Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

compact disc, dacs, mp3 players and streaming audio
Coffee Phil
vinyl addict
vinyl addict
United States of America
Posts: 5259
Joined: 20 Sep 2008 08:22
Location: California

Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by Coffee Phil » 16 Jul 2017 21:54

About 3 years ago I was reaching the limit of my aggravation with my Roku Soundbridge due to its user hostility and Roku's beyond crappy customer service. The thread is here:

viewtopic.php?f=112&t=69654

I replaced it with this Grace internet radio tuner:

[img]38835[/img]

Until a few weeks ago I was pretty happy with it. In addition to a bunch of other features it will stream internet radio stations and it even has a terrestrial FM tuner.

There are mainly three stations which I have in the presets. KDFC which is a classical station in San Francisco, KCSM which is a jazz station in San Mateo, and KXPR which is a classical station in Sacramento.

Lately the Grace will not receive KXPR on the internet and KDFC is very slow to load. KCSM still works fine. Fortunately I can still get KXPR on FM.

All of those stations stream fine on my computer and on the old Roku in the garage. I called both KXPR and Grace a week ago and there was finger pointing on both ends. KXPR said they had not changed their stream recently yet Grace said the issue is on the stations end. I called a couple of days ago and the guy at Grace fessed up that the company managing their data base was doing some sort of update. He could not assure me that this would be complete in my lifetime. I'm not sure if the outfit managing the data base receives the stations stream and translates it to "Gracespeak" or just enables the tuner to receive the stream from the station. In any case a configuration change can come via the internet which will render stations which were working non-functional.

Another flaky thing is the FM antenna connector is not type F which is what you would expect for something sold in the US. The customer service guy could only tell me that it is an antenna connector. I have since found by searching for non US TV antenna connectors that it is a male PAL and I will need a female PAL to Female type F adaptor. Grace should have been able to tell me that. Actually if they had to put the non US connector on the unit the adaptor to type F should have been in the box with the unit.

I was until a couple of weeks ago planning to buy a second Grace for my upstairs stereo but now I'm thinking of looking elsewhere.

Phil

analogaudio
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 4609
Joined: 06 Feb 2007 23:58
Location: Monroe NY USA

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by analogaudio » 17 Jul 2017 00:22

? Squeezebox? I think they were taken over by Logitech? (I have no experience with them, they get mentioned a lot at one of the audio forums.)

Coffee Phil
vinyl addict
vinyl addict
United States of America
Posts: 5259
Joined: 20 Sep 2008 08:22
Location: California

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by Coffee Phil » 17 Jul 2017 01:13

Hi Ted,

Thanks. I searched Squeezebox. Apparently they were bought by Logitech who developed it for a while but then discontinued it for their own brand. Apparently these things depend on servers controlled by their companies and can pretty much be rendered obsolete at their will. Apparently there is a cloud on the long term usability of Squeezebox products and I'm not all that sure about the long term prospect of the Logitech internet radio.

Maybe I should just regulate an old laptop to the upstairs stereo. If I'm understanding this right I think it is an outrage.

Phil
analogaudio wrote:? Squeezebox? I think they were taken over by Logitech? (I have no experience with them, they get mentioned a lot at one of the audio forums.)

JeffS7444
member
member
Posts: 58
Joined: 26 May 2011 00:14
Location: USA

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by JeffS7444 » 17 Jul 2017 19:01

Pretty sure nearly all such devices rely on a small number of 3rd party organizations to maintain a database of audio streams, and items in this database ought to be compatible with your device.

One such organization is Frontier Silicon in the UK: I have a Revo Superconnect "table radio" which relies on Frontier's back-end, and to date it's worked very well.

You get maximum flexibility using your own PC to do the deed, but the downside is that you're going to also spend more time performing maintenance on your computer and less time actually listening.

Coffee Phil
vinyl addict
vinyl addict
United States of America
Posts: 5259
Joined: 20 Sep 2008 08:22
Location: California

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by Coffee Phil » 17 Jul 2017 22:05

Hi JeffS7444,

This raises a question. Just because Grace is in bed with receiva.com, does that mean I need to be married to them as well? Can I register my Grace tuner with someone like Frontier Silicon who may not feel I should expand my taste away from classical music toward Britney Spears?

