Music System Help: Logitech Squeezebox Vs Sonos

SwissLoki

Standard Member
Hello experts !

I was wondering whether I could borrow your vast array of knowledge to help me set up my first music / entertainment system at home.

Currently I have my entire music collection on mp3 (some wma / flac format), all stored on my Western Digital external Hard drive. At the moment I'm playing the music off of my playstation 3, and browsing via my TV.. the major problem I have with that is

a) The sound quality is not so good (I currently have no home cinema system or fancy speakers)

b) The software on the ps3 is not the ideal music player; though it lets me browse all the folders, it does not allow me to browse other music whilst playing a song for instance.

c) I don't really like browsing on my tv

What I would like is the following:

1) A complete sound system which I'd attach to my tv+ps3+music library.

2) The music library would be played off a stand alone system connected to the home cinema.

3) The Music System would play music directly off of my Western Digital External Hard Drive.

4) The Music System would show me the folder and file structure directly as it is on my harddrive, as I would see it on my computer. (imperitive)

5) The Music System would have a remote to browse through this file system, the browsing could either be on an LCD on the system, or on the remote, or both.

6) It would be nice to have more than 5 file lines per screen shot of the folder structure (I have over 1500 albums folders etc)

7) A search function would be nice, to search for songs I own within the folder (album) structure

I currently have a home cinema system in mind (the LG HT903TA LG HT903TA Reviews and Best Price Guarantee: 5.1 Surround Sound DVD LG Home Cinema System) in mind, so number is sort of taken care of. It has a HDMI port, I presume I'd connect that to the telly and ergo the ps3, and whatever sound system I'd have I'd connect via the optical cable.

Now I've looked around and the two names which keep cropping up are:

1) Sonos
2) Logitech Squeezebox touch.

Now what I'm wondering is..

1) I don't think the Sonos has a USB port...

2) I've had a look at the Logitech, and whilst it looks sweet, I've been told it only plays stereo on 2 speakers (not utilising the 5.1 home cinema I've got in mind effectively), but more so than that, that the remote on it is not so good, and even if I were to get the Logitech Duet remote, thats not very good either. I've been told that you could get an application on the iphone called the ipeng, but I don't have an iphone and not really a fan of ipod/iphone/apple products in general. I wonder, could one use an Archos as a remote ?

If you guys have any idea how to help me I would greatly appreciate it, be it
a sound system you would recommend that fits my requests

or answers to any of the questions I have above.


thank you every so much in advance for any help or knowledge you could bestow !

SwissLoki
 

amcluesent

Distinguished Member
If you want a music player that'll take a USB hard-drive, you're best bet is to wait 6-8 weeks for the forthcoming Squeezebox Touch.

Like all the dedicated music players, the Squeezebox is able to use the meta-data in the music files, so searching for artist/album/genre is far easier than browsing directories.

The Squeezebox and Sonos both output 2-channel analogue and digital (S/PDIF) music streams. Every AV Receiver will have DSP modes to push that to 5.1 speakers if that's what you want.

You don't mention budget. You could look at the Olive 4HD which has both it's own internal hard disk and can cannot to a TV on HDMI.
 

Jay Producer

Standard Member
Hi mate, im in the same boat as you. If you read the reviews you will notice the build of Sonos is better than Squeezebox according to the experts. They look nicer also.

Sonos ZP90 and the CR200 (remote) will do you wonders - this is what im gunning for at the moment. Expensive for sure but I cant find any review that faults them apart from the rip-off price tag.

By the way as amcluescent has already said you can get 5.1 sound no problem, you just need to input the streaming device into you amp inputs. No problems with that. Both Sonos and SB would look daft if you couldn't.

The remote for the touch looks bulky. Ive never used any of these products but according to reveiews it seems Sonos wins the battle. Lots of people on here favour them. I doubt you can go wrong with the products you have listed.

I'm a begginner at this but all the feedback I've gotten aims towards those two companies you've mentioned.
 

sparkle999

Active Member
We have a couple of squeezeboxes, and 3 squeezebox radios in our household. Whilst the system is not without niggles, its extremely flexible. There are *lots* of 3rd party plugins that will let you configure the system (ratings, dynamic playlists, weather forecasts, BBC iPlayer, podcasts, RSS feeds, facebook, etc...)

