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View Full Version : SqueezeBox fan, quick Sonos pro/cons?



AbMagFab
2009-08-20, 08:28
I am a SqueezeBox fan, and I prefer the open architecture of it.

I also require the IR blaster capabilities to turn on/off my AV equipment when only using the SB.

A friend of mine is asking which he should get. Certainly money is an obvious con for Sonos, but are there any other pros/cons for the average consumer that you can think of?

I'd like him to make the right decision for him, so any and all advice is welcomed!

Thanks in advance!

iPhone
2009-08-20, 09:15
I am a SqueezeBox fan, and I prefer the open architecture of it.

I also require the IR blaster capabilities to turn on/off my AV equipment when only using the SB.

A friend of mine is asking which he should get. Certainly money is an obvious con for Sonos, but are there any other pros/cons for the average consumer that you can think of?

I'd like him to make the right decision for him, so any and all advice is welcomed!

Thanks in advance!

I have always been of the opinion that one of the only reasons to buy Sonos is if one doesn't have a wireless network or doesn't know how to deal with one and doesn't mind paying extra so that one doesn't have to deal with or learn how to setup WiFi.

As for me personally, Sonos can't deal with the size of my CD collection.

Look at the Macintosh NMP, it is actually built by somebody else with just a lighted Blue MacIntosh face plate. The point being is that people who can't use PCs or wireless networks just want a box that they can feed CDs. And because of the Blue face plate, it matches the rest of their MacIntosh gear.

So if he is not going to be calling you every day with questions then Squeezebox. If he can't handle it or doesn't even have a wifi network, then maybe Sonos. YMMV.

Mnyb
2009-08-20, 09:33
I would add, setting a dedicated wifi network for the music.

Different AP/router for the squeezeboxes vs the you/wife/kids laptops

I have only one wifi network but then my PC is wired so it's only squeezeboxes and controllers in the air here.

One can certainly get into trouble if one does not take a little care with the wifi.

Was it not a tread where somebody was downloading torrents and wondering where the music went ?

toby10
2009-08-20, 10:23
Just as surround sound can be HTIB (Home Theatre In A Box) where one needs nothing other than what comes in the box, Sonos is a kind of Server/WiFi in a box for streaming music.

No need for (or much knowledge related too) networks, routers, WiFi, servers, etc...

On the other hand, if one has a basic network and server PC already, then the SB players are a nice add-on.
Even if your "network" is as simple as streaming pics & videos & music from a PC to a gaming console (PS3/Xbox) you have the basic infrastructure to add SB players.

regalma1
2009-08-20, 10:43
I have long considered the Sonos having long suffered through many problems with the SB. In the end I always choose to stick with the SB. If your friend is computer person and likes technical challenges tell him/her to go with the SB. But if he isn't technical, or is easily frustrated then Sonos hands down. That is if you want to keep him as a friend. Everyone I know who has one describes a level of robustness that can only make me jealous.

maggior
2009-08-20, 11:46
I'm not so sure I agree.

My brother, who can use a computer but isn't what I would call technical or technically inclined, had no trouble installing SC on his Windows XP machine. He also had no trouble configuring his Duet when he received it. The only involvement I've had to was to give him some tips on navigating the menus. His envrionment is wireless with secruity set up, so it isn't that his setup was wide open and simple to set up.

Now, I know from personal experience that when things don't go smoothly with the Duet that it can be very challenging to debug. However, I can't imagine that it would be much different with Sonos...it's the nature of any distributed architecture.

I think the duet got a bad rap in the beginning because of issues that would arise with setup. I had my share of issues and usability complaints. They appear to have worked those things out with the more current releases.

iPhone
2009-08-20, 13:23
And just to add to what others have said. If you think your friends WiFi setup is weak, fix his network coverage first or have him buy SB3 and Boom only. The Duet has the most trouble dealing with a weak WiFi network due partly to its size and the only places that antennas could be placed.

I have a ton of devices on my WiFi network, but I went to the trouble to put the WAP in the best place possible so I haven't had any Squeezebox issues. As has been said, if one has a network dedicated to Squeezebox only, to sort of becomes like the Sonos dedicated network.

upstatemike
2009-08-20, 17:44
Not sure you got the list you requested...

