Prior to writing this review I requested the 'Duet' package was set up on the site as this is the most popular and offers a complete package. This controller won't function on its own.
I purchased the Logitech Squeezebox Duet in order to control my music without having to look at the computer. The Squeezebox (I'll call it SB for ease of typing...) is a network music player which provides you with an ipod-like interface to control and search through your music library. I'd looked at the Sonos before but never really wanted to spend £700, the SB cost £232 which is a little easier to swallow.
In the box:
Squeezebox Wired/Wireless Receiver
Squeezebox Remote Control with 2.4 inch display
Charge unit for remote
Battery for remote
Set up information
Logitech have made this product quite tricky to set up, however you can understand to some extent why.... The software is open source and regularly changing, so an extensive manual would go out of date very quickly. There is a great wealth of information on the software and hardware on the squeeze sites including a regularly maintained manual with the detail a lot of people want.
No connecting cables were included in the box.... With the choice of optical, analogue and coaxial connections, I opted for the optical due to a free slot on my amp. I also opted for wired as the router is in the same location. Once plugged in the box can actually be hidden away as the remote doesn't require line of sight. I then installed the Squeeze Centre software on my chosen device and made sure it was on the network. Next I proceeded to turn the remote control on and run through the set up. I accidentally exited the setup mid-flow, I tried to input the information manually but it wouldn't work. I reset to factory settings and ran through the settings to the end. Set up was complete and I was connected to my music source.
I have a server which my music sits on and the SB software which links into the receiver. There are a couple of other options including network hard drives and using your PC. The SB connects to as many music sources as you can offer on the network; however it will only connect to one at a time.... Most of the music your after can be found by connecting to your music source and it also provides access to the internet, however it doesn't offer as much as connecting to the squeeze network (online music source for radio and more).
The software seems free from lag and other issues so far, however this product has been on the shelves a while now. The options available cater more than enough for my needs. You have access to...
your own music library,
internet radio stations,
The only thing missing for me is the recent new comer Spotify. The music quality when streamed is lesser than the music library quality, which is what you'd expect. The music library quality is incredible; the Burr-Brown DAC provides a much better quality of sound compared to other network players. As the controller connects wirelessly to the network, you can use it like an ipod by connecting headphones to the jack at the top of the remote.
As you'd expect, the receiver can handle most audio formats - WAV, WMA, MP3, MP2, AIFF, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, PCM and Apple Lossless. When listening to music you can go and view it on Amazon using the controller. Album art is displayed it added to your library... Loads of playlist options and random mix choices, extensive search facility, great song categorisation, easily customisable with lots of options.... There are so many features it's hard to list them all.... If you want to know something specific, it's best to view the SB site for full details and future developments.
I have read some reviews by individuals who have experienced connection/network issues. I have a basic router and haven't had any problems so far. The only issue I encountered was a conflict between the Squeeze Centre software and Twonky Media Server. This was easily rectified by editing the .ini file and changing the HTTP port address.
This product is the best gadget I've bought for some time, the usability in my scenario is perfect. I had friends round last week and they loved being able to pick the music and made ad-hoc playlists... The user interface is so intuitive most people pick it up in seconds.
I purchased one of these a week ago, as part of the bundle that costs slightly more (about £240 from Amazon... called the Squeezebox Duet). The only difference is the bundle comes with a receiver too, that you connect to your hifi system and ethernet network (or wireless) to stream music to your hifi.
Anyway, the controller on review here is ultimately a very cool piece of kit. What it does is connect via wi-fi to your computer (PC, Mac or Linux) where you store all your music. In my case I use a Mac Mini and iTunes. I had to install a small piece of software that gives the SqueezeCenter software access to my iTunes library. Once done, my music appears complete with cover art and full track listings on the 2.4-inch colour display. The display is gorgeous, nice and crisp, though could maybe be a little brighter.
From the controller I can play my music tracks, create playlists and mark favourites. I can listen to them through the headphone socket on the controller or I can use it to stream the music to receivers. These can be in any room in the house and you can control more than one. I only have one at the moment, so cannot comment on multi-room use, suffice to say that I am so impressed another receiver has already been ordered.
I can only describe the controller as a modern day iPod. It has a moving scroll wheel, superb interface and is easy to use, yet very powerful. Another big bonus that should not be overlooked is the following. In a normal scenario you can have a system like this, Sony and various others make them. You have your remote control with these other system, or perhaps you have an actual iPod docked in your hifi. However, to see the display for what track is playing, you need really good eyesight, or you need to get up and move closer to the device. Well, the Squeezebox controller solves that problem, because it is the remote that house the display. If you go for this system and buy a receiver too, then you can use other cheaper devices, like a PSP or an older PDA (with wifi), they work very well (I tried my PSP), but are not as polished as this unit.
In the box you also get a charging base, so you can dock the controller and it is always charged and ready for use. The included instructions are a let down, you are better off looking at the online PDF manual on the company website. Yes it is expensive, but you are getting quality and a system you can add to at a later date.