Re: your question about control of music via an Archos, if you've already got the Archos then why not try it out? The software is free so there is nothing stopping you installing it on a laptop/PC or whatever.

If your Archos has a browser capability then you should be OK.
>>>EDIT 23/1/10 >>> Coolio has clarified below that the Touch does not have a web interface without you using an external server. Apologies for the misinformation <<<

Get it here: Download Logitech Squeezebox Server

Shame about the ipod - iPeng is awesome :)

Hope that helps
sp.
 
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coolio107

Active Member
Hi mate, im in the same boat as you. If you read the reviews you will notice the build of Sonos is better than Squeezebox according to the experts.
OK, I'm probably not neutral, but I have both so I can judge a bit and I would not agree.

They are different, both have strength and weaknesses.
Sonos is easier to get going, has the nicer remote (on an iPod touch, I would say it's heads on), has the more stable wireless setup and may generally be a bit more simple to use and you don't need a NAS/Computer with Squeezebox Server on it.
It's also much more expensive, especially if you want just one zone and you need to have that already connected wirelessly (the you need the player, the remote and a zone bridge). If you want to use an iPod touch you actually need TWO wireless networks! It has very good sound but doesn't support high res audio.

Squeezebox on the other hand requires a server (PC or NAS capable of running the software) unless you use a Squeezebox touch. The Controller is not as nice as the new CR200 (it's nicer than the clunky old Sonos controller, though) and you have to bother with WiFi, which in any setup is a potential source of errors.
But on the upside it's cheaper, it has more functionality and is more extensible due to it's open architecture and it's large number of plugins available and it has a broader range of products, ranging from the simple Radio up to the Transporter which means if you REALLY want superior sound quality SB will reach higher.
 

SwissLoki

Standard Member
@amcluesent : thanks for the reply! tbh alot of things were pointing me towards the squeezebox touch, except for the remote control possibilities. The remote that it comes with seems pretty straight forward, the other option is to use the remote from the Squeezebox Duet, which I've not heard great things about, especially considering the cost, and then finally theres the iPhone iPeng option, and since I'm averse to all things mac, I find myself at a cross roads. . but I figure that if the application works on the iPhone (to be used as a remote to browse through music), then surely it could work on an Archos for instance ?

I also heard mention of something called Harmony, but have no idea if that would work on SBTouch. .

In terms of the actual system, to be honest all I want is to be able to browse my music folders as I could on my laptop, with the option of searching being an added bonus.

Is the Squeezebox touch not out already by the way? It is already being advertised here: Logitech Squeezebox Touch Network audio player

Budget wise I've figured the home cinema speaker system which I found for around £300, the squeezebox I could get for £233, I wouldnt want to spend an incredible amount more on a remote, not unless that remote was an Archos, which I could then use for many other things, watching videos when travelling etc. So I guess total budget should not exceed £1000 maximum. Do you know at all if the archos would work as a remote at all? Would you recommend the SBDuet Remote? And also can you confirm if the Squeezebox touch allows browsing of folder structure via plugged in external hard drive?

thanks alot for the recommendation of the Olive 4HD, I'll def check it out.


@Jay Producer: thanks for the reply mate..yeah I know how it is, a bit nerve racking trying to figure out how to create the best possible system for you without spending crazy money. All roads do seem to lead to the Sonos / Squeezebox, though as you said the Squeezebox seems quite pricey, and the whole buying the remote seperately was a bit iffy. My issue with the sonos is on 2 parts:

1. since it pretty much is just a box, for sure you'd need to have a brilliant touch screen lcd remote to go with it
2. I'm not sure if it has a usb port . .
I was told that it did, but when I checked out the Sonos website with photos and specs, there was no sight nor mention of usb port. .

btw what have you found as the massive difference between the zp120 and the zp90? all I could figure out was that the 120 has a digital amp and the 90 didnt, though I'm not sure how that would affect me should I plug it into my homecinema sound system anyway?

cheers very much for your comment mate

@sparkle999: Thanks for the reply! do you have the squeezebox touch? could you recommend the squeezebox duet remote control? haha, I dont actually have the archos, but I was actually needing to buy a new mp3 player so I thought why not kill 2 birds with one stone sort of thing.

thanks again for your help!
 
