Product Review (January 2009) - Logitech®
Squeezebox™ Duet Digital Media Player

By Kevin Nakano


Logitech leveraged their ability to stream audio to customers with their acquisition of Slim Devices two years ago. The Squeezebox™ Duet enables users to stream their favorite audio content from their personal collection, online services (Pandora and Rhapsody) and thousands of Internet radio stations. The system supports a wide variety of non-DRM content including compressed formats (MP3, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, MP2, MusePack, WMA) and uncompressed formats (AIFF, WAV, PCM). Play songs stored on your computer, tune in to thousands of Internet radio stations, or connect to online services such as Pandora® and Rhapsody®. On the downside, the Squeezebox™ Duet cannot play music stored on a NAS (Networked Access Server) where all of my music is stored. Instead, the Squeezebox™ Duet must connect to a PC running SqueezeCenter software or to third party music storage companies such as MP3tunes.com music locker making it possible to listen to your personal music collection without turning on your computer.

SqueezeCenter
SqueezeCenter
is the music server that runs on your computer and connects your Squeezebox players and controllers to your local music files, as well as allowing you to use third-party plug-ins (applications that extend the features and functions of your Squeezebox). If you’re planning to use your Squeezebox™ Duet only to listen to Internet radio and online music services, or if your music is stored in an MP3tunes music locker, you are not required to have a PC running this software. Currently, MP3tunes music locker storage space is limited to 2GB for free. Larger storage space is available for an additional fee. We tested the Squeezebox™ Duet running SqueezeCenter on our media server PC.

Handheld
The handheld controller that come with the Squeezebox™ Duet has a rechargeable Li-Ion battery and measures only 6-1/8" tall, 2" wide and 0.75" deep. The remote sits in a cradle that not only makes it easy to find, but also keeps the controller charged through the two contacts at the base. A beep can be heard when the remote docks to the base confirming a good connection with the charger. The buttons on the remote have a tactile feel and the rotating wheel around the center select button is a nice touch. Just below the navigation keys are the volume buttons and the forward/reverse and pause buttons. The 2.4-inch color LCD screen is easy to read and provides plenty of information about the artist, album, song, and track. Album cover art is also displayed. At the base of the display, the handheld has indicators for playback mode, signal strength, battery level, and time. Once the handheld goes into standby mode, the display becomes a real-time clock, which can be a useful feature.

Base Unit
The base unit is small measuring only 6-1/4" wide, 4-1/4" deep, and 1-1/8" tall. There is not much to see on the front panel except for the Home button located in the center This button is used to reset the unit and provides visual feedback to the user. A blinking red indicator lets the user know the unit is resetting. Once the color turns white, the unit is connected to the network.

Interfaces
The rear panel of the Squeezebox receiver has a wired Ethernet interface. The unit also supports 802.11g WiFi for those with wireless networks. Both coaxial and optical (Toslink) digital connections are provided along with analog stereo outputs. The receiver immediately recognized our SSID on our wireless network and we were prompted to enter our password for access. We tested both the wired and wireless connections to this unit. We also connected the analog audio as well as the Toslink output connected to our Denon AVR-5308CI A/V receiver. The universal power adapter can run from 100-240VAC, 50-60Hz making it compatible around the world.

Performance
The Squeezebox™ Duet produces excellent sound quality thanks to the 24-bit DAC and sophisticated audio rendering technology. We maximized our bandwidth by using a wired Ethernet connection to the base receiver. However, it is just as easy to use a wireless link if this is more convenient. We did experience some lag time between button presses when using the wireless connection, but this may be completely dependent on the type of wireless hardware you have installed in your home or office.

Once our system was setup, we were able to stream our music content seamlessly to our audio system. I particularly like the controller and the display, which provides nice feedback to the user. The lightweight and ergonomic design makes listening to music or Internet radio stations simple and easy. I was somewhat surprised just how good the lower bandwidth radio station sounded on this system. In many cases the audio was running at a paltry 20-30 kbps, yet sounded much better than other low bitrate recordings I have heard. Both analog and digital interface sounded quite good.