Slim Devices Pros:
-Players have displays so every location can display what is playing. When off you get weather forcasts, stocks, etc. Can also display custom messages via Home Automation servers etc.

-Players can operate from included IR remotes as well as optional RF controllers.

-Open source means more rapid feature additions(but not necessarily rapid bug fixes).

Slim Devices Cons:
-No easy streaming of local sources (some limited streaming from server CD drive or Radio Shark device)

-SB Receiver does not permit direct configuration of key network settings such as static IP address.

-No amplified version. You can get to a similar place using small auto-turn on amps (I use a lot of AudioSource Amp 100s)but it is not as neat an installation. Powered Speakers are also an option but not as versatile as an integrated amp in the player.

-SB Controller has significant startup delay when picked up from table (no delay if picked up from charging stand)

-SB Controller has some issues roaming from one wireless access point to another.

SONOS Pros:
-No startup delay with touch screen controller

-Local source inputs for streaming iPod, Home Automation announcements, AM/FM tuners, etc.

-Version with built-in amp for very neat installation while retaining ability to use wide range of speakers.

-Easier wireless setup with no roaming issues for wireless controller.

-Controller GUI is somewhat better at managing groups of linked players.

-Fewer bugs or broken features.

SONOS Cons:
-No option to use IR remotes (so no using a universal programmable remote)

-Not open source so smaller feature set overall and new features are slow to appear.

-No local display so need expensive wireless controllers to see what is playing. (Not sure if display stays on when touch screen controller is in the cradle)

Non Issues:
Both systems need a PC or Network Attached Storage to hold the music library. It does not matter if the interface runs from the storage device (SqueezeCenter) or one of the players (SONOS).

-Both systems can reliably maintain playback synchronization across multiple zones when playing native file formats.

pski
2009-08-20, 20:58
Not sure you got the list you requested...

Slim Devices Pros:
-Players have displays so every location can display what is playing. When off you get weather forcasts, stocks, etc. Can also display custom messages via Home Automation servers etc.

-Players can operate from included IR remotes as well as optional RF controllers.

-Open source means more rapid feature additions(but not necessarily rapid bug fixes).

Slim Devices Cons:
-No easy streaming of local sources (some limited streaming from server CD drive or Radio Shark device)

-SB Receiver does not permit direct configuration of key network settings such as static IP address.

-No amplified version. You can get to a similar place using small auto-turn on amps (I use a lot of AudioSource Amp 100s)but it is not as neat an installation. Powered Speakers are also an option but not as versatile as an integrated amp in the player.

-SB Controller has significant startup delay when picked up from table (no delay if picked up from charging stand)

-SB Controller has some issues roaming from one wireless access point to another.

SONOS Pros:
-No startup delay with touch screen controller

-Local source inputs for streaming iPod, Home Automation announcements, AM/FM tuners, etc.

-Version with built-in amp for very neat installation while retaining ability to use wide range of speakers.

-Easier wireless setup with no roaming issues for wireless controller.

-Controller GUI is somewhat better at managing groups of linked players.

-Fewer bugs or broken features.

SONOS Cons:
-No option to use IR remotes (so no using a universal programmable remote)

-Not open source so smaller feature set overall and new features are slow to appear.

-No local display so need expensive wireless controllers to see what is playing. (Not sure if display stays on when touch screen controller is in the cradle)

Non Issues:
Both systems need a PC or Network Attached Storage to hold the music library. It does not matter if the interface runs from the storage device (SqueezeCenter) or one of the players (SONOS).

-Both systems can reliably maintain playback synchronization across multiple zones when playing native file formats.

Sonos: expensive

Squeeze: way less expensive

"-Players have displays so every location can display what is playing. When off you get weather forcasts, stocks, etc. Can also display custom messages via Home Automation servers etc."

WRONG: SR (squeezebox receiver) does NOT have a display other than a color LED.

"-Players can operate from included IR remotes as well as optional RF controllers."

WRONG: SB (squeezebox) include IR. Transporter includes IR controller.

