Looking for suggestions... ditch the HTPC? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 01-03-2012, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all...

First off, I hope this is the right forum to post this in, if not please accept my apologies. I looked around and this forum seemed to be the best fit.

Long story short I am just wrapping up organizing all my CD's into about 360 gigabytes of FLAC files. I currently own a Sony 400 disc player but am looking to sell it and the only thing I figure to replace it with is a HTPC with a large storage drive and Foobar2000 on it. I would connect it to my receiver with an optical cable.

Ideally I would get a HTPC syle case and try to get some kind of touchscreen display modded or built right into the face of the case negating the need for a keyboard / mouse and of course having to turn on my TV everytime I want to use the PC.

However all considered it would appear that it would probably be a lot of work (and probably money) to accomplish... but if need be I don't mind doing it.

I'm a complete noob at what other options may be available to me to accomplish having my entire library of FLAC files playable through my home theater.

I would only require this device to play these files, no further capabilities are required.

Please note my current receiver (Onkyo TX SR875) is not network capable.

If an enlightened digital audio expert would care to shed some light on what other avenues I could take it would be greatly appreciated.

If it comes down to me building a new HTPC and modding some sort of smaller display into it I will take pics of the build and post 'em here.
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post #2 of 23 Old 01-04-2012, 07:28 AM
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One of my buddies uses the Logitech Squeezebox Touch for his audio needs and is very happy with it...
http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-930-0...5690126&sr=1-2

There's also the Logitech Squeezebox Duet:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0013IWYHU

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post #3 of 23 Old 01-04-2012, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by replayrob View Post

One of my buddies uses the Logitech Squeezebox Touch for his audio needs and is very happy with it...
http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-930-0...5690126&sr=1-2

There's also the Logitech Squeezebox Duet:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0013IWYHU

I have to agree on the Squeezebox Touch for your situation. A HTPC is very flexible but you have to jump through hoops to get the audio stack to play your files properly and consistently.
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post #4 of 23 Old 01-04-2012, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
One of my buddies uses the Logitech Squeezebox Touch for his audio needs and is very happy with it...
http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-930-0...5690126&sr=1-2

There's also the Logitech Squeezebox Duet:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0013IWYHU

Thank you very much for your reply and suggestions, your help is appreciated. I am going to go look at these solutions now.

Quote:
I have to agree on the Squeezebox Touch for your situation. A HTPC is very flexible but you have to jump through hoops to get the audio stack to play your files properly and consistently.

Could you please elaborate on how it is difficult to get your files to play properly and consistently on a HTPC? I have my main PC connected to a receiver via an optical cable and it plays flac and mp3 files flawlessly with foobar2000.

Also, what is an audio stack?

Thanks very much.
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post #5 of 23 Old 01-04-2012, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez View Post

I have to agree on the Squeezebox Touch for your situation. A HTPC is very flexible but you have to jump through hoops to get the audio stack to play your files properly and consistently.

So I checked out those Squeezebox devices. They look nice... and it certainly would be a convenient solution. I have a couple questions though.

From what I gather, you have your digital music that resides on a PC somewhere in the house. The squeezebox wirelessly takes that media from the PC, and through a physical connection to your receiver (optical cable?) it plays the files. Do I have the process correct?

Is there any loss of quality going with one of these devices?

Secondly, if you have to have a PC running to serve the music anyway, why would you not just use a PC to play the music directly to the receiver?

Is there any difference in quality going from a CD player to using a PC type device to play it as flac files instead?

Thanks guys.
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post #6 of 23 Old 01-04-2012, 10:43 AM
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You don't have to store your music on a PC, you may have a NAS (see network port on rear of Squeezebox unit) for terabytes of storage, or you can connect a USB external storage device directly to the Squeezebox unit.

If you rip your CD's as FLAC files there's no loss of quality.

It looks like the Squeezebox has optical out, analog (red/white) out and coax digital out- so you should be covered in any event. Best reproduction would most likely be via optical out.

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post #7 of 23 Old 01-04-2012, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmmm. you may have sold me.

My current CD player uses an optical cable so I'd probably just use that with it.

Do you happen to know if a squeezebox user can create multiple playlists?

I read in the product descriptions that the squeezebox is battery powered... why wouldn't they just have it so you plug it into the wall for power?

I wonder if there is a way to hook these things up that you can control them from different rooms / floors of your house... unfortunately my HT room is in my basement, but when I am listening to music throughout the rest of the house and want to change CD's I have to physically go down there and press the button.

Thanks for all your help, it has helped a lot.
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post #8 of 23 Old 01-04-2012, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I can't seem to edit my post - please disregard my question about the battery power... I read that about the controller, not about the unit itself.

