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View Full Version : Squeezebox Touch - The way forward ?



zenith
28-03-2012, 11:00 AM
I have only recently bought and installed a Squeezebox Touch . I would first like to comment that I thought it was going to be due to its price cheap and tacky . However I was pleasantly surprised the unit is sturdy and appears to be very well made and has a discrete functional look .

Getting the unit working was simple straight out of the box (my house already has a full nettwork ) i took me 11 minutes to get the unit up and working (main delay was remembering my password to the squeezebox site) .

Working with the line out direct in to a pre amp there was music and it was fine maybe budget / mid price cd player quality nothing offensive and listenable but nothing special either.

Moving on to the digital out (Coaxial SPDIF) in to my Perpetual Technologies P-1A then in to the PT P-3A Modwright Signature II Dac . This was set up changing the input signal to 24 Bit 96khz in the P-1A then connected to the P-3A by mini din I2S with P-3A in I2S bypass mode .

I decided that rather than just put anything on I woud sit down and give the first trial a decen listen. Look up my library (CD ripped to Flac Files using a wired ethernet connection) and find Cassandra Wilson - Belly of the Sun . This is one of my all time favourite pieces of music I have heard it amny times and love the voice the playing and the recording . Found it easily pressed play.

Then my jaw dropped I have to say I was as shocked as I have ever been with any single change to my system . The music that flowed out was the best and I mean the best most natural sound I have ever heard in my own system . Cassanda's voice was real and believable creamy as it is live . The created acoustic was spread out in front of you with each player fixed in space and easy to identify . all in all I can only say that I would suggest anyone that it is worth getting to hear this or another streamer . I am now seriously considering selling my CD player and packing most of my CD's away as they are not going to used given the drop in quality (I use a Theta Data Basic II Transport not the last word but a very good and respected unit ) .

Through all of this I was thankful that I have Harbeth speakers as their lack of character and hear through ability makes changes like this so easy to identify . My only worry now is how much time I am going to spend ripping my CD collection to hard drive.

hifidez
03-04-2012, 11:23 AM
I am a recent convert to the Squeezebox Touch too. Managed to get it running WITHOUT the manual :-)

I had been using a Philips Streamium device for a couple of years so I was already well into creating a PC-based music library... the step up to the SB Touch has been well worthwhile. Having said that the Philips, in sound quality terms, was good too; using the co-ax digital output into my X-DACv3 sounded really fine.

But the SB Touch does handle data formats up to 24/96 (and downsamples 24/196 on-the-fly if needed) thus saving me having to downsample hi-res material in order to play it from the server. Importantly, the Logitech Server software is far more robust than the Philips system which used to mis-behave too frequently for my taste. Often needing a re-boot to wake everything up.

One review I read of the Touch critiscised it for feeling cheap - when I took mine from its box I was impressed with how solid it felt. Well done Logitech. 24/96 capability for around 200 pounds? Can't be bad. And I am now controlling it via my Android phone. Isn't science wonderful?

Haven't actuall tried the line-out route as I use the X-DAC, but I have used the headphone socket. Sounds OK I reckon.

Dez.

GregD
03-04-2012, 01:30 PM
I had a SBT for a few weeks and controlled it using the iPeng App for the iPhone. It picked up all my iTunes albums but had no cover art (this is to do with Apple's awkwardness) which was a disappointment. This can be solved with some kind of software download, but I think you have to have a Master Degree in being under 25 to know how to do it. So that was me stumped!

The sound from Apple Lossless files was absolutely fine either from the SBT RCA outputs or with it's digital output fed into my dCS DAC. Internet Radio generally sounded quite poor, but I think this is down to low bit rates.

My main issue with the SBT is the jump in moving from a physical shelf of CDs to a little touch screen. I know many people feel liberated by this change and cite the 'playlist' function as a great improvement to their music listening. I, however, did not enjoy these changes at all. Call me old-fashioned but I like my CD shelves and picking an album out - maybe remembering when I bought it - it's a process I'm still happy to do in order to listen to my music.

I found the touch screen interface rather impersonal and uninvolving, it seemed to devalue the music for me in a way - making it more ephemeral and throw-away. Vinyl is the opposite of this, but frankly I find vinyl too much of a rigmarole. So CD/SACD is where I'm staying for the foreseeable future.

At least the SBT had decent sound quality though, and has taught me that computer audio need not be evil rocket science. One day I will add some kind of streaming device to my system, but not yet. Perhaps when someone makes a streamer with digital output that can stream packed DSD using the dCS open standard method* from a HDD then I will be interested. However, for many people I accept that they are tremendous value for money.




