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View Full Version : Squeezebox versus PC



Kellen
2008-10-17, 11:08
I had my buddy over to watch the ballgame and he noticed my Squeezebox which started my demonstration of the unit.

When done the guy goes "What a waste of money ..... I can do all that with my laptop" I was like WTF.

Anyhow, what methods do you guys/gals use to talk some sense into such people? Do you point to any specific advantages that the Squeezebox has over PC operation?

Mark Lanctot
2008-10-17, 11:30
I suppose it's the reason why I was interested in the Squeezebox in the first place: computer audio sucks!

I thought that was the future and invested in a fairly good quality soundcard (M-Audio Revolution) and some good quality speakers but the sound was just never close to the sound from my home theatre system with "real" speakers.

I suppose you can get computer-based audio sounding as good as the Squeezebox but not without paying more than the Squeezebox. You'd need a serious soundcard, maybe even an outboard DAC. You'd still be chained down to selecting music using your computer, you'd have to be in front of it at all times. And it'll be just lovely when some random program decides to use its inane sound files to tell you you've got more spam in your inbox.

The Squeezebox gives higher-quality sound than an average computer could achieve and it allows you to select it remotely, away from your noisy computer - wherever you want it.

snarlydwarf
2008-10-17, 11:34
sure, I could do it with my laptop, but that would mean dragging my laptop around the house...

Instead, I have fixed players hardwired into decent sounding systems, and I don't have to move anything.... I don't have to drag a machine to the bedroom to listen to music as I go to sleep, or as I wake up... and then move it when I go make coffee in the kitchen, or move it again, when I sit on the couch or in the office...

My former boss doesn't get it either: "but you could just use an ipod!"... never mind that the iPod has nowhere near the sound nor capacity (nor features!) of a Squeezebox... it doesn't have the portability either: in that I don't have to move -anything- to make my music follow me around the house.

True portability is constant availability, not dragging equipment everywhere.

pfarrell
2008-10-17, 12:26
Mark Lanctot wrote:
> I suppose it's the reason why I was interested in the Squeezebox in the
> first place: computer audio sucks!

For a couple of reasons:

1) sound chips in the motherboard are terrible. They are suitable for
limited use, making guns go bang in games. Hard core gamers use
dedicated cards

2) inside a computer is a bad place for audio quality. Too many stray
motors, strong currents, etc. If you want serious audio quality, you
have to move the DAC out of the computer. You can do it with things like
a M-Audio Delta 1010, which costs more than a SqueezeBox

3) 99.44% of folks using a computer sound card do not care about sound
quality

4) Sean does care, a lot.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

ModelCitizen
2008-10-17, 12:57
Who wants a computer in every room?

MC.

maggior
2008-10-17, 12:58
I had my buddy over to watch the ballgame and he noticed my Squeezebox which started my demonstration of the unit.

When done the guy goes "What a waste of money ..... I can do all that with my laptop" I was like WTF.

Anyhow, what methods do you guys/gals use to talk some sense into such people? Do you point to any specific advantages that the Squeezebox has over PC operation?

I talk up the appliance aspects of the SB:
- It's like your CD player - you hit the "on" button, and it is instantly on. Even when hibernating or putting a laptop into standby, it takes time for it to start back up. Then you have to load the player, find the tracks, etc.

- There is a remote control access - no keyboard to mess with.

- With the SB3, the display is useful even when off. I use a plugin to show the current weather along with the current forcast.

- It integrates nicely with an entertainment system, certainly much better than a laptop asthetically.

- The SB devices are purpose specific, which makes them more usable for their purpose, as apposed to a laptop that can do anything from write your resume to play audio. This also means that the components used are specific to generating good sounding audio.

- With the SB, the server is elsewhere and can hold a large disc, so you can fit MUCH more music on it.

- And if they INSIST on having your laptop as part of the equation, you can use it to log into squeezecenter and control the SB from there. (I actually find myself doing this a lot).

- When you have multiple players, it really makes listening to your music EASY. No moving CDs around the house. No moving your iPod around. No moving your laptop around. You will listen to more music because it is just so easy to turn it on and have access to ALL of your music. I recently experienced this by putting a duet in my kitchen. Add MusicIP to the mix, and it is rediculously easy!


I've found that casual music listeners just don't get it, or they get it but don't see that it's a big deal. Some people can fit their entire music collection on an iPod and are happy to plug it into the stereo. To each his own...

pfarrell
2008-10-17, 13:40
ModelCitizen wrote:
> Who wants a computer in every room?

More, who wants a computer in your serious listening room? Not me.


