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Old 26-04-2009, 14:54   #31
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Nick...pls. explain to me the attraction of a Squeezebox on board to you rather than a direct Ipod type feed or standard car radio. NOT...criticizing...I just don't get why people would opt for a system that requires the PC to be on and feeding the music.
Well, It depends on how much you like music. We meet many cruisers that are happy when they hear some noise coming out of a 1" speaker. If they have mp3's it's a big messy folder with straight copies from other cruisers all merged into that folder. If you're like that, don't bother reading on ;-)

But if you had big speakers & high quality audio equipment at home before setting sail, with a big or even huge music collection and CD's organized so that you could quickly get the one you want to hear, then this is for you! You probably decided you can't take the CD's with you because they would fill up the boat and the same for the speakers and other equipment. You sit in the salon and you hear crappy sound from a car stereo and you realize you lost a part of your life. In the beginning you swallow this as there's so much new and good things happening but after a couple of years you start dreaming about a big house with listening room or even a studio.... you want your music experience back!! This is how to do it:

It's a lot of work. Start with buying this:

Amazon.com: D-Link DGL-4500 Xtreme N Selectable Dualband Draft 802.11n Gaming Router: Electronics
This is a 12V powered high quality wifi router that will be used to connect everything aboard. Install in a central location that also gives good connectivity from the cockpit. Test connectivity with a not so good range wifi device like an iPod Touch.

Amazon.com: Linksys-Cisco WRT54GL Wireless-G Broadband Router (Compatible with Linux): Electronics
This is a 12V powered medium quality wifi router that can be converted to a client-routed configuration using free software like Talisman or Tomato etc. It will replace the DSL modem like used at home for uplink to the Internet.

2.4 GHz 8 dBi Omnidirectional Antennas
An omnidirectional antenna for fixed setup, plus cables to connect it to the linksys or amplifier. I found a nice version that fits on the standard marine 1" threaded support like GPS antenna's.

2.4 GHz 9 dBi Radome Enclosed Yagi Antennas
A directional antenna with all cables to connect to Linksys router or amplifier from good location on deck (does not have to be a fixed setup). A directional antenna is always better because it reduces the noise levels enormously as compared to an omni..... but it can't be used when you swing behind an anchor.

500 mW 2.4 GHz Amplifiers with Active Power Control
A 12V powered wifi amplifier for the times you need it to get a good signal. It goes in between the Linksys and the antenna so get all the cabling, adapters etc. If you have a ground system aboard, tt's also wise to install a lightning arrestor like you find on these pages (install those in VHF and SSB coax lines too!). Make sure you get everything complete like power injector etc. This amplifier must be installed as close to the antenna as possible but I keep it inside the boat. Leave cables long enough so that you can disconnect it and use a coax I-connector to inter-connect the cables for when you don't need an amplifier.

Buy Wireless antenna,WiFi Antenna,2.4Ghz 5Ghz Wlan Antenna,RF connector,RF pigtail cable,Lightning Protector,802.11 a/b/g, Omni ,panel ,yagi ,Grid antenna
Buy more stuff here like the wireless USB adapter. Get cables to connect that to the amplifier. This isn't needed for this setup but it gives you flexibility and this is high quality stuff.

Pico Systems
The computer. I have the GS-L08 which is really small with a passport size footprint and 2 inches high. It has no fans but I find that the heatsink gets too hot so I mounted a hard disk cooler with 2 mini fans on the heat sink, like this one: Amazon.com: HD Cooler 3.5" Aluminum HARD DISK DRIVE HDD Cooling Fan w/ dual fans: Industrial & Scientific If you have more room you can also choose a Nano or Micro system. Get a 1 GHz CPU or better (I have VIA 1 GHz), max. DRAM and the largest hard drive (I have 160 GByte). You can add an external harddrive but I manage to have all my music on the internal one... yes, the harddrive is in that tiny computer too ;-) If you can't get Windows XP, you can use Linux if you know how to use that and the computer supports it. I opted for a hacked XP set that is easy to find nowadays. The idea is to make this a low-power PC that can be left on all day. Mine uses 7W when idle, which it is most of the time when playing music.

