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View Full Version : Better Logitech products than the Squeezeboxes



mortslim
2012-08-05, 17:34
I have 6 squeezeboxes (3 classics and 3 booms). I have used them for a few years. However my needs required that I look for a different solution. What I have found is better than the squeezeboxes for my needs. I thought I would share these alternatives with you.

I bought two bluetooth streaming devices: the "Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter for Bluetooth Audio Devices" and also the "Logitech Wireless Boombox for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch with Bluetooth" (better model than the Logitech Wireless USB Speaker Z515).

The wireless speaker adapter connects to an existing stereo system. The boombox is self-contained in that it has its own speaker.

The source of my audio is streaming media from my iPad, my iPod Touch and my Samsung Galaxy Nexus cellphone. All these devices have bluetooth and pair easily with my new gadgets. Any bluetooth capable device should be able to pair.

Audio quality is great. I find it just as good as audio from my squeezeboxes. (I know Apple has its own proprietory method of streaming audio (Airplay?) but from what I have read, these new Logitech bluetooth devices provide better quality audio.

I feel I now have more control over my streaming media. I used iPeng and SqueezeCommander apps to control my squeezeboxes. They are great apps. Now that I am mainly using bluetooth devices, I use the respective streaming apps for direct control. For example, I have Rhapsody on my phone and Spotify on my iPad. I use the Rhapsody and Spotify apps to control the music.

What prompted me to get these new bluetooth devices? I like podcasts. I was using mediafly on the squeezeboxes. However mediafly stopped providing this service. I suggested that Logitech replace it with Stitcher. Logitech ignored me. Stitcher also contacted Logitech directly. Logitech wasn't interested. I think this is because Logitech is not devoting the resources to the Squeezebox line like it used to.

Advantages of my new bluetooth devices:
As new streaming apps appear for IOS (Apple) or Android, I don't have to wait forever for Logitech to decide to put these apps onto the Squeezebox. My impression is that there won't be any new apps added to the Squeezeboxes. My impression is that there won't be more development or improvements on the Squeezeboxes. It seems to be an "end of life" product. (I am openminded if Logitech proves me wrong, but I am not optimistic).

On the other hand, IOS (Apple) and Android and their respective apps are constantly being improved and with more choices arriving all the time.

My new solution is also cheaper for new customers. The cost of these bluetooth devices and maybe an extra home charger for your cellphone or iPad in the room where you listen (if you don't want to worry about battery life) is cheaper than buying a new squeezebox.

So there you have it: cheaper, more control, more choices and a future.

mortslim
2012-08-05, 17:56
And there is an additional reason why my new alternative is better:

There is a possibility (remote at present, but still a possibility) that eventually mysqueeze.com may disappear (as discussed in another thread in this forum.

Thus my suggested alternatives are also more future-proof relative to the squeezebox world.

pippin
2012-08-05, 20:07
The one problem with Bluetooth is that the audio codecs supported by >>90% of all bluetooth devices make mp3 look audiophile.

erland
2012-08-05, 21:40
How do you handle remote control with this solution ?

Doesn't this solution assume that the device that act as a source is the one you also hold in your hand which often means that it's not connected to the charger and will be drained of battery fairly quickly ?
Or can you somehow remote control your iPhone sitting in the charger which is acting as source with the Nexus you are holding in your hand or vice versa ?

What if if you have a iPhone in the charger acting as source and holding the iPad in your hand, is remote control of the Spotify, Rhapsody, Pandora apps possible in such scenario ?

I guess you can forget about synchronizing music between multiple rooms ?
(Just asking, it's probably not critical to most users)

If someone wanted to replace Squeezebox, wouldn't a Sonos system be a better alternative ? What are the advantages of the bluetooth setup compared to a Sonos setup ? Price ?

mortslim
2012-08-05, 23:31
Regarding battery life of a cellphone or iPad, my experience is that when not being charged, with screen off, just with wifi on to receive the audio stream and bluetooth on to broadcast the audio stream, there is relatively slow battery drain. My typical scenario is that I pick a streaming service, select an album or genre, and then put down the source device without the need to look at the screen while listening to the audio.

It is only when the screen is on that battery issues arise. If you prefer to keep the screen on, there are multiple charging options: an a/c extension cord, a usb extension cable, and for apple products, there are extra long charging cables. Any three of these solutions, or a combination of them, will bring the actual source device into your lap while being charged.

As far as audio quality, this isn't your grandfather's bluetooth. I am very happy with audio quality. There are many reviews of these suggested products on amazon.com and the vast majority are very favorable.

