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MatthewSchenker
2009-07-07, 04:59
Hello,
I have been looking for a good wireless music system in my home, and after a lot of research and reading reviews I'm ready to dive in and get going with Logitech's Squeezebox devices.

Currently, I'm using iTunes, with an Airport Extreme router sending a signal to an Airport Base Station at my stereo system, and I have the "Remote" app installed on an iPod Touch. The system is OK, but I get a feeling I can do better!

I'm confused about what Logitech products to get.

Simple requirements:
- Good sound. The system will be my main music source for my living room, and I'll wire stallite speakers into the kitchen.
- I'm hoping to maintain the ability to tune into my local Public Radio station!
- A wireless controller that can work anywhere in the house, not only in a direct line with the music system.

Perhaps the Boom is a good idea? But I can't seem to figure out if it's a clock radio or a real stereo system.

Then there's all the other Squeezebox products. Reading the descriptions from Logitech doesn't help me figure out what they do. If I already have a stereo receiver and good speakers, what do I need to get set up? Is there a component that will let me replace my receiver and speakers?

Please help!

pippin
2009-07-07, 05:18
- Good sound. The system will be my main music source for my living room,

Squeezebox Classic sounds like a good choice


and I'll wire stallite speakers into the kitchen.

How about Boom?


- I'm hoping to maintain the ability to tune into my local Public Radio station!

If it has a web feed chances are good it will work. All of mine do.


- A wireless controller that can work anywhere in the house, not only in a direct line with the music system.

Now, you do already have an iPod touch, don't you?


Perhaps the Boom is a good idea? But I can't seem to figure out if it's a clock radio or a real stereo system.

Depends on your definition. It's a clock radio with REALLY GOOD sound. If you want to connect something to your HiFi I'd take something without speakers and I prefer the Classic, which has a cool display.


Then there's all the other Squeezebox products. Reading the descriptions from Logitech doesn't help me figure out what they do. If I already have a stereo receiver and good speakers, what do I need to get set up? Is there a component that will let me replace my receiver and speakers?


Well, have you seen this?
http://www.logitechsqueezebox.com/products/overview.html

The Boom has really good sound for it's size but you probably don't want to replace your HiFi speakers with it, it's just not that kind of size.

If you've got a amp or active speakers you could use a Classic or Transporter (if you want to go the audiophile level) to replace your receiver. That's what I did and I'm very happy with this setup. All the music around with only one brick :-)

I've got a Boom in the Kitchen and another Squeezebox with active speakers in the Bathroom and one in the Dining Room. Cool to sync them all up.

Oh, and of course I use my iPod to control all of this :-)

corbey
2009-07-07, 06:01
Since you're using iTunes and several other Apple products, you probably need to be aware that you can't use a Squeezebox to stream DRM-protected music that you downloaded from the iTunes store.

The good news is that just about every other file type is OK, including any of the newer files from the iTunes store without DRM.

toby10
2009-07-07, 06:22
As pippin says, your local NPR stations are most likely available. You can check this easily, pre-purchase, in many ways.
Two of the quickest ways:

1. Go to www.SqueezeNetwork.com (need to create a free account) then navigate to Browse > Local .... see if your desired NPR's are listed

2. Post your NPR call letters and city so I can look it up for you (but what's the fun in that????). :)

dsdreamer
2009-07-07, 07:45
Since you're using iTunes and several other Apple products, you probably need to be aware that you can't use a Squeezebox to stream DRM-protected music that you downloaded from the iTunes store.

