Unoffical empeg BBS

Quick Links: Empeg FAQ | Software | RioCar.Org | Hijack | jEmplode | emphatic
Repairs: Repairs | Addons: Eutronix | Cases

Topic Options
#220168 - 28/07/2001 21:08 Software Release Wish List
ShawnSteele
new poster

Registered: 12/02/2001
Posts: 23
My wish list for the next software release:

The first ones are sort-of prioritized and are "show stopper" bugs: (But I have 4 units anyway 'cause I'm addicted!)

#1: Sort by track #. ("By Design"? Hysterical.) Listening to Cats, Yentl, or any musical is very odd listened to alphebetically!

#2: I have some .mp3s that are viewable by Artist, but not by category, somethings missing them. I've checked with lots of other software, which had no problem, and other tracks in the same group work fine, but those are missed. That's annoying. I am willing to share 1 or 2 files that are broken as examples to get it fixed... Just ask & I'll e-mail them or ftp them to the right person!

#3: Support of lots of tracks: I have 8000 tracks and growing. (Still haven't recorded lots of my CD's) Aren't 80 GB HDDs great!? Anyway, view by artist takes a while, which is OK. View by track would be completely unusable, but that doesn't really matter, because it crashes and reboots if I try anyway! At the least, it'd probably need to break them down A, B, C, etc. if you have that many tracks. Maybe a UI expert can figure out a better way (Preferably a different expert than the one who decided that alphebetical tracks were cool ;-)

#4: Once I've requested a group, (artist, album, playlist, whatever), let me filter which one's I want to hear next. In other words, maybe I feel like "Rock" so I pick that Genre, but I really want to hear Pink Floyd's Wall first. I should be able to pick that if I want, but when its over, it should continue with Rock. Then if I want another artist, album or song later, I should be able to jump to it

#5: Better sound quality. I don't know if that's the hardware, software or a limitation of .mp3s.

Unprioritized:

A) I'd love an SDK! Some of this is probably from the empeg publicly available source, why not make all of it available? (Or am I looking in the wrong place?) The license could have a non-compete clause, and you're making money from the hardware, not the software, anyway

B) It'd be nice to have the remote control line-out volume

C) The remote's pretty much unusable to find new music with that many tracks. I don't know how to fix it, but play, stop, skip forward and skip backward are about the only buttons that I use.

D) Some mechanism to get the server to syncronize receivers (if desired). It'd be neat if I could go to the hot tub and hear the same music as was playing inside (for my purposes the synchronization doesn't have to be exact, just the same song or so.) I have 4 of these things, 1 in the bedroom, 1 in the living room, 1 in the basement play area and 1 scheduled for the hot tub area. Of course whoever's in those areas would still like to be able to pick different stuff if they want.

These are sort of really long term wishes that I don't expect but could be really cool features.

E) A "Delete" key to flag an MP3. Since I converted all of my CDs to MP3, there are some that I dislike. It'd be nice if I could mark them when I hear them, and then later I could use some sort of tool on the computer to figure out what to do with them.

F) Similarly, some sort of preferences thing could be really cool. It could keep track of when I skipped a song. After enough times, it could offer that song less often. If I hit back to listen to a song again it could mark the song and offer it more often. The id3 tags have the idea of this, so it'd be neat to use it. Of course it'd be really neat if it knew if it was me or my wife or my kids!

I'm sure I've missed some, but I think I got most of my important concerns, thanks for listening.




Top
#220169 - 28/07/2001 21:25 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: ShawnSteele]
ShawnSteele
new poster

Registered: 12/02/2001
Posts: 23
I knew I'd forget something!

V) An SDK for the display themes!

W) Some sort of UI preferences that are remembered. A good one is using line out instead of speakers. The volume display is silly in that case and maybe the UI could be optimized for each case.

X) Make it check for new music automagically.

Y) Don't stop serving music when checking for new music (esp. if you don't do X, its disruptive and takes a couple minutes to check for 8000 songs)

Z) Something about the UI messes with my head. It took me a bit to get use to the menu and select buttons. If I want new music, I press select for every key press, except the first one, which is silly. Let the select button act like menu (esp. when I have line out and don't need volume control anyway). Maybe some sort of preference for UI behavior.


Top
#220170 - 29/07/2001 09:35 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: ShawnSteele]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30789
Loc: Seattle, WA
Wow, that's a big wish list!

