Squeezebox - do I need one?


floppybootstomp

sugar 'n spikes
Moderator
Joined
Mar 5, 2002
Messages
20,246
Reaction score
1,748
I've been looking at the Logitech Squeezebox and I wondered whether it would be beneficial for me to get one.

First off, I can see that it receives internet radio stations via Wi-Fi and can read and play audio files from a PC equipped with Wi-Fi. Now, supposing I wanted to send audio signals via Wi-Fi to another location, what device acts as a receiver? Another squeezebox or a dedicated receiver designed for the purpose? I is a bit confused.

Also, consider this if you will. In my living room I have two computers, both desktops, one is used mostly for work and games and the other is purely a media PC. On the media PC I have my entire audio library stored mostly in FLAC files and about 10% in mp3 as that's how I originally came by those files.

That PC is plugged into my audio system and to my ears sounds pretty good. Because of this I rarely play CD's these days. I can also, of course, play internet radio stations over my audio systems, both in the living room and the bedroom.

Also, I have a computer in the bedroom connected via a network where I can also play music from the living room media computer through an audio system.

My network is wireless, I'm using a Linksys router, although all computers are hard wired through the ethernet ports and none actually have wireless cards fitted at the moment.

The only other room I play music is the kitchen and out there I have an amp, speakers and an I-Pod dock which I'm happy with.

So if I've got this right I don't think a Squeezebox would be very beneficial to me - your views?

And on a related subject as I don't play audio CD's very often - mostly just vinyl, FLAC files and tuner - I was considering losing the CD player from my living room setup, I've never been entirely happy with the sound of it anyway (it's a Cambridge Audio 640C).

Was also thinking of putting my 1400 CD's into storage in my lockup as they do take up a lot of room and mostly just gather dust. I have them all (and more) in FLAC files. I also have my entire digital audio library backed up to two external hard disks, one of which I keep at my lockup in case of fire or theft at home so I think I'm fairly well covered against hard disk failure and the aforementioned fire and theft.

Waddya reckon?
 
Ad

Advertisements

Quadophile

Hon. Acoustical Engineer
Moderator
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
6,506
Reaction score
478
I have plenty to say on this subject but am at work in the field so will come back and post my humble opinion. Being the member of Houston Audio Society we have many members who own squeezeboxes and this subject has been didcussed in great detail on the exclusive forum as well as in the meetings. I also have had the pleasure of listening to various squeezeboxes at other members homes.

Later.....
 

V_R

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Moderator
Joined
Jan 31, 2005
Messages
13,527
Reaction score
1,849
Nice sounding setup you got FBS. :)

Looking forward to hearing Quads input, as i like the idea of a SB but dont know that much about them.
 

floppybootstomp

sugar 'n spikes
Moderator
Joined
Mar 5, 2002
Messages
20,246
Reaction score
1,748
Nice sounding setup you got FBS. :)

Looking forward to hearing Quads input, as i like the idea of a SB but dont know that much about them.

Nope, me neither.

But I figured - I already have music library playing through Hi-Fi in living room; I also have a hi-fi setup in bedroom where I can access FLAC files from living room media computer via hard-wired network and the kitchen is covered for sounds.

So I figure I'm pretty much covered but still wonder about this squeezebox thingie.
 

Quadophile

Hon. Acoustical Engineer
Moderator
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
6,506
Reaction score
478
Here is the input from Dennis Deacon a good friend of mine who is a member of the Houston Audio Society as well as an amplifier designer who manufactures D-Class amps with ICE modules from B&O.

I have been to his house many times and he is a big advocate for the streaming audio technology. Here are his comments from the HAS group forum.


Excellent input that makes two important poinst:

1) A component like the Logitech Squeezebox ($250-300) will stream digital
information just as accurately as the servers featured in Stereophile that cost
up to $5000. Plus, Logitech offers free, lifetime telephone support. Exact Audio
Copy (EAC) sumchecks each rip amd let's you know if all of the 0's and 1's made
it into the file. This is all that counts. Jitter is not an issue here and there
is no such thing as better or worse 0's and 1's. There is merit in digital
streaming from the less expensive servers into a higher quality DAC, either
stand-alone or in your processor.