The good news is that just about every other file type is OK, including any of the newer files from the iTunes store without DRM.

http://mac.blorge.com/2009/01/07/itunes-is-now-drm-free-heres-how-to-upgrade-your-library/

It depends how many Fairplay(tm) protected tracks you have and the depth of your pockets, but this is a good option if you care about sound quality and want SqueezeBox access to the entirety of your purchased iTMS library.

dsdreamer
2009-07-07, 08:05
Consider making a software only trial of the SqueezeBox system. By which, I mean download the latest released version of SqueezeCenter from http://www.logitechsqueezebox.com/support/download-squeezecenter.html, on the same machine you use to run iTunes, and point it at your iTunes library so that it can do a scan and discover you music collection. Browse around in the web interface, and check how much of it was successfully discovered and categorized.

Then you could try streaming to a software player on another machine (pref. a WiFi enabled laptop), using SqueezePlay or SoftSqueeze. You can get SqueezePlay (beta) from here http://downloads.slimdevices.com/nightly/?ver=7.3

You may have a few issues to resolve before everything is working to your satisfaction and comfort, but once you are in that state you can be highly confident that your first hardware player is going to be set up and running in a matter of minutes. Of course this kind of testing only gives you an impression of the software ecosystem, and does not represent the experience of having an actual hardware player (which also comes with support from Logitech staff).

Pippin is being somewhat modest: I will say that his iPhone / Touch app is an excellent way to get control of your entire Squeezebox client/server system from the palm of your hand, and is available on the App store for a modest fee.

Dingostrategy
2009-07-07, 09:21
Consider making a software only trial of the SqueezeBox system. By which, I mean download the latest released version of SqueezeCenter from http://www.logitechsqueezebox.com/support/download-squeezecenter.html, on the same machine you use to run iTunes, and point it at your iTunes library so that it can do a scan and discover you music collection. Browse around in the web interface, and check how much of it was successfully discovered and categorized.

Then you could try streaming to a software player on another machine (pref. a WiFi enabled laptop), using SqueezePlay or SoftSqueeze. You can get SqueezePlay (beta) from here http://downloads.slimdevices.com/nightly/?ver=7.3

You may have a few issues to resolve before everything is working to your satisfaction and comfort, but once you are in that state you can be highly confident that your first hardware player is going to be set up and running in a matter of minutes. Of course this kind of testing only gives you an impression of the software ecosystem, and does not represent the experience of having an actual hardware player (which also comes with support from Logitech staff).

Pippin is being somewhat modest: I will say that his iPhone / Touch app is an excellent way to get control of your entire Squeezebox client/server system from the palm of your hand, and is available on the App store for a modest fee.

I support this notion entirely. All of it. I ran softsqueeze (the transporter skin, of course :)) for a year before buying a SB3 (classic).

It gave me confidence that SC was easy - that FLAC really does make a heap of difference over everything else, that it all worked nicely with my system. The actual audio quality improvement when I finally plugged the classic in was just wild (in fairness it didn't have much to beat against a $10 soundcard).

And I'm also a very happy iPeng user.

Overall don't be too put off by the trouble shooting issues you see around this place. Avoid the Duet, don't try and fiddle too much, and it's just about plug and play. I call it, plug, learn, fiddle, read, play - but then it's smooth sailing...

MatthewSchenker
2009-07-11, 10:04
Hello,
Thanks everyone for the assistance. Music is really important in my household, so I want to take the time to get thie right.

I've pretty much decided that Squeezebox is the way to go, but I must admit I'm still a bit confused about the options.

If I am understanding everyone here, it seems that I have a way forward:
1. Get a Squeezebox Classic (no need for a Duet) for the main stereo
2. Get a Boom for the kitchen (and other smaller rooms)
3. Install the SqueezeCenter software to control the music
4. Use the iPod Touch to run a Logitech app that controls the Classic and the Boom(s)

A couple more questions (since everyone is being so kind)...

What are the advantages of installing the Transporter? it seems I still have to hook it up to my receiver, so it doesn't replace that equipment. Is it just better audio quality that is the main attraction with this?

Notes:
A lot of my music is either purchased AAC files. But the majority of my music is in Apple Lossless format. It's all housed in a folder on my home network, which is also picked up by iTunes.

Does all that make sense?

