Argh help me choose! Apple TV or Squeeze Box

NeilF

Well-known Member
OK... The main reason for getting such a device is to take the place of a CD player in the lounge. It has to be easy to use and be able to find music fast and quickly and in a friendly fashion (ie: girlfriend friendly).

If it offers other functionality then great. Obviously in the case of the Apple this for example is video.

So, here's my pro's/con's per unit so far:-

Apple TV
Pro's:-
- The device can sit tucked away in my media/TV stand.
- Very easy/pretty to use (with TV on). eg: Album art etc all displayed.
- Can view photo's (probably stored/backup locally on its hard drive)
- Media can be cached on the units own drive. Handy for speed, as a backup, and meaning a PC doesn't have to be on.
- If they ever offer DivX/XVid as standard this would be great.

Con's:-
- Cannot build up a play list from the unit directly.
- Cannot control sound (ie: no tone/equaliser functionality)
- ITunes.... Don't know why but for some reason I just don't like the idea of it.... Never used it mind...

Squeezebox 3
Pro's:-
- Nice 'impress the lads' display
- Can equalise/tone/bass the sound if required
- Can build up play lists on the fly from the unit or from a PC
- Internet radio as standard

Con's:-
- Need to put the unit somewhere. I'm trying to keep my living room as tidy as possible. I'd probably have to put the SB on some shelves about 6ft to the right of the amp and run cables to it.
- My 'server' would have to left on 24/7. Not much of an issue though.


Any useful advice would be most appreciated. I do like the idea of being able to choose music via a nice big TV display instead of a small 4inch wide one!? Is that ill-founded?
 

Andy98765

Distinguished Member
You need to read What Hi-Fi Sept 2007. Page 64.

Although the Squeeze box was not compared it is worth browsing for just the info.

P.S. Netgear EVA8000 won the short list.
Apple cons = Very limited support for non-apple formats; wheres the content?
Apple Fors = Media streaming for ipod generation; beautiful styling and menus

Netgear cons = No apple lossless, no DVD.
Netgear Fors = Stutter-free wireless streaming; access to youtube; plays copy-protected music files.
 

NeilF

Well-known Member
You need to read What Hi-Fi Sept 2007. Page 64.

Although the Squeeze box was not compared it is worth browsing for just the info.

P.S. Netgear EVA8000 won the short list.
Apple cons = Very limited support for non-apple formats; wheres the content?
Apple Fors = Media streaming for ipod generation; beautiful styling and menus

Netgear cons = No apple lossless, no DVD.
Netgear Fors = Stutter-free wireless streaming; access to youtube; plays copy-protected music files.

Argh! Damn you! So the Netgear EVA8000 is basically Apple TV but with DivX etc support?

How friendly is it to navigate and how good is it's music playback/selection etc? Can it build playlists etc etc?

ps: Most of the reviews of it on amazon for it are not good!
 

Andy98765

Distinguished Member
Do not own either, just pointing you to a report in What Hi-Fi.
I have a Media Centre under my TV.
 

stuart07970

Well-known Member
I've got an Apple TV.

I'm very happy with it.

I've read all sorts of negative reviews about it not handling certain formats,
but for me 'it just works'.

It was easy to set up
All my music is ripped to an external HDD in Apple Lossless for quality.
It is not set up to sync anything to its hard drive.
I just use it as a streamer for my music connected via optical and component to my AV Amp which then connects to my SD Panny PW6.

It sounds great and looks great.

I was looking at the squeezebox which is now in the Logitech stable, but was concerned about having to navigate such a big library on such a small display.

I should add that the Squeezebox is very much loved on these forums, especially as they can run the 'slimserver' software on a NAS and therefore don't need to keep their PC or Mac switched on.

That said, the Apple TV has been hacked already, and has already had larger harddrives fitted and has even been hacked to run a full version of OSX!!!
So you may still be able to have the formate of your choice.

But if you want to impress the missus, the AppleTV is the way to go!
She'll just love all the cover art, and the loverly floral/nature screen savers!
 

NeilF

Well-known Member
but was concerned about having to navigate such a big library on such a small display.

That's my worry as well!!

But internet radio is a big big + for the SB!!
 

amcluesent

Distinguished Member
>That's my worry as well!!<

Well size is relative of course, but the SB interface is a doddle to use without needing a telly switched on. There's 2000+ ripped CDs in my library and the SB combination of search & browse is fine :thumbsup:

Why not just get the SB3, if you don't like it they're easy to sell on ebay (as I did when I upgraded one of mine to a Transporter)
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
Another day, another "should i buy a Squeezebox or..." thread :)

The SB3 is far and beyond a better device for music, personally i prefer devices that just concentrate on doing one primary task, rather than a jack of all trades. Is it not posible for an SB3 and a video streamer?
 

