Speaker placement and fighting with XBMC etc.

As mentioned in my post yesterday, I have been moving my speakers. My first plan was to build angled mounting brackets out of wood, which the speakers could hang from, like when they hang flat on a wall. I found out, however, that my skills with a handsaw on my dining table without a clamp are non-existent. I kept the screws and will donate the pieces of wood to my parents’ stove.

Instead, I pointed my Aygo towards Ikea and bought two shelves and four brackets. I like the result. Judge for yourself. Before and after shots:

Old placement of my speakers (January 12, 2013)   New place of my speakers (January 13, 2013)

My media center setup with Raspbmc on a Raspberry Pi currently has a problem. I tend to believe the problem mainly lies with XBMC, which is the media center part of the the Linux distribution Raspbmc. Without XBMC’s AudioEngine (AE) enabled, i.e. with default settings, playback always stops after one song. I have already enabled “automatically play next song” (!!!). If I want it to play the next song, I have to press x (to stop playback mode) and press enter on the next song (to start playback mode on that song). When it is done playing the next song, the problem repeats. It doesn’t make a difference whether I choose HDMI or analog audio output.

With AE enabled and the kernel module snd-bcm2835 loaded (AE will not use HDMI output without it), the problem actually gets worse. Before I reveal why, I must admit that AE for a short while made me happy, as its digital to analog conversion (done by PulseAudio) is clearly better than the DAC in my tv. At the moment, my old fashioned, analog, stereo amplifier is connected to the headphone output on my tv. The DAC in my tv is almost as bad as the analog output on the Raspberry Pi itself. Running with AE enabled is worse, because XBMC crashes when it is done playing a song. It automatically restarts, though, so it is not unavailable for long. Well, the point is that XBMC crashing is worse than having to manually start the next song. Which is worse doesn’t really matter, however, as both makes the platform unusable for simple audio playback (in my humble opinion…). Hopefully, both problems will be solved in a not so distant future. Until then I’ll probably just connect a simple mp3 player to my amplifier.

I have ordered a Cablesson HDelity HDMI Audio Extractor (ARC) from the German Amazon. It should provide me with excellent digital to analog conversion, but it will not solve the next-song-problem. Let me cry a bit more – it almost costs the same as two Raspberry Pi boards.

On top of all, I have tried to use a Terratec Aureon Dual USB DAC, which I got for Christmas. I haven’t had any luck getting it to work with Raspbmc, and I’ve tried both inside and outside XBMC. I have also tried limiting USB to 1.0/1.1 (lowest speed), but that made Raspbmc stop working, and I had to put the memory card into another computer and remove the boot option. Of course, I have tested with and without a powered USB hub.

Update, 2013-01-14 19:25:42: The next-song-problem was fixed by installing the latest nightly build of XBMC.