Amazon.com: Dell 2408WFP UltraSharp 24-inch Widescreen + High Definition Flat Panel Monitor: Electronics
I have this one but found it elsewhere for a better price. You can go smaller but remember, this is what you will use for watching DVD's or TV. The base of this model is easy to fasten to the boat and a couple of minutes with a Dremel tool will allow it to swing 360 degrees around so it can double as both computer screen and entertainment system. Never buy a TV with computer connection if you plan to really use it for working on the computer.

Amazon.com: Sony DRX840U 20x External Dual-Layer DVD Burner: Electronics
The computer is too small for an optical drive and this one lasts and last aboard. Don't use the small USB powered drives (although it's handy to have one around too) because they wear out too fast. Used for installing software, ripping CD's, watching DVD's etc. I mounted this under a shelve at the navstation.

Amazon.com: Logitech Squeezebox Duet Network Music System: Electronics
The Squeezebox duet which is 1 receiver plus the wifi remote controller. The receiver is 9V DC powered so you also need a converter.

Amazon.com: Logitech 930-000054 Squeezebox Boom All-In-One Network Music Player with Integrated Speakers (Black): Electronics
The Squeezebox Boom. This one is 12V powered (up to more than 20V so no need for DC stabilizer) so you make a cord that fits you 12V outlets around the boat and the cockpit. PERFECT for the cockpit!

Amazon.com: Logitech Squeezebox Receiver: Electronics
If you want to create more zones you add receivers. We have an extra one in the pilothouse with cheap Logitech powered computer speakers ($30 including subwoofer)

All receivers and boom can be controlled from the controller that comes with the Duet. You can also control them from any laptop/PDA/cellphone that has wifi and web browser and my favorite: the Apple iPod Touch with the iPeng application from the AppStore.

Buck-Boost DC/DC converters 12 volts to 12 volts, 24 volts to 24 volts, 24 volts to 19 volts. DC/DC conversion
A converter to create a stable 12V supply even when batteries go below 12V or are charged at up to 14.4V or whatever. This will power the wifi routers, amplifier and the Pico PC (which needs that 12V). This is the same thing I advise to cruisers with the Asus HE1000 mini laptop.

12 volt to 9 volt output DC/DC converters 10.8 Watts peak
a converter to create a stable 9V supply for the Squeezebox receiver(s). You can also find 5V output converters on these pages that I advise to power a USB hub if you need one.

Amazon.com: Western Digital My Passport Essential 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive WDME5000TN (Midnight Black): Electronics
Buy a couple of these for backup of your music, photo's, movies etc. Can also be used as extra hard drive for the PC when it's internal drive isn't big enough.

Amazon.com: Acronis True Image Home 2009 PC Backup & Recovery: Software
Do not use virus scanners and other nasty programs that slow you down. Make an image of your hard drive and backups of changing data like the music. If you get a virus, restore the image and backup in minutes without re-installing software, activating etc.

dBpoweramp: CD Ripper & Audio Converter. Secure ripping to mp3, FLAC, m4a, Apple Lossless & WMA
You need the CD ripper and the music converter. You must have Internet connectivity while ripping CD's so you get all the tags and album art. This is the best software.

Mp3tag - the universal Tag Editor (ID3v1, ID3v2, APEv2)
Download for free. This is a piece of software you will use for the rest of your life ;-)

foobar2000
Download for free. This is an audio player for the PC that supports FLAC, can convert between formats and can calculate and apply album and track gain. There are many players that support FLAC, like WinAmp etc. Windows Media Player and iTunes do NOT support FLAC because it doesn't allow the use of DRM (which is why you want FLAC, no restrictions!)

You have money left? Good, because we're not done yet ;-)

Amazon.com: Pioneer GM6400F 4-Channel Bridgeable Amplifier: Electronics
The 12V powered amplifier. I have one similar. You use 2 channels for left and right channels and bridge the other two for double power to the subwoofer. This one is loud enough but only just enough.