2) The speaker calibration article describes how inexpensive it can be to obtain
a flat frequency response in your particular listening room. This one change can
make more of a difference in the sound quality than any others with the possible
exception of speakers and phono cartridges. The biggest improvement is the range
below 200hz where bass tightens and percussion comes alive.

In Support of More Quality for Less Money,

Dennis

Here is an article on Enjoy the music website about his amps

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/viewpoint/0508/aachapter103.htm
 
Ad

Advertisements

Quadophile

Hon. Acoustical Engineer
Moderator
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
6,506
Reaction score
478
Coming back to your Squeezebox issue here is what I have to say:

The squeeze box is a device which goes in between the audio system and the computer or server and of course works in wireless mode. The squeeze box has digital outputs to feed to a DAC which in turn will feed to the amplifier. Since you already have the computer connected to your audio you actually have eliminated the need for the Squeeze box.

My personal advise to you would be to sell your 640C CD player and invest in a better outboard DAC to improve the sound quality through your hifi.

I actually had discussed your very issue with members of the Houston Audio Society on the forum exchanging messages with them. The responses I received have been bundled in a web page and saved on my desktop which I would like to forward to you for your reference. Check your email for that. Will drop a copy to V_R too as he is keen on the subject :)

If you have any questions or concerns do let me know and I will do my best to put forward my humble opinion.

Needless to say, the squeezebox is a great product and those who have a need can really benefit from the convenience. One of the members who happens to be a very well respected audiophile said this about the squeeze box: "Bargain of our lifetime":eek:
 

floppybootstomp

sugar 'n spikes
Moderator
Joined
Mar 5, 2002
Messages
20,246
Reaction score
1,748
Ok, I've read your links Quad and had a think about this.

As things are I can stream music between two decent audio systems in my living room and my bedroom, the only two rooms I'm interested in having that facility.

I'm a member of this UK DIY audio forum and they talk a lot of outboard DACS. Seems decent ones don't really cost a lot of money either.

So how would I employ a DAC? I'm assuming it would go between the computer's digital output and my amplifier via my switcher.

But this is where I get confused. I'm using the media computer's motherboard's onboard sound, which doesn't have a digital output, just analogue. So it seems to me I'd need to get a soundcard with digital output to take advantage of a DAC.

I'm really a little confused about this, any enlightenment would be welcome ;)
 

Quadophile

Hon. Acoustical Engineer
Moderator
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
6,506
Reaction score
478
Tony,

The important thing here is to process the audio in a clean environment before it is amplified and fed to the speakers. The inside of the computer is a very noisy environment and therefore any sound card if it is residing inside the case will be subject to all the garbage/noise generated and same be part of the audio when you hear it through the speakers.

The best way to get it out is digitally and process it out side and away from the computer environment. The DAC has digital inputs so the digital out from the computer is what is needed. The digital output could be optical or coaxial (the DAC's are flexible in that respect) The sound card with digital out need not be expensive one as it is not required for audio processing but just to get the signal out and in turn feed it to the DAC. I just googled for sound cards with digital output and there are scores of them and not too expensive. You can get one for as low as $30-$50 even less in your currency.

Here is a different point of view which I am sure you will find very useful. A similar question was asked by an audiophile looking for good sound and the thread is located here

Do let me know if I need to clarify things. Once you know what your options are and what you actually need we can discuss it further. :)
 

floppybootstomp

sugar 'n spikes
Moderator
Joined
Mar 5, 2002
Messages
20,246
Reaction score
1,748
Ok, clearer now, thanks Quad.

Pretty much what I thought actually.

I've since looked at the motherboard manual (Asus M4N78-VM) and noticed the onboard sound actually has a digital out socket, I didn't notice it when I looked at the back of the computer as it's apart from the analogue audio sockets.

It's an Optical S/PDIF out port so I'll need a lead for that socket to the DAC.

Just by way of mentioning I already have on DAC in place between the TV's digital audio out and my analogue in via my switcher. It's a tiny thing and I do believe Taffycat sourced it for me.

The reason it's there is that the digital audio out was the only output from the TV that carrried all audio signals, the usual and the three HDMI inputs. As I'm using two of the HDMI inputs (Computer video information and Xbox 360 video & audio) I needed that device.
 

