Roku Soundbridge

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AmpDesigner333

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Roku Soundbridge
« on: 24 Feb 2010, 04:52 am »
I would like to hear from those who own one...

Barry_NJ

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Re: Roku Soundbridge
« Reply #1 on: 26 Feb 2010, 09:18 pm »
Since I didn't know what it was, and others may be in a similar state...

http://soundbridge.roku.com/soundbridge/index.php

AmpDesigner333

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Re: Roku Soundbridge
« Reply #2 on: 27 Feb 2010, 04:34 pm »
Since I didn't know what it was, and others may be in a similar state...

http://soundbridge.roku.com/soundbridge/index.php
Thanks, Barry.
Due to the lack of response, it looks like Soundbridge is not such a popular product!
I've been comparing these three sources:
1. Soundbridge
2. iPod w/lossless and a Wadia dock
3. CDs with the original tracks off a SONY player used as the transport
All three are using S/PDIF into the same D/A to be fair.  Interesting results...

Barry_NJ

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Re: Roku Soundbridge
« Reply #3 on: 28 Feb 2010, 02:57 am »
Yeah, a search here turned up just a bit more than 1 page of hits. I haven't searched the whole web though.

AmpDesigner333

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Re: Roku Soundbridge
« Reply #4 on: 3 Mar 2010, 04:45 am »
Yeah, a search here turned up just a bit more than 1 page of hits. I haven't searched the whole web though.
Well, one reason I brought it up is that the Roku performs sample rate conversion on everything (even lossless) to 48KHz.

I read in a Stereophile review:
http://www.stereophile.com/mediaservers/507roku/index4.html#

Also discussed here:
http://www.avforums.com/forums/streamers-network-music-players/321516-roku-soundbridge-v-squeeze-box-3-a.html#post2719582

...and here:
http://forums.roku.com/viewtopic.php?p=90454&sid=c3e64a5473fc2ff1e75c41bf4c4e2cff

I have been listening to this "up sampling" for more than a month, and find it obvious that those who talk the Soundbridge down based on that are simply incorrect.  It reminds me of that "green marker trick" on CDs.

Back in the beginning days of DVD, I designed DVD circuitry and software, including sample rate converters.  There are many ways to perform sample rate conversion, and with the right algorithm, the "side effects" are not even measurable!

Despite misinformation spewed across the internet, the truth is that samples are NOT DROPPED by decent sample rate conversion algorithms, and the real difference from algorithm to algorithm in the case of 44.1KHz to 48KHz rates is in the reconstruction filter (number of taps, response shape, etc.) .  With today's powerful DSPs (Soundbridge uses a 400MHz Blackfin), performing this filtering is easy.

OK, the bottom line is the sound.  The output of the Soundbridge is optical S/PDIF (a.k.a. TosLink), but this is a minor factor in my opinion due to the great hardware in todays D/A converter systems to re-clock the data with virtually no jitter.  The end result is a system that sounds pretty much perfect, as does the Wadia dock playing lossless files or a CD transport outputting the same data.  After all, it's just data, and when the bits are the same, and the clock has no jitter, the sound is the same.

Overall, I am very pleased with the Soundbridge.  I even purchased an app for my iPod Touch that lets me control it from remote over the network.  It displays album art and lyrics automatically.  The volume is also adjustable from remote.  I have a remote app on my PC as well.

I'm looking forward to some sort of response.  This is not just about Soundbridge.  It's also about my statements regarding sample rate conversion, clocking, and data accuracy.  This is what I love about digital audio...

AmpDesigner333

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Re: Roku Soundbridge
« Reply #5 on: 23 Mar 2010, 12:45 am »
Some news...  Before the weekend I compared some new tracks on the Roku (lossless) versus CD, and the Roku sounded pretty much identical.  Note that this was through the same D/A, amp, and speakers (Apogee Centaurus Slant 6).  No preamp.

AmpDesigner333

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Re: Roku Soundbridge --- NEWS
« Reply #6 on: 8 May 2010, 06:07 am »
Well, after a recent listening test, we discovered that the Soundbridge has audible artifacts when compared to the same Apple Lossless track played through the Wadia dock and an iPod.  It's low level, but it sounds like digital "swirling", sort of like the "birdie effect" on old sigma delta D/A converters.  So, it appears that their sample rate conversion algorithm is not perfect!  Has anybody out there heard the same thing?  I'm thinking about trying the Logitech Squeezebox Touch next.  A friend of mine has one and thinks it's awesome, plus I heard it doesn't convert the sample rate...

AmpDesigner333

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Re: Roku Soundbridge --- NEWS
« Reply #7 on: 8 May 2010, 06:09 am »
Well, after a recent listening test, we discovered that the Soundbridge has audible artifacts when compared to the same Apple Lossless track played through the Wadia dock and an iPod.  It's low level, but it sounds like digital "swirling", sort of like the "birdie effect" on old sigma delta D/A converters.  So, it appears that their sample rate conversion algorithm is not perfect!  Has anybody out there heard the same thing?  I'm thinking about trying the Logitech Squeezebox Touch next.  A friend of mine has one and thinks it's awesome, plus I heard it doesn't convert the sample rate...
By the way, this effect is only heard during the "quiet" part in the beginning and end of some tracks.  Sounds like the noise floor modulation.  The volume must be pretty high to hear it.

AmpDesigner333

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Re: Roku Soundbridge
« Reply #8 on: 8 May 2010, 08:42 pm »
We'd like to hear from those of you with a Logitech Touch...

AmpDesigner333

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Re: Roku Soundbridge
« Reply #9 on: 9 May 2010, 01:32 am »
We'd like to hear from those of you with a Logitech Touch...
Here's one:
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=67954.msg777406#msg777406

Oh, and a word about the sample rate conversion.  Yes, it's possible to do sample rate conversion with no measurable distortion, but the better the conversion, the more processing power is required.  I was working on a SW based PC based DVD system back in 1999 or so, and testing it for Dolby Digital (AC-3) certification when I discovered that sample rate converted tracks weren't passing Dolby's THD+N tests.  The company that wrote that portion of the SW had to take several tries at different algorithms to get it to pass.  This was the first SW player to achieve Dolby Digital certification.  The problem was that getting this to pass took so many processor cycles that the PC couldn't do much more than play a DVD...