I feel a little embarrassed that I have not posted a review of this product over the years. I have been using the Squeezebox Classic for 6 years now and it was the main reason I got back into listening to music as I once did when I was younger. As many have said before, I too have a good size CD and Vinyl collection and have been saddled with the issue of being able to listen to it when ever. I started looking for other options around 2001, after finally getting DSL into my home. The next step was being wireless, and that really stepped up my efforts in finding a solution to my problem. The first DAR (Digital Audio Receivers) I found was made by Linksys, and it was not real bad,(hold up yes it was). The sound was flat and unengaing, the wireless signal only worked off and on, so I had to run a cat5 line to it to make sure it worked properly. I don't think it had any DAC's built in and only had the RCA analog outputs. Late 2006 I ran across some info about DAR's on Cnet.com and read about the Squeezebox 3. I continued finding other reviews on its performace and the built in specs of the Burr Brown DAC's, gold analog RCA, Coax output along with toslink output. Its ability to work with wireless G network is what seal the deal with me as the Linksys model was only wireless B. I searched on Ebay and pick up my first one, and never turn back since. I had down loaded the squeezeplay software a month before, so I would have a good handle on how to work with it when the player arrived.
From that day I first set this DAR up the sound was full and engaging, and just fueled my desire to have more. The forum site (http://forums.slimdevices.com/) is very helpful and you can learn so much more about this item and digital based music than you can shake a stick at. Having this device has lead me to rip my full collection of CD's and now I am leaning toward solely making all of my future music purchases as digital down loads when possible.
Today I currently have 3 Squeezeboxes in my home along with the flagship model Transporter. two of the squeezeboxes are from Slim Devices and the other is branded under the Logictech name. The Transporter is the old style made by Slim Device (W/TravsNav knob).
One of the best, if not the best wireless DAR (Digital Audio Receivers) on the market
Supports about all uncompressed music and compressed file formats
Internet streaming of radio, or subscription services; Lastfm, MOG etc....
Supports Facebook posting and friends post
New apps for iphone, android phone, win7 phones, Ipad.....tablets that allow you to use like the remote control with added feature; album cover art, artist bio info and lyrics
multible outputs RCA, Coax and Toslink
Cat 5 ethernet connection that can be used as either an input or output to other devices (BR players)
Computer or NAS to store personal ripped music (to really enjoy its full use)
Squeeze Center/LMS (Logictech Media Server) can be tempermental at times
Classic model no album art (but can be seen with above listed devices using Classic model as player)
This review is for the Squeezebox Duet, 2008 model. Just bought it a week ago. The list price is $400. I got a good deal on ebay for $325.
Before you read several more lines to find out what I have said, here is a summary: It is a pleasant surprise. Great toy. Will stay with me for a long time, I hope. I am recommending it to all my music lover friends and relatives. I will probably buy additional receivers for one or two more rooms. In short, if you have time, read some of the other reviews below. Everyone uniformly likes this little device. Buy it and enjoy it.
This recommendation comes from an audiophile and music lover of several decades!!! I still own several high-end CD players, including Accuphase, Ayre, Accuphase, Parasound, etc. I still own these. They are in different rooms, and they will stay there. The Duet is in my office, computer room. Right now it is playing through an Audio Research tube preamp and a Krell amp with Mirage M-3 speakers. The sound? Wonderful. Am I worried about the soundstage, imaging, etc.? No. It is just nice music. I am not ready yet to take it to the next level and compare it Ayre 5 or Accuphase, etc. Am I ready yet to take it to my dedicated music room and play it through my big, Dunlavy speakers driven by Audio Research tube preamps and amps? No, not yet. Have not had enough time. I just wanted to quickly share my surprise and joy with everyone.
Right now I am studying my DAC options. Reading what others have said about Benchmark, Lavry, TADAC, MHDT, Zero, etd. Hopefully, one of these will improve the sound of the Duet even more. We'll wait and see. I have already ordered an inexpensive one to see if it makes a difference in sound.
In the meantime, I am enjoying my Apple lossless and wav files in my iTunes library as well as the internet music source called Rhapsody during the 30-day trial period. I have a McIntosh tuner. I suspect it will not be used much anymore. The internet radio and music services trump my local public radio station, both in convenience and in the variety of classical music. That is all I listen to anyway. Jazz is nice, too. However, it does not matter what your tastes are. There are many choices on the internet, from country to rock and back. So, I am now sold on computer-based high-end music.
My experience is less than one week old. Much is yet to be discovered.
I didn't even have a wireless router until I purchased this, so I had to figure that out at the same time as the Squeezebox, but I managed to accomplish it without having to call Slim Devices for help, so anyone who's not afraid of computers could probably do it with little difficulty. I also bought a 250GB hard drive and burned most of my CDs to it as .wav files for better sound. I have the Squeezebox hooked up to a Scott Nixon dac with a digital coax cable and it sounds great. Having your CD collection at the convenience of the remote control is liberating. Another nice feature is you can find most of your radio stations via internet radio and stream them to the Squeezebox so you don't really need a tuner any more. And services like Pandora add even more fun to the equation; you can use that to create your own radio stations according to artist or song and it plays songs that it thinks you would like; if you don't like a particular song you can give it a thumbs down and it will never play that song again, and if you like a particular song you can give it a thumbs up and it will play more songs like that one. (It comes with a 3 month free trial but then you have to pay $3/month).
I also have a Rega Planet original model CD player and it is very easy to tell that CDs played with the Rega sound better than the same music played with the Squeezebox, even with the dac, so for audiophiles they have the Transporter, which costs a hell of a lot more. Or maybe I just need to buy a more expensive dac. If you are listening to MP3 files I don't think you would be able to tell any difeference at all.
Regardless, this is the coolest thing I have ever bought for my stereo system and it gets used for hours each day. Periodically Slim Devices upgrades the software, which is open source and they are always improviing it; it has improved a lot since I first bought the Squeezebox.
You really can't go wrong with the Squeezebox; it enables you to enjoy your music more than you ever have before.
Had to add a few bits to others' comments, but happy to confirm all othrr reviewers' opinions - Squeezebox changes the way you play and manage your music collection and delivers all this is a very nice little box.
Physical delivery was a fantastic surprise - two of us in Hong Kong decided to buy SB over the net on a friday afternoon. To our astonishment, they arrived by 10.30am the following Monday; the logest place it stayed anywhere during its travels from US, we in our company's mail room.
Loaded the server off tne net (piece of cake), plugged SB in and SB started to connect wirelessly. In no time at all, I was listening - definitely less than 30 minutes. My wife insisted we get rid of the (Belkin) wireless router, so I opted for Homeplug (to convert my home power network) to a LAN. THis seemed to cause SB untold problems with connection. After many emails and 3 calls to SB's US helpdesk, I finally achieved wired set-up (needed to set up a specific SB location on my iMac network).
Can't remember when I used my CD player last! Creek 5350 amp, SB and Proac Response 1SC speakers make for a very nice compact systems with an excellent sound.
The ease of browsing, simplicity of interface, abillity to access iTunes playlists and internet radio (I have created a playlist with all my fav int radio stations) makes SB a one-stop shop for music access. One big problem is that you'll end up with so much music and need to remember what you'd like to listen to - the album, artist or song browse function means you will be scrollng & scrolling & scrolling & scrolling.
Sound is very good - I have only cut in MP3 format, but have bought a 300G disk in planning for a higher def format.