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Logitech Squeezebox Touch - Performance and Verdict

By Hugo Jobling

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Logitech Squeezebox Touch

Summary

Our Score:

9

The only real problem with the Squeezebox Touch is that it can't just pull music from a DLNA or uPnP source. Instead it has to interface with server software. Ostensibly this means running Logitech's own Squeezebox Server on Windows, MacOS or Linux but actually a number of third party tools are available - a common one being Twonky media server. Some of these alternative Squeezebox servers run on NAS devices such as the ReadyNAS NVX (plus lesser models) and Linkstation Duo, so leaving a PC on constantly in order to use the Squeezebox Touch isn't a necessity.

The Squeezebox Touch itself can decode MP3, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, HE-AACv2, HD-AAC and Apple Lossless files. WMA Lossless, APE, MPC and WavPack files are supported with transcoding performed off-device, which means they may not be playable using third party servers, or if said servers are running on systems that can't handle particular file formats. For the most part, however, it's safe to say that the Squeezebox Touch will be able to handle any audio format you can throw at it.

In our testing that certainly proved to be the case. The Squeezebox Touch had no problems decoding 320kbps MP3, 256kbps AAC or even 24-bit/48KHz FLAC files (the latter courtesy the Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound).

The internal DAC does its job as well as can be expected from a sub-£250 audio device. With good enough source material the Touch's output is delightfully clear and dynamic. Low quality files - say, Napster's 128kbps WMA - still sound, well, low quality, but they're good enough for casual listening. We found that even just passing the phono outputs through a valve amp helped smooth out the harshness resulting from the 'garbage in, garbage out' effect. But of course, if the on-board processing isn't up to your standards, you can invest in a dedicated DAC and amplifier set-up, using the Squeezebox Touch solely as a relay - and a mighty good one at that.

Verdict

It's its flexibility that really sells the Squeezebox Touch and that makes its £235 asking price a steal. Only a Sonos system could better it for slickness and capability, but Sonos kit is significantly more expensive. Given the choice, we'd still go for the Sonos set-up because of the superior multi-room capabilities, but if you know you only want a stand-alone streaming-audio solution, the Squeezebox Touch is it.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Value 9

Andrew Fordham

May 20, 2010, 12:32 pm

What we really need from Logitech is a touch controller that looks and functions like this new piece of kit, so that I can get rid of the rather rubbish controller that comes as half of the Duet. The best way of controlling a Squeezebox set-up is currently via a third party iPhone/iPod touch app, so Logitech are missing a trick.

Epic

May 20, 2010, 12:54 pm

I don't quite get the comment about Twonky media server ... are you saying that the Squeezebox Touch will talk directly to a Twonky server without the need for the Squeezebox server software to installed and running?

Peter Linton

May 20, 2010, 1:54 pm

@Epic I'm not a tech expert but there seems to be plenty on Twonky in our forum - http://forums.slimdevices.com





You might be interested to know the Squeezebox Touch is unique in the range as it has a built-in server, meaning it can stream music from an attached USB drive or SD card to other Squeezebox devices- no need for a PC.


See Wiki entry: http://bit.ly/d3ULmd





Peter Linton


Logitech UK & Ireland

Freddy Frogg

May 20, 2010, 2:18 pm

What is the search / listing capability like? As I have a pretty large MP3 collection, this is a key point for one of these devices from my standpoint.

MarioM

May 20, 2010, 2:32 pm

@Epic - that appears to be the case for older Squeezebox products; I'm using it myself. YMMV.

Hugo

May 20, 2010, 3:27 pm

Epic - To clarify: despite the documentation saying you need Squeezebox Server running you don't, Twonky works just fine.





Freddy_Frog - Depends on the server software you use, but basically sorting is as good as you make it. You can browse by Artist, Album, Track, Folder etc.





Peter - You're right, I forgot to mention the internal server - which is a bit silly seeing as it pops up telling me it's starting every time I plug in a USB drive - it is a rather nifty feature I have to say.

Jones

May 20, 2010, 4:31 pm

@Andrew Fordham - I havent had experience with the Duet's dedicated hardware but my set up with iPeng and a Squeezebox receiver has been slow and a little bit of a pain in the arse to be honest. I think this has more to do with the ReadyNas Im using though than a fault with the 3rd party app.





@Hugo/Peter - is there a capacity or folder limit with attached USB devices? As this would be a key point if I were interested in one. I bought my NAS primarily to act as a base for my music to stream about the house. Hasnt quite worked out as planned, though the storage is handy the system gets seriously bogged down and slow.

