Posts Tagged ‘Hi-Fi’
Slim Devices (taken over by Logitech) Transporter
This is the most radical advance in Hi Fi technology since Sony came up with the Walkman. The Transporter is a wireless enabled receiver armed with a DAC (digital audio converter) capable of delivering streamed music to a high end hi fi with no audible (to these 50 year old ears) penalty whatsoever. Stylish in brushed aluminium orblack finishes, this device has transformed the way I listen to music.
The server side is free software called slimserver which provides the stream for one or more of these boxes to pick up (there is a smaller, budget version called Squeezebox). Slimserver will serve a number of formats including MP3, but more significantly the lossless format FLAC.
There are a number of free software applications out there which help rip the music from CD’s or converters which convert downloaded formats into the one you prefer to use – this only works one way – you could convert MP3 to FLAC, but you wouldn’t gain anything in quality.
The server scans your music library and then allows searching via Artist, Album, Song or random plays. It is random playing which is the CD killer – I have collected music for over forty years – my first purchase was ‘Well Respected Kinks’ back in 1964 and have accumulated over 1000 CD’s alone – however as my career focus moved from music to IT, my listening habits narrowed until I found myself with a stack of maybe ten or fifteen CD’s – always the latest purchases on top of the Hi Fi, a small rack to one side and a room upstairs for all the rest – result was 95% of the collection was rarely utilised. So paying a willing teenager to feed rip CD’s at weekends I enabled my collection in under 12 months and using the randomiser provided in the slimserver program, I am now listening to a much wider range of music than I have for years.
So this was a nail biting exercise – over 20,000 music tracks stored and only 50% backed up. The instructions on the NetGear site promised seamless execution, so taking a deep breath I selected ‘Remote Update’ from the admin console and then decided to browse the support pages while the 500mb download took place. Big mistake – tales of woe and wipeout – the phrase ‘expensive brick’ cropping up – in short everything I didn’t want to hear.
No way to back out of the process, so cross fingers and wait – a couple of hours later, message flashes up to reboot the device. The upgrade delivered a new version of Slimserver, so several hours elapsed as it re-catalogued the collection. On completion, I looked at the playlist, surprised it had survived the upgrade and noticed that the song titles and artists were out of sync – generating a new playlist took care of that.
Both Transporter and Squeezebox then upgraded their firmware to match the new slimserver version – no human intervention required and on starting demonstrated that the old ‘synch’ problem appeared to have been resolved – very impressive – I can only imagine the tales of woe on various message boards were the result of people panicking and rebooting before the process was completed. It took me about 7 hours, including the re-cataloguing of the music. Note to NetGear – some kind of progress meter or logging output would be nice…