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Thursday 15 April 2004

Squeezebox heaven [houmous]

As I think most of you know, I like buying things. The only reason you even know me ( I accept this may be a good or bad thing ) is because I was interested in a pair of Sennheiser PX200 headphones – I did a search, found your site and liked it so much I stayed!
Since then, through your influence I have bought an ibead, a switch for switching between headphones and speakers, a pair of sennheiser PC150 headphones (with Mic),a CM keyboard and a creative MuVo2 4gb mp3 player. IÂ’ve changed to firebird for my browser, learnt to convert movies to DiVX as well as how to rip CDÂ’s to MP3 properly (both in terms of software and settings). IÂ’ve also learnt all about bittorent and P2P, moved my website to a much better host and how to blogÂ…..*breaks down in tears at this point and is unable to type*
Anyway true to form I quickly downloaded the slimserver software a few weeks ago after Lurks’s blog on the subject. Now given I’ve only been into PC’s for the past seven years or so I can still remember when words like 'patch' and 'crack' seemed strange. Another phrase that seemed strange (and that I didn’t really understand then ) was 'bloated software'. I do now though and I hate it – gamespy, the crap that comes with an i-pod, the software that came with my digital voicerecorder at work..I hate them.
I was therefore immediately very positively influenced by the slimserver software – it looked nice, it did what it said, it was clean and slick – I felt a calming influence coming over me. I had no intention of buying a squeezebox then but it didn’t take me long to find a flimsy excuse (it’s a bit awkward using Kiss to control my mp3 collection ) to order one. A few weeks delay and it turns up last week.
My Saturday had not been a good one. As some of you know I have spent a good 3 months trying to get my contacts on my Palm to replicate via Bluetooth and via my Lotus Notes (work) and/or Outlook (home) to my T610 phone. I had just spent 3 hours having another go (installed full version of XTND manager – titted about with the settings – got 'phone found' 'now synchronising' and the same on the phone with the little moving bar – leap about room with joy – 2 mins later –'cannot find your phone' what! It just found the phone ffs! – repeat 15 times to get same result etc etc ).
Anyway I had allocated the last 2 hours I had free to attempt to install my squeezebox - so off we go. The first thing you notice ( I think Lurks said this but I cant be arsed to go and check right now – I’m rolling here ffs! ) is that you immediately notice the quality. It looks good, it feels good – even the remote. Its solid and its got this tactile coating. Even the box it came in has bits of sponge in it – wow!
I move over to my sound system. The squeeze box has a wifi aerial and Ethernet, but since I’ve got an Ethernet conn in my system already for my Kiss I plum for that. I plug a spare switch in and plug an extra cable in and connect it to the squeezebox. For audio out it has phono, digital coax and optical – sweet! I plug a coax lead in and switch on. It greets me and asks if I want to to allocate it a IP addy automatically. Faint with surprise and excitement I press 'yes'. 30 secs later I see my entire record collection being displayed. Another 5 secs later I am listening to it – and excellent sound quality it is too. Even Di mentioned it! I’ve added some nice plugins (BBC ticker thingee etc). I cant get the screensavers to work for some reason but apart from that it r0x0rs!
Anyway here it is.
As you will have already deduced I am in love with this bit of kit and have, together with my creative muvo2 - 4gb portable player (which I now use travelling, in hotel (with creative travel speakers) , in gym, in car (with a dummy tape with inline connection) and in the bedroom (with set of intrigue speakers ), I have now returned to the mp3 womb – I have found spiritual wise!
I now have no second thoughts about selling my entire CD collection and even as we speak have my children working through the night, for peanuts, loading them on to amazon 'buy one secondhand' listings, but hey....thatÂ’s just one of the many pleasures of being a parent!
Go buy a squeezebox!


  1. I loved the Slimp3, which was the predecessor to the squeezebox. They're pretty darn expensive though and there are actually significantly cheaper units on the market from folks mass producing them. But none of them have that software (or anything near it) nor the hardware quality and that superb retro vacuum flourescent display.
    Tempted to buy another Squeezebox even though I clearly have no application for it right now... My neighbor needs one though. He's a Mac muppet and hence cannot talk to the house MP3 server.

  2. The squeezebox looks wonderful, but it's just too much money for me. The netgear looks affordable though, half the price of the squeezey.

  3. Shrug. My Xbox does me fine for mp3. Video is another thing tho, it crashes regularly.

  4. Netgear, Creative, Pinnacle, Linksys and Hauppauge all have units like it. The thing is, they don't have the Squeezebox software... Hauupague and Linksys are both dire. Pinnacle is passable, not seen the Creative (not out in Europe yet) or the Netgear (on my hit list).
    As for mp3s on an xbox. Well. Technically it works. My missus can't drive it though, but she could drive the slimp3 fine.