Let me start by saying that the developers are aware of many of the things on your list, and are planning to fix/implement at least some of them.

Some of the features you're looking for can already be found on another one of their products: The Empeg/Rio Car player. The Rio Receiver is designed to be a simpler device that's more "mass-market", and as such, it tends to be less feature-rich.

I'll go through some of the relevant ones...


Sort by track #.

That's one they know about and I'm pretty sure they're planning to do something about it.

I have some .mp3s that are viewable by Artist, but not by category, somethings missing them.

Please be more specific. Are you saying that they cannot be viewed by Genre?

The first thing to check is to see if they have both an ID3v1 tag as well as an ID3v2 tag. If they have both, then I'd bet that there's a difference between the two tag types. The latest version of WinAmp will show you both tags. The software is probably getting confused as to which of the two tags it's supposed to be using.

There's a relevant FAQ entry on the Empeg Car BBS regarding how its software deals with tags. I'm not certain, but I think the same code applies to the Rio Receiver. Check it out and let me know if it appears to be the same issue.

Support of lots of tracks: I have 8000 tracks and growing. (...) View by track would be completely unusable, but that doesn't really matter, because it crashes and reboots if I try anyway!

The fact that its database can't handle large numbers of tracks is a number one priority for them to fix.

As far as being able to categorize and search amongst a track collection that large, the best way to handle it is to create your own playlists, and navigate using those. Then the categorization becomes completely up to you.

Better sound quality. I don't know if that's the hardware, software or a limitation of .mp3s.

The Rio Receiver has great sound quality. Can you be more specific about the sound quality problems you're hearing?

True, MP3s have some inherent sound quality limitations, but if you've recorded them at a decent bit rate with a good encoder, they should sound essentially identical to CDs. Did you make these yourself, or did you get them all from the 'net? Generally, the ones off the net are going to be low bit-rate and probably done with a bad encoder, or at least with the wrong settings on the encoder (speed instead of quality for example). If you made them yourself, what encoder/settings were you using?

But provided that the MP3s are decent, the Receiver itself should sound great. I'm sending mine into a pair of $400.00 Polk Audio speakers and it's fantastic. My only gripe is that I can't fine-EQ the sound to my specific speakers and room, but the actual clarity and definition of the output sounds perfect to me.

I'd love an SDK! Some of this is probably from the empeg publicly available source, why not make all of it available?

Because, as a company, their software is their bread and butter. Certain parts of their software code base is open source because it has to be: Their modifications to the Linux kernel, for example. But most companies don't make money by giving away their intellectual property for free.

They are discussing the possibility of making a plug-in API for the Empeg Car, but even that is a long ways down the road, and I don't foresee that happening for the Receiver.

Still, you should know that someone has already done some hacking to the Receiver software. As I recall, Frank Van Gestel has been able to hack a version of his Displayserver software to run on the Rio Receiver, so third-party development can be done if you're particularly clever and good with Linux.

It'd be nice to have the remote control line-out volume

But most home stereo components don't have controllable line-out volumes. Still, I see your point. If you're using self-powered speakers, for example, it would be nice.

The remote's pretty much unusable to find new music with that many tracks. I don't know how to fix it, but play, stop, skip forward and skip backward are about the only buttons that I use.

The Empeg Car has a fantastic alphanumeric search interface. I'd love to see that feature ported to the Receiver. I'm not sure if we're going to see that, as the searching UI is complicated and it sort of goes outside the bounds of keeping the Receiver simple.

You make an interesting point, though: It's hard to easily find one item in a list of 8000. This counts for anything, whether it's MP3s, names and addresses, phone numbers, recipies, whatever. If you've got a big display and a keyboard (AKA a full size computer), it makes it easier. But a tiny display and a limited number of remote-control buttons means that your searching mechanisms are more difficult. And other non-electronic mediums (such as a telephone book) resort to alphabetical listings, which the Receiver already does by default.

Some mechanism to get the server to syncronize receivers (if desired).

I think I actually brought this one up earlier on the BBS. They had already discussed the idea. I don't know if they're going to implement it or not.

I have 4 of these things, 1 in the bedroom, 1 in the living room, 1 in the basement play area and 1 scheduled for the hot tub area.

COOL! Someday I would like to have that many! Right now, I have one receiver driving two sets of speakers: One set in the diningroom/den, and one set out over the hot tub. I run it through a Radio Shack speaker selector switch. Eventually I'd like to do as you're planning and have a separate one for the hot tub.

