Logitech Squeezebox Duet mini-review

I am really digging the Logitech Squeezebox Duet I purchased last week for streaming music to our master bedroom. I got it to replace the Sound Blaster Wireless Music which, due to being abandoned by Creative, is not supported on Vista.

The distinguishing features of Duet are an awesome remote with color LCD that displays the music library and now-playing information, and a mind blowing arrays of supported formats and services. It hooked right up to my ~8K MP3s library, my Rhapsody To Go and Pandora accounts, and my DI.fm/SKY.fm, favorites delivering a state of bliss I haven't imagined possible before. UI is very well laid out, browsing is a breeze, responses are instant, the PC-side service is bomb-proof solid, vendor support is very engaged, and users+modders community is huge.

Not having any interest in Logitech's fortunes, I just wanted to share my enthusiasm and adulations about this one DAMN WELL MADE PRODUCT.


The short of it
MSRP: $399
Purchased: $350 at B&P Photo & Video, NYC

Stellar functionality and features
Integration with iTunes, Rhapsody, Pandora, Last.fm, and internet radio streaming
Support of most non-DRMed local file formats, including WMA and FLAC
Support for multi-room setups
Great industrial design and ergonomics
Plug-ins API for extensibility
Variety of OS platforms supported
Very active technical support, regular s/w & f/w updates, large community

No UPNP support out of the box
Peculiar combination of materials for the remote and charging stand -- matte black/gloss black/polished metal all together.
Noticeable memory footprint of the server process

Verdict: totally 5 out of 5

Before Slim Devices got bought by Logitech I got one of their first SliMP3 devices, the thing is still chugging. They make good kit.

Cool. Looking at one of these for the new house.

See, I want one of these, but after a few days having my itunes remote in my pocket all the time on my phone, it's hard for me to imagine going to a different way of dealing with the house music...

Has anyone made a remote API or some such for this yet? PC control of the box so it could be scripted to run from a different WiFi device?

Not sure about the new hardware version but if you've got a web browser you can control the software and thus server. In fact with this version the remote seems to have taken the mantle of interface vs the vacuum display on the slimp3/squeezeboxen.

There are a ton of plugins that expand the capabilities of the software server itself.

2nd Vote for any Slim product. I purchased my Squeezebox 3 partly on Malor's recommendation. Since my purchase, I've started encoding everything as Apple Lossless (and even re-encoding older albums), and with a digital connection to my Denon receiver, the SB3 does sound great. I've even considered (someday) purchasing the Transporter - their super-high-end version of the Squeezebox.

It has been a great addition to the home system, and I wouldn't hesitate to add a second if my apartment were large enough to warrant it.

I have the older generation, Squeezebox2 and 3, and they're just awesome. I don't know what the DACs are like in the Duet, but the older 2 and 3 use a really excellent Burr-Brown part. It doesn't cost very much anymore, like $5 in volume, but boy does it sound good.

If you're driving a receiver or an outboard DAC, the SB3 is an excellent digital transport with amazingly low jitter figures. I'm unconvinced that jitter matters very much, but if you happen to be, the Squeezebox is better than $2K+ CD players. If you're using analog amplification, it's an excellent source for that too, thanks to that very nice Burr-Brown part.

I think my only warning about it would be that the playlist management is kind of painful. I haven't used the Duet at all, so its management may be better, but the existing system is best controlled through the web interface, rather than the remote. This works okay, but it's a little awkward and just not, well, slick. If you're using iTunes for library management, or if you point iTunes at your Squeezebox library, you can use its excellent playlist tools. Slimserver will read and use iTunes playlists with no problem.

rabbit, I don't think this will be a good solution for you yet, but keep paying attention. The existing web interface is fairly hard to use from an iPhone. The buttons and controls are too small to accurately control with a finger. But now that they've opened up the app store, I suspect you'll see remote control programs before too long. Slimserver is fully open source, and has an established protocol for driving it remotely, so getting an iPhone control utility shouldn't be terribly difficult.

I really like the Squeezebox2 and 3's built-in display; the Duets have no onboard display, which is a bit frustrating. I like the idea of the remote, but I think I'd rather have the local screen. An iPhone utility plus local display would be even better.

edit: reworded slightly for clarity.

The DAC used in Duet is from Wolfson -- alledgedly, "better" than Burr-Brown.

I am considering getting a 2nd player for the living room, to go with the existing remote. Faster than booting up 360 and turning on TV for spur-of-the-moment easy-listening.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

I am considering getting a 2nd player for the living room, to go with the existing remote. Faster than booting up 360 and turning on TV for spur-of-the-moment easy-listening.

That's the very reason I got the SB3. That and the fact that my wife had trouble getting the 360 to reliably connect to the music server 90% of the time. With the 'box, connection is immediate and 100% reliable - if the server isn't online, the 'box isn't either.

Hey Guys - I'm looking at used Duets at the moment. They're cheap - like $125 - which seems a steal. Any reason why I wouldn't want to consider them vs. a SB3/Classic? I would use it in conjunction with some kind of smartphone based remote, and serve music from Spotify and my Mac running Squeezecenter.


Duets are still an excellent option. Squeeze Commander in Play Store is better than the official Logitech's app, a greate alternate remote. I am actually hardly using Duet's native remote at all. I have no experience with Spotify on it, but have been using it heavily with Pandora.

Supposedly, the DAC on the Duet is different, but just about as good as the one in the SB3. (which is a cheapie Burr-Brown -- despite only being a few dollars, it sounds amazing.)

The only hesitation I have now is that I was thinking it would sure be nice to have the thing also be a digital photo frame to stream from our library. So that puts me back into looking at a tablet, I think...?

I dunno, the sound quality out of an awful lot of portable devices is pretty crappy. The SB2 and SB3, at least, were world-class. Denon, as one example, has them everywhere in their facility; they use them for testing, because they sound amazing and are as cheap as potato chips, in the audio world. I don't think your average picture frame is going to sound anything like that.