Amazon.com: GE 23294 Audio/Video and Game Switch: Home Improvement
I have this one but there are many possibilities. You need to be able to switch the amplifier's input to either the Squeezebox receiver or PC audio out. The PC output is used when watching DVD's etc. Sometimes, the volume output from the PC is much too high (it's really a headphone output) in which case you can install in-line attenuators like these: Amazon.com: RCA LINE LEVEL ATTENUATOR 3 dB: Electronics

Amazon.com: mirage speaker omni speaker
The left and right speakers. I would choose this one: Amazon.com: Mirage Oasis OMNI 5 - Speaker - 100 Watt - 2-way - white: Electronics but you can also get an outdoor version if you really think you need it. Don't buy the subwoofers because they need AC power and are too big to fit.

Amazon.com: marine subwoofer
The subwoofer. I advise the un-powered bazooka or just go to a good car audio place and have one custom made to fit somewhere on the boat. Mine is like that with a 10" Memphis marine speaker and the box is hanging under the salon table, off the floor.

We're done buying.... apart for some cables you forgot etc. ;-)

Now, you need to rip or re-rip every CD you own using a method that results in bit-perfect copies on the computer. These need to be encoded using a lossless format such as FLAC, not MP3 using dbPowerAmp. This is the first reason for a squeezebox: it can play FLAC natively. A lossless format does compress the music like WinZIP does, without loosing quality. In fact, the FLAC file can be converted back to WAV which will be identical as on the CD. Also, find out how to apply album and track-gain while ripping the CD's. This helps keeping all the music at the same loudness level without changing bits (the player will adjust volume if you want, it's a setting). After you have done this, you can sell your CD's to regain some of the $$$ spend on the buying part. Make backup's on those handy WD Passport drives and keep one safe far away from the boat.
If you also need mp3's for a mobile player used while jogging, you convert the FLAC files to mp3. There's software around that can do this on the fly while copying to the iPod like Media Monkey. But hard drive space is cheap so just convert to complete library to mp3 using the dbPowerAmp music converter.

Next you need a good tagging program like mp3Tag which can deal with FLAC too and make sure all the artists, bands, composers, song- and album titles, year or original release etc. are all correct so you can find what you need without seeing the same artist 6 times with slightly different spelling etc. You will be improving that for years to come so use only the best: mp3Tag (free). Learn how to use these programs and read the Internet forums about them. Start reading the Squeezebox forums too.

As I'm afraid that I am on the max. length of a post, I'll continue installation in a new post in this thread.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 26-04-2009, 16:10   #32
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Installing the wifi network, squeezeboxes and PC.

This isn't just for the music, it's for Internet connectivity too and allows you to use Internet on any number of devices aboard (simultaniously) while the provider/marina/hotspot only sees 1 single MAC address like if you only use a single laptop.

First, you need to be a Geek to install this. If you're not, find or hire one but pls. don't ask me because this stuff used to be my work and I'm glad I'm retired ;-)

Start with the 12V DC-DC converter. Connect it to a suitable (separate) breaker on the main panel and the output to a terminal strip. For this terminal strip you power both wifi routers, the wifi amplifier and the PC.

Next is the DLink router. I installed it upside down against the headliner above the navstation. It must be fastened, not just set on the table... it's still a boat ;-) Test the wifi signal around the boat with a device that doesn't have much wifi range, like iPod Touch, PDA, wifi-enabled phone etc. The reason is that the Squeezebox components (and iPod touch if you're gonna use that) are small and have in-efficient antenna's compared to a laptop. You are also going to wire ethernet cables to the DLink so make sure you put it somewhere suitable.

Next is the Linksys router. The geek needs to replace the internal software with Talisman, DD-WRT, Tomato or whatever he/she likes best and is able to be configured to a client-routed environment. This is not the same as bridged (you need layer 3 routing so that the hotspot only sees the one MAC address from the Linksys radio). The name of the wifi network you want to connect to must be entered in the config of the Linksys so make sure you can dream how to do that before the geek leaves. You must also know how to "survey" for networks so you can select one. This can all be done from the web-interface of the router.
You can't do all this with the stock firmware in the router; the geek knows where to find the other software and it's all free downloads.