I wish there was a way to demo the Logitech equipment at a store like Best Buy or a stereo supply place. Even my local high-end audio shop does not have any of the Squeezebox equipment to try out (although they do have the Sonos system, which I don't want).

Thanks,
Matt

pippin
2009-07-11, 10:56
4. Use the iPod Touch to run a Logitech app that controls the Classic and the Boom(s)

No Logitech App, but three 3rd party apps, probably the most popular of which is iPeng (see the link in my footer).


What are the advantages of installing the Transporter? it seems I still have to hook it up to my receiver, so it doesn't replace that equipment. Is it just better audio quality that is the main attraction with this?

Better audio quality.
Dual Display.
Balanced outputs so you can drive active speakers with much less distortion and error. This is IMHO the way to go if you want to use the Transporter, from a quality perspective.
It also has digital inputs, so it can to a certain degree replace your Receiver.

MatthewSchenker
2009-07-12, 06:48
Good Morning,
OK, I've been getting acquainted with Squeezebox these past few days. Thank you to everyone here for helping me. Logitech should give you all a commission!

I've taken a close look at Squeezecenter and Squeezesoft. Some things I like, some things I am still puzzled about. Before I dive in and spend the money on a Squeezebox system, I want to get all the information I can about this.

OK here are my initial responses to what I've reviewed so far. Of course, I haven't had a chance to see a player in action, just the software. Please correct me if I'm missing something...

Better Fit For My Collection
My musical tastes go from punk to electronica to jazz to classical. One of my frustrations with iTunes is that it's unfriendly to classical music fans, since you only have two fields: artist and composer. You cannot parse out orchestra (band) information. Anyone who is a classical music fan knows that this is important for any complete library! I'm glad to see that Squeezecenter gives me these additional fields for my classical music. That's excellent!

Squeezecenter Software
Kind of clunky. I'm computer savvy, and got it set up to look and work the way I want. But it's not very straightforward to browse your collection, and the look of it is just off-putting. It is too easy, for example, to navigate to a screen with highly technical information and not see how to get back to your "home" screen that contains your music. Sometimes album artwork shows up, sometimes it doesn't. Clicking the wrong choice suddenly changes the album layout to a confusing mass of text instead of a graphical interface. My wife, for example, would take one look at Squeezecenter and never use it again. It's just confusing to a non-techie.

I've looked at the alternative skins, but most of them are even more confusing than the "default." I'll take a look and see if there are better skins and functionality available.

The software seems a bit unreliable. Sometimes, for example, I click "albums" and the information appears, other times I click it and nothing happens.

Squeezesoft
I like the idea of being able to manage my collection from my local machine, but the software seems a bit rough at this point. This looks like a new concept, so I suspect Logitech will offer something better in the future.

Overall
I really like the availability of the various radio stations and music services right from Squeezecenter. And all the options for tweaking how it runs are excellent. I just wish the software worked a little more smoothly.

Having my music collection easy to view and work with is important. I'm still looking into all this!

dsdreamer
2009-07-12, 07:48
Squeezecenter Software
Kind of clunky. I'm computer savvy, and got it set up to look and work the way I want. But it's not very straightforward to browse your collection, and the look of it is just off-putting.

My approach has been to use the SC setup for initial configuration, but rely on 3rd part control apps for everyday interaction with the system. I recommend iPeng for the iPhone or Touch devices, and you might also try Dr. Lovegrove's Moose as a Windows based front-end. http://www.rusticrhino.com/drlovegrove/

I wasn't sure what you meant by "squeezesoft", but if that was actually Squeezeplay (rather than softsqueeze), I can understand your comments about the lack of UI polish, but I find it quite solid and simpler to use than the web UI of SC, when it comes to browsing for music and controlling playback.

deutscherhififan
2009-07-12, 17:54
What are the advantages of installing the Transporter? it seems I still have to hook it up to my receiver, so it doesn't replace that equipment. Is it just better audio quality that is the main attraction with this?



