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View Full Version : Now do the same with the Transporter!



PLynas
2008-09-23, 12:11
Many moons ago I responded to a thread on the audiophile forum asking what people thought should be changed if there was ever to be a Transporter V2 released. My suggestion was that a cheaper version of the Transporter would be a good idea, my argument being that significant cost reduction could be made by reducing the screen display size to a minimum and reducing the size of the unit itself. My reasoning was that I would love to be able to have a Transporter for the sound quality offered, and would be prepared to sacrifice these things if it made it more affordable.

Needless to say, my suggestion was shot down by a number of 'audiophiles'. However since then, the Duet has been released (small and with no screen) and more recently the Squeezebox Boom, with a reduced screen size and even a smaller remote.

So my question is, having seen the Duet and the Boom, would anybody be interested in a (cheaper) Transporter offering the same sound quality but losing some of the other features.

SuperQ
2008-09-23, 14:23
So, you missed the whole point. The reason that the Transporter is expensive is not just the price tag of the parts inside, but the R&D it took to design it was very high. It's also not marketed at people wanting it cheaper. If you think it's too expensive, buy a Squeezebox of some kind.

It's not going to get cheaper, it's not going to drop feature FOO to make it cheaper.

Smaller on the other hand is easy.. it's 80% empty space inside the box.

iPhone
2008-09-23, 14:24
Many moons ago I responded to a thread on the audiophile forum asking what people thought should be changed if there was ever to be a Transporter V2 released. My suggestion was that a cheaper version of the Transporter would be a good idea, my argument being that significant cost reduction could be made by reducing the screen display size to a minimum and reducing the size of the unit itself. My reasoning was that I would love to be able to have a Transporter for the sound quality offered, and would be prepared to sacrifice these things if it made it more affordable.

Needless to say, my suggestion was shot down by a number of 'audiophiles'. However since then, the Duet has been released (small and with no screen) and more recently the Squeezebox Boom, with a reduced screen size and even a smaller remote.

So my question is, having seen the Duet and the Boom, would anybody be interested in a (cheaper) Transporter offering the same sound quality but losing some of the other features.

Then buy a Duet. If you need or want 24/96, pony up and buy a Transporter. Other then the better DAC and power supply, the Transporter is really all about the extra display area, rack mount size, TransNav™ controller knob, and "Audiophileness" of the unit. It is the flagship "no compromise" part of the NMP line-up.

Audiophile wise, there might be something to be said for a less expensive Transporter Lite that has no DAC section for Audiophiles that wish to use an outboard DAC that costs 3 times what a Transporter does. I think most of these folks still want all the display and rack mount whistles though. And really the only reason other then the TransNav™ controller and display to want this is if they need 88.2 or 96KHz sampling frequencies because if not just buy an SB3 and use an external DAC of your choice.

But as I have always said, if one is going to buy a Duet/SB3, linear power supply, and a really good DAC, one might as well just pony up for the Transporter and get the bells and whistles as well as the higher sampling frequency choices.

I would like a Transporter Lite to go with my Dodson DA-217 MK2-D Digital Processor. But I am also very happy with what the Transporter does for me and don't run it into the Dodson. Transporter balanced out into my pre-amp suits me just fine.

Note: When I sold my CD Transport, I could not bring myself to sell the Dodson because of the great deal I got it at (and some day I might buy another CDT).

JJZolx
2008-09-23, 16:36
Does anyone really expect to see another product from Logitech along the same lines as the Transporter? The Boom would hint that Logitech is steering the division in a different direction. I wish I were wrong, but I expect all new products that can be sold at places like Best Buy and then eventually WalMart, rather than at audio salons. I think Transporter was a one-time deal that won't be repeated in any similar form.

Goodsounds
2008-09-23, 17:06
Does anyone really expect to see another product from Logitech along the same lines as the Transporter? The Boom would hint that Logitech is steering the division in a different direction. I wish I were wrong, but I expect all new products that can be sold at places like Best Buy and then eventually WalMart, rather than at audio salons. I think Transporter was a one-time deal that won't be repeated in any similar form.

Here's my guess:

Decisions at a company like Logitech (and most others, for that matter) are based on dollars, not philosophy or karma. If derivative or related products can meet whatever financial objectives are set, I expect they will be happy to develop, make, and sell them. Otherwise, no.