Thanks,

Phil
JeffS7444 wrote:Pretty sure nearly all such devices rely on a small number of 3rd party organizations to maintain a database of audio streams, and items in this database ought to be compatible with your device.

One such organization is Frontier Silicon in the UK: I have a Revo Superconnect "table radio" which relies on Frontier's back-end, and to date it's worked very well.

You get maximum flexibility using your own PC to do the deed, but the downside is that you're going to also spend more time performing maintenance on your computer and less time actually listening.

AcetoneUK
member
member
Posts: 78
Joined: 12 May 2017 09:33

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by AcetoneUK » 17 Jul 2017 22:45

I use the great Pioneer N50-A , I think it gets it internet channel list from vTunner, but if you know the URL of the stream you can any station you wish to it's list, for example I have the local hospital radio saved (a friend has a weekly show on there)

Channels can be added and save in personalised folders using a web interface, which then send your list to the actual receiver automatically, you do not need a computer afterwards.
Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 22.51.41.jpeg

cafe_liegeois
senior member
senior member
Germany
Posts: 308
Joined: 16 Feb 2016 15:50
Location: near the Belgian border

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by cafe_liegeois » 18 Jul 2017 00:19

Coffee Phil wrote:This raises a question. Just because Grace is in bed with receiva.com, does that mean I need to be married to them as well?
You do indeed. I've had the same tuner and eventually sold it because Reciva has meanwhile been reduced to some kind of kitchen-table operation and they can be very slow at updating station URLs.

Moreover, I was losing or about to lose access to an increasing number of stations, most of all the BBC, because this tuner doesn't decode some newer stream formats.

And the trouble is not only with the maintenance of the station list. In order to support these new formats - if they can be supported at all with this relatively old hardware - the maker of the radio, i.e. Grace, would have to ask Reciva to write a new firmware *and* pay them for doing so. Three guesses if they'd be willing to do so for a model that's out of production, let alone if whatever remains of Reciva would be able to deliver.

I for one have replaced this radio by a tiny Raspberry Pi computer running an application called MPD (music player demon). All open source, no portal that can be switched off without a warning, and it works like a dream.

Another alternative would be a tablet computer running the TuneIn app. Doesn't even need to be a
top-of-the-line model and if TuneIn should ever go belly-up, which is rather unlikely, you could use any other similar app.

Ralf

Coffee Phil
vinyl addict
vinyl addict
United States of America
Posts: 5259
Joined: 20 Sep 2008 08:22
Location: California

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by Coffee Phil » 18 Jul 2017 20:49

Hi AcetoneUK,

This looks like a very nice box. It is kind of spendy however. One thing I would now be worried about is the long term stability of vTuner. If they go funny would I be in the same situation as I find myself with the Grace.

Thanks,

Phil
AcetoneUK wrote:I use the great Pioneer N50-A , I think it gets it internet channel list from vTunner, but if you know the URL of the stream you can any station you wish to it's list, for example I have the local hospital radio saved (a friend has a weekly show on there)

Channels can be added and save in personalised folders using a web interface, which then send your list to the actual receiver automatically, you do not need a computer afterwards.
Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 22.51.41.jpeg

Coffee Phil
vinyl addict
vinyl addict
United States of America
Posts: 5259
Joined: 20 Sep 2008 08:22
Location: California

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by Coffee Phil » 18 Jul 2017 21:15

Hi Ralf,

Thanks. Not the answer I was hoping for but the answer nevertheless. I think as you did maybe I should off the Grace while it may still have some value and just use an old laptop computer dedicated to the stereo.

An audio looking box which looks and feels like a radio has its appeal but being at the mercy of some outfit like Reciva means that one of these dedicated boxes can become virtually useless overnight.

When I bought the Roku and now this Grace I assumed they were simply computers just programed to do music streaming and did it as a computer would.

Just bookmarking the stations which you want on the computer is more bother than the internet "radio" but it is doable.

