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Logitech Squeezebox Radio or UE Smart Radio

RohanM

Established Member
Hello out there!

About to go down the route of properly digitising my CD collection and having wireless sounds around the house (instead of just dipping toes with a few CDs ripped on/via iTunes on laptop).

Thinking of a Vortexbox Appliance to rip and store FLAC files (keep flipping between that and a Cocktail X10), and from reading various forums, reviews, etc, was about to go down the Logitech Squeezebox Radio (for portable sounds and internet radio) and Touch (for connecting to my Denon 3805 AV amp). Only to find that Logitech have, erm, changed strategy...

Can't really see any Logitech Squeezebox Touch on general release anymore: but as i'm at an early stage, I can wait and research some more before connecting my main kit to whatever I rip/store my CDs to.

I see they'e replaced the Squeezebox Radio with "UE Smart Radio" and it appears to be similar, but as I'm not on the wagon as yet don't really know what the differences are. I can still find some of the Squeezebox on sale (new) as well as the UE Smart radio replacement - which is the better buy (going forward) and why? esp as the older Squeezebox Radio is actually more expensive (before you add the portable battery price!)

Thanks in anticipation!
 

amcluesent

Distinguished Member
The UE Smart Radio is designed for streaming internet radio stations, not so much for local FLAC files.

You'll only get Radio and Touch 2nd hand now. Some folks would say look at Sonos Play:3 and CONNECT.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Your best bet for a Touch at a reasonable price would be s/h of the bay but even then they are going for a premium.
As well as the mentioned sonos, you have other entries like

Cambridge Audio NP30
Denon dnp 720ae or dnp f109n
Marantz NA7004
Pioneer N30 and N50.

All can play flac but not all can play gapless without a firmware upgrade if that is important to you. And the Denon's will only play gapless with Flac/wav/alac.

There are others but the group above seems to be raising the most interests currently.
If you search this section you will see there are other ways to achieve what you want but it will depend on how convienient they are for you.

IMO, the SBT was the sonos closest rival, but now that has been discontinued, the sonos is hard to match let alone beat, in what it can do unless you have some serious money
It is probably also the only one out of any of the players I've mentioned that can do multiroom synching.
 
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RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
http://www.avforums.com/forums/stre...sb-radio-ue-radio-blemished-box-bargains.html

Probably the biggest difference between the two (apart from the battery shipping with the UE), is that the UE requires a permanent Internet connection. Even when playing your own music you need to be running software locally but that talks to Logitech's servers. Logitech don't have the greatest rep for being able to maintain the servers that the Radio connects to.

The Radio can run independently of the Internet by running Logitech's server software locally. So even if they pull support for the Radio's online portal, it will still continue to function with Internet radio your own music. It may however lose access to other music services, although there is a third party plugin for Spotify Premium that should continue to work.

Finally, the SB Radio can be "upgraded" to the UE version.

A small, virtually silent nettop/netbook could emulate a Touch into the Denon. Not entirely sure but it may be possible to run Vortexbox on that & just plug in a USB optical drive when ripping. Choose one with optical out or add a cheap USB DAC.
 
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Craig uk

Distinguished Member
IMO, the SBT was the sonos closest rival, but now that has been discontinued, the sonos is hard to match let alone beat, in what it can do unless you have some serious money
It is probably also the only one out of any of the players I've mentioned that can do multiroom synching.

I would agree that Sonos is the best for streaming wireless music, that is what they have built their whole name on. But I would never consider using their system unless they decide to support hi res music, 24 bit 96khz is becoming more and more available and HD tracks.com are soon to make their HD downloads available to the UK.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
... unless they decide to support hi res music..

Really, I thought that was standard on the sonos, just like on SB's.
Clearly not. I am surprised by that.
 

RohanM

Established Member
Thanks for all the replies, v useful info!

Just to clarify my potential use/ requirements:
- have around 400 CDs which I need to rip and tag, etc.
- need some form of NAS (whether a formal system or external hard drive/etc)
- don't want to have to turn on the laptop to listen to stored music
- want some form of 'portable' device that could be used around the house (office/kitchen/bedroom - probably stay in one room most of the time, though) for general use
- plus would in addition like a means to connect my main hi-fi Denon 3805 AVR/ B&W 603 speakers to the network also for 'proper' listening(!)
- am new to Internet radio, so don't have any accounts with Spotify, etc or preferences for particular services. As yet...
- gapless playback is essential.