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SwissLoki

Standard Member
@coolio107: Thanks for the reply man! I'm honestly not too bothered about the wireless networking aspect because idealy what I need is to be able to just plug in my Westernal Digital External hard drive via USB, and be able to read all the folder structures as I would on my laptop, on a remote or what not.

I know the Squeezebox Touch has a USB port at the back, does the Sonos?

Also how is the Squeezebox Duet Remote (which I've been told can be used on the SB Touch) for user friendliness and browsing folders?

Do either allow for other hardware to be used as a remote control, for instance the Archos tablet or the Archos 5?

At the moment the Squeezebox touch seems the cheaper and more user friendly option, but the only thing holding me back is that

a) I've not actually seen one/played about with it yet, nor have I found any youtube videos of it
b) I would like to confirm the browsing aspect of it, that in fact I can see the folders as I have them in my external hd, as I would if i plugged it into a PC
c) The remote control for browsing

Thanks again for your help!
 
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Jay Producer

Standard Member
@SwissLok - not begin a geek and not too tech savy when I check the website of Sonos I couldn't find much difference between the zp120 and the zp90. I can't understand why you would need an amp unless you are powering speakers through it. If you have a system already there is no need for the 120. As far as im aware you just plug the outputs of the ZP90 into the input of your amp and that's it. The sound will travel (not quite the sound but the 0011112222 blah blah digits) through the ZP90 to your amp and bingo - music will come out of the speakers.

Look at the outputs of the ZP90 to double check. It has line-outs. Digital out as well I think (Coaxil). This is what I figured out when I read the reviews and checked the Sonos website out. But Sonos is very very expensive.

Remember Ive never had experience with these so best to double check. Sonos looks simple to set-up. Lots of people on here have far more experience and knowledge with both these products than I do.

http://www.sonos.com/whattobuy/zoneplayers/zp90/default.aspx

Look at this site, it has analogue and digital outputs so no problem connecting it to your amp on your hi-fi mate. The better hi-fi you have the more input options you will have. Certainly doesn't seem to have any USB which is not a problem to me as you can connect the USB to your computer or NAS and stream it to the ZP90.
P.S You need the remote I mentioned to see what you are selecting unless you use your TV or computer. Their remote looks swanky indeed!
 
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sparkle999

Active Member
do you have the squeezebox touch? could you recommend the squeezebox duet remote control? haha, I dont actually have the archos, but I was actually needing to buy a new mp3 player so I thought why not kill 2 birds with one stone sort of thing.

thanks again for your help!

I don't, and few people have, since it hasn't been released in the UK yet. Not sure if this a dealbreaker for you or not. The release date is, as ever, the subject of much debate, (soon!!), read this thread: Unofficial official Release Date - Squeezebox : Community : Forums

Suspect it will be a great product - with its ability to act as the "server" / USB ports etc, it solves the problem of having another box running - perfect for lots of people.

I don't have the duet either, sorry! Reason: iPeng. If you are looking for an MP3 player then you *could* get a touch and install ipeng on it for a fiver :)

As I said earlier, the other option is any device that can render a browser page.
>>>EDIT 23/1/10 >>> Coolio has clarified below that the Touch does not have a web interface without you using an external server. Apologies for the misinformation.<<<


Good luck with your deliberating :)
 