Other advantages of the transporter:

- it plays 24/96 flac files (for example from HDTracks.com)
- you can use it as a wireless bridge for a DVD player or other components that would like to have access to the web
- use it as a stand-alone dac for other digital sources
- much better wireless reception than a duet receiver
- tons of configuration options
- much better audio quality
- manual controls (buttons, wheel)
- display more information

Hope that helps.

radish
2009-07-13, 10:28
- you can use it as a wireless bridge for a DVD player or other components that would like to have access to the web


Just as an FYI, all of the (wireless capable) players can act as a bridge in this fashion.

MatthewSchenker
2009-07-14, 05:57
deutscherhififan and radish,
I have to admit, I'm lost about what it means to use the Transporter or other wireless-capable players, as a bridge. I'll have to read up on that.

I've downloaded the Moose application, and it does present a nicer way to navigate. But I still need to figure out how to access the radion stations from there (something Squeezecenter does do well). Seems, for now, that the complete package is still under development!

I'm still looking into this.

Thanks again everyone for your help.

ModelCitizen
2009-07-14, 09:33
I (and I'm sure many/most others) do not use the web interface for anything but settings. General music system usage is often entirely achieved via the infrared remote, the controller or iPeng on an iPhone.... which can make the lack of elegance of the web interface a very minor factor in the buying decision.

MC

Phil Leigh
2009-07-14, 10:33
I (and I'm sure many/most others) do not use the web interface for anything but settings. General music system usage is often entirely achieved via the infrared remote, the controller or iPeng on an iPhone.... which can make the lack of elegance of the web interface a very minor factor in the buying decision.

MC

erm... I may be odd but I use the WEB GUI (nearly) all the time... I rather like it (shuffles off to hide in shame)

ModelCitizen
2009-07-14, 10:50
erm... I may be odd but I use the WEB GUI (nearly) all the time... I rather like it (shuffles off to hide in shame)
You have all that hi end hifi gear and a whirring PC in the same room?
Odd. You said it. :-)

Maybe I'm wrong about web gui usage then.

MC

maggior
2009-07-14, 10:59
erm... I may be odd but I use the WEB GUI (nearly) all the time... I rather like it (shuffles off to hide in shame)

I'll hide with you :-). I use SqueezePlay now to control my squeezeboxes via my PC, but before that I always used the web interface and never had any issues with it.

I do agree though that it shouldn't be used as a basis for purchase, or at least it shouldn't be considered a major factor.

paulster
2009-07-14, 12:50
erm... I may be odd but I use the WEB GUI (nearly) all the time... I rather like it (shuffles off to hide in shame)

I'm with Phil here.

Whilst I have the Controller fairly readily to hand I tend to use the web interface more as I leave it open as a tab in Firefox. So much so, in fact, that I'd really like to see a touchscreen version of the 'standard' skin and I'd happily buy a touchscreen like the new MSI integrated PC just for this application.

aubuti
2009-07-14, 14:17
Whilst I have the Controller fairly readily to hand I tend to use the web interface more as I leave it open as a tab in Firefox. So much so, in fact, that I'd really like to see a touchscreen version of the 'standard' skin and I'd happily buy a touchscreen like the new MSI integrated PC just for this application.
Have you tried the Touch skin? It, and the Nokia770 skin, were designed for touch screens. Or did you mean something _exactly_ like the standard skin?

paulster
2009-07-14, 14:24
Have you tried the Touch skin? It, and the Nokia770 skin, were designed for touch screens. Or did you mean something _exactly_ like the standard skin?

I mean something _exactly_ like the standard skin, rather than the Touch one that has a completely different look, which is a bit toy-like to my mind. Think Meridian Sooloos and you'll know where I'm coming from, which isn't a million miles away from the standard one, save for the inability to enter text, etc. from a touchscreen.