NeilF

Well-known Member
Another day, another "should i buy a Squeezebox or..." thread :)

The SB3 is far and beyond a better device for music, personally i prefer devices that just concentrate on doing one primary task, rather than a jack of all trades. Is it not posible for an SB3 and a video streamer?

Yes, but two birds and one stone and all that...

If for example an Apple TV or Netgear 8000 can play music just as well as a SB3 (which they would digitally at least) and offer other features in addition - eg: DivX playback - then why ignore that? If they can also show photos why ignore that?
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
I don't have a SB but I would say for sure that a SB3 will play music better than any media player as it's designed for music and nothing else. I have a Dlink 320, a PS3 and Xbox 360 and the sound on music from each is adequate and that's it. They're a jack of all trades and master of none. The Apple TV would also be a compromise and to be honest, they look nice and that's about it IMHO. They don't really offer anything that other media players don't do other than they are apple-ish in appearance. Of course, if you believe what Stuff mag et' al say, anything with an apple logo on is the greatest at everything when in reality we know different. If you're after pure sound quality, go with the SB (or look at Sonos)and I've even heard of people on here using a mac mini etc.
 

NeilF

Well-known Member
I don't have a SB but I would say for sure that a SB3 will play music better than any media player as it's designed for music and nothing else. I have a Dlink 320, a PS3 and Xbox 360 and the sound on music from each is adequate and that's it. They're a jack of all trades and master of none. The Apple TV would also be a compromise and to be honest, they look nice and that's about it IMHO. They don't really offer anything that other media players don't do other than they are apple-ish in appearance. Of course, if you believe what Stuff mag et' al say, anything with an apple logo on is the greatest at everything when in reality we know different. If you're after pure sound quality, go with the SB (or look at Sonos)and I've even heard of people on here using a mac mini etc.

Afraid that may not be true/fair IMHO. If you attach these deviced digitally to an amp chances are they will all sound identical... Basically as good as the amp will allow the music to sound...
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
What about gapless playback, internet radio, zone syncing, all the amazing plugins - it not simply just about pure sound quality, the user experience is much more than just that.

At the end of the day, its quite simple; The SB3 is much better for audio but the AppleTV does both (only in the locked down Apple kind of way ;)). Only you can decide what will suit you better are you a 2 birds kind of guy? (chortle). Personally if i was wanting an all in one solution, i would be thinking HTPC (Or XBMC) anyway, i have little interest in the AppleTV. It's nice and shiny, but there are better devices out there IMO.
Also do not underestimate what a pain it is using your TV everytime you want to change tracks. Not cool, for me music is one of the best ways to escape the box, not rely on it even more. And what about that time when all your mates come around for beers and BBQ - you can drag a small system into the garden, but what about the TV?
 

Planet__

Active Member
I've had the same thoughts on my next music streamer.

I agree with Autopilot on the using your tv to select music. I previously used a SL400i to stream my music which has a display and a tv output. After the wow and gimick of using a big screen to select music wore off, I relied more and more on the display on the unit.

Streaming movies? These kind of devices do an okay job for youtube and the ilk, but how often do you do that? If I'm going to watch a movie I'll do it justice and put a disc in the dvd player.

I'm telling myself to go for a SB3 because when Slim Devices/Logitech bring out the SB4, the SB3 should still be compatible with SlimServer, meaning I can move it to another room.

As for one digital device sounding exactly like another, rubbish. If that were true my pokey little panasonic minidisc recorder/player would sound just as good as my sony minidisc deck, in both record and playback, using the same digital input on my amp. Which it sadly doesn't! Detail can be lost in the d/a conversion.
 

trailer

Well-known Member
As for one digital device sounding exactly like another, rubbish. If that were true my pokey little panasonic minidisc recorder/player would sound just as good as my sony minidisc deck, in both record and playback, using the same digital input on my amp. Which it sadly doesn't! Detail can be lost in the d/a conversion.

If you rip a CD on any device the bit rate is the major quality deciding factor. All you are doing is storing the digital data then transporting it via whatever means to the DAC (whether it be internal or external) for the D to A. The quality/sonic characteristics of the DAC is the issue here.

What bit rates do you encode A to D onto the minidisc?
 

NeilF

Well-known Member
As for one digital device sounding exactly like another, rubbish. If that were true my pokey little panasonic minidisc recorder/player would sound just as good as my sony minidisc deck, in both record and playback, using the same digital input on my amp. Which it sadly doesn't! Detail can be lost in the d/a conversion.

The question at hand was someone saying the SB3 would sound better than the Apple TV or Netgear 8000. I said this was unlikely because if they were all connected digitally to the amp, then they are all transmitting exactly the same data to the amp, and the amp is doing the DtoA converting...

The only way these three deviced could sound any different is if you used their own on board DACs and passed sound to the amp via analog cables.
 

NeilF

Well-known Member
What about gapless playback, internet radio, zone syncing, all the amazing plugins - it not simply just about pure sound quality, the user experience is much more than just that.