The Linksys makes a wifi connection to the hotspot/marina/restaurant for the Internet link. It does NAT (ask/tell the geek) to provide a private subnet on the ethernet ports. Choose an obscure one (but from private-use address space) that isn't used by the hotspots like 10.242.187.0/16 or 192.168.125.0/16. One of these ports is connected to the WAN port of the DLink router (crosscable), the rest is unused. Also, the WAN port on the LinkSys is unused.

The DLink's WAN port detects the Internet coming from the Linksys just like it would see a DSL modem when used ashore. It will do NAT again (it's a miracle this stuff still works) so use another obscure net like examples above but a different one of course. The rest is standard wifi router setup like used at a home. Make sure you disable all wifi turbo-tricks that are not standard because the squeezeboxes and iPods etc. only use the standard features. I recommend to config to use 54g only (no b and no turbo tricks or n). Don't buy a cheaper router without "n" even though we don't use "n". You need the faster CPU in this "extreme N" router because we will be streaming media... music now and maybe video later (I already do that).

Now you have 2 wifi routers running and they can interfere a bit (not much because the Linksys uses external outside antenna). It is best to have the DLink use a channel far away from the channel that the Linksys is on. Maybe it's not needed, let the geek find out and write down how to change the DLink channel. You can't change the Linksys channel as it will select the channel used by the hotspot... it is acting like a wifi client.

Install the 9V DC converter and the squeezebox receiver(s). It helps when the Geek knows Squeezebox installation but a clue here: you need the PC with squeezecenter going and active Internet connection and an account on SqueezeNetwork to get this all going.

The PC is wired with an ethernet cable to the DLink. The Squeezeboxes use wifi but can use a cable too (I use wifi, less cables). The Squeezebox controller is wifi. Have the geek configure DHCP to give out permanent IP addresses to all these devices so that they can find each other fast (they remember IP addresses even when switched off).

The Geek must now install the PC: Windows XP pro and Acronis True Image. After that, make an image with Acronis. Now you should have Internet on the PC so download updates/patches. While that's going, download and install SqueezeCenter. This is the server software that supplies the music. You must have Internet connectivity when installing this. Create an account on SqueezeNetwork and play until the squeezeboxes go on-line, download new firmware etc. The SB controller is needed to configure the receivers etc. Not easy when never done before. When the PC is ready with updates/rebooting etc. have the geek configure your email/winlink/sailmail too (oops forgot about that: the Pico PC's have a real serial port but not all housings have the connector. The GS-L08 I have doesn't have it but Logic Supply can put one on if you request it. Tell them Nick from Jedi told you that ;-) Now you don't need that crappy usb to serial converter anymore!
Forget about doing navigation on this computer, buy another one, they are small enough or use a laptop. But it will work if you want it.
After the computer is done, make another Acronis image. I make many more for steps in between in case something gets f*&cked up before it all runs well.

The Squeezebox Boom has the amps and speakers on board so try to let it play. If you have no music on the PC yet, use radio from SqueezeNetwork (yes, you have every radiostation from the world, another reason for having Squeezeboxes!! I can listen to every Dutch radio station in Panama!)

Well, the rest should be simple: amplifier, speakers, subwoofer, copying music etc. but some points:

The SB receiver will only have 2 cables attached: power and audio-out. The rest is wireless.

The SB controller comes with a very nice stand to store and charge it. It has a wall wart power supply and this is wht I use. But you can feed it from the house batteries too. I think it's a 5V DC device so use the appropiate converter (a cheap one will do).

The SB boom only has 1 cable for 12V power. You will love this device, take it anywhere within the range of your wifi and your 12V outlet. Take it to the dock party and control it with you iPod Touch! The little speakers are fooling you: the sound is as perfect as possible from that size and you will be shocked when you hear them!

SqueezeNetwork is free for owners of a Squeezebox. You can listen to every radio station in the world or make your own station that only plays the music you like!! But there's also the BBC World Service etc. You also get RadioIO for free but with some commercials. You can subscribe to get rid of them and for many other services like Pandora etc. etc. Not everything is available everywhere but there is a lot and it will take you months to discover this new world of streaming music. You do not have to switch the PC on when using SqueezeNetwork.