"-No easy streaming of local sources (some limited streaming from server CD drive or Radio Shark device)"

WRONG: WTF is a "local source?" You put your music where the server can find it. Might as well complain that Boom can't play a CD.

RIGHT: "-No amplified version. You can get to a similar place using small auto-turn on amps (I use a lot of AudioSource Amp 100s)but it is not as neat an installation. Powered Speakers are also an option but not as versatile as an integrated amp in the player."

I'm sorry, I thought "line-level" was a universal concept. How many speakers? Will it match my Kappa 9's?

DUH?: "-SB Controller has significant startup delay when picked up from table (no delay if picked up from charging stand)"

I don't have an issue with 4 seconds from "saving my battery for you."

DUH?: "-No local display so need expensive wireless controllers to see what is playing. (Not sure if display stays on when touch screen controller is in the cradle)"

See Expensive above. I think this is just another Squeeze Pro.

P

andynormancx
2009-08-21, 03:28
WRONG: WTF is a "local source?" You put your music where the server can find it. Might as well complain that Boom can't play a CD.


On a Sonos you can plug any audio source you like into the back of one of them and stream the source to all the players. Doing the same on SB involves messing about with the waveinput plugin (which can be a pain to make work) and making sure the audio source you want to stream is next to your server.

That is definitely a big plus for Sonos for people who need that functionality.



DUH?: "-SB Controller has significant startup delay when picked up from table (no delay if picked up from charging stand)"

I don't have an issue with 4 seconds from "saving my battery for you."


4 seconds ? Where did you get that figure from ?

If I have been using my SBC recently there is no delay. If I have let it alone for a while there is a 10-20 second delay while it wakes up. It is that long wake up delay that means I mostly reach for my iPhone rather than the SBC to control my SBs.

jimzak
2009-08-21, 04:30
The main thing for me is as stated by the first poster: size of music collection.

My digital music collection is just slightly under 50,000 files right now and growing.

My understanding is that Sonos only goes up to 45,000 music files. Naturally I see this as a critical problem.

badbob
2009-08-21, 04:39
The only drawback of squeezebox is it requires a host service, you can't just plug the SB into your router, have a standard NAS and play music straight from it. A self contained squeezebox with built-in (upgradeable) software and CPU power for it, would have been nice.

upstatemike
2009-08-21, 05:33
WRONG: SR (squeezebox receiver) does NOT have a display other than a color LED.

But you are not required to use an SR. You can have an SB3 in every room. SONOS does not have a player with a display.



WRONG: SB (squeezebox) include IR. Transporter includes IR controller.


Not sure what you are trying to say here. An SB3 will work from an IR remote as well as from an SB Controller. SONOS does not offer the option to use IR.



I'm sorry, I thought "line-level" was a universal concept. How many speakers? Will it match my Kappa 9's?


A SONOS amp will drive any speaker or set of speakers within it's power and impedance specifications same as any other amp.



I don't have an issue with 4 seconds from "saving my battery for you."


I probably wouldn't have a problem with 4 seconds either. Unfortunately the delay is much longer than that.

upstatemike
2009-08-21, 05:48
The only drawback of squeezebox is it requires a host service, you can't just plug the SB into your router, have a standard NAS and play music straight from it. A self contained squeezebox with built-in (upgradeable) software and CPU power for it, would have been nice.

That is the SONOS model and I have never understood why it would make any difference. Either way you have two pieces, the music player and the music repository. I can't see that it makes a difference which location holds the "brains" of the system. I use a small ASUS B202 PC for SqueezeCenter. It holds my music, runs 17 players and 4 controllers and still has enough horspower to stream video from my security cameras. It runs standard XP so SqueezeCenter upgrades and plugins work without any special configuration, it consumes 17 watts of power, and it cost under $300. What in the world is A NAS plus a souped up (more expenseve) player/server going to give me?

paulster
2009-08-21, 05:50
I don't have an issue with 4 seconds from "saving my battery for you."I probably wouldn't have a problem with 4 seconds either. Unfortunately the delay is much longer than that.
I agree. The delay is much longer than 4 seconds, which is why I disabled the sleep mode. Works much better that way, whether picked up from the cradle or the table.

badbob
2009-08-21, 06:05
That is the SONOS model and I have never understood why it would make any difference. Either way you have two pieces, the music player and the music repository. I can't see that it makes a difference which location holds the "brains" of the system. I use a small ASUS B202 PC for SqueezeCenter. It holds my music, runs 17 players and 4 controllers and still has enough horspower to stream video from my security cameras. It runs standard XP so SqueezeCenter upgrades and plugins work without any special configuration, it consumes 17 watts of power, and it cost under $300. What in the world is A NAS plus a souped up (more expenseve) player/server going to give me?

