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Customer Review

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Sound With An External DAC, 26 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Logitech Squeezebox Touch (Electronics)
First the positives: The initial set-up was very straight forward. It found my network automatically (amongst a list of networks presumably from my neighbours). I entered my password and the Touch downloaded the latest firmware updates. I then found that after connecting a hard drive to the USB port the Touch responded by automatically scanning the drive. I started first with a 2TB drive with probably about 400GB of lossless music on it. Scanning took a good couple of hours. During the scan I was still able to play music that had been found, but it did buffer quite frequently during this time.

Still, once I got this baby working, I was very delighted with the sound delivered via my DACMagic (not exactly a 'high-end' DAC but one of the best in its price bracket). I have previously tried a Boxee Box (which although designed primarily for movies does also support a wide variety of lossless music formats) and even via the external DAC the sound was degraded. Not so the Touch. Happily to me the Touch sounds as good as any other quality component I feed to the DAC, so for the sound-to-price (using an external DAC) it cannot be faulted. Even the analogue outputs give a respectable (if slightly less smooth) sound.

The Touch's sound quality capabilities are maximized when playing 24-bit/96kHz audio files, or even just 24-bit/44.1 files (such as the Beatles 2009 USB collection). This results in something approaching SACD or DVDA quality. MP3 has never seemed so obsolete.

The Touch also plays audio tracks 'gapless' which means that those albums that have tunes that segue into the next track (e.g. later Beatles albums, classical music, etc) there is no annoying little gap between tracks - the Touch plays through the transition flawlessly. Besides this, the Touch can also handle single-audio-file-plus-cue-file, which is always gapless anyway, so gapless capability was always safely guaranteed one way or another.

It's nice that you don't have to browse your massive music collection by tags (which can be inconsistent), you can just navigate through your folders, which for me is a massive plus. I have loads of music, all logically ordered (different genre folders for Rock, Classical, Jazz, etc, then artist folders inside each of these, then album folders in each of those). It's great to be able to quickly navigate to an album in the same way as I would in Windows XP.

The internet radio is nice to have too. I have checked out some talk stations from various world locations, which was fun. Finding new stations is a doddle with the search function.

The final 'plus' is the ability to play music straight off a hard drive connected via USB. This was an absolutely essential factor for me when considering a purchase. My PC (with nice soundcard 'Delta 66') is already hooked up to my music system, but the noise of the PC itself is annoying. With the Touch (+ external DAC) I get even better quality and none of the noise.

Now the only negative for me. It was very temperamental with a large USB drive directly connected. It was frequently stopping mid-song or even losing the connection with the hard drive so all I could do was disconnect and reconnect to get it all running again - which was a big hassle as it then proceeded to scan the whole drive again. I think one of the problems is that it does not give the user the option of selecting which folder to scan once the drive is connected. It just automatically scans and registers every file on the whole drive, even non-music stuff (e.g. movies). This causes needless expenditure of RAM/resources, not to mention very long, slow scans. I have since transferred a smaller music collection (about 200GB) to a smaller hard-drive (400GB) with nothing on the drive but music and scans. Everything is running glitch-free for now (touch wood).

In conclusion I would highly recommend the Touch for the sound quality alone, which is great when it works. I have already had the luxury of listening to several audiophile EAC rips (from such labels as XRCD, DCC, FIM, etc) without the noise of my PC fan or the hassle of having to mess about with the original physical CDs. Not to mention the ability to play 24-bit/96kHz files. One point knocked off for the problems handling directly-connected large collections, which could possibly be partly alleviated with a firmware update to allow more selective scanning options.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Apr 2011 18:11:33 BDT
bookworm says:
I partitioned a 1 Tb USB drive into two equal halves, and put all my music in the root of the first partition, with nothing else on the drive. This works flawlessly, although my collection's not as large as yours.

Posted on 30 Aug 2012 08:10:17 BDT
nevalti says:
A very useful review as I am considering one and would also use it primarily with a HDD, or perhaps a SSD, attached and with a separate DAC. It strikes me as pointless buying an up-market streamer if I already have a premium DAC. Now you have had it a while, would you change any of your comments?

Have you any experience with the iPhone app controller in this HDD mode? Can you, for example, 'see' the content of the HDD on the iPhone or do you always have to read the on-screen text?
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