This past week I bought our fifth Squeezebox streaming music player. It’s a used Squeezebox Classic sourced via E-Bay for a rather approachable $89. This new-to-us Squeezebox replaces a Squeezebox Touch model that failed a few months ago.
We now have three in service and two that have failed. Two failures over about eight years is completely tolerable. We remain committed to using the Squeezeboxen even if Logitech has discontinued the line.
I think that Logitech stumbled in their decision to discontinue the Squeezebox line. The product range has a substantial and very loyal user base. It will continue to do so since they have ported both the Squeeze Center Server and Squeezebox player software to the little Raspberry Pi SBC.
Since the product line started out as open source I’m hopeful that the user community will continue to support the installed base. My sense is that the SqueezeCenter software had evolved far enough that there isn’t a lot of new development required, just some occasional maintenance.
At present our music resides on a little Acer Aspire Revo. That device arrived running Windows 7 Home Premium but with a relatively small hard drive. I cloned the drive onto a 750 GB Seagate Momentus XT that I happened to have on-hand, providing ample room for my FLAC collection.
Since the little net-top has just the one disk the music collection is backed up to HAL, our LaCie 5 Big NAS. HAL has 10 TB of storage in a RAID5 arrangement providing some protection against disk failure. Most of the music is also backed up onto DVD-R as well.
When I first became aware of the product it was still known by its original name, SliMP3. I pointed it out to a co-worker who purchased several of the first generation players. One was connected to a very impressive Meridian sound system.
By the time I made an investment in a Squeezebox they were offering the third generation of the hardware. Our first Squeezebox remains in service. It’s a Squeezebox 3 that was branded “Slim Devices” so it comes from prior to the companies 2006 purchase by Logitech.
Since the lineup was discontinued the asking for new-in-box Squeezebox Touch units has gone through the roof. It’s not uncommon to see people asking north of $600 for them where they once sold for under $300.
I still think that a streaming device connected to a pair of powered speakers makes a brilliantly capable, high-performance and highly affordable solution for casual listening to music. Around our house we still have a combination of the M-Audio BX5 D2s, Alesis M1 Active 520s and Behringer TRUTH B2030A. If I had to replace any of these I’d look at the Audio Engine line, and I’ve been recommended to Yamaha’s professional near-field monitors as a good option.
I might also also like to audition Behringer’s forthcoming Nekkst series designed with the help of Keith R. Klawitter, founder of KRK. These include a couple of very novel and possibly handy features. For example, a USB port allowing you to connect directly to a computer in the digital domain. They also feature Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to wirelessly stream music right off a cell phone or laptop. In truth these kinds of features are much more useful in the home, office or home studio than a professional facility.
It’s pity that a company like Logitech doesn’t see the value in sustaining the Squeezebox product line. I suppose that creates an opening for someone more visionary to eventually fill that gap. Until then, we’re happy to keep using the Squeezebox. We may even buy a spare one or two just to be on the safe side.