A integrated solution.

toby10
2009-08-21, 06:08
The only drawback of squeezebox is it requires a host service, you can't just plug the SB into your router, have a standard NAS and play music straight from it. A self contained squeezebox with built-in (upgradeable) software and CPU power for it, would have been nice.

I've never used Sonos beyond the store demo, so maybe I'm not understanding how Sonos works.

But I was under the impression, and I think this is what you are saying, is that Sonos is also server based, just that it's a self contained server (cpu, drive, server software). This certainly is a convenience factor that many desire, but at a cost. Higher price, limited flexibility, limited music file usage, etc...

Those Sonos draw backs are exactly where SB players come into play, granted with more complexity than a standalone system. Particularly for those that already have a computer/server and network for other applications.

Flexibility is boundless with SB players, from the simplistic (what you are already familiar with):
- PC and MAC
- Windows and MAC os's

To the less familiar (for us non-techies) assuming you want to learn the varying OS's, setup procedures, tweaks:
- NAS or build your own dedicated server or buy a Vortex Box dedicated server
- Linux and Ubuntu and (others?? dunno, beyond my realm of knowledge)

Two different architectures and philosophies serving two different types of customers.
Luckily BOTH are good choices, depending on ones needs. :)

upstatemike
2009-08-21, 06:15
I've never used Sonos beyond the store demo, so maybe I'm not understanding how Sonos works.

But I was under the impression, and I think this is what you are saying, is that Sonos is also server based, just that it's a self contained server (cpu, drive, server software)...

No drive, you still need a networked music repository such as a PC or NAS. Essentially the first SONOS player in your system acts as the "master" or "server".

badbob
2009-08-21, 08:31
Well of course you do, but what Sonos has with no host computer is a positive point, a installer doesn't like the idea of a computer..faffing about with OS etc. I do have a couple of Squeezebox's, I do like the adjustability, but looking at Sonos it does have that going for it. Plug in and go. I think if Logitech made it's own NAS from ground up (firmware upgrade is NAS OS plus Slimserver) with power for multi-room I think would get more attention. I've got a Qnap TS-209 II NAS, it's not quite fast enough for slimserver (slow build, a bit slow navigation and using random mix)

Most people wouldn't want to fart around with a computer. Although it shouldn't be idiot proof or locked in like Apple products.

Also another with Squeezebox + slimserver/linux PC in one unit) with linux/slimserver firmware/image designed for it, would be good

iPhone
2009-08-21, 13:54
A integrated solution.

Apparently several people need to do some additional Internet surfing. If one just has to have a built-in amp, there is one available. I prefer powered speakers or proper amp matching myself.

There is a Squeezebox with built in amp: Connected Acoustic (http://www.connectedacoustic.com/product.php?xProd=2)

And why not set ones SB3 or Duet Receiver on top of a Vortexbox (http://vortexbox.org/buy/)

Granted this is not an all in one box as the Sonos is, but if one buys a CA, uses iPeng, and buys a Vortexbox Appliance, they will be fairly close to Sonos with the exception of the built in private wireless network. The price of the CA, Vortexbox, and a wifi router is less then Sonos if one assumes they already own an iTouch or iPhone. Again this isn't all in one box, but I think it shows what can be done for a first time buyer that wants a turnkey system without paying the high price required to join the Sonos Club and in the end has much more flexibility then Sonos at an additional cost reduction when adding more players. And also, Sonos has no Boom.

badbob
2009-08-22, 00:41
Apparently you should have got what I was covering, which is they are not supported by Logitech. Logitech do not have their own computer/squeezebox unit (either with amp or no amp) Some people are finnicky they'll want the same brand for the system controller. I know any computer will do but to snobbie Hi-Fi shop, or a snobbie customer it doesn't seem so high-end with non matching or supported components. I couldn't care less myself, but I can understand the reasons behind it. Also if logitech made integrated firmware so it's not just computer operating system + Slimserver ontop.

paulster
2009-08-22, 01:30
I know any computer will do but to snobbie Hi-Fi shop, or a snobbie customer it doesn't seem so high-end with non matching or supported components.
But how is this really different in principle to the Sonos system requiring third-party disk storage to be able to operate?