* dCS have invented a way to rearrange the data in a DSD file into 24/176.4 so that it can be passed through a USB cable. After arriving on the DAC, the data is put back into DSD form by a DAC capable of reading the tags in the data seam. This is not compression or PCM conversion, just jiggling the bits around. This paves the way for DSD downloads.

jplaurel
04-04-2012, 05:36 AM
I'll add my positive comments about the Squeezebox Touch to the chorus. It is a simply fantastic little device that has revolutionized the way we play music in our home. Let me emphasize just a few of the benefits of this very well designed and executed product:

1) Bit perfect digital output at up to 24/96 via coax or TOSLink
2) Its own internal DAC that isn't half bad (approximately the same league as the original Musical Fidelity V-DAC)
3) Touch screen and a very well-designed IR remote.
4) Syncs with your iTunes music collection. Rip a CD with iTunes, it appears on your Squeezebox.
5) Internet radio. Local stations, worldwide stations, BBC Radio app, Pandora app, Spotify app, Last.fm app and more...
6) The server software is open source, so there is a lot of activity and the development group is very responsive. There is also an active community doing interesting hacks for it.
7) The server software runs on a whole bunch of operating systems including Windows, OSX, Linux, etc. And there are also versions that will run on your NAS RAID, obviating the need for a dedicated server.

@GregD: There is no need to use iPeng any more, since Logitech has now published its own excellent controller app for iPhone and iPad. If you are not seeing your iTunes cover art on your Touch, do the following:

-- Go to iTunes and highlight the tracks in question.
-- Get info for the tracks (on OSX, this is cmd-i)
-- Switch to the 'Artwork' tab
-- Drag your artwork file onto the picture box.

iTunes supports artwork either embedded in the music file itself as metadata, or stored in a sidecar file. By default, the Squeezebox server only looks at embedded metadata, ignoring iTunes' sidecar files. There is an experimental feature that you can enable that will cause the Squeezebox server to extract artwork from the sidecar files, but it is very slow, prone to failure and utilizes an extremely high amount of processor time. These problems are related to the iTunes application programming interface. The best advice is to embed your artwork in the files as metadata using the procedure I described above and leave the experimental iTunes artwork extraction feature turned off.

We now have several Squeezebox Touch devices around the house and everyone loves them. For the first time, we are able to access our entire library of music at the touch of a finger, and with scalable fidelity across a range of playback systems. The Touch is as comfortable providing a bit perfect digital signal to a high end DAC as it is driving the Bose Wave Radio on my nightstand via its own analogue outputs.

At the moment there are no competing products, save Sonos, which is not in the same league in terms of flexibility, functionality or performance.

The era of the CD player is well and truly finished. And I say good riddance!

kittykat
04-04-2012, 07:05 AM
Couldn't but feel different from you guys. i originally thought the touch would solve some problem, which in fact wasnt there in the first place in hindsight. The squeezebox touch just introduced frustration.

I did not initially (and still do not) have a conventional* established internet sharing/ routing environment at home and that was (and still is) my main obstacle in getting the squeezebox touch running wirelessly on a network. I reckon this is a major product deficiency in that it’s basically not plug and play. I finally managed to get it “in touch” with Logitech home through a Lan cable.

Yes, for the price the touch is remarkable

Plus points

+ Cool VU meters
+ Pretty stable (if not slightly hesitant) interface/software
+ Relative easy organisation of files (and picture organisation)
+ “Swiss army knife”, it can play almost any file format
+ Output/ input connections flexibility
+ photo viewer is cool
+ on line radio is cool


Weak points

- Initial set up is frustrating (if you don’t have an established or conventional network with internet access)^
- Server software seems buggy eg. takes forever to update server status screen (in windows xp)
- Not smart enough to tell of mismatch between touch firmware and server software (just goes into a bizarre loop of prompting updates). This is very poor form.
- an annoying (if not alarming) “tick” sound each time a new track starts. This is probably my biggest gripe with it.
- takes a very long time to scan a big usb drive
- doesnt handle usb powered hard drives ie. needs drives with their own power source

In general if the price vs. gripes weighs up for you then its an ok product. I could do without mine happily. Nothing like picking up a cd, popping it into the player and enjoying.

^ why can’t Logitech just make a product which can be used straight out of the box? Why is it the trend that more and more products need to connect “home” through the internet before it can actually start doing what its supposed to.

* I have a radius/ certificate authenticating network running at home

Kumar Kane
04-04-2012, 09:00 AM
At the moment there are no competing products, save Sonos, which is not in the same league in terms of flexibility, functionality or performance.

As a Sonos user, and very happy with it, it would still be very interesting to know where it lags behind SB in the three areas mentioned.

GregD
04-04-2012, 03:58 PM
Weak points

- Initial set up is frustrating (if you don’t have an established or conventional network with internet access)^
- Server software seems buggy eg. takes forever to update server status screen (in windows xp)
- Not smart enough to tell of mismatch between touch firmware and server software (just goes into a bizarre loop of prompting updates). This is very poor form.
- an annoying (if not alarming) “tick” sound each time a new track starts. This is probably my biggest gripe with it.
- takes a very long time to scan a big usb drive

In general if the price vs. gripes weighs up for you then its an ok product. I could do without mine happily. Nothing like picking up a cd, popping it into the player and enjoying.

^ why can’t Logitech just make a product which can be used straight out of the box? Why is it the trend that more and more products need to connect “home” through the internet before it can actually start doing what its supposed to.