I have Apple kit (iPhone/iPod/MacBook pro) but don't want to be tied to it for music also - hence trying to stay away from Airport Express and AirPlay.

From agonising through these forums and various others, Vortexbox is the front runner for the ripping and storing (seems to be the simplest and I'm not toooo technophobic, so able to do some corrections, file management, basic admin - although not confident enough to build one myself!).

The Logitech SB Touch and Radio seemed to be the best options for the other elements, without spending huge amounts of money. Would also give me the option to look at outboard DACs in the future also. But, it looks like I missed the boat...
 
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juggler

Established Member
Thanks for all the replies, v useful info!
I have Apple kit (iPhone/iPod/MacBook pro) but don't want to be tied to it for music also - hence trying to stay away from Airport Express and AirPlay.

From agonising through these forums and various others, Vortexbox is the front runner for the ripping and storing (seems to be the simplest and I'm not toooo technophobic, so able to do some corrections, file management, basic admin - although not confident enough to build one myself!).

The Logitech SB Touch and Radio seemed to be the best options for the other elements, without spending huge amounts of money. Would also give me the option to look at outboard DACs in the future also. But, it looks like I missed the boat...

Remember VortexBox is a player too so if you got a quiet one then you could just use that. Alternatively there are lots of ways - some easy, some more complex - of building a client which connects to a VortexBox for bitperfect output e.g o2 joggler, iOS or Android device in a dock, tiny cheap laptop, Raspberry Pi, SqueeezePlug, second hand SBT and more.

I tried an AirportExpress before giving up and becoming a VortexBox convert, but if you're well into the Apple ecosystem you could consider a Mac Mini as a server (and player).
 

RohanM

Established Member
juggler said:
Remember VortexBox is a player too so if you got a quiet one then you could just use that.

Please elaborate... I think I can follow how the VB would connect to my amp, but unclear how i would browse and select music/ playlists, etc.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Please elaborate... I think I can follow how the VB would connect to my amp, but unclear how i would browse and select music/ playlists, etc.
A Vortexbox user will hopefully chip in but it runs a full version of Logitech's server software & a player emulator. So you could control it either from it's web interface or better still from from iPhone/Pod/Pad. Logitech has a free app or there's the excellent iPeng. With the addition of an in app upgrade the iDevice also becomes a Squeezebox player. Bunged in a dock it may solve your mobile requirements.

http://vortexbox.org/content/?

You can throw it on an old laptop or PC to have a play.
 
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RohanM

Established Member
OK - I think I get it. To check:

*VB > USB to Outboard DAC > amp (the plan is that they will be sited close to each other, anyway)
*Use iPeng/other iOS app to choose music to play from the VB, etc , in general, via the VB's Logitech Media Server SW
*Use an in-app purchase to enable an iDevice to function as a squeezebox; which could be placed in a dock to provide mobile sounds...

Correct?
 

Craig uk

Distinguished Member
Really, I thought that was standard on the sonos, just like on SB's.
Clearly not. I am surprised by that.

Yeah, many people would assume that Sonos cater for hi res but they don't and that won't change any time soon. I was also amazed that their new sound bar at £599 can't decode DTS surround and only has optical inputs.. No HDMI.
 

RohanM

Established Member
This is all Good Stuff (and plenty of food for thought), but as there is still some secondhand/ nearly new kit available, I'd like to review the original question: is it worth the risk to go down the 'obsolete' route of squeezebox if suitable kit is still around?

I'm still pondering this as, from what I can see, this range was so highly thought of. (Plus I'd be using local Logitech Media Server SW on a Vortexbox of some sort).
 

juggler

Established Member
RohanM said:
OK - I think I get it. To check:

*VB > USB to Outboard DAC > amp (the plan is that they will be sited close to each other, anyway)
*Use iPeng/other iOS app to choose music to play from the VB, etc , in general, via the VB's Logitech Media Server SW
*Use an in-app purchase to enable an iDevice to function as a squeezebox; which could be placed in a dock to provide mobile sounds...