SqueezeCenter runs on your PC. It scans and serves your music collection to the Squeezeboxes or to software players that you can install on other PC's like your laptop. Sit in the cockpit reading your email wireless using your own wifi net while streaming music or your favorite radio show!

When you want to play music you can select a source to use: SqueezeCenter (SC) on the PC or SqueezeNetwork (SN). When you choose SC you don't need Internet connectivity so this even works while crossing oceans. But when you have Internet, you can also get all the radio stations just like when connected to SqueezeNetwork.
When you choose SN you don't need to run the PC. But there are bugs (maybe they are fixed by now). When I power everything off while connected to SC, I need to power the PC on next time even if I want to connect to SN. After I connect to SN, I can shut down the PC. I found a workaround though. There are more bugs but Logitech is working hard to improve the system and it's already good.

Ask me any questions because I'm sure I skipped a lot but for now, I'm off for sundowners on the dock and firing up the Squeezebox! ;-)

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 27-04-2009, 06:39   #33
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Thanks Nick...a couple of sentences would have sufficed!
I'll be sticking with my big Zune and the easy way out...but I at least now understand why you have done what you have with yours. All best.
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Old 27-04-2009, 23:23   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Thanks Nick...a couple of sentences would have sufficed!
I know ;-) But my thinking was that maybe someone who wants this will read it and gets a good start. It took me years and many wasted $$$ to find out which stuff works and lasts on a boat and what's nothing more than a toy. I also think Squeezebox and Sonos and others will become big and in mainstream use aboard boats, so here's how to do it ;-)

Zune??!! Now, I'm starting to get worried about you ;-) That's stuff from Billy Boy and I try to stay as far away from it as I can. It can't even do flac and only streams radio... can it do any lossless format? ah of course, M$ has one too... with DRM!

cheers,
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Old 28-04-2009, 06:11   #35
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Tim

I have the Fusion system (great system and relatively power efficient), with Fusion speakers in the centre cockpit and Niles OS6.3 speakers in the cabin. Great system, using the Fusion's two zones. Fusion speakers are more efficient (make more noise) and sound good (I've made enclosures for them) and Niles are less efficient (but not a problem; also are 8 ohm but work fine) but have better audio quality, especially for lower volumes or more complex music. I went with the Niles as they are good quality audio but seriously weather-proof. On a boat, they are going to get wet with salt water some time. Cheers
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Old 28-04-2009, 20:05   #36
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Thanks again for all the great info and insights for decent sounds on the boat. Look forward to installing the stereo soon.

Tim
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Old 28-04-2009, 21:12   #37
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Hey Cam...

What do you think of the Polk M10's as speakers. I can't find any power requirement info, but a lot of people like them and they don't appear to need a sub. Very affordable from newegg. How would they compare to the L310's I already have?
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Old 28-04-2009, 22:02   #38
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Speedo...Actually...they are probably a bit easier to drive than the L310's...though the 310's will be tighter and more controlled in the mid/low bass and perhaps a tad brighter in the treble. The Polks are nice and clean sounding and well balanced through their range. Of course the box is quite a bit bigger as well...do you have room for these?

You do not NEED an amp for the Polks but they will sound better and play lounder when you want to crank with a small one.
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Old 28-04-2009, 22:15   #39
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Thanks Cam. Yes the Polks size might require a sub-optimal placement, but I think I could figure out a way to make them work. However if I need an amp for them, I see no advantage over the L310's, especially since I like some brightness. I don't recall if specific amps (other than for subs) have been discussed here... I'll have to go back and look.
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Old 29-04-2009, 07:40   #40
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SPEEDO>>Something like this. Rockford Fosgate Prime R150-2 2-channel car amplifier — 50 watts RMS x 2 at Crutchfield.com

You don't NEED an amp though any more than you do for the L310's. Personally...I like the L310's better, old as they are!
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Old 01-05-2009, 13:13   #41
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If you are looking for small active speakers (AC powered) there's really only one good choice: Audioengine - Upgrade your music

The A5 is awesome but the A2 is smaller. These speakers are considered good enough by the audiophile community and believe me, they don't like something easily. It also means they are not so cheap.

cheers,
Nick.
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