Squeeze Box Love'n'hate

I tellya, had I known this thing would be such a pain in the backside.....but yet I love it....when it works!!! Perhaps it's because I'm a MAC guy and my computers just work. This 'interactivity' with the SQ3 goes beyond my extent of how much I want to be involved with digital. I'm also a vinyl guy and I have no trouble with the interactiveness of playing records....in fact I savour it!

So what is it with the SQ3? Well sometimes it's busy 'buffering' when I want to listen to music. Other times it just shuts itself off. And then there's the times when it won't shut off.....unless you unplug it. And at times it loses it's network......whatever, it's just plain frustrating!!!!

Anyone else have this experience?

I am a MAC guy as well and use a SB III in my system, I for one have NEVER had a problem with it in my wireless network. If you are wireless, perhaps it is outside of range, if wired, I can't explain the issue other than to suggest you send it back to them as mine has always been spot on.

I bought one of the first Squeeze Boxes. At the time I had a Gateway w/xp and simple home network. I got it setup up and it played one song then my Gateway blue screened and my router died at the same time along with my wireless access point. All of that happening at the same time may have been a coincident, I don't know but I never hooded up the Squeeze Box again.

Months later I bought my first Mac and dumped Microsoft based products altogether. I now use a Mac Mini as a Music Server. So, you can say the Squeeze Box helped me become a Mac person.

Owning a Mac is like being an Audiophile. Those other people just don't get it! Right about now those other people are asking, Get What? but you Mac people know.
Sounds like your SB3 is wireless... fix your wireless network or go wired. There are settings to increase or decrease how much your system buffers (I prefer a longer first buffer to prevent drops...) Dump your 2.4ghz wireless phones and go 5.8ghz, if you have neighbors switch your wireless broadcast channel on your wireless router (typically it will be either 6 or 11, try the other and see how performance does or switch it to 1. Check signal strength from the front of the SB3 to see if you are still having problems even with a good connection. If you are then your machine running slimserver might be underpowered. Slimserver running on Mac's is slower performing than Linux or the Windows equivalent. When was the last time you upgrade your slimserver software, it might be time (but it is opensource so it could get better or worse depending)

Since you are a Mac guy, you are use to paying more for simplicity (this is not a slam and don't take this as an insult Mac's Rock for their intended use); so buy a Sonos System which doesn't require the software of Slimserver running.. it just uses PNP media and it will create it's own wireless network between units which is much stronger than some of the wireless routers I have used. The remote is the bomb since you don't have to squint to see the SB3 display.

Or go with a USB DAC from your mac into your system and use Itunes on a nice LCD monitor between your speakers!

Slimdevices has a forum to help with setup and issues if you want to fix some of these problems (help you determine whether it is a Slimserver software version problem or a network/computer problem)
I love the Squeeze, though I have the same problems. I'm sure it has to do with my DSL line, though. I'm running the Squeeze wireless, but I lose my internet connection when it rains and that's when the Squeeze fails, too.
I have to agree with Rbatsch. I have had an SQII for a couple of years. Love and hate. Great when it works, a royal pain when it doesn't. I was wireless then switched to hardwired. Didn't make any difference. Everyonce in a while neither Firefox nor IE will be able to find the box. Usually it means rebooting the compter. I cannot find any consistency as to when this happens. I even dumped the SQ for awhile but had other problems. Which it turned out had nothing to do with the music player (stupid security software issue). I did miss Slimserver. I think the ideal would be Slimserver through my USB port. No networks, no host issues. Put a USB DAC with a jitter reduction on the output. The new DAC1 sounds like the ticket, or a Behringer SRC2496 for a low cost solution.
So manu weakpoints I am all ears before I buy.Wish thee wasn't such a price diff between SB3 and Transporter (which is a sexy looking devil and might be worth two $1K or one $2K DAC in sound quality.But have sneaking suspicion I am going to have to get mini or laptop Mac before I go there.Makes sense.Make CD-R's and HD back up as well as download.Want to get rid oif many lousy sounding Red Book CD's from first 10 to 15 years of CD's and now HD cheapness makes up for lack of good consumer taping system.Hope I don't crash HD and lose it since CD-R's only last for a while.
Regalmal: I also have problems with Slimserver and my squeezebox about from 2-1 years ago where flac would stutter either wired or wireless.... Slimserver and the firmware has really improved since than and been really stable for me over the last 5 months. I also had to upgrade the firmware on my router which helped tremendously, and I dumped my old Dlink router which was non-stop problems.