Quadophile

Hon. Acoustical Engineer
Moderator
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
6,506
Reaction score
478
FBS,

How far away is your DAC from the computer? The Toslink cable have limitation in the size as far as availability is concerned. Don't jump to buy the first one you see, there scores available used and unused with folks, look around to find a good deal.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Quadophile

Hon. Acoustical Engineer
Moderator
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
6,506
Reaction score
478
Above all, once you do set it up I want to know from your experience if you hear the difference, the difference will be there for sure! :nod:
 

floppybootstomp

sugar 'n spikes
Moderator
Joined
Mar 5, 2002
Messages
20,246
Reaction score
1,748
The length of cable from computer to switcher would typically be no more than 15" (38cm).

I have been looking at DACS and they vary a great deal. The one that's caught my eye atm is made by Musical Fidelity at £162.

There's a very basic one at £40 and all flavours in between and they go right up to silly money but those with valve output stages look nice.

It'll be a while yet before I change, probably, as I'm still converting all my CD's to FLAC which is something of a labourious process. I'm up to the letter 'O' atm and I've been doing it since August on and off ;)

I may make an early purchase though, must confess I'm curious.

Some links:

Basic

The Musical Fidelity one I favour atm

The full range of one supplier
 

Quadophile

Hon. Acoustical Engineer
Moderator
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
6,506
Reaction score
478
The basic one is not the ideal thing to get but something like MF sure is due to it being flexible in terms of connections. Some of the members of Houston Audio Society have great sounding DAC's and they are not too expensive. I have heard one and thought it was a steal at around $500. The guy also had the upper model at around $2000 which he was considering to buy, to tell you the truth the difference in my opinion as well as his was not as much as the price difference. I do not remember the model details so will find out and come back.

I will also gett more info on good DAC's to consider at your end. So wait before you pull the trigger. :lol:
 

Quadophile

Hon. Acoustical Engineer
Moderator
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
6,506
Reaction score
478
I am planning to attend the Lonestar Audio Festival in mid May. This is the first of its kind of a show that I will be attending. I have heard from some who attended before that some of the stuff on display is really very very good sounding. There is a lot of talk going on about Tranquility DAC, GR Research Spec-V speakers (without baffle), VSA Unifield 3 speakers and some. Two of my buddies from Houston Audio Society will also have their equipment on display. I think it would be a fun 2day/1 night trip. :fool:

http://lonestaraudiofest.com/

I will get a lot of industry info and I am sure when I am back I can guide you better about some of the DAC's that I would be listening to there. I may also decide to do a festival report on my return on what I saw and what I heard. and create a thread for that.:nod:
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
29
Reaction score
0
Hi ya Floppy!

Just been browsing your forums here for advice on NAS options and noticed a Squeezebox thread (which is handy as I'll be buying one soon along with some kind of NAS natch).

Did you get a SB in the end and a DAC? Wondered how far down the digital route went after being lured by the analogue lovliness :)

DTB
 
Ad

Advertisements

floppybootstomp

sugar 'n spikes
Moderator
Joined
Mar 5, 2002
Messages
20,246
Reaction score
1,748
Yo DTB dude, how's it hanging? (I believe that's the right vernacular).

Much water has passed below the bridge and many moons have passed and the deer lays with the wolf since this thread was started.

I decided I didn't need a squeezebox because of how my home media is set up. Basically, a stereo system and computer in bedroom and living room and my Ipod through a NAD 30 + 30 and a pair of Ariston monitors in kitchen.

All my music and fillums are stored on media computer in living room and analogue audio out from that computer goes through stereo system.

The onboard computer sound has optical out so I am eventually going to get a DAC. I rather like the look of those E-Bay ones mentioned at the start of Paul Barker's thread in your audio hangout forum thingie, This one, the 2496 as it seemed to get the thumbs up from several members but I haven't reached a final decision yet.

I already have a cheap n cheerful DAC between Xbox & TV btw.

But, right now, I'm buying nowt as I find myself somewhat impecunious ;)

Will you really use a Squeezebox? I can't imagine Mr Analogue-nutter piping 0's and 1's round his castle, seems odd.

If you do add one then hope you like it, I may even pay you a visit to cast a critical earhole on the apparatus.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
29
Reaction score
0
Hi ya ol' fella, its hanging nicely thank you! Ta fer askin'. :)

Aye, that AK4396 DAC crops up a lot threads over the road. Phil's got one, reckons it's very very good + its amazingly cheap. We like this, lots.