A "Delete" key to flag an MP3.

This will be implemented in the next release of the Car player software, but I don't know how they'd be able to implement it on the Receiver as there's no way for its server interface to communicate this information back to the operator at this time.

It's been implemented in the car player because they know that you can't delete files while you're driving. In the home, I guess it's assumed that if you hear something you don't like, you can get off your lazy ass and walk over to the server to delete the file.

I do see what you mean, though. I know that I certainly wouldn't want to get out of the hot tub just to delete a file.

Similarly, some sort of preferences thing could be really cool. It could keep track of when I skipped a song. After enough times, it could offer that song less often. If I hit back to listen to a song again it could mark the song and offer it more often.

The Car player will be implementing a similar feature in the next release, it's possible that the technology may trickle down into the Receiver someday, but I haven't heard it specifically mentioned yet.

Make it check for new music automagically

Yes, they are aware of this one, and I think they said something about wanting to work on it.

Something about the UI messes with my head. It took me a bit to get use to the menu and select buttons. If I want new music, I press select for every key press, except the first one, which is silly.

This is interesting, I have the same problem. I tend to press Select when I meant to press Menu and vice-versa (even after quite a bit of practice). I thought it was because I had gotten used to the Car player's UI, but you're a Receiver-only user and you have the same problem. Interesting. Empeg guys, you listening?

___________
Tony Fabris
_________________________
Tony Fabris

Top
#220171 - 29/07/2001 18:22 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: tfabris]
ShawnSteele
new poster

Registered: 12/02/2001
Posts: 23
Errors Reading Genre tags:

Sorry I wasn't clear about my genre problem. Yes, the problem tracks won't play by Genre. I'll double check the tags with tag studio to make sure they are OK, however I changed them with Real Jukebox (latest version) and I've set it to change both v1 and v2 tags. Its possible that corruption mixed one of them up, but if Real's getting them right, then it seems a bit hard for a consumer product to expect the user to investigate much further.

Sound Quality:

I though it was "perfect", but then I stuck the CD in the CD-player and played the MP3s back on the MP3 player, through the same Onkyo amp. (Nice amp, but old). The MP3s were subtly worse, having slightly less depth and overtones. I plan on doing a more thorough test when I have the time, to narrow down the difference by trying MP3s and WMAs at different rates, and trying it through a CD-player that plays both CD audio and mp3s.

Playing directly to speakers was worse by far than through the amp, but that is to be expected. I'm perhaps pickier than most. I do play directly to cheap speakers in my bedroom though, and that's just fine for me. I even think the EQ idea is silly, so I guess my pickiness is just in different directions :-) Perhaps a digital out in a future model would be cool.

8000 tracks in the UI:

I hope the UI gurus are working on the UI. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has a problem with it. Selecting one of 8000+ tracks is a problem, but I think there's plenty of buttons on both the box and the remote to solve the problem, it just needs good UI design to make it happen. I don't think they expected that many tracks is part of the problem :-)

"Delete" functionality:

My ass is too lazy to walk downstairs to where the server is (with no monitor) or turn on another computer to terminal server into it :-) That's a lot of work to delete a track I don't like, or to flag one as popping if I messed up the recording. I think its a bit unrealistic to expect computer access to be right there when listening, after all, the point is to get access to the files without using the computer!

- Shawn



Top
#220172 - 29/07/2001 22:41 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: ShawnSteele]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30789
Loc: Seattle, WA
I though it was "perfect", but then I stuck the CD in the CD-player and played the MP3s back on the MP3 player, through the same Onkyo amp.

Careful with making that kind of a judgement. The audio output stage of any digital audio device will have different tonal colorations, even if they both reproduce the music faithfully. Even two different brands of CD player will have different EQ responses. The Rio Receiver might simply need a little EQing before it sounds the same as your CD player.

Then again, based on what you said in another thread, you're using MusicMatch at 128, so I could see how you'd lose a little quality that way.

You might want to try LAME at its higher quality settings and do some comparisons of that encoder versus MusicMatch.

You'll want a bigger hard disk, though... higher quality means bigger file sizes.

