squeezebox and home network

From reading about Squeezebox, it seems such a good idea. However, my computer knowledge is very limited and I hope fellow Audiogoners can help me out a bit.

My home is a recently constructed and it is wired with Cat-5 cable and I can see wall plugs in every room where I can plug in a network cable. The sales manager told me that I can set up a network down in the basement where the cable and telephone wire come in.

If that’s the case, ie, I set up the network and any computer plugged into the wall can join the network, then I can just use Squeezebox Ethernet connection rather than the wireless connection, right? Would that improve sound quality somewhat?

Also, if I rip cd and store them on a hard drive, using EAC, no compression, what’s the size of the hard drive I need to have , say per 200 cd.


I've tried Squeezebox both wired (CAT 5)and wireless. Sound quality was identical as far as I could tell. The only real world difference was that with the wireless, everytime I used the Microwave, I would lose the signal. I've heard that with some wireless phones, the same thing happens. So I switched to wired.

I use EAC, but I compress using FLAC losseless compression (which is supported by Squeezebox) and 200 CDs takes about 65-70 gb. So if you wanted to do it completely uncompressed, I would guestimate that it would take about 35% more space -- close to 90 to 100gb per 200 uncompressed CDs. If someone has actually ripped 200 uncompressed, hopefully they'll chime in with the actual HD space used.

Good Luck.
If you figure 700 Megs per disk for 200 disks, you get 140 gigs. If you really want to be safe about it then you want to provide for the fact your music collection will grow, and that the computer's HD will probably die at some point (simple fact of planned obsolesence). There are some pretty fancy home server systems here using raid storage and backup devices, but I think if you want a cheap and simple way to protect yourself against growing music collections and data loss, then you could get like a 250 gig hard drive, and get a backup drive of the same size and keep your collection backed up.
Thanks Coffee_nudge and Mimberman. If using FLAC lossless compression will save disk space without negative impact on audio quality, then I am all for it. My actual disc collection is around 600-800 which I hope will continue to grow. So I need quite some storage space. I have no idea what Raid storage so I will do some research.

I have an 4-5 yr old spare Notebook in storage and I planned to use that and get an extrnal storage hardware (harddrive or Raid) thru USB connection and network the whole house. So I can connect Squeezebox thru Cat5 that way. From computing stand of view, will this work? Since all I need is storage space and minimum processing power, so I figuered a old notebook should work. right? Thanks again.
If you are interested in RAID storage, look at the buffalo terastation--1 terabyte (1000 GB) of storage. Think of it as four 250 GB drives. In a RAID 5 configuration, you only get about 700 GB of storage, but if any individual drive fails, you can recover all of the data. The terastation is about $1K.

Other benefits of a terastation: (i) its designed to be on 24/7; (ii) its a NAS--network attached storage--so you can just plug it into your network and "see" the drive from any machine (i.e., its a file server); and (iii) if you go the squeezebox route, the terastation apparently can run slimserver, which is needed for squeezeboxes to function.

Do the CAT5 cables connect to a patch panel in your basement? Might want to ensure the panel is wired up. My house came pre-wired, but the panel wasn't connected. You will also need a network switch or router (get a switch) to complete your network--one that does DHCP. Mebbe $50 or so.

Good luck!

First, I cannot discern any difference in audio quality between FLAC compressed files and uncompressed files. There are several other threads that talk about this, so you can do a search and find a lot of discussion about FLAC.

Second, Using a 4-5 year old notebook may or may not work with Squeezebox and its software Slimserver. Assuming you are using Windows operating system, I seem to recall that you need to be running minimum of a 733Mhz Pentium on Windows NT/2000/XP. So you might want to check the specs on your notebook.

I know Squeezebox can also be run from a Linux system, but I don't know anything about Linux.

I just got a modified SB3 from Redwine Audio.
Setup with the wireless option was pretty straightforward.
There should be no issue with using wifi unless you have some inteference in your setup.
The internet radio is a nice feature with Slimserver.
I used Itunes to rip audio to my hard drive. (I use EAC when making CD copies).
Right now trying AAC @ 192 kbps as that is what I used for transfer to my IPOD.
May re rip using WAV or FLAC for use with the SB3 as sound qaulity would be better.

