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  1. #1
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    Squeezebox or Sonos?

    I'm nearing completion of a home renovation project, where I've been able to wire everything up with cat5e. I'm looking at streaming music from my digital collection to several rooms in the house, and the porch. Each of these rooms is wired with power, cat5e, and speaker wire to the locations where wall mounted speakers will be installed. Something like the SB or the Sonos devices look ideal, but each has its pluses and minuses.

    OT1H, being a big open source fan, I love the idea of the SB, and the community behind it.

    OTOH, the main downside is that SB does not have an integrated receiver+amplifier product, except for the Boom, which clearly isn't appropriate. The Sonos ZonePlayer 120 looks like an ideal device for most of the rooms, which will not have an existing amp/receiver in them. For the one room with a home theater system, a Sonos 90 or SB Receiver would work.

    Problem is, I'm not aware of any nice small amps that match well with a SB Receiver. Small footprint is important, and it doesn't have to be fancy at all (i.e. even multiple inputs are not important). Price-wise I think an SB Receiver + 3rd party amp will be about what a Sonos 120 costs, so that's a wash.

    I wish SB had a hardware offering like the Sonos 120. It would be a no-brainer in that case.

    I'd appreciate any thoughts you might have!

  2. #2
    Senior Member agillis's Avatar
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    If your wiring you house anyway why not go with a whole house audio system. That way you don't need all your amps distributed and it will save you some money. Plus you can use VortexBox and have a 100% open source home audio solution. You can still use a SqueezeController if you want to control the whole system. You could also use an iPod running iPeng.

    I have a doc on my site that tells what you need and how to hook it up.

    http://vortexbox.org/documentation/b...ith-vortexbox/
    rip, tag, get cover artů All you do is insert the CD!
    http://vortexbox.org

    agillis
    Lead Developer VortexBox

  3. #3
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    There are a few good quality small/simple amps that can be paired with the squeezebox. It sounds like you've already committed to not wiring your in-wall speakers back to a central location. Personally I would not have done this due to the problems with locating the audio source/amplifier in the same room as the output. This basically negates any advantage of going in-wall in the first place.

    There are some good options for small in-wall and similar amplifiers. The Sonic Impact is a popular pairing with the Squeezebox.

    Check out:
    http://www.parts-express.com

    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=309-040
    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-958

  4. #4
    Senior Member pippin's Avatar
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    I'd go (no, I DID go that way) for active speakers unless you want to be in the >>$x.000 price range. Amp technology has come a long way so you can really now make good amps that fit well into a speaker case. They can be tweaked for that speaker so you will have a very good frequency response and much lower losses compared to a standalone amp.
    Add an occasional sub and you'll be happy.
    They are also available in all sizes.
    I own a pair of Audioengine A2s and a pair of Adam A5 monitors. I do have an older Bose woofer/sat system for a room where I didn't have space for something else on the walls and it sucks even compared to the small A2's! No kidding.
    ---
    learn more about iPeng, the iPhone and iPad remote for the Squeezebox and
    Logitech UE Smart Radio as well as iPeng Party, the free Party-App,
    at penguinlovesmusic.com
    New: iPeng 8, the Universal App for iOS 7 and iOS 8

  5. #5
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    Have a look at this thread:
    http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=54571

    It might be of interest.

  6. #6
    Senior Member agillis's Avatar
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    BreatheAudio sell 4 zone whole house audio system for under $500. It includes a 4 channel amp and keypads for your 4 zones. You can control volume and source from each zone. Pair this with some good Polk speaker at $90 a pair and you have a complete 4 zone system for well under $1000.

    http://astore.amazon.com/vort-20/detail/B001EPGFA4

    This is cheaper then buying amps for each zone.
    rip, tag, get cover artů All you do is insert the CD!
    http://vortexbox.org

    agillis
    Lead Developer VortexBox

  7. #7
    Something to consider with a traditional "whole house audio" solution is the costs and disadvantages associated with long runs of analog speaker cable, and the expandability.

    Seems to me that pushing audio out in the digital realm to each "zone" is the way to go for a number of reasons. You can run it over cheap cat5, or even cheaper air. No losses or noise induction associated with analog cabling and FAR more flexible & expandable.

    That system actually appears to be a two zone "A B" system with very little available power. After you consider the losses associated with long runs of affordable speaker cable, there's probably not going to be much more power available than a standard walmart boom box offers (the cheapest solution yet for "multi-zone audio").

    There are plenty of "cheap" standalone amp solutions out there if you're not looking for high end stuff. Here's one at $70 ($85 non-refurb) without even looking hard (very good reviews on both newegg and J&R):
    http://www.jr.com/audio-source/pe/ASO_AMP100_hy_RB/
    That would work great for the budget minded user that already has some traditional speakers to power or wanted more flexibility when buying speakers.

    The SBR & Audio Source amp is less than half the cost of a Sonos 120.

    There are also sources for used stuff where you can find some bargains on some really nice gear.

    I'd personally like to see the next Logitech product offering be something with a built in amp - while it may not appeal to the hardcores that visit this fourm, it would appeal to a lot of average consumers out there not interested in picking out and/or not familiar with the different standalone amps out there.

