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Article: Logitech Squeezebox Touch Review


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From the feedback posted at the Squeezebox forums regarding the digital out capabilities of this unit, using digital out to an external DAC may make it even harder for those 'audiophiles' against plastic to turn their noses up at this $300 unit...give it a try; I'm sure we'd all like to hear your opinion (pun intended).

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Chris, I've been running Squeezebox server on my CAPS server since I built it. Of course, Squeezebox server is quite memory intensive and I'd like to get the app off the CAPS server. Do you know if I could use Squeezebox server on my Thecus N7700? If so, can you provide some more color around how you installed and configured it, including if you had to separately install Perl. Thanks. JCR

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Thecus has a packaging format (which they call a "module") that you can easily install through the web interface. Squeezecenter Server is one of them available.<br />

<br />

http://naswebsite.com/wiki/Thecus_N5200_Module:_SQUEEZEBOXSERVER<br />

<br />

From what I understand, the 7700 can use many of the 5200 modules, so you might try it to see if that works.<br />

<br />

Chris, you might want to check out the iPeng iPod/iPhone app for controlling your Squeezebox; it's pretty slick and much nicer than trying to use the web interface on the same device.<br />

<br />

http://penguinlovesmusic.de/

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Hi Chris, <br />

<br />

I find it hard to gap between the fact that two bit perfect feeds to the same DAC sound differently ?<br />

<br />

Is it the DAC202 and the advantage of the jitter free firewire interface or something else that I missed ?<br />

Do you expect similar results with the alpha as an example ?<br />

<br />

Taking this argument a bit further - do we expect any change in sound between two bit perfect sound cards such as ASUS ST and Lynx Studio installed in the same CAPS server using the available SPDIF and AES interfaces inputs of the alpha DAC?<br />

<br />

Rgd<br />

Eli<br />

Ayre CD + CAPS Server > Weiss DAC202 > CJ CT5 > CJ Prem140 > AudioPhysics Virgo

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I'd pitch the analogue as better than a DacMagic and not as good as a Lavry/Benchmark or my new favourite - the Dacport. But then again I never liked the DacMagic. <br />

Digital out appears vastly improved over previous gen - equal to a pulse transformer modded SB3?? No - not convinced on that - I remember my modded SB3 being pretty good and, with spdif, as good or better than the TP spdif. TP AES better again.<br />

Touch fell apart on complex orchestral. Fine for simple "girl with a guitar" stuff. <br />

I liked my modded Valabs out of W7 64 + J River Waspai - HiFace more. The Valabs from the Touch didn't sound as good. Ditto a KRK Ergo. No doubt the Weiss has mucho superior jitter control (it should do :).<br />

The HiFace makes a better digital transport IMHO depending on the jitter resisteance of the source.<br />

Inbuilt SC server sucks: at least with a bus powered 2.5 usb drive. SQ suffers too.<br />

Screen is big and well lit. But not big enough to see across the room like the SB3. The Touch screen works but again isn't super quick - slow cpu/ram - even for linux. More of a gimmick - I use the remote 90% of the time. Remote isn't as good as the SB3.<br />

Squeezeserver 7.5.0 is dreadful. What were they thinking? Seriously a crap piece of interface. I remember the days of SB2 and slimserver when you had a non web based interface - it was sooo much better.<br />

Overall - probably the cheapest and easiest decent 24/96 Transport around. While you are saving for a decent dac you can listen to the onboard one.<br />

$300? What's not too like?<br />

<br />

ps sold mine 1 week after buying it: usless as a stand alone and if I have to have a computer running I might as well just do the USB thing.<br />

pps Happy with my Dacport as a Dac at present even without a 64x-32player asio driver. Awesome bit of kit.<br />

Best Wishes

Andrew

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Okay so Chris you compared the Squeezebox Touch to J.River via Firewire to the DAC202 - but in all honesty this is probably not a situation thats very likely in real world. So how about a comparison between an off the shelf netbook running into a DAC (Peachtree Nova perhaps) via USB, vs the Squeezebox Touch into the same DAC via SPDIF?<br />

<br />

Or for that matter the analogue of the Squeezbox touch, vs. an off the shelf netbook with a HRT Streamer (for example) or other cheep DAC.<br />