Too early to assess sound quality of SB3. Still breaking in.
Thanks again for everyone's input. Edesilva, Thanks for the recommendation on the Raid. I have the Leviton's Advanced Home Telephone and Video Panel down in the basement. http://www.leviton-lin.com/catalog/BuildPage.aspx?BuildPageID=572

I need to find out how that thing works first as the builder didn't give me any manual or instrucion for it. 1 Terybite might be too big for me for the moment and so I will get something that about 1/4 of that capacity and as my cd collection grow, I can increase the capacity and it will only get cheaper. Thanks.


That looks a lot like what is in my garage. I've got "multimedia" outlets in each room with a couple coax outlets, a phone jack, and an ethernet jack. Each line collects at the panel, and should be terminated so that one jack on the panel matches one jack in each room. I had a total of six or seven (small house).

Since the jacks are just connections to the other rooms, you need something to tie it all together to make it function as a network--a switch. Mine is a 10/100 ethernet switch, and has a special "WAN" port for a wide area network (i.e., the internet). So, in my configuration, the switch is next to my patch panel, and there is a short ethernet jumper going from each jack to the switch. I've got a cable modem next to that, and the cable modem connects to the WAN port with another ethernet jumper.

Once you get that stuff done, you should have a networked house. If you plug a computer into one of the room jacks, the switch will see the computer, a low level dialog will ensue between them, and the switch will hand out an IP address to the machine (its a local network address, so you can't use it from other parts of the internet). The switch essentially routes packets of data between ports based upon these IP addresses, and manages communications from/to the WAN port. This allows you to share your internet connection among a number of different computers. Think of the switch as a little post office with a sorting machine inside routing letters to the right address.

I think I said before that I found my panel was not connected up--all the CAT5 cables were in the box, but they hadn't actually attached the cables to the patch panel, so the jacks didn't do anything. Given that its all color coded, it was pretty each to match up wires with the right terminals (8 wires in each ethernet cable). If you have to do this, however, be aware that there is a special little tool for connecting ethernet wires to terminations. That little tool makes the job easy; otherwise its a PITA. You can get the tool by buying any ethernet jack at your local ratshack--it will come with it.

The terastation is interesting, but I agree its pricey. I actually started off with a number of standalone USB drives, but after leaving them on 24/7 for a couple weeks, I started getting read errors and bad sectors. I ended up with unrecoverable data errors on four of five 250 GB drives, and lost faith in consumer drives. I also don't want to re-rip everything again (I've now done all my albums several times).

Good luck.
Stereophile's 3/21 eNewsletter has a John Atkinson review of the Squeezebox. He loves it. It's a superb piece of reviewing, highly recommended. He says he'll follow up with measurements in a future Stereophile.

Is this online somewhere? I went to Stereophile site and they did not have it up.

I get it in email and I guess there is a lag before they post it in the eNewsletters section. Send me your email address and I'll forward it to you. Goes for everyone else, too.
John Atkinson said comparing the SB and Ayre C-5xe both feeding a ML DAC :

"Perhaps there was an increased sense of authority to the sound of the CD on the Ayre used as a transport, a better sense of extended low frequencies"

Perhaps the Ayre C-5xe is not that great when used as a transport, or maybe the differences would be larger.
Or maybe digital coming off a hard drive is as good as any transport. I'm not saying that's so, but I wonder if it could be.

The comparison I'd like JA to also make is the SB to ML vs. the Ayre as CDP. That is largely a comparison of the two DACs, but I think it would shed some light on things. And as I've said before, if only Ayre had included a digital input in the C-5xe.

Thanks for your gracious offer.
Email sent.

I have a new SB3 modded with battery power by Redwine Audio and am interested to here what JA has to say about the stock version.
This is going to be my next project. Do you mind I email you few questions if I run into some issues? Thanks.

Edesilva, thanks for your advise again. The above thread was meant to ask you if I can email you if I ran into some issues. Thanks.

No problem. Spent enough time beating my head against these things and am happy to help smooth the way for anyone trying to do the same thing... Think the A'gon private email typically gets through fairly well, and I can respond to you after that directly...