Conclusion
The Logitech® Squeezebox™ Duet ($359.99) is a great way to get music streaming in your rooms with the convenience of a user friendly handheld remote. The system is easy to setup and provides excellent sound quality from good source material. Internet radio and other lower bandwidth sources will have slightly less audio quality, but can only be discerned on higher quality audio systems. The style, build quality, and features offered with the Squeezebox™ Duet certainly justifies the price. Few products are available with the convenience offered with the Squeezebox™ Duet. Most of the systems we have seen are significantly more expensive such as the Sonos Music System we reviewed last year. If you are looking for a way to distribute music or Internet radio in your listening space and want the convenience of a remote with a cool display, you owe it to yourself to check out this product.

- Kevin Nakano




OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player




Review System

Projector: Mitsubishi LT-52148 Full 1080p High-Definition LCD Display
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box: Dish Network ViP622 HDTV Satellite and Terrestrial Receiver with HDMI
Blu-ray DVD Player: Sony PlayStation3 with HDMI 1.3
Home Theater PC: HP Pavilion m8330f Media Center (Phenom 9500, 3GB, 640GB, HDMI)
HD-DVD Player: Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD Player with HDMI
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
DVD Player: OPPO Digital OPDV971H DVD Player with DVI Output
D-VHS VCR: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
Laserdisc Player: Pioneer CLD-D704 CD/VCD/LD Player
Media Server: Kenwood Sovereign MRH1 Entre
Remote Control: Remote Technologies Inc. T3 Controller
Analog Audio Switcher (5.1): Zektor MAS3 5.1 Audio Switcher
HDMI Video Switcher: Radiient Technologies Select-4 HDMI Video Switcher
HDMI Cable: VizioWare Hi-Wirez 15-meter Active HDMI Cable
DVI Cable: AudioQuest DV-1 20m DVI-D Cable
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables


Review at a glance


Logitech® Squeezebox™ Duet


Technical Specifications

Squeezebox™ Controller

  • 2.4-inch color LCD TFT display with backlight
  • Rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • Built-in 802.11b/g wireless

Squeezebox™ Receiver

  • Digital optical, coax, and analog connectors
  • High-fidelity 24-bit Wolfson DAC
  • Plays MP3, AAC, WMA, Ogg, FLAC, Apple Lossless, WMA Lossless, and WAV music files
  • Built-in 802.11b/g wireless
  • 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port
  • Connects to SqueezeCenter™ software, providing access to music libraries on local computers
  • Connects to SqueezeNetwork™ for access to Internet radio and online music services

Package Contents

  • Squeezebox™ Controller
  • Squeezebox™ Receiver
  • Charging cradle with power supply
  • Power supply for receiver
  • RCA audio cables
  • Rechargeable Li-ion battery pack
  • Quick-Start Guide

System Requirements

PC

  • Windows® 2000, Windows® XP, Windows Vista®
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 80 MB available hard disk space
  • Ethernet or Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) home network
  • Broadband Internet connection required

Mac

  • Mac OS® X (10.3.5 or later)
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 80 MB available hard disk space
  • Ethernet or Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) home network
  • Broadband Internet connection required

Linux/BSD/Solaris

  • Perl (5.8.3 or later)
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 80 MB available hard disk space
  • Ethernet or Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) home network
  • Broadband Internet connection required


Company Information
Logitech Inc.
Corporate Headquarters
6505 Kaiser Drive
Fremont, CA 94555 USA
Phone: 510-795-8500
Sales: 800-231-7717
Support: 866-826-5722

Part Number: P/N 930-000033
Source: Manufacture Supplied
Warranty: 2-year limited hardware warranty
MSRP: $359.99

URL: www.logitech.com


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