Chazzbo: You can get some CD-R's that last 300 years now, you just need to look for archival quality. They use a different dye and cost a little more. I would recommend buying another external HD and then keeping it disconnected when not backing up to protect the drive.
I'm a Mac guy and a Squeezebox guy. I have a Bolder modded SB3 and before that was running an SB1. I have them hardwired and have never experienced any of the problems described.

I will never go back to a traditional disc player.
I am also a Mac Guy. Bought Squeezeboxes ~7 months ago. Had no major issues that were not solved by consulting Squeezebox bulletin board (primarily firmware updates) until I unplugged everything other than my router when I went on a 2 week vacation.

When I returned last month, Squeezenetwork became very sporadic, Slimserver worked OK. I tried resetting firmware, they did not work. I finally in desperation just plugged and unplugged the router ( A Linksys WRT54G). This seemed to have improved things, but they are not perfect.

The mysteries of networking, I guess.
Upstateaudio, that is exactly whet is so frustrating about the SB. If you turn on your CDP and it doesn't work it's back to the store with it. But with computers the dealer would laugh at you. And don't get me started on software makers. Computers don't work everytime. I've been through everything from the machine language on a old Motorola microprocessor, Apple IIEs, DOS, to pretty much every version of Windows and it is still the same, computers are too complex to work all of the time. And just when they start settling down a new OS or microprocessor comes out and we start out all over again.

I know, I know, Apple is perfect. But ply an Apple user with a couple of drinks and even they will admit to problems. May the God of Mac strike them dead.

I want to listen to music, not spend 15 frustraing minutes getting the player to work. Having said that, I still love my SB...most of the time.
I too have strangeness with the SB3. I run the thing all night into my Pace-Car reclocker and DAC's so they can break-in. Often, in the morning it appears to be playing at the laptop, but there is no activity at the SB3 and no music. I have to stop and hit play again to start it up. May be interference in the Wi-Fi??

I never have problem like this with the Sonos.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I have never had any big problems with my Bolder-modded SB2. It works perfectly with Vista and a Linksys WRG54G wireless router across the room.
I have never had any connection problems with my SB3(XP, Linksys WRT54G wireless router), but the sound quality still doesn't equal any of my transports.
"but the sound quality still doesn't equal any of my transports"

First, try a good power supply it will make a BIG difference. Then, give Wayne @ www.boldercables.com a chance to mod it. He can work wonders on them.
Ecruz- For less money than the boldercables digital mod and PSU, I can get a new Vista laptop and a Trends USB to SPDIF converter. Heard this combo at a friend's home, and it blows away a wireless or wired SB3 with or without a linear PSU.
I think the key is the DAC. People on the SB forum give mixed reports on a power supply upgrade. From great to no difference at all. The only guy I read who actually did a single blind test couldn't tell any difference. I built a very nice 3A linear supply, if it helped it wasn't obvious. I haven't tried a blind test.

I just read about a study done in the UK on people who claim to be made sick by cell phone tower radiation. They were right, sort of. The researchers found that if these people thought they were being subjected to trasnmissions they became sick. It didn't make any difference if the tower was transmitting or not. They just had to be told it was. Additionally, in a double blind test they couldn't tell if the transmitter was on or not. I think a big part of high end audiophile cult follows this same pattern. But then, hey if you are enjoying it more, good for you.
I run my SB3 with a Pace-Car reclocker:

With this device, it is not necessary to improve the output from the SB3, or the power supply. There is very little room inside to mod the SB3 anyway. No way to fit a Superclock4 inside for sure.

