Logitech Squeezebox Duet multi-room music streamer
Slim Devices' winner revamp
Review Media streamers are all too often the jack of all trades yet the masters of none. Thankfully, no such blight tarnishes the Logitech Squeezebox Duet's shiny black carapace.
The first product to come from the Slim Devices team since its purchase by Logitech in 2007, the Duet has been developed to do one thing: stream music content from a computer to a hi-fi and do it well.
The Duet comes in two parts. The receiver is a small black unit that takes the incoming wireless signal and pumps it out through a 24-bit Wolfson digital-to-analogue convertor (DAC) to your hi-fi through the supplied RCA cable – or you can bypass the DAC and use the optical and coaxial digital outputs. The controller lets you choose what to play, mediating the actions of the receiver and the SqueezeCentre 7 media server software running on your PC, Mac or Linux box.
Logitech's Squeezebox Duet:
Essentially, Logitech's taken the screen off a Squeezebox 3 and integrated it into the remote instead.
The receiver is a rather hum-drum looking device, but as it'll be tucked away behind the stereo, who really cares? The controller, on the other hand, is rather swish. At 150 x 50 x 18mm, it isn't exactly small but it is perfectly sized to do the job demanded of it, namely to navigate through your music library, play your tunes and adjust the volume. The controller is powered by a rechargeable battery and comes with an equally well made metal stand/charger that shouldn't look out of place alongside even the most high-end of audio kit.
Once up and running, the controller is a lovely little thing to use. To start with, the 2.4in screen is both bright and clear, making album art and text very easy to see. Logitech has got the text sizes just right: it's easy to read but not so large you're forever scrolling up or down in the quest for more information. The standard Now Playing screen manages to squeeze in the title, artist, band/orchestra, composer, genre, year and artwork before you have to scroll down for such technical data as file format, bitrate, ID3 Tag version and the like.
Great bit of kit
I have just got one of this set up and am very pleased with it, very easy to set up once you get the full set of instructions. I was using twonky before but the Philips SLA5520s were becoming difficuilt to turn on for some reason, and having the TV on to use the PS3 seemed a bit "over the top". The remote is easy to use, the screen is great and being able have the remote at hand where ever you are around the house is very usefull.
Twonky is still very good at displaying my digital pictures and videos through the PS3 but the Duet is the way to go with music.
NIce to see a good product NOT ruined by new owners
I have a 2nd gen SqueezeBox that has given good service for many years and continues to do so.
Probably the biggest problem that these devices suffer from is that, as the review says, they "just work". And they KEEP ON working. So whilst the new remote looks OMG drop-dead sexy, I simply have no reason to upgrade my 5 year old device.
I've been expounding the virtues of SlimDevices for years - it's wonderful to see that I can continue to do so under the ownership of Logitech.
And for those suggesting a PS3 as an equivalently capable product/device/solution....
I have a PS3... I *tried* setting it up as a client for the DLNA server built into MediaPlayer 11. It didn't work. It seemingly doesn't work if you have more than a handful of files in your library. It took me hours of frustration to figure this out and give up trying to make something work that is fundamentally broken.
But even if it DID work, needing to turn on the TV to play music is just a teensy bit dumb, donchyathink?
(for sure, if you're using a PC to host your library, then it too needs to be on for SlimServer to be running, but the PC I use it a monitorless device that sits in a cupboard in my office, communicating seemlessly, silently and wirelessly with the rest of my home LAN)
Now, was the problem the PS# or was it MediaPlayer? I dunno.
I tried to find some alternative DLNA servers - there are quite a few. Not ONE of them was as plug-and-play "It just works" simple as SlimServer to set up, and I gave up.
Me. The technical/computer/gadget "Go To" Guy of our household, family and indeed neighbourhood. Gave up.
Sometimes grappling with technology can be fun. But when I just want to listen to my music, it needs to "just work", as easily at least as just dropping a disc into a player.
SlimDevices got that. Logitech still get it.
Way to go SqueezeBox!
Paris, because I would. And really, does anyone else EVER need any other reason?
This isn't a streaming server. The Duet and the SB3 before it, are devices you stream to and hook up to your Hi-Fi, kitchen-radio, or whatever-the-hell.
The PS3 would be effectively the same as a PC server you'd use to stream your media and have in one room with the streaming device in another room. Except you probably couldn't use a PS3 on its own to host a terrabyte of music stored in Flac format, streaming losslessly to devices such as this which natively decode Flac using Burr-Brown DACs to play high quality audio into your amp ;).
Though in theory the PS3 can host the slimserver (aka SqueezeCentre now) that is all that's required to do the streaming. But then a cheap low powered PC with a terrabyte of storage is all you need. Maybe £150 and low power, vs the 300W+ beast of a PS3 with noisy fans which is clearly OTT just to play some music, and more so for radio.
Note that the server side (slimserver) is open source and free. Not only that though, the Duet and SB3 can use online stream sources without the need for a server in your house, including their own net radio aggregator, SqueezeNetwork. A PS3 would be seriously OTT just to play net radio!
Oh, and the PS3 doesn't come with a LCD remote that shows your current playing tracks, album art etc, so you don't have to use a TV to browse the tunes does it? ;) Though I suppose you could add a PSP to the pot, but that plus the PS3 is a hell of a lot more expensive than this.
As for better looking, yes the Duet isn't that sexy, but the SB3 is (much better looking than a PS3) and you can get the Duet's remote for it! :-)
Sonos is better..
..and it doesn't need the slim-server software installing..
Paris cos I bet she has a Sonos
Yes, they now support last.fm streaming.