<br />

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Good to hear the generally positive review. I have one being modded at the moment to work with my Empirical Audio Pace-Car. Presently using a modded Duet in the same setup. Digital is S/PDIF out to a MF X-DACv3. <br />

<br />

I like the sound of my present setup, so I'm pretty excited about being able to listen to hi-res files natively reproduced on the SB system.<br />

<br />

Will report back when I've heard the new setup.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Thank you for the excellent review. I have been struggling for many months with my decision concerning what music server would be best in my home given the fact that the server will be accessed in the family room as well as my listening area. [i’m already a computer semi-audiophile at work.] I decided on a couple of Touches into V-DAC/V-PSUs, a Squeeze clock radio, and Squeeze server running on a ReadyNas NVX Pioneer (rndz400e) with two 2TB Seagate drives (ST32000644NS). The equipment arrived the other day and my entire CD collection be ripped by Ready 2 Play here in California. I’ll let you know what I think once it is all set up.<br />

<br />

One more practical aspect of the Touch that can’t be overemphasized is that, in addition to the features discussed in your review, it is perfect for the wife and kids. If I was single, I probably would have simply purchased the Olive HD and been done with it. The Touch’s combination of handling a wide range of files and sample rates, ease of use, visible touch based user interface, good iPhone apps for remote control if need be (e.g. iPeng) and low cost of replacement sold me. A few months from now, it’ll probably be $250 on the internet. If a kid breaks one (my kids are 4 and 6), or if the Touch remote cant be found, its not the end of the world. All other components can be locked away and controlled with my RF remote. Good, if not perfect, audio and no worries. I’m really excited.<br />

Joe

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Andrew S, <br />

Thanks for the detailed report. About this:<br />

"Inbuilt SC server sucks: at least with a bus powered 2.5 usb drive. SQ suffers too." With this, do you mean something like a memory stick? I.e., does SQ also suffer if one uses an external harddrive with its own power supply?<br />

Best<br />

Jens <br />

All best,

Jens

 

Custom-built W8-based server -> Audio Note DAC 4.1 Balanced Limited Edition -> Audio Note Kit One -> Audio Note E/Alnico SPX. Everything supplied from Exact Power EP15A

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For those of you, who are interested in some Jitter measurements of the Logitech Squeezebox Touch, see my attached files with a Jitter measurement on the SPDIF Out and on the TOSLINK Out. Both are in deed very good for this price point and you must look to find some similar for that price.<br />

<br />

Also I do not give any Jitter numbers, it is better to look for the graph to see for the results. Also John Atkinson mentioned this in his last USB to SPDIF converter measurement, that the Lindemann with lower numbers does not sound as good, as also the jitter graph does not look as good as the Stello.<br />

<br />

As a third measurement you can see the analog out with a – 3 dBFS 1 kHz 24 Bit Signal. The quality is very decent, but I use all of my squeeze boxes only via digital out, because the analog out doesn’t fulfill my needs (but this depends on the sound level you are looking at).<br />

<br />

Juergen<br />

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<br />

Pleasure.<br />

I didn't bother trying it with a Stick or non usb powered external HDD. My interest was solely wrt a bus powered 2.5 HDD. I am sure with either of the former options it would be far more responsive esp the Stick with flash memory.<br />

Overall I found it frustrating..compared to eg J River on my Asus UL30 with a a SSD and 4GB of Ram.<br />

Happy hi fi

Best Wishes

Andrew

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With every Squeezebox I own (SB II, SB Classic, SB Duet, SB Touch), there is a direct connection between the power supply and the SPDIF out (which should not in regular SPDIF out) and also with the analog out (which is mostly the case), but also with LAN Case and USB Case. So every thing you connect to this device will have a sort of ground loop.<br />

<br />

It depend on your system complexity if this matters or not, but I would suggest for better sound to use a Linear Power Supply, with each Squeezebox, because this really improves the sound.<br />

<br />

Also I use the TOSLINK Out (via Wireworld Glass Cable (Supernova)), instead of SPDIF (I know SPDIF alone is better than TOSLINK (but this could be different in a complex system)).<br />

<br />

I am also using LAN Isolation device (to remove this possibility of ground loops (I know, a non shielded LAN cable will also prevent a ground loop)), but I want to be on the save side.<br />

<br />

And additionally I have an optical USB extender (with duplex glass fibers) when I connect powered USB device to it (not necessary with USB Sticks or Bus powered devices).<br />

