Posts Tagged ‘Logitech’
There comes a time when a piece of hardware is released that is so brilliant that it has to be bought. A case in point is the new offering from Logitech, the Squeezebox Boom – a cross between the classic Squeezebox, a device that has to be plugged into a hi fi, and an eighties BoomBox – basically a portable soundsystem that supports iPod connectivity and streaming services from local hardware. This is Logitech’s second addition to the range bought out by Slim Devices several years ago.
First impressions are – it’s tiny, maybe 12″ across and has no carrying handle. The sound though is incredible for such a small device. Real solid bass, this player punches well above its weight.
For people new to the Squeezebox family, the rest of this article need not apply – simply install the server software on your wireless network, load up your mp3s or flac music collection and you’re good to go, for veterans, this is where the fun begins!
I currently run the Slim Devices Transporter for digital music, using a ReadyNas NV+ for storage. ReadyNas shipped the NV+ with the Free SlimServer software ready installed, which was a factor in my choice of Network attached storage.
Fearing a slew of rebranded releases in the wake of Logitech’s purchase of Slim Devices, I must admit to steering well clear of updating my system on the basis of ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it!’, but cometh the hour…
The latest server software shipped with Logitech’s rebranded hardware is called SqueezeCenter – so predictably, this prereqs a newer version of the Raidiator software – the management UI that sits on top of the base Debian distribution. So time to roll up the sleeves and get the hands dirty!
First task is to download all of the files needed for the upgrade. These are helpfully listed on the Slim Devices Wiki , along with links to download them from. I reproduce them here with extra comments.
This is a utility that returns the slimserver database settings to the default – a fresh scan of the music library re-populates the database.
2. CleanSqueezeCenter for x86 (Pro and NVX models)
This only applies to the ReadyNas Pro and NVX models which use the i86 chip architecture. NV and NV+ models use SPARC – this is important also when choosing the version of Squeezecenter.
3. Radiator (ReadyNAS firmware)- latest version is RAIDiator-4.1.6
There is a version of Squeezecenter that is supplied as part of the RAIDiator upgrade. This ships with SqueezeCenter 7.3.2. The final release of Version 7.3.3 is available here.
Unfortunately, SqueezeBox Server 7.4 (the new name for SqueezeCenter) is not yet available for the ReadyNas platform. The Logitech download pages irritatingly forward to the latest version, so it is only available today, through the beta site. For the benefit of the intrepid, I did a fair amount of research on the news groups before deciding not to install beta code – of all the betas, version 7.4.1-28862 is probably the best bet, a version which appears to have cured a nasty bug that caused a reboot of the ReadyNAS to start two instances of the server software, the first not connected to the database, but blocking the ports, the second connected to the database but unable to get the ports it needs to broadcast.
Onwards and upwards then. First task is to upgrade the RAIDiator software.
Load the admin page into the browser and navigate to System > Update > Local tab.
Click on Browse and browse to the folder you stored the files in earlier.
Select the Radiator firmware file and click “Upload and verify image…” (ex. RAIDiator-4.1.6)
Once the file uploads, click on “Perform System Update”.
Once the update is finished, go to the Shutdown tab and select “Shutdown and reboot your device”, then click Apply.
Monitor the progress of the restart with RAIDar. This utility scans the network searching for a ReadyNAS signature, when it finds it, it probes and returns with a snapshot of the status – it does not refresh automatically, so press rescan periodically.
After a couple of refreshes, the icon next to the MAC address in RAIDar will turn blue – this indicates ‘a lengthy background task is running’ . No cause for alarm – this may run for an hour or more!
Once you have reconnected to the admin screen, the next task is to run the CleanSqueezeCenter utility to prepare the database for the new install.
1. On the Admin page, go to System > Update > Local tab
2. Click on Browse and browse to the folder you stored the files in earlier.
3. Select the CleanSqueezeCenter file and click “Upload and verify image…”
When the upload is finished, click on “Perform System Update”. You will be prompted to restart the ReadyNAS – as before, go to the Shutdown tab, select ‘Shutdown and reboot your device and click Apply. Once your ReadyNAS restarts, log into the Admin page again and go to the Streaming Services tab.
If, like me you do this the second RAIDar reports the device is ready, you will be horrified to find that SlimServer has disappeared from the list of streaming services, to be replaced by ‘No Definition’… relax, this is temporary and once the new SqueezeCenter software is loaded, it will show up in this dialogue.
This gets us to a stable version of the server software, and is a good place to draw breath and check that everything is working. Preliminary tests show that the gui loads faster and is much more responsive. It has been redesigned in the interests of usability, so ‘Settings’ down in the bottom right hand corner contains most of the options with which we can break the software! The simple stuff is arranged in a short sequence of menus on the left hand side.
So that is more or less that, I’ll post any updates as they come up, but so far, so good, the system works just as well as it ever did, the gui is faster, and the new player is supported. Job Done?
Job Done? Well, no!
On closer inspection, the Internet Radio BBC stations fail to work, with an error “Unable to play file type…”
Further research reveals that this is a known issue on the Linux platform, but very few people seem to have actually solved it. Deeper digging, in the logs identify the file type as ‘wma’ – windows media files. The Netgear forum suggests that the problem is solved in release 7.3.3 of SqueezeCenter.
Sigh…Version 7.3.3 can be downloaded here
The upgrade is exactly as before – First go to the streaming services tab in the RAIDiator menu and delete SqueezeCenter 7.3.2.
Then Go to System – update – local
Choose the image you just downloaded and update, once this has completed go to
Shutdown – Shutdown and reboot
When the system is up again, run the CleanSqueezeCenter utility, Shutdown and Reboot.
Internet radio now works. I installed the BBC iPlayer extension to deal with the BBC Real Audio streams.
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.