___________
Tony Fabris
_________________________
Tony Fabris

Top
#220173 - 30/07/2001 03:21 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: ShawnSteele]
Roger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 18/01/2000
Posts: 5553
Loc: London, UK
A) No. Essentially for the reasons that Tony's already covered.
B) Most things don't. I don't think we've got the facility in hardware either.
C) Hmmm.
D) Would be cool. Hard to get synchronisation exactly, though.
E) Requires overhauling the server software.
F) Car player does this. We might add this functionality.




_________________________
-- roger

Top
#220174 - 30/07/2001 03:24 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: ShawnSteele]
Roger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 18/01/2000
Posts: 5553
Loc: London, UK
#1: Blame the OEM. We'll fix it.
#2: Sounds odd. You can email them to me (rlipscombe@riohome.com) and I'll take a look at them. I won't be fixing the Receiver software for a while yet, but I'm currently working out some bugs in the current car software, so the next Receiver release will inherit the results.
#3: There's UI problems, and there's database problems. Both will be fixed.
#4: Hmmm. We might code it up so that you can search by Genre, and then pick Pink Floyd, but I'm not sure about this one.
#5: Try a higher bitrate.

_________________________
-- roger

Top
#220175 - 30/07/2001 03:25 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: ShawnSteele]
Roger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 18/01/2000
Posts: 5553
Loc: London, UK
V) Possibly. We're going to overhaul this part of the code later, so I don't know how that's going to pan out.
W) Tricky. Possible.
X) Love to. Database limitation. Will be fixed.
Y) Same problem as X. It doesn't check for music automatically because it does need to stop.
Z) Maybe.



_________________________
-- roger

Top
#220176 - 30/07/2001 04:07 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: ShawnSteele]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5316
Loc: Cambridge UK
It has been noted that the Car product has a more useful UI than the Receiver for some operations. I should explain that the requirements for the Receiver were strongly influenced by OEM customers, and we're not entirely satisfied with the way everything works.

These issues will be addressed in the next update, not least because most people here have their own Receiver (a great way to focus the minds of developers!)

Rob



Top
#220177 - 12/08/2001 13:23 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: Roger]
schmoelz
stranger

Registered: 01/05/2001
Posts: 10
Loc: Innsbruck, AUSTRIA
<
< D) Would be cool. Hard to get synchronisation exactly, though.
<

What about "streaming audio" combined with "multicasting"?
That should solve the issue of synchronisation, and saves a lot of bandwith ;-)
Would also be useful in your "hotel project" e.g. for urgent announcements, advertising,....

Robert



Top
#220178 - 12/08/2001 14:29 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: schmoelz]
mardibloke
addict

Registered: 14/08/2000
Posts: 468
Loc: Penarth, UK
Good idea, but maybe not for the example you give. You assume all the hotel recievers are on all the while, and with volume set to a decent level.

- --
Rod, UK Mk2 64gig Red S/N.341 Empeg 2xDigital Audio Receiver - one Wireless
_________________________
- --
Rod, UK

Top
#220179 - 12/08/2001 15:07 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: mardibloke]
Roger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 18/01/2000
Posts: 5553
Loc: London, UK
...and with volume set to a decent level.

We added a a global volume control to the software as installed at the hotel .



_________________________
-- roger

Top
#220180 - 12/08/2001 18:24 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: Roger]
mardibloke
addict

Registered: 14/08/2000
Posts: 468
Loc: Penarth, UK
I got the impression this was just a "limit" on the volume, that automagically set max volume to a lower level at certain times of the day/night. Are you suggesting the guests have no control over the volume level at all ?

- --
Rod, UK Mk2 64gig Red S/N.341 Empeg 2xDigital Audio Receiver - one Wireless
_________________________
- --
Rod, UK

Top
#220181 - 13/08/2001 00:59 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: mardibloke]
Roger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 18/01/2000
Posts: 5553
Loc: London, UK
You're right. It is just a volume cap. And, no, it's not clever enough to depend on the time of day -- it's just a slider on one of the server application dialogs.



_________________________
-- roger

Top
#220182 - 13/08/2001 11:17 Re: Software Release Wish List [Re: Roger]
mardibloke
addict

Registered: 14/08/2000
Posts: 468
Loc: Penarth, UK
Phew, perhaps old age and lack of memory is not as far advanced as I first thought

- --
Rod, UK Mk2 64gig Red S/N.341 Empeg 2xDigital Audio Receiver - one Wireless
_________________________
- --
Rod, UK

Top