Steve N.
Steve- very interesting, but like the boldercables mods, it a lot money to invest in a SB3.
I agree with Cytocycle. If you are Mac person and/or want Mac like simplicity in sound streaming device, then Sonos is a good solution.

It is so simple. I had the Sonos connected to my network and playing music in about 5 minutes.

For those that want better sound, you can still add a DAC for ~$1000 which will compete well with the Transporter.

The SQ3, Sonos, and Transporter are all nice, but the Sonos is sooo simple. It even looks like a Mac and it's interface is similar to an IPOD.

Kana813 - it seems like a lot of money, but when you consider that I plan to do a shootout with the Memory Player and expect to win, maybe not....it's that good.

Steve N.
Dmccombs - I agree with you on the Sonos. Great product. I also have a Sonos playing through a Pace-Car reclocker. Same great sound quality as with the Squeezebox. It's the great equalizer. Works with Olive also.

Steve N.
When I ordered my Transporter, they had no inventory so they gave away Squeezeboxes to anyone waiting for a Transporter. I am also a MAC guy and I have since stored most of my favorite music (approx. 1,250 songs) on my MAC and I am using the slimdevices to access my music.

Sometimes the slimdevices will lose its pathway to the computer even though I am totally hard wired using a gateway modem. There is also the charming Apple router which works as well, if not better than the Gateway. I use CAT 5e cables.

Yes, sometimes I have to shut down the slimdevices to get them a few minutes to 'rest' and sometimes they lose their settings altogether. Still, I am very happy with them. The Transporter serves my high-end DAC using the AES/EBU outpot and I also use the Transporter's analog output to another room and the squeezebox serves yet another area.

The Transporter also has an output to control jitter but I don't have anything to plug it into, yet.
Attention all slimdevices owners: Thanks to this thread I checked out the latest downloads and I just updated to the version 6.5.3 which was released on July 11, 2007.

Oh, while I think this has helped, what was really good is that it got me to...tinker...with basic settings. My Transporter, all by itself stopped continuous(sp?) display of the Artist/Album/Duration of what is playing from my library, less than 10 seconds after activation. I went to the Transporter's front panel and I tapped a couple of times on 'brightness' and now things are back to normal. Very entertaining.
"Kana813 - it seems like a lot of money, but when you consider that I plan to do a shootout with the Memory Player and expect to win, maybe not....it's that good."

Steve N.- I hope you prove your point against the MP, then let's have a shootout with your best stuff against the new PSAudio Transport(rips to/plays back from RAM and interfaces with PC HD storage) and new Digital Lens.

Right now, I wonder if a SB3(16/44.1)running through your Pacecar sounds any better than a SB3 running through an old Genesis Digital Lens(available here on audiogon for less than $500.). I'd be happy to test this for you.
Steve N.
Can you please explain how the use of the pacecar reclocker would be of benefit when used between the SQBX3 and DAC1, over a good true 75 ohm tranmission line in s/pdif mode? As I understand it, the Benchmark DAC1 has an AKM 4114 S/Pdif receiver which extracts the data, and clock. This clock and data are then connected to the Analog Devices AD1896 sample rate converter. The AD1896 besides its upsample and down sample function has two clock inputs: 1 from the serial data (from the AKM), and 1 master ref clk input. The AD1896 is a fully asynchronous design, and as such the serial clock drives the data into a FIFO, while the other clock (master, a crystal in this case) controls the FIFO output port. It is this asynchronous SRC that is responsible for the isolation from the jitter-ed data. The next down stream chip is the actual DAC, an analog devices 1853. This guy also has its clock derived from a stable external reference oscillator. Thus the data and clock presented to the DAC are de-coupled from the jittery data source over the S/pdif protocol ( this is basically my understanding of Ultralock ).
It seems to me that any device inserted in the s/pdif chain as an intermediate step (between the SB3 and DAC1) is made irrelevant by this (the DAC1's) particular hardware architecture. The selected devices (particularly the SRC) in the DAC1 already offer asynchronous FIFOs.
It's not like anything done to the spdif signal can stop or change this ultralock process from happening. It IS the hardware.