I don't know how a remote control setup would work to have one mobile device control another mobile device. I haven't tried it. As far as I know, an app on one mobile device can only control the audio on that device, not the audio on another mobile device that is using the same streaming service.

I am not too familiar with Sonos, but I thought this was another "walled garden" where you are at the mercy of the selection of apps that Sonos picks, versus the more open world of the app stores for ios (apple) and adroid.

I guess there is no such thing as a perfect device. You give up synchronizing between multiple rooms, but you gain more selection over current and future audio streaming apps. And as mentioned on another thread, even if mysqueezebox.com doesn't shut down, there is still a risk that services now hosted on mysqueezebox.com will be updated to the point of not being compatible with mysqueezebox.com if no Logitech employees are there to coordinate the updates.

mortslim
2012-08-06, 00:15
Here are links to my two new bluetooth devices that includes many reviews:

"Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter for Bluetooth Audio Devices"

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Wireless-Speaker-Bluetooth-980-000540/dp/B004VM1T5S

"Logitech Wireless Boombox for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch with Bluetooth"

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Wireless-Boombox-iPhone-touch/dp/B005KQ2O26/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1344237162&sr=1-2-fkmr0&keywords=%22Logitech+Wireless+Boombox+for+iPad%2C+ iPhone+and+iPod+touch+with+Bluetooth%22

andynormancx
2012-08-06, 02:30
With the screen off a full charged iPad can probably stream audio over WiFi/Bluetooth for a good 20+ hours. It really is the screen that uses most of the power.

erland
2012-08-06, 02:31
Regarding battery life of a cellphone or iPad, my experience is that when not being charged, with screen off, just with wifi on to receive the audio stream and bluetooth on to broadcast the audio stream, there is relatively slow battery drain.

My experience is that if you have constant WiFi communication it drains the battery within a few hours, but maybe bluetooth is better in this regard.



My typical scenario is that I pick a streaming service, select an album or genre, and then put down the source device without the need to look at the screen while listening to the audio.

I pretty much have similar usage scenario as yours, but I usually enable a smart playlist and let it play and when a new track starts playing I want to be able to see information about it.
So the screen doesn't have to be constantly on but I do need to be able to look at the screen now and then to see what's playing. This screen doesn't necessarily have to be on the device I have in my hand, preferably it can be a completely different device placed in a docking station in the center of the room, this is what I use the Squeezebox Touch screen for in my setup at the moment.



It is only when the screen is on that battery issues arise. If you prefer to keep the screen on, there are multiple charging options: an a/c extension cord, a usb extension cable, and for apple products, there are extra long charging cables. Any three of these solutions, or a combination of them, will bring the actual source device into your lap while being charged.

Sorry, cables are not an option, I have enough cables already so anything I need to hold in my hand need to be completely wireless and have a battery that at least survive 10 hours of listening, preferably days of listening. The iPad I currently have on the couch survives more than a week as I don't have to use it that often since I can start a smart playlist with my Harmony remote and see what's playing on the Squeezebox Touch display. I still use the iPad for Squeezebox but it's mostly related to when I want to do more advanced browsing using iPeng or Squeezepad.

As a side note, the battery life on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 which I also have is ridiculous compared to the iPad, the Samsung is completely drained during a day or two even if I don't use it much, but hopefully this isn't representative for other Android devices. The result is that the Galaxy Tab needs to be constantly placed in a docking station else it's out of battery when I want to use it, so it's mainly used as a Now Playing screen using the Squeeze Display (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=info.isaksson.squeezedisplay) app or as a photo frame using RSS Photo Show (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=info.isaksson.rssphotoshow) when nothing is playing.



As far as audio quality, this isn't your grandfather's bluetooth. I am very happy with audio quality. There are many reviews of these suggested products on amazon.com and the vast majority are very favorable.

Have you done any comparison between bluetooth and Airplay solutions regarding audio quality ?
Considering the fact that Airplay is getting more and more common in amplifiers from big HiFi manufacturers it kind of feels like it might be preferred over bluetooth as a long term solution for people that like Apple products. Of course the downsampling from 48k to 44.1k that occurs with Airplay could probably still be an issue for a lot of people.



I don't know how a remote control setup would work to have one mobile device control another mobile device. I haven't tried it. As far as I know, an app on one mobile device can only control the audio on that device, not the audio on another mobile device that is using the same streaming service.

I think you can remote control the iPod app but I'm not sure it works with apps for the streaming services.