Perhaps the fact that it's the Logitech Streaming Media unit, and not the Streaming Audio unit, may indicate some of the future direction?

maggior
2008-09-23, 18:34
Here's my guess:

Decisions at a company like Logitech (and most others, for that matter) are based on dollars, not philosophy or karma. If derivative or related products can meet whatever financial objectives are set, I expect they will be happy to develop, make, and sell them. Otherwise, no.

Perhaps the fact that it's the Logitech Streaming Media unit, and not the Streaming Audio unit, may indicate some of the future direction?

It would seem logical that the next step would be to add other media to the streaming capabilities. If streaming audio is emerging, then streaming video is in its infancy. Online streaming video services like Hulu and Joost are just starting out and are almost just concept designs - who knows if those models will take off. I'm fine with a new direction like this, as long as it isn't done at a compromise to the audio capabilities or force me to pay for video codec royalties when all I want to do is play audio.

With the transporter, boom, SB3, duet, and soon to be player-enabled controller, they will have all bases covered regarding audio (high end, mid range, lower range, semi portable range, and portable range). What more is there to do other than have the newer products (i.e. Duet) mature to the level of the SB3? I'm not sure what an SB4 would be at this time other than a cost reduction design.

So I agree with goodsounds - the dollars and cents sensabilities of Logitech will take them in other directions. I think the other direction will be video in some form.

After Slim Devices (and then Logitech) and Sonos kicked Roku's butt, they backed up and are now pushing the Netflix box.

JJZolx
2008-09-23, 20:36
I would be equally amazed if there were anything released that could be called an "SB4". I suspect the SB3 is the end of the line for that approach as well.

I can see some new products that would be variations of those already available. A receiver with an integrated power amplifier is almost a certainty. It further positions them against Sonos, and makes for a higher margin bundle than the Duet when you include the expensive controller.

Another idea is something with integrated amplifier, VFD and line and digital outputs (kind of a Boom without speakers, or a Squeezebox with integrated power amplifier and front panel controls, depending on how you want to look at it.) This is a product that I'd actually be interested in - much more so than I'm interested in the Duet or the Boom. If the amp were any good then you'd just add a quality pair of passive speakers. The front panel of the Boom is great - the knob in particular - and much better than that of the Transporter. It would just need a full width SB3 sized display, and a few more front panel buttons to work around the compromises of the Boom display and interface.

Pale Blue Ego
2008-09-23, 20:52
I believe Logitech has sufficiently widened the low end of the product line with some compelling hardware in the Duet and Boom. So what's next?

Undercutting the Transporter with a product that has a lot more mass appeal. It's a matter of sales volume. If Logitech can sell a million SB4 units, they won't care that it cuts into the relatively small Transporter market.

The SB3 is a very sweet product, but it could use a few incremental improvements. Hi-res music is becoming more mainstream; Logitech needs a mainstream player that can handle 24/96 files. And I have to believe there's a better DAC available for a player with a ~$500/$600 pricepoint. Maybe a component-sized case and a better power supply could be incorporated in an updated design. There's always room for improvement, and Slim/Logitech has always listened to its customers. The SB4 wouldn't have to be better than the Transporter, just better than the SB3.

Slim/Logitech has made a brilliant product for $230. What can they build into a product selling for twice that price?

pichonCalavera
2008-09-23, 21:30
One thing they could do is upgrade the display on the SB3, Receiver, Boom, Transporter... using the technology of Squeezeplay for a color display instead of the VFD display. I mean... the SqueezeOS platform is meant to be portable... you have it now on the Controller, soon we will have it on our Desktops (Linux, Windows, Mac) with Squeezeplay.

And all Slim Devices products have in common the type of navigation and control... for example in the Transporter, Boom and Controller you navigate with a "wheel", a Transporter or Boom with a Color display could be implemented using SqueezeOS as the foundation, and the "wheel" will fit in nicely for the navigatio of the GUI part.

And when Squeezeplay is released for our Desktops... it will include mouse navigation... which I think is a foundation to make a touch-enabled navigation system for a hardware product in the future (as it looks like many electronic products are taking that aproach right now).

Just specultaion!