I can't really see someone who's put off by having to buy a non-Logitech unit to run SqueezeCenter suddenly breathing a sigh of relief when they realise with Sonos that they only have to buy a non-Sonos NAS for instance.

Once you're feeling like you have to match things to that level you may as well cut to the chase and buy the Sooloos system.

badbob
2009-08-22, 08:12
I just tried the new Sonos remote, pretty damn awesome. Amazing it picks up what you're pressing on the those tiny letters on the right hand side. Certainly faster than my NAS as slimserver. Is there anything like that for squeezebox, a larger screen and fast response? Maybe database stored locally on the touchscreen so navigation is quick?

"But how is this really different in principle to the Sonos system requiring third-party disk storage to be able to operate?"

I'm talking about the server side, it's not a custom OS but Mac OS/Linux/Windows, with Slimserver ontop. As for communicating to the storage unit that's over TCP/IP so no worries, I'm talking of possibly problems with server itself, it's not a dedicated firmware designed from the ground up. Much like Xbox 360, OS is just Windows not with it's own operating system (ie Nintendo, Playstation 1)

paulster
2009-08-22, 08:23
I just tried the new Sonos remote, pretty damn awesome. Amazing it picks up what you're pressing on the those tiny letters on the right hand side. Certainly faster than my NAS as slimserver. Is there anything like that for squeezebox, a larger screen and fast response? Maybe database stored locally on the touchscreen so navigation is quick?
Put your database on a solid-state disk. That's what I've done and it's über-responsive from the Logitech Controller, even using a little 'underpowered' HP thin client as my server.

Using a NAS as the server really isn't ideal as there's way too little memory and CPU for the task at hand, and it's kind of a shame that Logitech endorse it since it can lead to frustration at poor performance.


As for communicating to the storage unit that's over TCP/IP so no worries
Do you really think that anybody who worries about not having a Logitech-packaged server device is going to actually understand that it's only a TCP/IP connection to their disk storage though, so that won't be a worry?

I'd say that either they're technically savvy or not.

andynormancx
2009-08-22, 08:33
I just tried the new Sonos remote, pretty damn awesome. Amazing it picks up what you're pressing on the those tiny letters on the right hand side. Certainly faster than my NAS as slimserver. Is there anything like that for squeezebox, a larger screen and fast response? Maybe database stored locally on the touchscreen so navigation is quick?

Yes, iPeng running on an iPhone or iPod Touch is lightning fast at navigating lists like that. It uses automatic local caching of the database to achieve it.

Pascal Hibon
2009-08-22, 12:56
Three or four years ago I did the same investigation: which system to buy – Slimdevices (at that time their name wasn’t Logitech) or Sonos.
After some “digging” I finally choose for SB and mainly for these reasons:

1. Sonos uses a closed proprietary network. On top of that, it uses 802.11 b/g radio technologies. That is a source for wireless trouble if one already has a wireless network at home (their forums had ton of threads on the subject by the way).
2. Slimdevices uses an open architecture server platform. The advantages of such systems are countless.
3. I felt that the built quality of the Slimdevices hardware is superior.

A Logitech system is very easy to setup and if you should run into trouble, this forum is an excellent source for help. Another pro for Logitech.

jimzak
2009-08-23, 07:52
I have a Duet, and I have an iPod Touch with iPeng.

I'll have to admit that I would really like a better controller than either, one more like the Sonos.

big LCD
instant-on
responsive to touch and gestures
can tweak most or all of Squeezecenter's settings
etc.

Perhaps one is coming?