Gapless playback is definately another great +ve (it's what I do with winamp). If I recall the unit is clever enough to only do that when you've selected individual tracks? And if you're simply playing back entire albums it doesn't?
 

trailer

Well-known Member
The question at hand was someone saying the SB3 would sound better than the Apple TV or Netgear 8000. I said this was unlikely because if they were all connected digitally to the amp, then they are all transmitting exactly the same data to the amp, and the amp is doing the DtoA converting...

The only way these three deviced could sound any different is if you used their own on board DACs and passed sound to the amp via analog cables.

Best not mention jitter then..............:hiya:
 

jont

Well-known Member
If you wanted to spend a little more you could look at the AppleTV's big brother - a mac mini - will do everything ATV will and playback divx/avi/mkv files, cd/dvd drive for playing/ripping/etc , as well as handy for web surfing/email/etc with bluetooth keyboard/mouse ... bung an elgato tv stick in the back and you've got a very easy to use pvr as well

Jon
 

NeilF

Well-known Member
Squeezebox 3 ordered :eek:
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
Gapless playback is definately another great +ve (it's what I do with winamp). If I recall the unit is clever enough to only do that when you've selected individual tracks? And if you're simply playing back entire albums it doesn't?

As long as your CD's have been ripped properly, you dont have to tell the SB3 what tracks are gapless - they automatically play gapless when the should and dont when they should not - just like the original CD. Works with FLAC, OGG and MP3 :clap:
 

NeilF

Well-known Member
As long as your CD's have been ripped properly, you dont have to tell the SB3 what tracks are gapless - they automatically play gapless when the should and dont when they should not - just like the original CD. Works with FLAC, OGG and MP3 :clap:

Not sure if we're talking about the same thing... By gapless I meant crossfading...

ie: So if I chose a couple of tracks I'd want them to crossfade into each other...

If I chose an album I'd want it to play back EXACTLY like the original CD.
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
Not sure if we're talking about the same thing... By gapless I meant crossfading...

ie: So if I chose a couple of tracks I'd want them to crossfade into each other...

Yes, different but close. Cross fading it just that, fading one track into another. The SB3 is good at this, although i rarely use any of the cross fading options myself.

Gapless playback is when the original recording has tracks that dont have any silence between them - i.e. 'gapless' transition between tracks. Examples are DJ Mix's, live gigs, audio books, classical/opera or just albums that have a few gapless tracks like Pink Flyod etc.

The problem is, when you rip a CD and create an MP3 for each tracks - most MP3 players can't play them gaplessly. You get anything from a 'pop' to a 2 second gap between tracks. If you listen to a lot of gapless albums, you probably took it for granted, but it can drive you insane when your all sing and dancing digital music player cant do it.

If I chose an album I'd want it to play back EXACTLY like the original CD.

Dont we all, but bizarrely while MP3 players now have WiFi, video playback, games, loads of storage and features - they still can't even play an album properly. The Only portable DAP that can do it well is the iPod, and only in the last model. Few streamers can do it, only the SB3/Tranporter and Sono's are far as i know. Even hardly any PC software does.

It's all very strange and as you can tell its my biggest pet hate with MP3 player. But as you had the good sence to buy a SB3, you dont have to worry about it.
 

Planet__

Active Member
If you rip a CD on any device the bit rate is the major quality deciding factor. All you are doing is storing the digital data then transporting it via whatever means to the DAC (whether it be internal or external) for the D to A. The quality/sonic characteristics of the DAC is the issue here.

What bit rates do you encode A to D onto the minidisc?

Oh, now you're asking, I've not used my minidisc gear for a long time! I would digitally copy a cd to the portable minidisc then play it in the car. It didn't sound great. I then bought the separate to make the recording easier (Sony MDS-JB980), and found the same cd copied to the Sony would sound so much better in the car. Same goes for playback on the separate. I used the highest setting in each case (no compression for extra tracks). All going through the same amp, Pioneer AX5i-S.

NielF, common sense says if you copy something digitally it should be the same, I have just found it to be very different.

Regardless, congrats on your decision!
 

metroman2

Active Member
If you wanted to spend a little more you could look at the AppleTV's big brother - a mac mini - will do everything ATV will and playback divx/avi/mkv files, cd/dvd drive for playing/ripping/etc , as well as handy for web surfing/email/etc with bluetooth keyboard/mouse ... bung an elgato tv stick in the back and you've got a very easy to use pvr as well

Jon

I'm intrigued with this mac mini. I have been pondering about the Squeezebox for many many months now but haven't quite been convinced it's for me but the Mac just might tick all the boxes.
1/ It will play cd's and dvd's
2/ It can be wirelessly operated
3/ It has USB connectivity........external H/drive has all my Mp3's
4/ It's a pc as well
What more could I want?

The question is:
1/ Is it silent?
2/ Is it Hi-fi?
3/ Is it a good enough substitute for the Squeezebox?

I await anyones points of view. metroman.
 

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