PLynas
2008-09-24, 04:41
So, you missed the whole point. The reason that the Transporter is expensive is not just the price tag of the parts inside, but the R&D it took to design it was very high. It's also not marketed at people wanting it cheaper. If you think it's too expensive, buy a Squeezebox of some kind.

It's not going to get cheaper, it's not going to drop feature FOO to make it cheaper.

Smaller on the other hand is easy.. it's 80% empty space inside the box.

I'm not sure that I am missing the point at all. I am not talking about replacing the existing Transporter, or designing something for existing users - one reply uses the term 'these folks' - I am not talking about these folks, I am talking about me, and maybe many others.

The Transporter is too expensive for me, and I did buy a Squeezebox. But that's not the point. The R&D to design the Transporter has been completed. One of the reasons the Boom is so cheap for what it is is that is reuses existing ideas and technology. Also the Transporter has two expensive displays.

I am not trying to criticise or suggest a replacement for the Transporter. But maybe there is the potential to use the existing technology to create a similar product with the same sound quality but fewer 'nice to have' features. It might not win favour with everyone, but surely it's an idea?

Finally I don't understand your comment 'it's not marketed at people wanting it cheaper'. Sure there is a perception that cheaper is poorer quality, especially in audiophile components, but that is just a form of elitism or snobbery, and I'm not even going there.

Mnyb
2008-09-24, 05:21
Hmm these "expensive" displays are probably expensive seen in the SB3/Reciever context, on a transporter I don't think so ?

If you realy cost cut a TP like device how much cheaper will it be with the same soundquality ? removing displays the magnetic wheel, a cheaper box et al.
Is it worth the effort ? my totally out off thin air guess is 10% 20% ?
I dont think the concept is realistic ?

I'm sorry to say that a large proportion off the high End crowd is severely afflicted with some kind off vanity.
So making an uber transporter with heawier chassie and golden knobs and 3 times the price will probably sell more units :) trow in some Quantum purifiers and you have hit.

I think the TP is a very brave product design, the small amount off bling it has only makes it cooler

StigErik
2008-09-26, 03:43
(I have a modified Transporter (I removed the handles...) - totally bling-free!)

Lets assume that the selling price of the Transporter is 10x its sheer component cost. Thats not far from a reality I would guess. Then the two displays and the Transnav probably acounts for 75% of the total component cost. So - removing the Transnav (do anyone really use it? I dont) and the displays should make it possible to sell the Transporter for 500$, but thats not going to happen.

That being said - the 2000$ Transporter is NOT expensive, not by any means. Just look at what the so-called competetion from hifi-brans can offer, at 10x the price of the Tranporter!

Mark Lanctot
2008-09-26, 07:37
The Transporter is as much a company statement as it is a product. It says "we're serious, here's what our design philosophy can really achieve". It's a sounding board, a developmental area to try out some advanced concepts (super regulators, a top-end DAC, word clock input, balanced design, etc).

Don't laugh at this comparison, but why would Volkswagen go all out and build the Bugatti Veyron? For the same reasons - to show the world just what it can do, bar the cost. OK, so there is some cost restraint to the Transporter as compared to the very very high end media players now, but not compared to the Squeezebox series at least.

It very much appears that the Squeezebox design is mature and that new products have all been based on the Squeezebox design with few core changes. There's been no change to the CPU, buffer components, networking card or CPLD between the SB2, SB3, Duet, Transporter (OK a higher binned CPU) and Boom.

I believe that Logitech is first going after the low-hanging fruit and capitalizing on the Squeezebox concept since the "Squeezebox guts" remain relatively unchanged. The Duet is an attempt to bring the display in the palm of your hand - the SBR is very much like the SB3, only the SBC is a radical departure. Boom is even more like the SB3 than the Duet in that it brings back the good old VFD display (may it live long!)

Seeing what products have been developed since the Logitech acquisition, I believe we may see a few more ideas based on SB2 hardware that are relatively easy to develop and bring to market without a complete redesign of the SB2 hardware. However in the future that may change - how many more products can be based off the same hardware? People seem to be clamouring for handheld players now, I can't see how that can be served by the SB2 concept...

It's looking less likely that we'll see an "SB4" as the product line has branched out rather than simply evolved a replacement.