Yup, I'm deffo playing with Dijitools. I like the idea of playing back higher res than CD can supply so I've saved up mah sweet money for a Squeezebox Touch and some form of NAS to store all my .flac files and rips from my own CD collection (plus others). I spent lunchtime reading through the Amazon customer reviews of Netgear ReadyNAS duo which comes with a basic version of Squeeze server or summat on it, some reviewers reckon its the biz and others reckon poo poo. Very helpful...not! So I've come here looking for reviews of NAS thingumns.

You never know....all that hi res digital malarky might sound as good as 43 yr old Idler driver turntable with a funny ol' 12" arm and a 1963 designed MC cartridge.... maybe:D

Onwards to Audio Nirbana, manyana, banana!

DTB
 

floppybootstomp

sugar 'n spikes
Moderator
Joined
Mar 5, 2002
Messages
20,246
Reaction score
1,748
I've come back to this, have been thinking about a Squeezebox again.

Since last posting here I now have a DAC (home made from this module Here ) between media computer optical digital out and Hi Fi audio amplifier. I am really rather impressed with the sound quality, FLAC files sound very good indeed. Several friends have had a listen and agree with me.

So my current setup is a media computer with BluRay drive and a 2Tb HDD with audio and movie files on it. My FLAC folder atm is 560Gb and I have quite a lot of mp3 files as well. I rarely use the CD player now and am thinking of getting rid of it as the media computer optical disk plays audio CD's ok.

There's just one snag - each time I want to play music from the media computer I have to use my 37" TV (monitor) and wireless mouse/keyboard. What I'd like is an interface that for convenience sake connects wirelessly to the media computer with a small screen where I can select and play music without having to use keyboard/mouse/monitor.

The Squeezebox may be able to fulfil this function but £260 seems an awful lot of money to pay just for a little convenience.

So, questions: Where in the setup would the Squeezebox go? How does the Squeezebox connect wirelessly to my current three PC wired network or media computer? Could the Squeezebox access the other 2 computers? Does the Squeezebox have a radio tuner? If so would this enable me to discard my current stand alone DAB/FM tuner?

I have tried searching for answers but am still confused, the official Logitech site seems the most unhelpful of all, they seem more concerned in promoting and selling their product than in explaining the technical side of things.

Any help and advice much apreciated.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
29
Reaction score
0
Hi ya Tone, I'll attempt to answer.

"Where in the setup would the Squeezebox go?" Logitech Squeezebox itself is a computer program/application that sorts your music into a library and streams it to a player. There's many out there that Logitech (and before that Slim Devices) have marketed. the latest is the 'Squuzebox Touch' which you can pick for about £200 thesedays new off the shelf at PC World. Occasionally cheaper on line natch. The Touch is the actual device your music server will stream to. It can be either ethernet or wifi connected. It is the 'control end' of the system. It connects to yer HiFi via 2 x RCA phono plugs and has a decent quality in-built DAC of its own... however... it also does SPDIF out via a coaxial RCA phono AND optical out too so you can connect the Touch to an external DAC if you wish. I do, its a similar DAC to your called an AK4396 I bought from the same seller as you. So in short, the SB Touch is the 'player' of your digital music library.

"How does the Squeezebox connect wirelessly to my current three PC wired network or media computer?"

The touch has a built-in Wfi transceiver. It can also be wired via ethernet via the RJ45(?) jack on the back. I've experimented with both. I 'think' the hard wired option is slightly better sound wise but it's no that night and day TBH. Your Media PC will need to have Squeezebox server installed to stream and 'talk' to the touch. Your other PC's would then access the same media library using a simple program called Squeezeplay which replicates the functionality and access menus that the touch has (but not touch screen natch!).

"Could the Squeezebox access the other 2 computers? " Dunno! I don't why it would need to TBH.

"Does the Squeezebox have a radio tuner?" Yes, it uses yer wifi router to access the internet and stream internet radio to the Touch or and PC with Squuezeplay installed.

"If so would this enable me to discard my current stand alone DAB/FM tuner?"
Yes as long as you don't mind not picking up FM stations anymore.

Howsat?! :)

DTB
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top