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Alloysoft's Signals: a heap of problems


sgbaird

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Chris, I hope you'll be able to get Matt @ Alloysoft to assist me in getting this software to run. Off the bat I'll say that I haven't used the iPod Touch for anything other than to run Signals. Before I switched out routers for the Airport Extreme Base Station, I was able to get it to perform as it should a total of once. After the AEBS was installed, I noted that I had to change the address to a different number, so this being done, and the computer-audio system finally completely installed in the listening room, I am ready to document what's going on for me.

 

When I start the iPod and then select Signals, I am under the impression that I am to see the "main control screen," but I do not. I may see one of several screens -- one showing the genres of music, another showing playlists and another where I can choose genres, artists, albums (what Matt calls the media library, guess), playlists or tracks.

 

No matter which option I choose -- for example, albums from the screen with the Music header -- once I choose an album (by touching the round blue plus sign) nothing usually happens. Some times a screen will come up with the option to add to queue or play now, but again nothing happens, no matter which option I choose. I can go to the Mac's screen and verify that nothing has happened, as the iTunes will show nothing playing, and/or that nothing has been added to the Signals queue.

 

Usually I cannot get to what is called the main control screen, and on those rare instances that I can, opening the the media library merely gets me into the variety of screens mentioned above.

 

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SGBAIRD,

 

Hello, I just started playing with Signal so don't know much about it but I can tell you this so far. When I add one song it just adds it to the playlist. If I add a whole album or whole artist it asks if it should just play or add to queue.

 

I have a question though. Is there anyway to look at what is in your q without looking at your mac itself? can you view it on the iPhone/touch?

 

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jimim asked: I have a question though. Is there anyway to look at what is in your q without looking at your mac itself? can you view it on the iPhone/touch?

 

As far as I can tell from reading the various instructions that I printed off Alloysoft's website, there is no mention of this. Nor is there any mention of a way to delete a song or album from the playlist.

 

In that one instance where I was able to queue a few tracks into the Signals queue, I found I that I had to delete them from the queue from the computer.

 

I am hoping that there is something I've overlooked in my Leopard preferences, and that Matt will be able to come to the rescue for me as well as answer this question of yours

 

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sgbaird: By any chance are you accessing Signal from a bookmark that was created from the media library or playlist views? If so, try manually entering the web address into Safari again on your iPod and re-creating your bookmark from the now playing screen. The URL should end with "/iphone/" with no other text behind it.

 

When navigating into an album you can tap on either the album name to drill down into the album, or you can tap on the plus button next to the album name to select either Play Now or Add to Queue. Play Now will clear the current queue and just play the contents of the album, while Add to Queue will add the contents of the album to the current queue.

 

If files aren't playing after being accessed through the media library interface, you may want to double-check that the iTunes Music Folder Location is properly set to the actual location of your music files. This is in iTunes under iTunes Preferences > Advanced. If the path is not correct iTunes will sometimes use incorrect paths in the XML file that Signal uses to read the media library. If you need to make a change, restart both iTunes and Signal and it should start working.

 

jimim: If the queue is currently playing, you can view the contents of the queue from the playlist view by tapping the icon in the upper-right corner of the Now Playing screen.

 

 

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Matt wrote: sgbaird: By any chance are you accessing Signal from a bookmark that was created from the media library or playlist views? If so, try manually entering the web address into Safari again on your iPod and re-creating your bookmark from the now playing screen. The URL should end with "/iphone/" with no other text behind it.

 

Yes, since I changed to an Apple Extreme Base Station, I had to make a change to the new link that Signals provides at startup. I did this by manually entering that address/number.

 

When navigating into an album you can tap on either the album name to drill down into the album, or you can tap on the plus button next to the album name to select either Play Now or Add to Queue. Play Now will clear the current queue and just play the contents of the album, while Add to Queue will add the contents of the album to the current queue.

I understand this, but this is precisely where I have a problem, Matt. No matter what, after I’ve tapped album name or the blue button, nothing happens.

If files aren't playing after being accessed through the media library interface, you may want to double-check that the iTunes Music Folder Location is properly set to the actual location of your music files. This is in iTunes under iTunes Preferences > Advanced. If the path is not correct iTunes will sometimes use incorrect paths in the XML file that Signal uses to read the media library. If you need to make a change, restart both iTunes and Signal and it should start working.

I have checked and re-checked this, and iTunes sees the hard drive attached to the AEBS. Please note, however, even with the hard drive connected directly to the Mac, I rarely get the option to either add to queue or play immediately... and, in those instances when I can, nothing happens. The cover art for the first item queued music does not appear if I choose “add to queue” and no sound is produced if I choose “play now”

 

 

 

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If a change is made to the media library location Signal needs to be restarted on the Mac to re-read the media library.

 

I've heard of the case you describe a few times before, in all other examples this was the result of iTunes writing an incorrect path to the "iTunes Music Library.xml" file that Signal reads to determine where the media files are. iTunes sometimes seems to get confused if the location under iTunes Preferences > Advanced is set to something other than the actual storage location.

 

You can check to see if Signal is reporting any errors in the debug log by quitting Signal if running and then starting it again while holding down the Option key. If it encounters any errors when you try to play a song they should be highlighted in the log in red.

