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markr

Article: The Bentley of Music Servers

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Hmmmmmm. It B a Bentley awrite. Did you ever price one of those bad boys? w00t! It has very nice specs too (they look sort of familiar Chris *grin*). ...... it doesn't really exist yet though does it? An interesting marketing exploratory..... I have a co-conspiritor in music-creation-crime that wanted me to help make this sort of thing a reality 6 or 8 years ago. That would have taken too much away from learning what I see as my craft though. I'm kind of a Honda guy too. Wouldn't mind stepping up to an Accura though ... getting older.... I've known this kind of thing was going to be done for 15yrs. now ($h1t! Sorry, I just accidentally switched to 'blather' there.) <br />

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I see the conundrum amungya. <br />

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Being of a somewhat talented techno-scum background, and having left the retail audiophile world behind (too many $$$ for what can be bought elsewhere with much less attitude, more reliability, functionality and less $$$ -OK, the stuff in the HiFi store really looks pretty though- ) for the world of professional *studio* sound the day I took delivery on my Klipsh LaScalas ( 1992 ? - I'm not sure ), I now TRULY see what the folks who like the direction of this website want to get to. I think.<br />

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Not only are the electromechanical aspects for this sort of thing somewhat scary to most folks - the software for this level of integration ( read: 'user friendliness' ) is ........ well, pretty complicated.<br />

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I have to leave you with this for now: Besides working the other issues with iTunes, Apple needs to make a heavy-duty *server* version of iTunes ( R U listening Steve? - I'll BET $$ he is & I don't normally gamble ). In fact, I wonder what, if any of the characteristics and limitations of the 'regular' iTunes change when it is run on 'OSX sever' right now? Anyone out there know?<br />

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markr<br />

"There are only two kinds of people: Those who understand binary and those who don't"<br />

hear here:<strong> KUT.org after 8 pm CST most nights. Try it. You'll like it - Jazz tonight</strong>

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Hi Markr - I love the comments! It is always fascinating to me to hear what other people think and know about the audiophile world. I believe the Sooloos product does exist and yes I have priced one out. Very expensive at first blush, but for the functionality and convenience the price is relatively low when compared to a top of the line audiophile grade CD player and transport. <br />

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I agree that the software can be pretty complicated. Hopefully here at ComputerAudiophile.com we can all discuss the software and those who have answers can help everyone out.<br />

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I can't wait for the day we have a heavy duty version of iTunes or competing software. A real powerful application would be fabulous.<br />

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- Chris<br />

Computer Audiophile | Turn Down The Silence


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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As far as I know - and I looked into both the Sooloos and Qsonix servers over the last month - while initially delayed, the Sooloos is currently available. They have some additional components they are working on for release in the first half of next year (the Micro Source and the 7" wireless remote), but the 17" Control, Source:One, Source:Five and Store are available. They also have a product they call the Control:Bridge which lets AMX and Crestron systems control the Sooloos with the same kind of touch functionality that the 17" Control offers, but I'm not sure if that is available yet.<br />

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It will be interesting to see how they follow through with some of the things they have in the pipeline. At CES, I expect that they will demo the Rhapsody integration (that's the online service they are going with). The idea is that via the subscription, users will be able to browse and listen to the Rhapsody collection through the Sooloos controller. If you found something you liked enough to get in full resolution, you'd have the option to buy the album and have the CD sent to you (of course, you could just listen to all of that stuff in lossy form right from Rhapsody for as long as you have teh subscription).<br />

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It's also possible that they will show an early beta of video storage and playback. This has been rumored but isn't definite. Such capability would require new source hardware (the current ones only have audio outs). No word on format support, etc.<br />

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The wireless 7" remote is very attractive. It will supposedly retail for $1500 and be as responsive as the 17" touchscreen. The spped of teh control is their trademark. With a capable processor and 1GB of RAM (I think thats what the tech said), they intended it to handle all the work of browsing and controlling the library in as snappy a manner as possible. From the YouTube video (

), it does indeed look to be snappy. They want the wireless remote to be just as speedy and not just a UMPC with a laggy browser-based control interface.<br />

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The Micro source will be a small, single-zone device with analog and digital outs for placement in different rooms (think Sonos ZP80). This is a natural addition as it accommodates homes without structured speaker wiring. Ethernet is required (I assume that will be the same as teh current source units - done to maintain adequate, clean, uninterrupted bandwidth for FLAC playback).<br />

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One thing that I got only a hint about is where they are going with the management options. As it is, they tout the "Focus" feature which lets you drill down into your collection and explore your library using extensive metadata from AMG. I asked about the ability for the unit to do what Qsonix just added - the ability to auto-populate playlists based on similarities. Qsonix uses AMG's Tapestry service builds playlists via things like "create playlist with songs similar to this one" and "mood" or "theme" based playlists (driving music, dinner party, etc). Sooloos says they are working on stuff like that, but they were kind of cloak and dagger about the details.<br />

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By the way, there have been a couple of write-ups of the Sooloos. The December TAS issue which had a special on music servers including Sooloos, Qsonix and the Arcam MS250. All TAS issues are available for paid download (deliverable is a pdf) from their site (http://www.avguide.com/the-absolute-sound/back-issues.php). Tone Audio also had a review which you can get from Sooloos' site here:<br />

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http://www.sooloos.com/press/Sooloos-ToneAudio.pdf<br />

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Ultimately, for me, I don't know if Sooloos is right. If the wireless remote, micro source, Rhapsody integration and auto-playlist features were there now, I'd likely be sold. I'll have to see what they show at CES.<br />

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Hope this helps.<br />

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Jeff


I'm nerdy in the extreme. I'm whiter than sour cream...

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Thanks for all the detail and the future capabilities they are "working" on. Based on what I have read, including your post here, I just get the feeling that Sooloos has trouble delivering as a company. Good ideas, but delays and defensively secretive is how I kind of think of Sooloos. I hope I am very wrong and I've just read the wrong stuff. I hope to them at CES.


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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