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coolio107

Active Member
but I figure that if the application works on the iPhone (to be used as a remote to browse through music), then surely it could work on an Archos for instance ?
What OS does the archos run on?
Besides iPhone/iPod touch, there are apps for Windows Mobile and Android
The Touch, if used on it's own and without an external server does NOT have a web interface!
2. I'm not sure if it has a usb port . .
I'm sure: it doesn't.
I was told that it did, but when I checked out the Sonos website with photos and specs, there was no sight nor mention of usb port. .
It doesn't.
I'm honestly not too bothered about the wireless networking aspect because idealy what I need is to be able to just plug in my Westernal Digital External hard drive via USB, and be able to read all the folder structures as I would on my laptop, on a remote or what not.
Well... no.
Ok, you CAN do that, but what you also want is:
1. Remote control. Whatever you do, if it should be beyond the capabilities of the IR remote that comes with the touch then you need a two-way communication which means WiFi. At least for the remote, you can wire the touch.
2. You want the touch to have internet access for radio and eventually other streaming services. Believe me: you want that.
Also how is the Squeezebox Duet Remote (which I've been told can be used on the SB Touch) for user friendliness and browsing folders?
User friendliness is really up to everybody's opinion. Some people like it, some people hate it. It does have the functionality.
Do either allow for other hardware to be used as a remote control, for instance the Archos tablet or the Archos 5?
As I said: iPhone, Ipod touch, Android phones, WinMobile devices. That's currently the list and I think it's quite a bit of choice...
Oh... And of course "full scale" Windows devices, too.
a) I've not actually seen one/played about with it yet, nor have I found any youtube videos of it
It's not yet on sale. My unit is a beta one, so is "Autopilot"'s.
b) I would like to confirm the browsing aspect of it, that in fact I can see the folders as I have them in my external hd, as I would if i plugged it into a PC
Yes. You can do that.
 

SwissLoki

Standard Member
@Jay Producer: Thanks alot for your help mate. I don't think I'm going to go for the Sonos option myself, mainly because of the price and the lack of a USB port.

@sparkle999: Ok...I didn't knwo it hadn't been released yet, I've seen it advertised for sale in the UK and here where I'm based in Switzerland, must be pre-order..though the Swiss sites say delivery within 3-7 days . .haha the ipeng looks great but I'm really not a fan of ipod or mac at all ...Thanks alot for your help !

@coolio107: Thanks so much for your response! I've looked up the Archos 5 (which I'm interested in) and it seems to run on linux though some places say Android v1.5, so still not entirely sure about that. So you reckon it should work on the Archos? thats brilliant news, thanks alot!

I don't understand what you meant by "The Touch, if used on it's own and without an external server does NOT have a web interface!" ? Is this related to being able to browse via an Archos?

Also what did you mean by "At least for the remote, you can wire the touch." wire it how? for what?

Your post is brilliant thank you so much for clarifying up alot of the confusions I was having.

Cheers!
 

Jay Producer

Standard Member
gus can anyone help me with this, can you tell me if I would be able to hook up this home cinema system:
LG HT903TA Home Cinema System - LG 5.1 Tallboy DVD Home Cinema System - LG Electronics UK

to power/sound the tv/ps3/squeezebox touch ? the hdmi port could be used for the ps3..or the tv ? and the squeezebox what would that use ?


Portable Input Jack(3.5)YesProgressive Scan (PAL./NTSC)PAL:Yes, NTSC:YesSCART connectionYesAUX inputYesPortable 3.5mm jack inoutYesComposite connection1Video Signal OUT Component1SCART connectionYesUSBYesAUX inputAux,ScartDigital (optical) input1HDMI InputYesiPod® ReadyYesExternal FM/MW AntennaYes (75ohm) / NoTuning Range MW / 9 kHz522~1620 kHz

The answer should be in this.
 

coolio107

Active Member
@coolio107: Thanks so much for your response! I've looked up the Archos 5 (which I'm interested in) and it seems to run on linux though some places say Android v1.5, so still not entirely sure about that. So you reckon it should work on the Archos? thats brilliant news, thanks alot!
No, I did not say that. I listed what works, I have no idea about the Archos.
I don't understand what you meant by "The Touch, if used on it's own and without an external server does NOT have a web interface!" ? Is this related to being able to browse via an Archos?
That was a bit cryptic, so again.
You need a software named "Squeezebox Server" to control/run any Squeezebox. This software comes in three flavors:
1. One that is embedded in the Touch. This one doesn't have a web server so you can NOT control Squeezeboxes with a browser using this server.
2. The "full scale" Squeezebox Server, which you can install on a PC/MAC/NAS. This one has a web interface
3. An online service names MySqueezebox.com. This is only for Internet Radion/Online Music and does have a Web Interface.

You can run any Squeezebox against any of these options and you can also switch between them, but you need at least one.
Also what did you mean by "At least for the remote, you can wire the touch." wire it how? for what?
OK, that was even more cryptic. What I meant was: If you only use the infrared remote, you don't need WiFi.
 

