Tag - sound

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Tuesday, October 18 2011, 09:57 pm

Crossing the Streams to the Playstation 3 (part 1)

I wish I didn't have to write this article, but when there's a dozen audio formats, a dozen video formats, and a dozen media containers there's only one result: headaches. If you own a Playstation 3, a Linux computer, and have Mediatomb installed, you can take advantage of the UPnP feature on the PS3 to play your audio or video over the network. This part 1 of 2 posting will start with audio.


The Playstation 3 is a funny thing when it comes to audio. If you only have Optical (TosLink) or Coax audio output you're stuck with 48kHz sample rate. If you have HDMI you can go higher. The example below will get you FLAC transcoding into 48kHz PCM that the Playstation 3 will play.


<profile name="audio-flac" enabled="yes" type="external">
   <agent command="ffmpeg-flac" arguments="%in %out" />
   <buffer size="4194304" chunk-size="262144" fill-size="0"/>



exec /usr/bin/ffmpeg -threads 2 -i "$1" -ar 48000 -acodec pcm_s16be -f alaw - > "$2"

Why 48kHz? I have some 96kHz media so I'd rather it go to the PS3 at the best possible rate. The PS3 will resample to 48kHz if you choose to go with 44.1kHz anyway so you might as well go with 48kHz. You can up this to 96kHz on an HDMI connection, but I don't have one to test with.

Extra Credit

Mediatomb development does not seem very active, but some folks have made patches to add features that make streaming more enjoyable. One annoying part of streaming on the PS3 is the default grey music icon for your tracks. This can be replaced by the album art with patch number one. You can't seek in tracks either, but that is also negated with patch number two.

Coming up: Transcoding matroska containers into the best possible format.

Tuesday, April 1 2008, 09:24 pm

Sound Cards should be Creative Hardware

It wouldn't be the Internet without something to be disgruntled about. The latest craze seems to be Creative's handling of an incident involving a community effort to provide working driver packages for Creative's sound cards under Windows operating systems. Long story short, a community user had put together a driver package that allowed your sound card you purchased to work under Windows and Creative decided to pull a Cease and Desist order. The end result seems to be an outcry to boycott all Creative products. So, what else would you buy?

For the past 20 or so years (a long time in Computing), Creative has dominated the sound card market. The only supported sound card in most software was a Creative one. However, with the introduction of the AC'97 specification in 1997, that changed slightly. Now there was a universal standard for sound card makers to write to and have broad support in software. Large numbers of third party sound chips were now in circulation and Creative's stronghold was buckling. Did they do anything to expand or stabilize their business? Nope. They continued to manufacture cards that worked with proprietary acceleration techniques (EAX) to keep their enthusiast market in place. An updated sound chip specification came just recently in the fashion of the Intel HD spec. This upped the requirements for sound quality and made onboard sound a reality when it came to decent sound processing. Both standards allowed all operating systems to easily integrate and have a driver for basic sound, so you could easily get sound without worrying if your new computer would work.

asus-xonar-d2 Out of those standards and companies grew a few external cards. Currently the most notable is the Asus Xonar series of cards. They offer a quality chipset and package for similar prices to the Creative line, yet have none of the driver issues. A Linux driver is also available, which is a plus. Sure there's a non-open source Creative X-Fi driver for Linux, if you can get it to work. So with Creative out of the way, here's to hoping that the sound card world, which has been rather quiet over the years, can come springing to life; cross-platform and working uniformly as all consumers should come to expect from their hardware.