  5. Wow! It's a stonker of a size. Is the wired version the same size?
    I saw the older SlimMp3 for £210 and the wireless Squeezebox for £260. Is this the sort of price we are talking?
    Wonder if it's worth a punt shipped from the states with the exchange rate what it is?

  6. I just worked it out, you can expect to pay around £200 by importing it from the US. Can you comfirm that Houmous? My rate on Dabs is £230 inc postage all in for the wireless one. So £30 to get it pretty much instantly.

  7. Broadbandbuyer have the out-soon Netgear MP101 for £102.50
    Which is nice, supposed to retail at £125+VAT. The downside is just analogue audio and possibly the server software? The Slimserve source is freely available, wonder if it's portable to the Netgear thing.

  8. I chased the Netgear up. It's delayed in the UK, PR firm doesn't quite know when it will show up. I'm head of the list to check it out since my mag is something of a champion of these sorts of devices.
    Analog doesn't make an ass bit of difference to be honest, the quality of DACS in this device would be as good as any hi-fi DAC for practical purposes.
    I seriously doubt the Netgear streams regular HTTP streams so while it'd certainly be possible to port the Slimserver, you'd first have to reverse engineer the MP101. In terms of man-hours and cost, I think it'd be cheaper to buy the Squeezebox. :)

  9. According to the netgear webby it supports streaming mp3 from internet radio, not sure if that means it'll suprt the slimserver or not. Nice flash demo of it up here

  10. Yeah it's a dumb thing not to add. The Linksys and Hauppague does that too but the thing is, they get the server software to do it and run their proprietary shit to the box. You have the added issue of driving the remote control. That's proprietary with the Slimserver because there's no open standards lying around for that.

  11. This market is exploding... Actiontech are getting in before the big boys release their kit in the Autumn.
    11b wireless, DVI, digital audio, divx, mp3, wma - $199
    Dunno how you see what your streaming, and don't see how they are going to do video at 11b wireless but still.

  12. You see what you're streaming on the tele, rather like all the other units (besides the Squeezebox and the Netgear). It has Ethernet so you can use that for high bandwidth video. It does complicate issues on what you can and can't stream via wireless though.

  13. Amateurs! Don't bugger about, just go and get one of these. Rarr!

  14. What about the Kiss 500 that Scam stock? Has a LAN port and xvid/DivX/WMA/Ogg playback and is well priced. The Kiss 508 also has an HD but I don't see the point if you can store on another box on the LAN?
    In fact with a bit of digging it seems that the HD is not for any sort of PVR functionality, just to copy 'files' from CD/DVD media for cached playback. Slideshows maybe? Its not really clear.

  15. Yeah that looks, OK. But you can bet you'll get better DVD playback on the Phillips & it has an integrated amp & comes bundled with 6 speakers. Muncho more expensive mind. I'll say it again tho, you can't beat a chipped Xbox for value. Since I've flashed my router firmware XBMC has been rock stable. The interface is easy to use & I've experienced none of the DivX sound sync problems that Lurks has talked about. I downoaded a ZIP of all the shoutcast playlists on last night & that works loveley too. So now I can listen to that bluegrass-salsa station I've always coveted ;) The only things I havent tried are the weather guide (I think it's US only) and Internet TV (Streamed asfs mostly). Does anyone know if XBMC supports rtsp streams? I'd be able to listen to Start Mconie on demand then :)

  16. I'd almost be willing to bet it has exactly the same decoding hardware as the Kiss player. The whole myth of more money equals better quality in HiFi goods really needs to come to a head I think :)

  17. Hou. I'm disapointed. Really. How could you go for a squeezebox when you could have got one of these?Hou, I'm dissapointed. I really expected something more flash, how about one of A href="">these. Suits you sir - ooh!

  18. Eww, looks horrid. Bet it costs a bazillion pounds and doesn't have anything like the awesome Slimserver software. Goes to show I guess, some people buy based on the amount of knobs on the front :)

  19. Actually it costs a thousand fookin pounds and as for the knobs on the front, have you seen the jacks on the back??? Fooking insane! I'd link it but I'm too slack.

  20. Hey hey! Another interesting music/video/picture box £170.
    Nice and slim, the only bit that gave me the 'fear' was 'All incompatible audio files (E.G. WMA) will be converted to MP3 at 128kb/s'. Groo. I like the component video output. No DVI though.

  21. Got one under my desk. Device is wicked but software is a bit bloated and stinky.

  22. Did you bother updating the software to the 1.4 beta, or was it just for a review?
    Do you have to send it back or do you want to sell it?