Saturday, February 18, 2006

Love My New Squeezebox

Squeezebox_1For years I’ve been running a 50 ft. RCA cable from my PC to my stereo.  I just couldn’t bear to sit a PC in the living room, but was sold on the convenience MP3s.  At the time there wasn’t a single MP3–based audio product for home systems, so I bought a long cable and waited.

When we recently moved, I decided to pay attention and yes, there are now a ton of options out there.  After a bunch of research I opted for the Squeezebox from Slim Devices

The Squeezebox is a little wifi-powered device that sits on your stereo and talks to a computer running their SlimServer software.  It also browses and connects directly to Internet radio stations which is a real plus — looking forward to listening to KCRW.

BTW my second choice was the Sonos player because it’s remote control kicks booty (think color-ipod-as-remote-control).  But besides the higher price, they saddle you with an amp that you don’t need.  No thanks…

Oh one other cool thing about the Squeezebox is that their software is open source, and there appear to have an active community.  E.g. even though the standard remote is a bit boring, they’ve got a ton of remote control plugins.

First Impressions

I set it up this morning and my first impressions are actually mixed.  The device itself is beautiful.  I also really like the interface, and now that I’ve got it connected it works beautifully

The setup could have been so easy, but ended up feeling so hard.  The main issue was related to my wifi password.  I entered it, was given an IP, and all appeared ready to rock.  The little wizard took literally 3 minutes to run through after opening the box. 

Turns out the IP it gave me was some “fallback” IP (?) and I couldn’t connect to anything.  And no helpful error messages.

This started a bit of a wild goose chase to figure out what was wrong w/my setup.  Was it connecting to a neighbors network?  Did I have a problem w/my router? I turned to the support forums and was blown away by the responsiveness of the community.  I think I had 7 answers to my 6 questions in a half hour’s time.  Big bonus.

In the end I had a bad password.  I wish they would have told me that instead of connecting me to some phantom IP and sending me on a wild goose chase. The only other step was the need to poke 3 holes in my PC’s firewall.

Bug snaggy steup behind me, I love it.  They actually do an amazing job of marrying a standard TV-style remote to a big and beautiful display to make it very easy to browse your collection, playlists, etc.  The only thing missing is the album art.  Hint hint for SqueezeBox v4.


Tony (a.k.a. TechSavvyGuru) said...

Enjoy your Squeezebox. I too have had various wires and "Gadgets" to get my music from my computer to the stereo in the living room. I tried some wireless gadgets that didn't cut it, settled on the Prismiq Media Player for awhile - and now have a 2 zone Sonos Digital Music System with remote since last July. It might be too late for you, but just as an FYI Sonos will be releasing an ampless Zone Player ZP80 this spring that will let you hook it up to an existing stereo - so that is on my list in order to add that living room zone back in. It will be $349 or $100 less than the existing ZP100.
I see you are a user. I just started with that recently as well - and it is tied in to my Sonos via some user written software to control the Zones via a web browser.
I enjoyed checking out your blog.

Jonathan Nolen said...

Woohoo! Welcome to the club, Scott. Hope you continue to dig the Squeezebox.
As the other commenter mentioned, since you do use there are Squeezebox integration plugins for as well:
* (outgoing)
* (incoming)
It's funny, I ran into the same password problem -- but I just punted and disabled my password. Now that I know what's going on, I may try again. And you're right, the Forums really are great.
Also, I think I used to own the exact amp that you show in the picture (although I can't make out the model number): the NAD 2400?
Anyway, enjoy the new world of MP3s through your stereo. Your CD collection will suffer for it, I'm afraid.

scottmcmullan said...

Sweet, a plugin! Thanks Jonathan for the links -- I was just about to go hunting for those. Installed. Logging. :)
BTW if anyone is looking for an amazing Windows music player, go straight to
The UI is optimized for finding, displaying, and manipulating your collection via big, fat, juicy album covers. I got sick of browsing my library w/tree views or album art that was tacked on as an afterthought. The latest version adds support to boot!