<br />

What I do want to say is, that when I measure this device within a regular setup system, I get really some too many hum lines in the signal that I haven’t had when measuring in labor conditions.<br />

<br />

I do not want to start an endless discussion about the possible tweaks; I just want to point only to some weak points, when connecting a squeeze box in a complex system.<br />

<br />

Good luck.<br />

<br />

Juergen<br />

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I contacted Thecus support to ask about using the N5200 module on the N7700. Here's what they had to say:<br />

<br />

"Officially, we do not support 3rd party modules, please contact the module author for confirmation.<br />

<br />

Unofficially, N5200 modules have been known to work in N7700, but this is not a guarantee that the Squeezebox module will do the same.<br />

<br />

Also keep in mind that sometimes the only way to remove "mis-behaving" 3rd party modules is to delete and re-create RAID Array."<br />

<br />

The last point is the one that will keep me from trying out the N5200 module. If someone else with a N7700 is braver than I and can report back on a successful installation of the N5200 module, I'd love to hear that.<br />

<br />

I like iPeng on my iPad to control my three Squeezeboxes at home. However, I find that iPeng updates its cache for albums, artists, songs, etc. each time it is started up. This is an about 15 minute process to allow it to run to completion before it really works. A problem for now certainly while iPads can't multitask. I do not have that problem using the native remotes for the Squeezeboxes. JCR

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15 minutes? Really? How may albums to you have on your server? Maybe L-Tech could come out with an app that works better, but that would eat up Controller sales. Have you tried the Controller in place of the remote that comes with the Touch?

Joe

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Very interesting, Juergen. Your experience with improved power supplies mirrors mine. And I also find that Toslink sounds better. I hadn't thought about - and dind't know - about the optical USB isolation option, which I will try if and when I buy a SB Touch.

All best,

Jens

 

Custom-built W8-based server -> Audio Note DAC 4.1 Balanced Limited Edition -> Audio Note Kit One -> Audio Note E/Alnico SPX. Everything supplied from Exact Power EP15A

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I began to think I was the only to ditch it asap. It failed to impress on every count. The screen is unreadable from 3 meters, unlike my SB3. Its angle is not adjustable. Why make it touch sensitive if it has to be tethered to a power supply cable? Without a DAC the sound is flat and at best mid-fi. Fed into my Weiss Dac2 it sounded slightly better than a SB3 but way off my Mac Mini firewire output. I cannot believe some are comparing it to the Transporter.

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There is an alternative to removing the USB disk and attaching to a computer for adding new music. Touch can share the USB disk to the network. This is probably too slow to rip directly to the USB disk. But one can rip to the other computer's local disk and copy over the network to the Touch's USB disk. Better yet, use a folder sync program to update the Touch's USB disk. It's not lightning fast over wireless, but is something one can do overnight. <br />

Nice review for a slick little device. Many other reviews miss the ability to listen to many Internet streams. <br />

Frank<br />

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Greetings from Port Elizabeth, South Africa and I hope I do not bore you folk with might seem to be a very basic and trivial question.<br />

<br />

I wish to capture my CD collection in a losslees format in an attempt to maintain as much as the original quality as possible. Currently I either use the Cd's(a pain to have to change all the time) or my Ipod connected directly to the stereo. The latter has obvious loss in quality implications but great for ease of use.<br />

<br />

A digital "server" of sorts seems to be the solution to this dilemma and fortunately through my trolling on the web I came across this posting.<br />

<br />

It would appear that the LOGITECH SQUEEZEBOX TOUCH would serve my requirements spot on however I do not have the where withal to set up a wireless home network. Would one be able to connect a hard drive directly to the Touch and then link this(via RCA/optical etc.) to the stereo?<br />

<br />

I have explored other "hardrive" options such as the Pixel Magic MB200 Media box(a relatively old product with suspect backup service) as well as the Mede8er( a new product supporting the FLAC format) however these units appear to also be suitable for movies.<br />

<br />

I am looking purely for an audio solution only and suspect that a product dedicated to Audio only(i.e. SQUEEZEBOX TOUCH)would be the better option? <br />

<br />

Apologies for any grammatical errors. We have 11 official languages in South Africa and unfortunately English is not my first language.<br />

<br />

Any advice would be much appreciated<br />

<br />

Harold Pienaar

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