 

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Thanks, Matt. They say you learn something new everyday, so the business of restarting Signals with the option key held down may reveal something.

 

But there is also this for all others to consider, and I have not investigated this completely just yet; will do so and report my findings soon.

 

Although the name of the hard drive does not change, disconnecting it directly from the computer then connecting it to the AEBS wouldn't necessarily mean that iTunes doesn't regard the location as being the same or different — I just didn't know for sure. I may have overlooked this after I set up the base station yesterday and implemented Chris' Automator applet. Even though the computer sees the drive again, I thought it might be interesting to see what happens if I changed the location settings in the iTunes preferences.

 

I tried this this morning back here on the iMac, and sure enough, it went through a long process of reorganizing everything. That being the case, I will apply the same change to the preferences to the music server, then see if this solves the problem. At the same time, though, I am wondering if it will be kosher to run two different computers with exactly the same iTunes library.

 

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OK, so, even though iTunes recognized that the music library had been connected to the Airport Base Station and would play any selection from it, IT WAS NOT UNTIL AFTER I CHANGED THE LOCATION IN PREFERENCES to reestablish the drive that my problems are solved.

 

I am still in the learning process with Signal, and I am still having minor difficulties getting things to add to queue, but this will probably right itself as I become more familiar with the way that the program works.

 

For the next update, I would really appreciate seeing a way to delete music in the queue from the iPod.

 

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SBG - two different computers with one library just screams problems to me.

 

I have to agree with Chris on this one - having multiple machines interact with the same iTunes database is probably asking for trouble. I know a couple folks who tried to do this and in the end they had to rebuild their iTunes libraries. It's unfortunate that iTunes doesn't provide an easy way to keep multiple computers in sync, though I believe there are some third party utilities out there that do this.

 

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And as a matter of fact, it was Chris who gave me the idea initially. But I have taken a single precaution that may be what has kept things from going awry: both computers have exactly the same contents in their iTunes folder. That is, if an addition is made to the library, such as adding music to the library, then I will have to copy the new set of files to the other Mac. Seems to be working so far since both access points to the music drive haven't issued any complaints.

 

 

 

 

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Sure SGB drag my name through the mud on this one :-)

 

Now I remember making the suggestion but I can't remember if I said caveat emptor!

 

I'm very happy to see things working for you. If people only read a few of your latest posts they'll never understand the project this whole things has been!

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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for keeping me on the path. Unlike politicians, you know what you're talking about. :-)

 

The CA site has been a Godsend for me, and I must say that finding it last winter has changed my whole attitude towards audio forums. All of the people with whom I've interacted have been intelligent, friendly and understanding. I may not be a novice at computers or audio systems, but connecting the two to create the symbiosis I'm now enjoying would not have been possible without the contributions that you, Lord Chaos, markr, Rick and Matt @ alloysoft have so graciously provided. I hope that in some small way I will be able to repay each of them.

 

Now that I have had the system up and running for more than a week, I will probably be making some changes to it eventually. They are:

 

Since my eyesight is not the best in the world, and neither is my hand-eye coordination, I will probably switch from the iPod Touch/Mini to a laptop Mac. There are other reasons for this, of course. Without a monitor on the Mini, it would be impossible to know what's going on with it in the event that something gets mucked up. The ability to share its screen with another computer in Leopard helps a bit, but if the Mini refuses to connect to the network for some reason, I wouldn't be able to diagnose the problem from the iMac.

 

Of course, a laptop doesn't have to be a permanent fixture in the system as a Mini does either, so I could, in effect, get a really long USB cable that would reach from the USB DAC in my equipment cabinet to a notebook sitting on my coffee table in front of me (I think that the maximum length is about 15 feet, isn't it?). If that longer cable induces a problem, I'm sure that there might be some other alternative that would satisfy me.

 

I've been thinking about 2 or 3 essays to close out the SGB thread that would document the large number of lessons learned over this three-month journey. In effect they would be a list of do's and dont's from my perspective.

 

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Thanks a lot SGB. You and the others mentioned have really brought the site up from its infancy. I can't imagine what we would have talked about if you never put together your system :-) We have a great mix of backgrounds and interests around here. So far everyone has really provided something that nobody else here was able to. How cool is that.

 

If you put together those essays I think a lot of readers would benefit and save a considerable amount of time. Imagine if you would have had all that info a few months ago. But then again half the fun is the learning and the project. I really look forward to reading them.

 

As usual there is no obligation and no rush to get it done.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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I have had my share of issues with the software as well. Sometimes I think I have it figured out and then it's like I get stuck in a loop and can't get to where I want to go. One thing I have learned is that this is not iTunes - it is an emulation. The main reason for my post is that I have on occasion found that going over to my mini and clicking the Signal icon and then minimizing it seems to kind of re-establish the handshake between the two. Maybe it is coincidence but it has enabled me to get things back to how they should work. When I talked with the guy at Alloysoft he explained how it worked and what I needed to do to play more than one track of an album at a time, which was not what you would expect. He then said that he could make it work more like iTunes and asked if I thought that would be desirable. I really had to think about it....

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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