Phil
cafe_liegeois wrote:
Coffee Phil wrote:This raises a question. Just because Grace is in bed with receiva.com, does that mean I need to be married to them as well?
You do indeed. I've had the same tuner and eventually sold it because Reciva has meanwhile been reduced to some kind of kitchen-table operation and they can be very slow at updating station URLs.

Moreover, I was losing or about to lose access to an increasing number of stations, most of all the BBC, because this tuner doesn't decode some newer stream formats.

And the trouble is not only with the maintenance of the station list. In order to support these new formats - if they can be supported at all with this relatively old hardware - the maker of the radio, i.e. Grace, would have to ask Reciva to write a new firmware *and* pay them for doing so. Three guesses if they'd be willing to do so for a model that's out of production, let alone if whatever remains of Reciva would be able to deliver.

I for one have replaced this radio by a tiny Raspberry Pi computer running an application called MPD (music player demon). All open source, no portal that can be switched off without a warning, and it works like a dream.

Another alternative would be a tablet computer running the TuneIn app. Doesn't even need to be a
top-of-the-line model and if TuneIn should ever go belly-up, which is rather unlikely, you could use any other similar app.

Ralf

JeffS7444
member
member
Posts: 58
Joined: 26 May 2011 00:14
Location: USA

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by JeffS7444 » 19 Jul 2017 19:13

I think it'd be possible to keep some of these network radios operating indefinitely, though it'd be a bit tricky: You'd need to do some DNS trickery to reroute to your own database server, you'd need to know how the database is accessed, and you may need to do some transcoding. Squeezebox devices, for example, rely on opml.radiotime.com servers to convert formats such as Windows Media to something that their appliances can use.

davidsrsb
long player
long player
Malaysia
Posts: 1035
Joined: 09 Nov 2009 17:00
Location: Kuala Lumpur

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by davidsrsb » 19 Aug 2017 11:47

Streamers and Internet Tuners are definitely not long term investments. They are basically computers without software updates

Lazarus Short
senior member
senior member
Posts: 644
Joined: 27 Aug 2006 17:53
Location: Independence, Missouri (pronounced "Misery")

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by Lazarus Short » 07 Sep 2017 15:33

davidsrsb wrote:Streamers and Internet Tuners are definitely not long term investments. They are basically computers without software updates
That leads me to a question, though it may make me look like a dummy:

Why not just use your computer? I do.

cafe_liegeois
senior member
senior member
Germany
Posts: 308
Joined: 16 Feb 2016 15:50
Location: near the Belgian border

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by cafe_liegeois » 07 Sep 2017 16:09

...or any surplus old laptop, outdated tablet or other small device, preferably with its own display. Also, a Raspberry Pi will do nicely.

Ralf

JDJX
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 3461
Joined: 28 Nov 2013 21:17
Location: Mid Hudson valley..... NY.....In the orginal Orange County

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by JDJX » 07 Sep 2017 17:06

cafe_liegeois wrote:...or any surplus old laptop, outdated tablet or other small device, preferably with its own display. Also, a Raspberry Pi will do nicely.

Ralf


That is what is do.
I have one of my computers (Win7) in my listening room.
The computer's sound can be fed into my stereo sys if i want.

In fact I can also feed the computer monitor's screen into my TV via HDMI if I want to but, the computer does have its own monitor.

BTW, I have a few net stations bookmarked on " Winamp".
Yes, I still use that.:)
In fact, my absolute favorite Winamp bookmark /net station is "Radio Paradise.com".... at 192k MP3, but they also net cast in other formats.
They offer a great eclectic mix of classic rock and new rock.... even a small bit of jazz. :)
http://www.radioparadise.com/rp_2.php?#

JoeE SP9
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 4534
Joined: 23 Feb 2009 20:20
Location: Phildelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: Is there an "non-flakey" maker of internet tuners?

Post by JoeE SP9 » 07 Sep 2017 18:56

I use a laptop with an external HDD feeding a DAC as my music server.For streaming radio there are any number of free applications that will run on my laptop. Sure, a little work may be involved in setting up a list of stations. However, you're not stuck with a specific source(s) that may go out of business.

Post Reply