods.

My impression is that the Metrum does not do much about reducing jitter, leaving that to other components.  Reducing jitter on the Squeezebox side through a Bolder digital mod is likely the best way to go here.

audioengr

Re: Finally jumped in the water, need some help.
« Reply #6 on: 2 Feb 2012, 06:47 pm »
Digital audio experience limited to a ModWright Denon 5900. Bought a Squeezebox Touch this fall so the four Apple computers in the house could stream via an Airport Extreme. The convenience is simply wonderful but the fidelity is, well...you know.

Began shopping for a DAC and decided on a Musical Fidelity M1 but ended up ordering a Metrum Octave NOS DAC. I've been reading posts on The Computer Audiophile and I'm hoping I didn't get in over my head.

I assumed a simple SPDIF cable from the Squeezebox to the Octave and hide-y-ho. I think I have to:

Download and use Pure Audio? to oversample because it's a NOS DAC?

The Squeezebox may need to get a mod?

Use a USB SPDIF converter, Audiophilleo, WaveLink, Off Ramp, Pace Car?
It seems like Empirical Audio has the right tools but I'm not sure what to use.   

If you are using the Touch to drive a DAC and connecting with a S/PDIF coax cable, this will certainly work.  If you want to improve sound quality, you can add the Synchro-Mesh reclocker in between the two using two coax cables:

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=102003.0

It should be available in about 4 weeks.

If you are using Touch, you dont need an Off-Ramp.  The Pace-Car is out of production, but I still get trade-ins.  It requires mods to the Touch that I dont do any longer, so it's not a solution for you.

Steve N.

twosheltons

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Re: Finally jumped in the water, need some help.
« Reply #7 on: 2 Feb 2012, 10:49 pm »
Steve - The Pace-Car is out of production!  Really?   Or did you mean the earlier non-USB version?  Your website still lists the Pace-Car USB model, so I assumed it would still be a solution for my "jittery Sonos." Maybe not.

wilsynet

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Re: Finally jumped in the water, need some help.
« Reply #8 on: 3 Feb 2012, 12:07 am »
The Synchro-Mesh reclocker does seem like it would be a cost effective improvement that would work well with the Squeezebox Touch.

audioengr

Re: Finally jumped in the water, need some help.
« Reply #9 on: 3 Feb 2012, 01:14 am »
Steve - The Pace-Car is out of production!  Really?   Or did you mean the earlier non-USB version?  Your website still lists the Pace-Car USB model, so I assumed it would still be a solution for my "jittery Sonos." Maybe not.

I can still configure one that is a trade-in, but I'm not building them anymore by hand.  I have changed the clock to Ultraclock for several customers using trade-ins for use with Sonos etc..

A simpler option is to add the Synchro-Mesh.  Cheaper too.  $599.00

The website will get updated once I have all of the new photos of 3 new products, including Synchro-Mesh.

Steve N.

bhobba

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Re: Finally jumped in the water, need some help.
« Reply #10 on: 3 Feb 2012, 02:59 am »
What I can say is I have a Metrum and Off-Ramp.  They work extremely well together.

Thanks
Bill

Vic

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Re: Finally jumped in the water, need some help.
« Reply #11 on: 3 Feb 2012, 05:27 am »
What I can say is I have a Metrum and Off-Ramp.  They work extremely well together.

Thanks
Bill

Oh, you. You had a big hand in getting me into this. That's a good thing, in the end it's going to sound much better. I was about to buy a W4S and be done with it. But no, like an old bout of malaria the nervosa kicked in pretty good.

I'm trying to keep the family convienence of the Squeezebox instead of comming USB out of a Mini. Lots of good help here.

Vic

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Re: Finally jumped in the water, need some help.
« Reply #12 on: 4 Feb 2012, 05:59 am »
Thanks for all your suggestions. I think I'm going to try this instead.

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=82110