Thanks.
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post #9 of 23 Old 01-04-2012, 01:53 PM
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HTPC with Remote Potato
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post #10 of 23 Old 01-04-2012, 02:35 PM
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I would recommend a NAS like a Netgear ReadyNAS for storage and then some SONOS hardware. Benefits are:
  • You can also access your FLAC files from any other device in the house...laptops, computers, other network enabled speakers, etc.
  • The SONOS system will allow you to also play Pandora, Sirius/XM, and a bazillion internet radio stations
  • You'll be able to build a whole-house audio system by adding more SONOS units. You'll be able to create zones that are all playing the same music (including the music theater) or different sources
  • You can store all your movies on the NAS as well and access them from laptops and computers. Add a Boxee Box, Apple TV or similiar and you can then watch those movies through your home theatre system
  • Control it all with a smartphone app

I like Squeeze box but for a bit more money you get a lot more functionality with SONOS.
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post #11 of 23 Old 01-04-2012, 03:12 PM
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Back in June I built a really nice little HTPC with the goal of playing my very large music collection and videos while barely impacting my electric bill. It did the job but I very quickly got sick of dealing with HTPC keyboards. What I did not expect it to do was store my music collection, I just didn't want the noise of a big hard drive or even a CD/DVD drive and went with a server in another room. If you want to save some money you can always store your collection on a NAS device but I would pick one with some sort of redundancy - at least RAID1. It really sucks when you get stuck reripping a large collection because a drive died.

If your goal is strictly music you may find that Logitech Squeezbox Touch meets your needs but upfront I've never used one. Since I don't mind using my TV as a display and I wanted support for videos I plugged a NeoTV 550 into my network. I like it because it works with my Harmony remote and plays every music and video format that I care about. But you may find that the newest Western Digital TV Live will do the trick since it includes built-in wireless networking - it just lacks support for 24bit FLACs. Both require your TV to act as your display. Either will allow you to connect to external USB drives or a wired network.

FWIW I supplement the NeoTV 550 with a Roku for internet movies.
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post #12 of 23 Old 01-04-2012, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironlight View Post

I would recommend a NAS like a Netgear ReadyNAS for storage and then some SONOS hardware. Benefits are:
  • You can also access your FLAC files from any other device in the house...laptops, computers, other network enabled speakers, etc.
  • The SONOS system will allow you to also play Pandora, Sirius/XM, and a bazillion internet radio stations
  • You'll be able to build a whole-house audio system by adding more SONOS units. You'll be able to create zones that are all playing the same music (including the music theater) or different sources
  • You can store all your movies on the NAS as well and access them from laptops and computers. Add a Boxee Box, Apple TV or similiar and you can then watch those movies through your home theatre system
  • Control it all with a smartphone app

I like Squeeze box but for a bit more money you get a lot more functionality with SONOS.

The Sonos does NOT do handle quality any better than CD and will not according to their tech support.
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post #13 of 23 Old 01-04-2012, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ThA tRiXtA View Post

Hmmm. you may have sold me.

My current CD player uses an optical cable so I'd probably just use that with it.

Do you happen to know if a squeezebox user can create multiple playlists?

I read in the product descriptions that the squeezebox is battery powered... why wouldn't they just have it so you plug it into the wall for power?

I wonder if there is a way to hook these things up that you can control them from different rooms / floors of your house... unfortunately my HT room is in my basement, but when I am listening to music throughout the rest of the house and want to change CD's I have to physically go down there and press the button.

Thanks for all your help, it has helped a lot.


There are android, ios and windows remotes for Squeezebox
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post #14 of 23 Old 01-05-2012, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all very much for the feedback.

I think I have decided to go with the squeezebox touch with a 1 terabyte USB external hard drive.

I have absolutely no need for any video streaming whatsoever or anything else really outside of just being able to play my flac files on my home theater (the home theater is already wired up to put music throughout the house) so no need for a multi room deal.

Does anyone have any experience with creating playlists on a squeezebox? Can you make as many as you wish?

The squeezebox remote that comes with the duet... would it work to control the touch from another floor / room of the house, or is your only choice an ipod / ipad / iphone?

I have a blackberry playbook, I guess that's not going to work is it?

I have absolutely zero experience with smart phones (never really had any interest in them) and pretty much no experience with Apple products in general. I don't think I'll be spending $500 for an ipad just to remote control the squuezebox.

So that leaves me with either the ipod or iphone. Which would be better for the remote?
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post #15 of 23 Old 01-05-2012, 10:06 AM
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FWIW if you are not streaming videos and don't need to stream SACD and DVD-A, the SONOS system is worth a look to compare to the Squuezebox. I just got the SONOS system and am loving it.

Too many toys
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post #16 of 23 Old 01-05-2012, 10:53 AM
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If audio is all ur interested indeed an HTPC is overkill and needless hassle for build and maintenance.