Stelph

May 20, 2010, 4:45 pm

If you are thinking of getting this device id recommend taking a long hard look at the o2 Joggler, its currently reduced to £50 and admitably it doesnt have the optical out, it does however have a larger 7" touchscreen and you can boot linux on it from a USB memory stick and then run all the software you want, including spotify (using WINE)





Buy it here


http://yourfamily.o2.co.uk/o2f...





Spotify on the Joggler


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...





Joggler Wiki


http://www.jogglerwiki.info/in...





would be a good budget option to this IMO

Freddy Frogg

May 20, 2010, 5:23 pm

Thanks Hugo. Can you free text search as well - e.g. if you enter "REM" it searches album names, track titles, artists, etc. etc. and then gives you a list of matches?

Jones

May 20, 2010, 6:23 pm

@Stelph - good suggestion and something to consider. Im a bit of a lazy get though and would prefer a remote. Otherwise, in my circumstances, Im just much better sitting the laptop on top of the hifi and jacking in it directly! Still, good budget idea worth seriously considering. HAvent a lot of people had problems with their Jogglers after a year or so though?

miha

May 20, 2010, 6:37 pm

I'm hardly one of those grammar police types but this sentence stood out: "Touch to a speaker system unable to except any of its higher-quality outputs...". Made me laugh, tho, as it's pronounced much the same... I'm probably not reading it write :)) t/c

Chris Beach

May 20, 2010, 7:11 pm

I'm not sure I agree with the Sonos being better multiroom, the slim range gives you the most choices and they are all easy to sync. And the newish Squeezeplay software expands the devices to any pc/mac. Possibly the Sonos has the edge on polish, but given the price I'm not sure that's worth it.





@Freddy_Frog, its pretty responsive on my large-ish collection (50k tracks), with the server running on my readynas nv.

Chris

May 20, 2010, 9:12 pm

@Jonas: One of the reasons I decided on a Squeezebox v3 was due to the quality of its analogue output, which compared favourably to that of £400 CD players at the time. That's a necessity for me because I have it attached to a decent amp & speakers, and I don't even own a CD player.





I'm sure a Joggler would be convenient, but to me that's kinda missing the point of what a Squeezebox is about...

Gok

May 20, 2010, 10:10 pm

Hi Hugo; How is the sound quality of the Touch compared to a A/V media players like WDTV Live or Assus O!Play when playing lossless audio files through digital out?


As far as I understand, when connected with digital out to A/V receiver, all these devices are only decoding and the D/A conversion is happening in the receiver, so all of them should sound the same. Is this true?


If that is the case, WDTV Live is more than two times cheaper than Touch and better buy since it can also decode video formats (nothwitstanding the fact that it needs the TV to be on to access user interface...)? Or am I missing something?

PoisonJam

May 21, 2010, 12:53 am

@Peter Linto - Fantastic to see some support from manufacturers directly in here. I've never seen that on these "forums" before :)

Peter Linton

May 21, 2010, 12:43 pm

@Freddy_Frogg – Yes, there’s a free text search that searches all words in artist, album, track – so on my Squeezebox a search on “rem” finds some 42 tracks (mostly remixes or remastered).





It only searches the start of words so, for example, “I rememeber” is found but “Dremel” isn’t found.





@Jones – the SD card is limited to 32Gb. There’s no limit on folders, but a fast drive is recommended.





@PoisonJam thx :-)





Peter Linton


Logitech UK & Ireland

daniel

May 21, 2010, 3:34 pm

I've got a classic or maybe it's a v3 and it's great. can't recommend it enough. But what's really great is iPeng on the ipod touch to use as a controller - works really well. i've got an atom system as a server and it's pretty much faultless.


you can install squeezeplay or squeezeslave(can't remember if that's right) to play media on your PC which works well and i think is preferable to other media players due to better browsing of media. also, multiroom seems pretty decent especially when controlled from iPeng.


Additionally, i have also bought a joggler and just waiting for squeezeplay to work nicely on it which will be great

Dave54321

January 16, 2011, 10:40 pm

I find it astounding that this nice piece of kit isn't capable of reading audio files directly from a USB hard drive. I mean, is it really rocket science to be able to incorporate a built-in media player? So instead we are forced to leave a noisy PC on. My PC is already hooked up to my stereo system, but due to the fan noise (which whilst not being incredibly noisy is still far from silent) I am seeking a media player that I can simply plug my music hard drive into (I have a separate DAC to make it sound nice). So far, the only standalone media player I have found that is capable of playing gapless lossless audio independent of a PC is the Boxee Box - and that looks horrible. But I may just have to get it, for want of an alternative...


Thanks for the review - it was most informative. :)

Talulah

October 21, 2013, 1:41 pm

"I find it astounding that this nice piece of kit isn't capable of reading audio files directly from a USB hard drive."

It can!

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