If you’ve set up your digital home sensibly you’ll have either a low-power server, like the Windows Home Server based Tranquil T7-HAS, or a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device of some sort, like the Cube Station CS 406, that stores all your shared media. Although many of these sorts of devices do allow you to install extra programs on them, a fair number don’t. Even on those that do, the process can be overwhelmingly complicated.
If you can’t get SqueezeCenter installed on these devices, to access your music you have to install the SqueezeCenter software on another PC, which has access to the shared folders. You must then keep both the PC and the server/NAS box on at all times – far from ideal. The one saving grace here is that SqueezeCenter is open source and available for any platform that supports Perl so you’re more likely than not to stand a chance of getting it working.
Once you’ve signed up to the myriad accounts for your online services and to the SqueezeNetwork, and you’ve got SqueezeCenter installed and ready, you can finally get down to some listening and it’s here that the Squeezebox Boom really excels. Despite its compact frame, the Boom delivers a powerful, detailed, and rich soundstage that can be pushed to impressive levels of volume. As is always the case with small devices, the sound is a little narrow (and the inbuilt stereo-effect enhancer does little to help this) but it’s perfectly good for casual listening. Moreover, with the Squeezebox range supporting just about every file format you can think of, including lossless formats like FLAC, you don’t have to re-encode all your music into different formats for all your different players.
Overall then, if you already have a Squeezebox hooked up to your main Hi-Fi and you just want something small and simple to extend that functionality to another room, then the Squeezebox Boom will be right up your street. However, we feel that as a standalone device it’s a bit lacking. For a start, while you can receive conventional local radio broadcasts via (yet another) online service, the quality is very poor and we’d much rather the Boom just had normal DAB or even just FM tuners. On top of this, we’d also like to see CD playback, though we do appreciate why this isn’t included.
Finally, because the Boom is so packed to the rafters with functionality it just feels a bit complicated for its apparently casual use and most people would be better off with a decent quality DAB radio that they can just plug their mp3 player into the back of when needed.
The Logitech Squeezebox Boom is undoubtedly an impressive device that would make for the perfect accompaniment to an existing Squeezebox setup. On its own, though, it doesn’t quite master everything and some might find its initial setup and controls a little convoluted. That said, once set up, it does work and for its diminutive size the sound quality is excellent.
Score in detail