I am not too familiar with Sonos, but I thought this was another "walled garden" where you are at the mercy of the selection of apps that Sonos picks, versus the more open world of the app stores for ios (apple) and adroid.

Correct, but they seem to be focused at providing the preferred multi room solution so my guess is that it's likely that they will have support for all important streaming services.



I guess there is no such thing as a perfect device. You give up synchronizing between multiple rooms, but you gain more selection over current and future audio streaming apps. And as mentioned on another thread, even if mysqueezebox.com doesn't shut down, there is still a risk that services now hosted on mysqueezebox.com will be updated to the point of not being compatible with mysqueezebox.com if no Logitech employees are there to coordinate the updates.

Correct, my feeling is that their are at least two categories of people:

Category 1: Those that want to have their music in the pocket (on a smart phone) and only want to listen to it in the room they are currently in
- I think either your bluetooth suggestion or an AirPlay solution would work great, probably even a lot better than current Squeezebox setup.

Category 2: Those that want to have the music in a central place in the house and want to be able to control it from any room in the house.
- I think something similar to Squeezebox is needed, this means Sonos, simple audio or similar solutions which are based on one or several central servers providing the content.

I'm sure someone is soon going to bring up UPnP/DLNA as the optimal streaming solution, but before doing that please show me an example where such solution works with premium streaming services (Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody and similar) if you mix UPnP devices from multiple manufacturers. I know the UPnP standard in theory should support it through extensions but in reality I haven't seen anyone implementing it using UPnP in such way that it works in a multi vendor environment.

Except for the above categories there are of course a lot of other kind of users:
- People that want to control everything from a computer
- People that want extreme audio quality (audiophiles)
- People who rather want something simple to use than something flexible
- People who mostly listen on headphones because they don't want to disturb the rest of the family

However, as you say, I don't think there is a solution that fits everyone, but I don't think a solution where the remote control and streaming source must be on the same device is a good replacement for people that loves Squeezebox, if my understanding is correct this pretty much rules out Airplay and bluetooth unless there is an application on top of them which supports a remote control from a separate device.

Finally, I think it's too early to give up on Logitech and the Squeezebox product family, but I don't want to go into more details in a public forum at this time.
Let's just say that there might be more things going on than what's visible in this public community forum.

pallfreeman
2012-08-06, 04:44
Finally, I think it's too early to give up on Logitech and the Squeezebox product family, but I don't want to go into more details in a public forum at this time.
Let's just say that there might be more things going on than what's visible in this public community forum.

The Urban Dictionary has the appropriate definition of "PT" in it.

MeSue
2012-08-06, 12:43
You give up synchronizing between multiple rooms...

This is what I can't give up.

mortslim
2012-08-06, 16:10
Here's a favorable review of the Logitech bluetooth boombox that compares Airplay and bluetooth quality:

"Despite the recent attention AirPlay speakers have received, this speaker demonstrates precisely why Bluetooth options will continue to be viable for the foreseeable future"

http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/logitech-wireless-boombox-for-ipad-iphone-ipod-touch/

As far as I know, bluetooth is just another digital form of transmission, a series of 1's and 0's. That being the case, the quality of the audio is not determined by the bluetooth format, but rather by the quality of the digital to analog converter in the product. Logitech has put in high quality converters, as far as my ears can tell.

pippin
2012-08-06, 16:36
As far as I know, bluetooth is just another digital form of transmission, a series of 1's and 0's. That being the case, the quality of the audio is not determined by the bluetooth format, but rather by the quality of the digital to analog converter in the product. Logitech has put in high quality converters, as far as my ears can tell.

No, that's not entirely true.
While this is theoretically true of Bluetooth, it's not generally true of Bluetooth Audio. Bluetooth Audio uses it's own codecs to encode and decode the audio before and after the transmission and these can be VERY lossy.

CAN BE, because there ARE better ones but only very few devices support them and to be used BOTH the sending and the receiving device have to use these better codecs or Bluetooth falls back to the default ones which are actually even much worse than mp3.

Bluetooth for audio is NOT just a transport like ethernet or WiFi, it's a system that includes audio conversion.
The same is true of AirPlay, but AirPlay these days uses the lossless ALAC codec.