U asked why not just use PC to play instead of yet another box... because ur PC sits at a fixed location, do u have existing wirings that goes from this PC to the rest of the house? and do u ONLY intend to listen to your music at ONE location?

Lastly, nobody ask this, how EZ is the interface that will let you pick a song from your vast collection easily and quickly? What's the search capability looks like? Would you like to see album covers? Wouldn't you prefer to control it from a hand-held device rather than have to walk up to the box and push buttons (so 20th century)?

B4r u sell the 400-disc changer, rip all to FLAC (or whatever format of your preference) first, because then the process can be potentially automated, THEN unload the changer.

Solution: FREE. Explanation: I will have to charge$ you.

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post #17 of 23 Old 01-05-2012, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThA tRiXtA View Post

Thank you all very much for the feedback.

I think I have decided to go with the squeezebox touch with a 1 terabyte USB external hard drive.

I have absolutely no need for any video streaming whatsoever or anything else really outside of just being able to play my flac files on my home theater (the home theater is already wired up to put music throughout the house) so no need for a multi room deal.

Does anyone have any experience with creating playlists on a squeezebox? Can you make as many as you wish?

The squeezebox remote that comes with the duet... would it work to control the touch from another floor / room of the house, or is your only choice an ipod / ipad / iphone?

I have a blackberry playbook, I guess that's not going to work is it?

I have absolutely zero experience with smart phones (never really had any interest in them) and pretty much no experience with Apple products in general. I don't think I'll be spending $500 for an ipad just to remote control the squuezebox.

So that leaves me with either the ipod or iphone. Which would be better for the remote?


Yes the Duet controller can control the touch and there's ipod/android apps as well.

Jgiddyup
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post #18 of 23 Old 01-06-2012, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mde8965 View Post

FWIW if you are not streaming videos and don't need to stream SACD and DVD-A, the SONOS system is worth a look to compare to the Squuezebox. I just got the SONOS system and am loving it.

Thanks for the suggestion. I am going to go look at those right now. In your opinion what are the differences between the Squeezebox and the Sonos? (aside from the higher price that I have read about.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb View Post


Lastly, nobody ask this, how EZ is the interface that will let you pick a song from your vast collection easily and quickly? What's the search capability looks like? Would you like to see album covers? Wouldn't you prefer to control it from a hand-held device rather than have to walk up to the box and push buttons (so 20th century)?

This is why I am hoping that the Squeezebox handles playlists well. I will need them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb View Post

B4r u sell the 400-disc changer, rip all to FLAC (or whatever format of your preference) first, because then the process can be potentially automated, THEN unload the changer.

I am done ripping all my collection, just finished actually. Now on to the fun part!

I think I am going to go with the remote that comes with the Duet - it looks like the cheapest option and since it is made for the Squeezebox it should be the most compatible and have the most functionality. Thoughts?

Thanks all.
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post #19 of 23 Old 01-06-2012, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I guess I can scratch the Squeezebox idea off my list. Through researching it online, and then calling their customer service line to confirm, the playlist on a SB touch maxes out at 100 songs.

Unfortunately, that's a deal breaker for me with a library of 13,000 songs.

It's really too bad, I really would have liked to buy this set up.

I am kind of shocked really that they would have built it that way... 100 songs, seriously?
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post #20 of 23 Old 01-06-2012, 05:20 PM
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100 songs translates into about 5-6 hours of music, how long are your parties? The idea of a playlist is to string together enough music for a few hours of listening not an uninterrupted week of songs. Make up a whole bunch of playlists for every mood or occasion.
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post #21 of 23 Old 01-06-2012, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThA tRiXtA View Post

Well I guess I can scratch the Squeezebox idea off my list. Through researching it online, and then calling their customer service line to confirm, the playlist on a SB touch maxes out at 100 songs.

Unfortunately, that's a deal breaker for me with a library of 13,000 songs.

It's really too bad, I really would have liked to buy this set up.

I am kind of shocked really that they would have built it that way... 100 songs, seriously?

Then just turn on random or create a playlist of playlists
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post #22 of 23 Old 01-09-2012, 06:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez View Post

Then just turn on random or create a playlist of playlists

I kind of enjoy the idea of being able to turn random on within a certain playlist of tunes depending on mood of course.

I dunno. I'm still trying to see if I can let go of that feature or not.

Still entertaining other options though. Looking at the Sonos right now.
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post #23 of 23 Old 01-09-2012, 08:10 AM
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If you want to go the HTPC route, XBMC has a network interface that allows you to control it from your PC or a smartphone, so you don't need the TV on. That's what I plan to do for a similar purpose as yours. You can get by with a pretty cheap PC if audio is all you need.
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