Correct?

Quick reply - exactly right. More detailed info available on request.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
is it worth the risk to go down the 'obsolete' route of squeezebox if suitable kit is still around?
Well the only risk is hardware failure. Once the server software is installed you're completely self-contained, so it doesn't really matter what Logitech do in future.

I can't recall reading of a single case of a Touch dying of natural causes.

So it's certainly feasible if you're prepared to pay the premium that they're now commanding & accept that it may be difficult to replace if it should fail.
 

juggler

Established Member
Well the only risk is hardware failure. Once the server software is installed you're completely self-contained, so it doesn't really matter what Logitech do in future.

I can't recall reading of a single case of a Touch dying of natural causes.

So it's certainly feasible if you're prepared to pay the premium that they're now commanding & accept that it may be difficult to replace if it should fail.

Even if a SBT does fail, there are lots of other options for replacing it. If you choose not to replace it then a VortexBox would still function happily as a NAS with all your music on it in lossless format, so converting to another system such as Sonos wouldn't be hard.
 

RohanM

Established Member
Thanks to everyone, appreciate all the ideas and options.

From looking at some of the other threads active at the moment, it seems there are a lot of people in a similar position to me (re properly migrating to digital music formats, storing thereof and networking /multiroom streaming).

It's the future proofing/maintaining widespread compatibility (not to mention keeping playing music as simple 'turning the radio on/putting a CD in' without a need for multiple steps/logins/ devices) that's been really difficult...

I'll definitely get a Vortexbox and probably a Squeezebox radio, too (don't like the idea of the UE Smart radio needing a continuous Internet, connection even for listening to local music on a NAS).

I think I'll investigate the VB>DAC >amp option further, but will keep an eye for any SB Touches that may appear at a reasonable price.

Thanks again to everyone and I hope others found things useful, too!
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
As I said earlier, you can install the free Vortexbox ISO on an old PC to have a play & start the ripping process. You could even connect it's soundcard directly to your amp in the short term to get a feel for it all.

Whatever you end up with, ripping your CDs to FLAC won't be wasted & can be utilised pretty much with anything. Just remember to backup as you go as it's not an exercise you want to do twice!

iPeng is only $10 for the basic version so if you have an old PC kicking around, you could be up & running for next to nothing.
 

larkone

Distinguished Member
Also Vortexbox can become your ripper/NAS for just about any streaming device as it supports Samba, DLNA, LMS, iTunes. It really isnt that difficult to build your own, just make sure you assign the option for a fixed IP address. As Crocodile said backup as you go. If it all goes wrong the just reload the ISO and restore the backup.

Also get a copy of MP3Tag to sort any tagging issues as you go Mp3tag - the universal Tag Editor (ID3v2, MP4, OGG, FLAC, ...), and something like albumartdownloader to retrieve any covers that do not get downloaded correctly SourceForge.net: album-art
 

everett_psycho

Distinguished Member
Can you not use raspberry Pi's or pogo plugs with a decent USB DAC to replicate a squeeze box? I've only recently jumped on the squeeze box wagon having seen sonos and thinking "love the idea, hate the price",I managed to get 2 radios cheap when Amazon were selling them off but I'm looking to expand the system at some point by using either this method, old phones or an htpc if I ever think building one is a good investment
 

RohanM

Established Member
everett_psycho said:
Can you not use raspberry Pi's or pogo plugs with a decent USB DAC to replicate a squeeze box?

Yeah, I've seen that idea and I may follow up- but it means making a DIY set-up which I originally was trying to avoid. But the cost savings are compelling...
 

Milopita

Standard Member
Let me just wade in here and state that the wireless connection on a Logitech squeezebox radio is totally rubbish. It often loses wireless connection for no apparent reason. I am not sure if Sonos devices are better in that regard as they use their own wireless network. Logitech devices seem to have real wireless issues, probably using a wired connection is better, but it could be the hardware of software that drops the connection rather than the internal wireless adapter. I for one wouldn't invest in another Logitech music device, they are dropping out of the market for a reason after all.
 

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