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View Full Version : Squeezbox and other new breed of music server solutions



kbelinski
2007-04-22, 06:04
I consider the Squeezebox to be immensely successful product. It brings network-based music server concept into the mass consumer market. Its adoption of FLAC lossless compression gains acceptance by the audiophile market. The competition is not sitting idle. Olive (http://www.olive.us) has come up with similar product plus additional useful features at very competitive price. The built-in hard disk even though small in storage capacity is no doubt useful. I find having a small collection of favorite music in local hard disk useful because I do not have to keep my SlimServer running all the time. Some other features are quite neat too.

I hope Slim Devices are keeping tab of the competition and respond with better products. Not that the Squeezebox is bad. But there are competitions out there constantly trying to out do the Squeezebox. Keeping up is the only way to survive.

slimkid
2007-04-22, 08:48
... Olive has come up with similar product plus additional useful features at very competitive price.

Without getting into all the features, just checking on thier price list:

Olive MUSICA 160 GB - $1099
Olive MUSICA 250 GB - $1499

The most expensice 90 GB I have ever seen (in the last 5 years).

mortslim
2007-04-22, 09:44
I like that the squeezebox does not have a harddrive. I mainly use it for the squeezenetwork, thus a harddrive is not required.

It thus uses less electricity and makes less (none) noise.

Mark Lanctot
2007-04-22, 10:06
Without getting into all the features, just checking on thier price list:

Olive MUSICA 160 GB - $1099
Olive MUSICA 250 GB - $1499

The most expensice 90 GB I have ever seen (in the last 5 years).

Geez, for those prices you can make a wicked fast server with 500 GB of storage. It will be able to do other tasks as well, plus it's far more flexible.

There are lots of people running down the Slim architecture lately, but IMHO it's their greatest strength. Take advantage of relatively cheap mass-market computer hardware! Computer hardware will always be cheaper than specialized "audiophile" hardware, and with SlimServer/Squeezebox the audio playback hardware is in the player where it belongs.

The Olive Musica is apparently a low-power, inflexible PC running Linux with local storage. I guess a lot of people like this? That's not a more advanced product, just a less flexible and substantially more expensive one.

Also the Olive Musica is nothing new - it's been out for ~3 years.

peter
2007-04-22, 10:12
Mark Lanctot wrote:
> slimkid;196805 Wrote:
>
>> Without getting into all the features, just checking on thier price
>> list:
>>
>> Olive MUSICA 160 GB - $1099
>> Olive MUSICA 250 GB - $1499
>>
>> The most expensice 90 GB I have ever seen (in the last 5 years).
>>
>
> Geez, for those prices you can make a wicked fast server with 500 GB of
> storage. It will be able to do other tasks as well, plus it's far more
> flexible.
>
> There are lots of people running down the Slim architecture lately, but
> IMHO it's their greatest strength. Take advantage of relatively cheap
> mass-market computer hardware! Computer hardware will always be
> cheaper than specialized "audiophile" hardware, and with
> SlimServer/Squeezebox the audio playback hardware is in the player
> where it belongs.
>
> The Olive Musica is apparently a low-power, inflexible PC running Linux
> with local storage. I guess a lot of people like this? That's not a
> more advanced product, just a less flexible and substantially more
> expensive one.
>
It's not that bad though. You have a place to put your CD's in... (I
miss that - very rarely).

I think I dislike the tiny display most of all.

Regards,
Peter

Michaelwagner
2007-04-22, 11:23
But the biggest impediment to mass acceptance is the fact that a squeezebox needs a geek. Judging by the olive prices, lack of a geek costs about $700. :-)

amcluesent
2007-04-22, 13:11
These one-box systems are all very well as 'lifestyle' accessories, loaded up with a few 100 tracks.

The real asset is your library of ripped & tagged music; no way would I allow the lock-in from a vendor with my 1,500 albums on their closed system.

Michaelwagner
2007-04-22, 15:33
That's all well and good, but no one is really in any serious way packaging a one-stop-shopping squeezebox "box". The ones I've seen so far are as expensive as the olive.

Is the Olive proprietary? I've never really looked at it.

Mark Lanctot
2007-04-22, 15:48
You know, that pico-ITX board (even a nano-ITX board) as well as a 3.5" HDD would fit very easily into a Transporter chassis.

If the second screen were eliminated you could probably also fit a CD-ROM drive, possibly even full-size.

If the internal electronics were downgraded to Squeezebox specs and the knob and maybe the buttons were dropped, it could compete price-wise with the Olive units. It'd be far more powerful because it could serve as a SlimServer for other players. It'd also be much more open. Run it on DSL much like SlimCD - all you need apart from SS is samba and a method to upgrade SS.

I probably wouldn't be interested in it, but based on the interest in this thread and in the forum in general there does seem to be a demand for it. In the past I've downplayed this idea but the Transporter chassis looks like it was made for this purpose...

Michaelwagner
2007-04-22, 15:52
Oh, no, don't drop the knob!