Henk51
2008-09-26, 08:14
That being said - the 2000$ Transporter is NOT expensive, not by any means.

Agreed to that.

But what if your living in the European countries the price-tag is €1999
thats about 2900$ this is much more expensive!

StigErik
2008-09-26, 10:51
Agreed to that.

But what if your living in the European countries the price-tag is €1999
thats about 2900$ this is much more expensive!

I know, I live in Norway (Europe...). Still, I managed to get a new Transporter for approx 2000$.

If you look at "hifi" products for a combination of source/transport and DAC that can do the same as the Transporter and cost 2000$, you wont find it. Even 2000$ "hifi" standalone DAC's that can match the Transporter's clean pure sound are hard to find, if at all.

Themis
2008-09-26, 12:42
Mee too, I'm willing to see (one day) a real "Transporter" : That is a no-compromise box that does just that : transport music. Without a built-in dac.

Even 2000$ "hifi" standalone DAC's that can match the Transporter's clean pure sound are hard to find, if at all.Well, it interests me : can you please give a example of a dac costing 2000$ (or more, for that matter) and having a less "clean pure sound" than the Transporter ? Please ? I'm talking about dacs still on sale new, not old models found on ebay. I'm sure you can't find such a dac and that no-one can. ;)

mdconnelly
2008-10-13, 11:16
So here are two things I'd like to see Logitech come out with in the Squeezebox line:

1) DAC-less Transporter (as previously stated). High-end, 24/96 music transporter. No DAC to keep cost down for those of us that already have a great DAC.

2) Relatively inexpensive DAC that mates well with the current SB3 or Duet receiver that would be substantially better than the integral DAC.

I'd buy #1 for my main rig and #2 for my secondary system.

Phil Leigh
2008-10-13, 11:33
So here are two things I'd like to see Logitech come out with in the Squeezebox line:

1) DAC-less Transporter (as previously stated). High-end, 24/96 music transporter. No DAC to keep cost down for those of us that already have a great DAC.

2) Relatively inexpensive DAC that mates well with the current SB3 or Duet receiver that would be substantially better than the integral DAC.

I'd buy #1 for my main rig and #2 for my secondary system.

I can't see why they would ever do #2... there is simply no USP to it. Also, they don't have the economies of scale of (say) Cambridge - look out for their new DacMagic product.

As for #1 - why? - The SB3 is easily outperformed by adding a good external DAC...but is this really true of the TP? - and to what extent? I know some people here are running the TP with a Benchmark or similar (or possibly even more exotic stuff). Also, the removing the DAC and associated circuitry would shave oh...$50-£100 of the parts cost max...

Themis
2008-10-13, 13:03
As for #1 - why? - The SB3 is easily outperformed by adding a good external DAC...but is this really true of the TP? - and to what extent? I know some people here are running the TP with a Benchmark or similar (or possibly even more exotic stuff). Also, the removing the DAC and associated circuitry would shave oh...$50-£100 of the parts cost max...In my case, I woud really prefer if these 200-300£ (because the price of the analog circuitry+design it's more than 100£ when we speak about a ready-to-sell product) went on a still better clock or quieter parts or whatever, rather than to a dac that I won't use.
I see the use of upgrading regularly my dac, it is a component that evolves quickly, contrarily to the transport that stays relatively stable over several (10-15) years.

mdconnelly
2008-10-13, 13:31
It would be interesting to know how many people either use an external DAC with their SB3/Duet receiver or have had mods done to improve the analog outs. I have to think there's a sizeable market of folks that can't afford or simply won't pay $2k for the Transporter but would like to improve the sound from their Squeezebox. A better DAC seems like the most cost-effective way to accomplish that. But, you're right - there are tons of DACs on the market in all price ranges.

For me, I already went with a better DAC but would love to have the 24/96 capability and better sonics that the Transporter affords but at a more affordable price point.

mdconnelly
2008-10-28, 18:48
OK, I popped for a Duet and Receiver and love them. So now I'm revising my wish list... I would like to see a 24/96 version of the Receiver. Personally I don't care about the analog out since I'm using a very nice DAC but I would love to stream 24/96 without incurring the cost of the Transporter.

P.S... love the Duet controller!