So while you could build a Bluetooth connection between two computers that just acts as a network and transmits whatever file format, that's not what Bluetooth does if you connect audio devices.

aubuti
2012-08-06, 16:38
Here's a favorable review of the Logitech bluetooth boombox that compares Airplay and bluetooth quality:
<snip>
As far as I know, bluetooth is just another digital form of transmission, a series of 1's and 0's. That being the case, the quality of the audio is not determined by the bluetooth format, but rather by the quality of the digital to analog converter in the product.
No and no. That article is comparing AirPlay and Bluetooth players. For these all-in-one devices the bulk of the difference in sound quality most likely comes down to fundamentals like the built-in amps and speakers. The DAC and wireless protocol are loose change in comparison. It may well be that the Logitech Bluetooth device sounds better than many AirPlay devices -- they probably learned a thing or two when making the Boom. But it says nothing about superiority/inferiority of the wireless protocol or the DACs.

Mnyb
2012-08-06, 22:13
No, that's not entirely true.
While this is theoretically true of Bluetooth, it's not generally true of Bluetooth Audio. Bluetooth Audio uses it's own codecs to encode and decode the audio before and after the transmission and these can be VERY lossy.

CAN BE, because there ARE better ones but only very few devices support them and to be used BOTH the sending and the receiving device have to use these better codecs or Bluetooth falls back to the default ones which are actually even much worse than mp3.

Bluetooth for audio is NOT just a transport like ethernet or WiFi, it's a system that includes audio conversion.
The same is true of AirPlay, but AirPlay these days uses the lossless ALAC codec.

So while you could build a Bluetooth connection between two computers that just acts as a network and transmits whatever file format, that's not what Bluetooth does if you connect audio devices.

.....and that is another reason for squeezeboxes , a transmission protocol designed to be lossless and bit-perfect and respect the source quality all the time .
Not many other devices do that at this price level , there are ofcourse a bunch of specaliesed hifi streamers ,but the are to expensive and have other limitations .

The masses don't care much for soundquality so other practicallities always trumps soundquality in such devices

Gingernut63
2012-08-07, 12:09
The masses don't care much for soundquality so other practicallities always trumps soundquality in such devices

That is the key statement for most music delivery systems. Most people just want to hear music, much like the old days of listening to a transistor radio. The majority of people on this forum want high quality audio delivery, but we are a small percentage of the heaving masses. Personally I'm a pragmatist. I want high quality for my HiFi and I'll accept lesser quality for my portable units. You are also spot on regarding usability. That is why people like Airplay because it just works. That is why people bought 3 in 1 music systems of years gone by. That is why Squeezebox has not been accepted universally because it is a bit too complicated for the average listener.


Finally, I think it's too early to give up on Logitech and the Squeezebox product family, but I don't want to go into more details in a public forum at this time.
Let's just say that there might be more things going on than what's visible in this public community forum.

A ray of light perhaps? You have piqued my interest.

MeSue
2012-08-07, 13:08
FYI, that Logitech Boombox wireless speaker is on 1saleaday for $90 today.
http://1saleaday.com/flash/984-000181x/?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1SaleADay&utm_content=Flash+08%2F07%2F12

Also this one for $50:
http://1saleaday.com/flash/980-000589x/?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1SaleADay&utm_content=Flash+08%2F07%2F12

I'm thinking of getting one for a vacation place we are buying (hopefully...).

fuzzyT
2012-08-08, 08:02
On 8/6/12 7:36 PM, pippin wrote:
>
> Bluetooth Audio uses it's own codecs to encode and
> decode the audio before and after the transmission and these can be VERY
> lossy.
>

From what I understand, there are also issues with digital fidelity
when using AirPlay. Audio-only AirPlay streams are encoded using Apple
Lossless for transmission, regardless of the original source format.

So, the AirPlay receiver should get the same bitstream that the sender's
DAC would see. But, at least in the case of the AppleTV device, there
are only digital audio outputs (optical) and that output only supports
48kHz. So, all 44.1kHz audio is resampled to 48kHz before output. And,
you need an outboard DAC or you will be relying on the DAC in your
receiver/amp.

I don't know what the other AirPlay receivers are doing as far as
transmission encoding, internal decoding, resampling and D/A conversion,
but I'd want to see these details before committing to a solution like
this for my main system.

I do own an AppleTV, and occasionally stream audio and video from an
iPhone or iPad for playback, but this is mainly just for convenience in
playing back something I've found on the web. Most of these sources are
*far* from pristine. They do sound better through the big system than
they do on the device outputs (excepting headphones), but I wouldn't
consider this as a solution for regular audio playback.

vw195
2012-08-09, 19:16
The biggest factor for Squeezeboxen for me is that they are dedicated devices with good sound quality.

For me its a bit of a pain to turn on bt, pair, switch to music app etc. Its much more simpler just to hit play on the device or unplug my radio and drag it all over the house.

And I love my boom in the kitchen.