Mark Lanctot
2007-04-22, 15:53
Oh, no, don't drop the knob!

:-) I agree that the knob is cool, but I don't use it all that often. I have read comments from others wondering about a Squeezebox-class device in a Transporter chassis, minus the second screen and the knob.

Michaelwagner
2007-04-22, 16:05
Really? I don't have a transporter (too poor), but on my Audiotron and on a VCR I had once that had a knob on the remote, they were the most often used controls on the whole setup.

Mark Lanctot
2007-04-22, 20:18
Really? I don't have a transporter (too poor), but on my Audiotron and on a VCR I had once that had a knob on the remote, they were the most often used controls on the whole setup.

I use the remote almost exclusively. Some have suggested a knob in the remote. I would use that for sure, but then again I'm using a universal remote so...?

Michaelwagner
2007-04-22, 20:46
The knob is a great feature. If you doubt that, look at last years april fools announcement.
http://www.slimdevices.com/au_press_kronos.html

adamslim
2007-04-23, 04:54
I've mentioned it several times before: Slim are great at the slim client, but they need to sell the server option too.

How about a fully-configured NAS machine with a CD-ROM drive and a Mac/Windows installer that sorts everything out for you (anyone with Linux would probably be happy to do it themselves!) - detects the NAS, configures its SlimServer for your network etc.

Also, some way to configure the SB3 for your wireless network (once you have got the above installation sorted) by plugging it in wired and sending the info would be nice - rather than having to enter a megadigit key! (Not sure if this is possible though)

I think the form factor/quality/price balance of the SB3 is great, but it does need a geek. Not a problem for me, but it does limit SD's ability to take over the world. They don't need to create an SB4 yet, or even a hybrid TP/SB - they need to make their current devices able to work for networking and computing novices.

Oh and a nice two-way communicating remote (or several options, including knobby ones) would be the order of the day. Could just package up a Nokia 800 with a nice skin.

Adam

bhaagensen
2007-04-23, 09:02
(anyone with Linux would probably be happy to do it themselves!)


nah, don't be too sure 'bout that, I would be happy not to :) Otherwise I agree with your points: I would call it something like streamlining the product. Take for instance one common use case related to artwork. Currently basically all methods for adding a new album w. artwork relies on some user interaction. This makes it difficult to always get the artwork in place before rescanning. Things are certainly not helped by the fact that in order to do this in retrospect one must to do a complete clear/rescan...aarghh. (There are a number of forum threads on this issue)

It's certainly not a showstopper for me, rather a minor annoyance. However when adding up small quirks like this, it all of a sudden becomes interesting to check out other products. Moreover I do not feel that I can recommend the SB to people without mentioning theses things (In general I find the server side handling of the music library a bit cumbersome compared to itunes/rhythmbox/banshee).

peter
2007-04-23, 12:09
adamslim wrote:
> I've mentioned it several times before: Slim are great at the slim
> client, but they need to sell the server option too.
>
> How about a fully-configured NAS machine with a CD-ROM drive and a
> Mac/Windows installer that sorts everything out for you (anyone with
> Linux would probably be happy to do it themselves!) - detects the NAS,
> configures its SlimServer for your network etc.
>
> Also, some way to configure the SB3 for your wireless network (once you
> have got the above installation sorted) by plugging it in wired and
> sending the info would be nice - rather than having to enter a
> megadigit key! (Not sure if this is possible though)
>
> I think the form factor/quality/price balance of the SB3 is great, but
> it does need a geek. Not a problem for me, but it does limit SD's
> ability to take over the world. They don't need to create an SB4 yet,
> or even a hybrid TP/SB - they need to make their current devices able
> to work for networking and computing novices.
>
> Oh and a nice two-way communicating remote (or several options,
> including knobby ones) would be the order of the day. Could just
> package up a Nokia 800 with a nice skin.
>

I'm counting on either a self-contained server or a smart remote as the
next new SD product.

I wouldn't buy the server myself, but I probably would buy a smart
SONOS-like remote especially if it would be hackable enough to make it
control other things. Counting on that, too!

Regards,
Peter

davidcotton
2007-04-23, 13:45
I nearly went the olive (over here in europe its marketed as hermstedt hifidelio)but the cost put me off. That and the fact that at the time you had to use a proprietry usb harddrive which was more expensive than the usual off the shelf ones. Instead went for sb3 and been very happy.

bolfings
2007-04-23, 16:02
A refurb Mac mini with an external 500gb drive, a SB3, and I have a music and video server, as well as a CD and DVD player, virtually no configuration/installation issues, and comes in under $1,000 -

I know that many of you could build something a little cheaper and a bit more capable, but I'm very happy, and would highly recommend this set-up to anyone -

Pale Blue Ego
2007-04-23, 18:47
There are plenty of HTPCs out there. Many are quite affordable - cheaper than the latest TIVO and no subscription fee:

http://tinyurl.com/2s7nuz