    That Breathe Audio setup *might* be one of the cheapest ways to cover four zones (well, really two with the ability to bridge in two more), but the original question was not really about the cheapest way to deliver audio to several zones.

    Another option if you want about the smallest footprint possible and don't mind a little bit of hacking is to buy a set of inexpensive powered computer speakers, remove the internal amp and power your speakers with that. Very small footprint & very inexpensive -- plus capable of producing basic sound - I've actually done this to power a custom built vintage arcade cabinet's audio subsystem, the amp I used literally cost me nothing and is less than 3" square. Depending on what you're looking for this solution may suffice with the right donor setup.

  8. #8
    Senior Member TheLastMan's Avatar
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    [Edit]
    Have a look at this:
    http://www.nuforce-icon.com/Product-Icon.htm
    might be the sort of thing you need.
    [/edit]

    If you are hard wiring your players with ethernet then SqueezeBox is probably the way to go - the Sonos offers little advantage in that kind of configuration. The Sonos gear is designed primarily to work using a special proprietary wi-fi "mesh" network.

    If you are going to be using the Duet and/or the Controller, you will need a decent wi-fi network as well though, but a simple setup with a single high powered access point is all you would need in a timber framed structure.

    Look at and hold the Duet controller as well as the Sonos one and decide which you prefer. The look and feel is very different. Bear in mind the SqueezeBox controller can be jazzed up with different fonts, wallpapers and screensavers if you want. The SB controller can also be used one-handed, so you can browse your collection with a glass of wine in the other hand!

    I have a friend who has just retroactively had a Sonos system installed for him into an existing house and he is very pleased with it. Mind you he is no audiophile. He only uses it to stream Napster over wi-fi and uses small ceiling mounted speakers. His setup is more Muzak than Music!

    If you care about the sound quality, will be streaming WAV or FLAC files over ethernet and you are reasonably competant with computers you will get a much cheaper system, and probably have more fun, with a SqueezeBox setup.

    The Sonos system has a more robust and ingenious wi-fi setup and is (arguably) more reliable, but ultimately - with its open source community producing plugins galore - the SqueezeBox system is much more capable and configurable. If you know what you are doing, and have the time, there is nothing the Sonos gear does that cannot be done better with SqueezeBoxes, and a lot cheaper too.

    Do you mind if the players and amps are visible - or will you want to hide them away in cabinets? This will determine whether you go with the SqueezeBox Classic with Remote or the Receiver with Controller (Duet)

    If money were no object, my personal preferred setup would be to run ethernet to each room, have stand or wall mounted speakers run from a small amp hooked up to a SqueezeBox Classic. I might hide the cables and amp but not the SqueezeBox. I would also throw in a controller or two for the living room and kitchen, mainly for visitors. Guests tend to find the Controller more intuitive than the Classic with Remote, because with the latter you need to get familiar with the SqueezeCenter menu structure before it is quick to use. The Controller works much more like an iPod, so they would probably be more familiar with the way menus are navigated on it.

    If you want to hide everything away, go with the Duet as the receivers are cheaper because they do not have the display of the Classic - they rely on the LCD of the Controller.

    Good luck, and don't let the SqueezeBox "fan boys" sway your decision. There are genuinely good reasons for going with the Sonos equipment, and there are plenty of people for whom it is the better solution - particularly those with limited time and patience and no interest in computing.
    Last edited by TheLastMan; 2009-04-24 at 06:54.
    Matt
    http://www.last.fm/user/MJL-UK
    SqueezeBoxes: Two SB Duets (Living room and kitchen) and a piCorePlayer
    Server: Synology DS111 (2TB) NAS running LMS 7.7.3 (official Synology package)
    Network: Netgear DG834GT ADSL modem/router, Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH access point
    Livingroom: Receiver, Naim 42/110 amp, B&W CM2 speakers
    Kitchen: Receiver, Topping TP20 Mk2 Class T amp, B&W 686 speakers
    Study: Linn LP12, Naim 72/Hi-cap/Headline

  9. #9
    Senior Member ModelCitizen's Avatar
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    Well, that should be enough to keep you going for now pumpichank.
    :-)

    MC
    Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known
    Last.fm/user/ModelCitizen

  10. #10
    Senior Member TheLastMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ModelCitizen View Post
    Well, that should be enough to keep you going for now pumpichank.
    :-)

    MC
    You being cheeky, young sir?
    ;-)
    Matt
    http://www.last.fm/user/MJL-UK
    SqueezeBoxes: Two SB Duets (Living room and kitchen) and a piCorePlayer
    Server: Synology DS111 (2TB) NAS running LMS 7.7.3 (official Synology package)
    Network: Netgear DG834GT ADSL modem/router, Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH access point
    Livingroom: Receiver, Naim 42/110 amp, B&W CM2 speakers
    Kitchen: Receiver, Topping TP20 Mk2 Class T amp, B&W 686 speakers
    Study: Linn LP12, Naim 72/Hi-cap/Headline

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