I am probably missing something in my description as I have cobbled it together from existing literature and do not have the source schematics.
Kana813 wrote:
"Right now, I wonder if a SB3(16/44.1)running through your Pacecar sounds any better than a SB3 running through an old Genesis Digital Lens(available here on audiogon for less than $500.). I'd be happy to test this for you."

I'll guarantee 100% that it does. The Pace-Car has an I2S output, which has much lower jitter than any S/PDIF output. It also uses Superclock4 or Ultraclock, which are lower jitter clocks.

I wish I had extra Pace-Cars and SB3's to lend them out, but I dont. If I get a request from a reviewer, maybe I'll build another set for demo, but he has to be the right reviewer.

Steve N.

Steve N.
The answer is that the asynchronous sample-rate conversion does make the DAC somewhat immune to incoming jitter, but not completely. You can test this for yourself by using a really cheap S/PDIF cable to it and then a really good one. If your system is resolving you should hear a difference, I do. Whe I drive the DAC-1 from a transport and then from an Off-Ramp USB-to-S/PDIF converter, the difference is obvious to me.

However, in your case, your money is probably better spent on upgrading the upsampling clock in the DAC-1 to something with lower jitter. Even with ultra-low jitter on the incoming S/PDIF signal, the upsampling clock will add its own jitter, and this is the final step in the chain. Improving the input jitter without improving this clock first is not recommended.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
BTW, the Sonos isn't perfect either. I have been running one for days through my Pace-Car directly network-wired with superb results, but this morning I awoke to a screen with stripes through it and the mouse unresponsive. It was still playing music properly though. I had to power down and back up to fix it. It did not corrupt data on the disk, so no harm done.

Steve N.
Thanks Steve.
I thought (from the data sheet and the DAC1 implemenation) the SRC chip keeps the two clocks separate, though: 1) The serial data side (most jitter), and 2)on board 20 something MHz crystal,the clk signal of which is fed to the SRC side, AND the DAC. Are you saying that the crystal itself is now adding to the jitter equation, or that the frequency synthesis taking place inside the SRC chip, (the source of which is the crystal) is adding the jitter?
Thanks Much
"I'll guarantee 100% that it does. The Pace-Car has an I2S output, which has much lower jitter than any S/PDIF output. It also uses Superclock4 or Ultraclock, which are lower jitter clocks."

Steve- I run the SB3 through the DL into a TacT RCS's AES input(no I2S input) which has upgraded clocks on it's SRC.
DPAC966 - The crystal oscillator adds its own jitter. The upsampling chip is also not completely jitter resistant. They both contribute.

Steve N.
ok, but they are pretty much about at the point where you have to radically alter the device, no? I mean the physical layout is optimized for transmission line for that specific topology. Perhaps a dropin footprint equivalent device exists, otherwise adding some daughter card with all the extra trace inductance and noise transmission seems to make it a bad compromise. I would leave the stock unit alone, but that's just me.

You can never completely 100% remove jitter in ANY clocked system, anyway.
Dpac996 - I would not radically alter these devices, I would just remove them. This is what I do in the Benchmark DAC-1. I remove the SRC chip completely and make it a non-upsampler, as well as the SRC clock. No clock in the DAC anymore. The clock comes from the Off-Ramp computer converter or the Pace-Car Reclocker. This way I can make the jitter REALLY REALLY low without coloring the sound with a hardware upsampler.

Absolutely true. Anyone that claims complete elimination of jitter is stretching the truth. I only claim jitter at inaudible levels after processing through my Pace-car reclocker.

Steve N.