I wont buy anymore without a sign that logitech is going to support the line though

maggior
2012-08-10, 07:39
The biggest factor for Squeezeboxen for me is that they are dedicated devices with good sound quality.

For me its a bit of a pain to turn on bt, pair, switch to music app etc. Its much more simpler just to hit play on the device or unplug my radio and drag it all over the house.

And I love my boom in the kitchen.

I wont buy anymore without a sign that logitech is going to support the line though

I agree.

Whether a squeezebox or a BT speaker system appeals to you depends on what your PRIMARY music source is. If you are a high school or college kid, it's likely nowadays that your primary music source is some protable device like an iPod, andriod phone, tablet, etc. For those people, the BT speaker system would best suit their needs. For the rest of us, the squeezebox is the best fit.

I've actually started using BT Audio (A2DP) in my car (2012 Volvo S60) with my Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2. I was VERY surprised by the audio quality. My ears can't tell the difference between this setup and my old 80 GB iPod hard wired into the iPod interface. Both devices have mp3 made with LAME at default settings (~190kbps I think?). So even though there is reencoding of a lossy source going on, it still sounds really good...in a car environment at least. Now when I had the trial Sirius/XM subscription, that was horrible!!! To my ears, it wasn't too much better than AM radio. So the audio system in the car can be revealing.

It may be that I'm just lucky that the Samsung/Volvo combo results in a high bit rate transcode.

erland
2012-08-10, 11:01
Whether a squeezebox or a BT speaker system appeals to you depends on what your PRIMARY music source is. If you are a high school or college kid, it's likely nowadays that your primary music source is some protable device like an iPod, andriod phone, tablet, etc. For those people, the BT speaker system would best suit their needs. For the rest of us, the squeezebox is the best fit.

Completely agree and this is also the main reason why a BT (or AirPlay) solution isn't going to work for me personally, I need a single source -> multiple players/controllers solution (like Squeezebox/Sonos) and not a single source/controller -> single player solution (like BT or AirPlay).



I've actually started using BT Audio (A2DP) in my car (2012 Volvo S60) with my Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2. I was VERY surprised by the audio quality. My ears can't tell the difference between this setup and my old 80 GB iPod hard wired into the iPod interface. Both devices have mp3 made with LAME at default settings (~190kbps I think?). So even though there is reencoding of a lossy source going on, it still sounds really good...in a car environment at least. Now when I had the trial Sirius/XM subscription, that was horrible!!! To my ears, it wasn't too much better than AM radio. So the audio system in the car can be revealing.

Have you tested or do you think you would be able to hear difference between a lossless file and a 190kbps MP3 in the car environment ?

Just asking to get a feeling how good your car audio environment is, because if you can't hear difference between a lossless file and a 190kbps MP3 a bluetooth solution might be good enough because there might be other components limiting the system more than the bluetooth does.

I'm personally fairly sure that both MP3 and bluetooth is good enough for a lot of people, the question is just if it's good enough in a listening room setup for people that really care about audio quality. For bluetooth to replace Squeezebox in my home from an audio quality perspective, its really important that it at least doesn't result in that my FLAC files sounds like MP3's or even worse.

maggior
2012-08-10, 13:50
Have you tested or do you think you would be able to hear difference between a lossless file and a 190kbps MP3 in the car environment ?

Just asking to get a feeling how good your car audio environment is, because if you can't hear difference between a lossless file and a 190kbps MP3 a bluetooth solution might be good enough because there might be other components limiting the system more than the bluetooth does.

I'm personally fairly sure that both MP3 and bluetooth is good enough for a lot of people, the question is just if it's good enough in a listening room setup for people that really care about audio quality. For bluetooth to replace Squeezebox in my home from an audio quality perspective, its really important that it at least doesn't result in that my FLAC files sounds like MP3's or even worse.

No, I've never done a listening test in my car to see if I can tell the difference between mp3 and lossless in my car. Honestly, even in my home listening environment, I have to listen very closely to notice any difference so I'm sure I wouldn't hear it in the car. In the car, it's more important to me that I have variety, not the absolute best quality. As long as I don't think "wow, this sounds bad" when I put the music on in the car, I'm happy. Sirius XM made me think that, so I never listened to it.

What I was more concerned about in the car was the impact of compounded compressed encodings of the audio stream. In my car, I couldn't hear anything.

I recall reading someplace that there is (or will be soon) a version of bluetooth that supports lossless encoding of the stream. In that case, it would be theoretically possible to be lossless from the source right to the DAC in the player. That would be cool to have in the car, but even in the home, I'd still perfer my squeezebox at this point.