* I have a radius/ certificate authenticating network running at home

I didn't experience any of the problems you encountered with my SBT. Your complaint that it won't work straight out of the box is rather unfair in my view. It is designed to work over Wi-Fi pulling in all your music and that's exactly what it does. You don't criticise a Formula 1 car for it's poor off-road performance. Most people do have Wi-Fi at home nowadays, if you don't then that's not Logitech's fault.

I found the VU meters a bit tacky compared with my real Nagra modulometers, so switched them off! In fact, I kept the SBT out of site and just controlled it from the iPhone using the iPeng App.

Incidentally, many people I know who use the SBT find the iPeng App far superior to Logitech's own control App.

I only have about 750 CDs so they don't take up to much room, but I know someone with 5500 CDs and the SBT has liberated his listening room and several other areas of his house!

kittykat
04-04-2012, 10:58 PM
Most people do have Wi-Fi at home nowadays, if you don't then that's not Logitech's fault.

i do have wifi at home which authenticates users through a certificate (just like most offices and universities). squeezebox cannot hold client certificates and authenticate with the radius server. That makes it not very useful in my environment.

Regarding the “tick” sound from the squeezebox touch, just to make sure that my ears weren’t playing tricks on me and to assure you im not making it up, i recorded from the rca output to waveform. While recording I then changed tracks. For every 10 track changes, I estimate there are about 3 of this discernable noise. They are pretty loud. The red circle represents the “tic” noise.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/21595634@N05/7047081831/in/photostream

zenith
24-07-2012, 11:48 AM
I have had my SBT for quite a while now and thought it had been in place lomg enough for me to return to this thread. Firstly I am more impressed with this unit now than I was when I first used it . The digital sounds I now get are with out doubt the best I have heard to date in my system .

I do realise that to get the very best and to improve the sound quality of the SBT you have to invest in a little time and on the job learning but I found this in the end rewarding rather than frustrating . Here are some things that I feel are important but I do accept that other will just use it out of the box and they will still get a very fine quality of sound .

1) Only use the Digital out to the Dac of your choice . The SBT Dac may well have others saying it is better than you think but for me it is truly underwhelming and if that was the best it could get I would be asking what the fuss is all about .

2) Download and use the Triode Digital Out Put App . It is simple and it enables you to turn off the other outouts and only have the digital output on. It also enables you to have the volume turned on to 100% .

3) Download and use the Toolbox 3.0 software , by all means once you have installed it play about with the various items and setting if you wish. I use it exactly as installed and the things that makes the most difference is turning the display screen off which adds a new width and spread to the stereo image and lets voices sound much more natural . I use the Controller which I got for £50 to choose the music switch to Internet Radio etc and as it has a headphone socket i can also use it for mobile listening in the house or when I am in bed.

4) Now this last one is just what I found and believe if you feel inclined try it if not then no big deal . Isolate the SBT I have mine on a Torlyte board on some machined aluminium dishes with a ball bearing in that was inspired by Barry Diament www.barrydiament.audio if you are interested . This item is all digital and just a jumble of IC chips and some other items but doing this works for me in my system in my room . Give it a try if you want fee free to ignore it as the ramblings of a loon if you do not.

5) Use a wired ethernet connection only do not use Wireless. This is vital not only for you to get good download transfer speed but for me to get the best sound quality you can too. I have my server software and USB 1Tb hard drive upstairs in a spare bedroom so I will never hear any noise that it makes. I then use a Netgear Powerline system through the mains cable to a socket close to the SBT and a short 3ft Cat 6 cable from the Netgear to the SBT . No drop outs and really no problems .

All of the above I have done and are used at all times so they get my recommendation as something that is effective and works. There are a number of other tweaks and things that can be done to server settings network settings etc but as these are very system dependant will leave others to find out what works for them. The there is the issue of adding a better power supply. Now here I can see that it has been something worth doing with other pieces of equipment I use (Dac) but I am not so sure with the SBT it should be good but frankly the cost of the aftermarket ones I have seen (I do not have the skill to make my own linear power supply) is often more than the SBT itself and unless I get a proper home demonstration then I am not going to spend that sort of money.

Hope this helps would urge anyone to look at the SBT and start to consider streaming. There are more and more units coming on the market the company that will make one with a decent screen and no Dac just a good digital out will clean up but that is only my view .

anonymous
06-09-2012, 08:09 PM
I haven't done any tweaking with mine, but have happily been using it for the past 3 years, without any problems. It's unfortunate that Logitech is going to stop making the Touch.

steve
08-09-2012, 12:07 PM
I use SB Touch and output goes to NAD integrated AMP with Super HL5 speakers. I am very happy with this setup and do not think you need any external DAC along the way. I used a SB classic before this and my only reason for the upgrade was that the remote broke. I am happy I have no CD or records - the main downside is not audiophile but musiccologic - unless you put a bit of work in you lose info on covers such as what artists on what tracks etc. Even with a bit of work the GUI is less satisfying then an album or DC cover.

So the next step for me will be a tablet I can scan record/cd covers and booklets to and use when listening to my music (and also access databases such as All Music). I also will use tablet as remote control. I am waiting a bit as I expect them to get cheaper and faster over next few years....