Top positive review
175 people found this helpful
Truly musical at a great price - now the best audio streamer!
on 31 May 2010
This is a small (about 17cm wide by 13 high) music-only network streamer. It features a sensitive and bright 4.3" touchscreen and a remote control made of glossy black plastic with a rubberised matt front surface.
Setting it up:
I found that, as with all squeezebox products, it will work wonderfully BUT you need some preparation in advance. Specifically, you'll need your network ID and password (to grant access to the squeezebox), and it would be a really good idea to go to the Logitech website and download the Squeezebox Server (compatible with XP, Vista, W7 and Mac OSX). Finally, you should register at Logitech's 'my Squeezebox' page - but to do so, you'll need any passwords you already have from free streaming radio networks such as Live 365, Last FM, Pandora (if outside the UK), Sky FM etc. Once you've done all that, you'll find that the Squeezebox connects to any 802.11 b/g/n wireless network or via wired Ethernet - if your network doesn't broadcast your SSID then you'll need to key it in manually, but for most people it should be automatic. I tried Norton and McAfee firewalls and both allowed a setup with no quibbles.
Analogue audio outputs include a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and red-and-white RCA connections. Digital audio is output through optical and digital Toslink connectors. You can even attach a hard drive directly to the USB port on the rear of the unit. Of course, as the Squeezebox has no amplifier, you'll need an amp and speakers (or active (powered) speakers) or headphones to listen with!
Sound quality is excellent - and wonderful for the price - with many audiphile websites commenting that the Squeezebox can output perfect digital audio at 16/44.1, 24/88.2 and 24/96 kHz. I used coaxial digital through my own amp and speakers and can confirm the sound was better than the Squeezebox 3 (Classic) and much better than the Squeezebox Duet. As always, you can either stream your entire music library from your PC using Squeezebox Server (downloaded in the step above) OR you can leave the PC switched off amd use My Squeezebox - a direct web connection made by your Squeezebox to Ligitech's servers through your router. Internet radio seems to be powered by Radio Time, giving most local and national UK and many hundreds of international ones. If you registered - as above - with Live 365, Sky FM, Last FM etc., then you can use these as well (Squeezebox calls them 'Apps'). There's a BBC iPlayer app (audio only) as well, so you can listen to live and past BBC radio programmes shown over a rolling 7-day period.
The viewing angle won't suit everyone - it's been designed to be seen from above - and the web offers a variety of Heath-Robinson solutions. I put two black lego bricks under the back and changed the angle of the display from 45-degrees to about 85 degrees, which improved it greatly (and can't be seen).
The screen is bright, but by default is set up to auto-dim according to ambient light. I hated this. You can change it in the 'advanced' menus.
Text size changes immediately accoring to whether you are using it by touch or by remote. Very sensible, but it took me a moment to figure out what had happened (larger text being more visible at a distance BUT with less info on screen).
The default wallpaper (the green stripy one) conspires with the viewing angle and brightness to make it unreadable from more than a metre or so. You CAN make this much better - changing the wallpaper to a black one and adjusting the viewing angle (as above) improved it for me, and I can now sit on my sofa and see everything clearly from about 2.5 metres away.
Take the time to set this up properly.
Get the angles and wallpapers right for you
...then enjoy excellent sound quality and a responsive interface.
It's a great product!