--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

autopilot
2008-10-17, 14:09
For me, music is often spontaneous - like i have 30 mins to myself, or i have a chore to quickly do - grab the remote and it playing in seconds. Thats seconds, not minutes like most laptops take to boot up. I can be sure that my laptop won't even be in the same room, let alone wired to my HiFi and power socket. Using a laptop is very clunky and nerdy during parties, unlike my stealth control of the house wide audio from the controller in my pocket. Using a laptop for this kind of thing, even if the sound quality was there, is a chore. It not, everyone would be doing it.

Nonreality
2008-10-17, 18:19
He is an idiot and doesn't understand all the SB can do. Just ignore him and he will go away. Either that or let him try to demonstrate how he can do all what the SB3 can do with his computer. Laugh at him as he hooks up everything. Watch as he try's to stream pandora and lastfm . Let him do his thing and laugh a lot. Make sure you point out how long it takes him to everything. Then there is sound quality. See if his dac is comparable. It probably isn't. Most people are pretty ignorant on all of this stuff and just spout out crap. When pushed they really don't know anything about quality or what we can do with our toys. Like I said it's probably best to just ignore them.

maggior
2008-10-17, 18:29
He is an idiot and doesn't understand all the SB can do.

That seems a bit harsh :-). It may be true, or it could be that music just isn't that important to him. Maybe he's single living in an apartment having a laptop sitting by his stereo with wires dangling all over the place is OK. I'm sure we've all had friends back in our single days that thought milk crates, plywood, and cinder blocks were acceptable building materials for furniture in one's home!

NewBuyer
2008-10-17, 20:05
Computer audio can most certainly be done right, but unfortunately it isn't easy to do for the mainstream consumer.

The biggest advantages of the SB3 system IMO include its outstanding portability and incredible software package. SqueezeCenter is especially an amazing thing. :)

hoosier
2008-10-17, 20:11
My simple response to someone that thinks a PC can do better is - yea, but what does your wife think about hooking up all those wires, booting up the laptop and starting a program to add songs to a playlist? What about your kids, can they hook it up?

Of course if he's a young single guy, I'm sure his money is better spent on beer and frozen dinners. You can't win that argument.

Nonreality
2008-10-17, 22:39
That seems a bit harsh :-). It may be true, or it could be that music just isn't that important to him. Maybe he's single living in an apartment having a laptop sitting by his stereo with wires dangling all over the place is OK. I'm sure we've all had friends back in our single days that thought milk crates, plywood, and cinder blocks were acceptable building materials for furniture in one's home!Yes after reading that again I was a bit harsh. Sorry about that. I think he was a bit harsh too but that is no excuse for me being that way too. Again sorry.

peter
2008-10-18, 00:29
maggior wrote:
> Nonreality;350844 Wrote:
>
>> He is an idiot and doesn't understand all the SB can do.
>>
>
> That seems a bit harsh :-). It may be true, or it could be that music
> just isn't that important to him. Maybe he's single living in an
> apartment having a laptop sitting by his stereo with wires dangling all
> over the place is OK. I'm sure we've all had friends back in our single
> days that thought milk crates, plywood, and cinder blocks were
> acceptable building materials for furniture in one's home!
>

I think it's more a question of perfectionism. The SD devices are
attractive if you are perfectionist about sound quality *and* clean -
relatively dangle free - solutions.

Regards,
Peter

toby10
2008-10-18, 04:22
Get new friends. :) Just kidding.

Q: "I can do that with my computer"
A: "Yes, you can. In fact I'm using my computer as well, the difference is....." now layout all of the great responses in this thread.

An explanation I gave to a friend who also "didn't get it"....
ME: "Why do you use a cable tv set top box with a built in DVR? Your computer can do all the same things your cable box & DVR can do."
A: "Yeah, but it wouldn't be convenient to run to the computer to schedule programs and play back recordings."
ME: "So having a dedicated device with a simple interface all controlled from a simple remote is a lot more convenient, eh"
A: "Yeah, sure."
ME: "THAT'S why I have this device for music!"

The "light bulb" look came across his face. :)

Throw in interfacing with your hi-fi (not computer speakers), better audio quality, streaming wirelessly, uncompressed music, playlists on the fly, syncing multiple devices, integrated Internet Radio, music services, etc....etc........etc...... and it's a knockout punch. :)

jeffmeh
2008-10-18, 06:08
That seems a bit harsh :-). It may be true, or it could be that music just isn't that important to him. Maybe he's single living in an apartment having a laptop sitting by his stereo with wires dangling all over the place is OK. I'm sure we've all had friends back in our single days that thought milk crates, plywood, and cinder blocks were acceptable building materials for furniture in one's home!

And a large cable spool makes a great table, lol.