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Sunday 16 December 2007

Soundbridge Homemusic [Slim]

For too long I've been enviously eyeing devices like the Squeezebox, desparate to set my mp3 collection free of my pc and mp3 player, but the 180 quid price tag was simply little too high for me to justify.

But I recently spotted the Pinnacle Soundbridge Homemusic on Amazon for 40 quid, and stone me if it doesn't look like the audiophile fave Roku Soundbridge device. A bit of googling, and it turns out this is indeed a Roku Soundbridge with the big screen replaced with a two line diddy thing and a cheaper remote. Big screens rock and all, but this thing is 140 quid cheaper, and ticks all the boxes.

So now I have one, working, and it's bloody lovely. Needs a firmware update first off to get you on wifi wpa security, but it's got a little SD card slot that make that pretty painless. WPA key entered, it's found my upnp server (twonky), and suddenly all my tunes are available via the soundbridge.

Can it really be that easy? Seems so. No addional client software installed or required if you're already doing some upnp, so I've now got the same libary shared out to me xbox 360 in the living room and me soundbridge in the dining room.

What's more, as this is actually a roku device, all the online roku shit works a treat. You go to Rokuradio, it finds your device on your lan, and shows you what it's playing. Want to preset some radio stations to buttons on the remote? Do it via the web, now the device is truly wife freindly; "turn it on dar, and press 1", that's it. Here's how my presets are set up:

1 - Radio 12 - North Pole Radio (it is xmas!)3 - Radio 7 (for the kids)4 - xfm Manchester5 - Manx Radio6 - Radio Paradise

The last ones a bit of a new find for me, but after tuning in, they played Radiohead, Jose Gonzalez, Coldplay and the Stone Roses, so it's a keeper!

Problems? Well the screen is small, so navigating huge collections is a drag. It does have a nice search facility though, and you can skip forward one alphabetical letter at a time through any list, so it's all well thought out.

Playlist support is also a bit wonky, tho that might be twonky rather than the Soundbridge. It's also fully reliant on tags rather than file names, so I really need to spend some time sorting that stuff out in my collection.

Dead chuffed tho, a total bargain for 40 notes.


  1. Slim is right, the device is lovely for the money, but the the bigger picture isn't quite that rosey. The problem is that the device relies on external software, such as a uPnP solution like Twonky. Previous versions of the firmware have supported iTunes and Slimserver (both of which I currently use) but support appears to have been removed. A standalone bridge to iTunes, Firefly, is provided but for me this simply didn't work. Crashed everytime I tried to install it. The device does work with Twonky, but current versions of Twonky simply don't work with iTunes.

    Also, Twonky operation is really tricky with the Soundbridge. To accomplish a simple task like putting the device into random play mode (about 2 seconds work on my Squeezebox) requires that the Soundbridge download the entire song list, all 12000 entries in my case, a job that takes about 5 minutes. It might be a lot easier with playlists, but of course Twonky won't touch my iTunes playlists and who can be fucked with m3us?

    I do like the internet radio presets though. But in summary, a really nice device is let down by crappy software support.


  2. I'd seen the nero media server, but haven't tried it yet. I'd need to buy nero, and it's more expensive than twonky, and I recon nero's a load of bloated old shite for burning these days.

    Dave: a lot of the support problems are because of apple, not anyone else. Apple fekked everyone over changing the format with itunes 7 for media sharing, loads of devices that used to have itunes support suddently didn't and that's not been fully resolved.

    If you prefer slimserver, you can of course get that to stream as a radio station and have that randomise your music. The downside is you have to use your pc to do skips and not the soundbridge, but it's an option.

    For me, it's ace, cos I only use Twonky for the 360 and the soundbridge, and i tend to use playlists not randomise every song, so I don't really hit your issues.


  3. Being in EED for a decade, roonabouts, has had it's advantages. Witty 1 liners in the crosshatch, memorable gaming moments, memorable gaming weekends! Carreer saving advice, ta slimbo, all manner of wonderful stuff sluices down it's 8lane superhighway.

    But this thing will take some beating. I copied DaveSpec above and once I got the thing updated to current, it works a charm. My osx10.4 box with twonky in the hall cupboard, is streaming every mp3 happily to the soundbridge. Defined all the preset tranny stations onto it via the web, it just doesn't get much easier than this really.

    I've sorta stopped listening to music much at home nowadays. I'm convinced this delish wee setup will bring that back to the fore big style.

    Well chuffed fellas, ace find. Now, who's gonna fix my tags ;)