Mr_Sukebe

Active Member
One thought. You've requested that you view your music collection as per your folder structure on your hard drive. That is NOT have Squeezecentre would view it. When you run a scan on your drive, Squeezecentre creates a new database structure view of your files based upon the meta data tagging that's on each file. As such, what you'd see on a SB could potentially be completely different. You'd need to sanity check your tagging to make sure either way on that. I've never used a Sonus, so can't comment on how that works.
 

SwissLoki

Standard Member
@MrSukebe: So the Squeezebox touch is similar to the ipod in that it classifies music based on id3 tag data ? That is the main reason that I don't like the ipod, because for instance I have songs in a folder titled soundtrack for x movie, and it has a collection of songs, now they might not be tagged as belonging to that folder, so ipod would generally list thousands of random songs, unlisted and unknowns without names (which in actual fact do, but just no id3 tag filled out).

So you say the Squeezebox is no different? :confused: :( I just ordered the touch . .
 

coolio107

Active Member
One thought. You've requested that you view your music collection as per your folder structure on your hard drive. That is NOT have Squeezecentre would view it. When you run a scan on your drive, Squeezecentre creates a new database structure view of your files based upon the meta data tagging that's on each file. As such, what you'd see on a SB could potentially be completely different. You'd need to sanity check your tagging to make sure either way on that.
Umm. But you can also browse the folder structure in Squeezebox Server.
It's called "Music Folder".
It is not available if you only use iTunes integration and don't specify a Music Folder so maybe you haven't seen it.

Will have to have a look at how the Touch does this but I'm pretty sure it will work, too.
 

SuperSquash

Active Member
...If you want to use an iPod touch you actually need TWO wireless networks!...

How does this work? I know that one of the Zone Players needs to plug into your wired network in order to connect to the Internet and your music (whether via NAS or somewhere else) and to then share to other ZP's.

Presumably your iPhone/Touch connects to your regular wifi network and controls the first ZP that way? The Sonos wifi network is reserved only for Sonos equipment.

Am I understanding correctly?
 

coolio107

Active Member
How does this work? I know that one of the Zone Players needs to plug into your wired network in order to connect to the Internet and your music (whether via NAS or somewhere else) and to then share to other ZP's.

Presumably your iPhone/Touch connects to your regular wifi network and controls the first ZP that way? The Sonos wifi network is reserved only for Sonos equipment.

Am I understanding correctly?

Yes. But the one Sonos device that is wired will act as a bridge so that you can control the other zones as well.
 

GarryPearson

Active Member
Too late now but regarding Sonos & just to clarify a few Sonos things that have come up in the posts and great advice you have had from everyone to date:
Main differences between ZP90 (non-amped) v ZP120 (amped) - £279 inc VAT versus £399 inc VAT for starters. ZP90 has optical, coax and line in/out & 2 ethernet ports and is perfect to hook up to your home cinema system/speakers - ZP90 images here Sonos ZonePlayer ZP90 (UK Power Cable)

Sonos zoneplayers ship with free desktop/laptop/Mac controller software on CD. The Sonos CR200 controller is excellent but the desktop software offers the same functionality for free, just not handheld/touchscreen control. Ideal for a limited budget.

Two wireless networks needed - true but out of the box Sonos has its own 'Sonosnet' wireless software & creates its own wireless 'mesh' network. So the only other wireless you need to already have or buy is a wireless router as the iPhone/Apple Touch would control your Sonos zoneplayer by connecting to your router wirelessly and then out through the router to your Sonos system in simple terms.

One Sonos zoneplayer must be connected to your router - if the room with the router in isnt a room where you want music then its correct that a Sonos zonebridge is needed, though you can also use a pair of 85Mbps or greater ethernet homeplugs (one connected to the router, one in the room where you want your Sonos zoneplayer) as a cheaper solution.

There is no USB on Sonos. With the extensive music library you have might it be better to upgrade at some point to a WD or other brand NAS drive with dual drive/RAID for backup reasons?. In which case you can ethernet the drive to your router and use the USB for extra storage or extra backup.
 

dave77

Well-known Member
@coolio107: Thanks so much for your response! I've looked up the Archos 5 (which I'm interested in) and it seems to run on linux though some places say Android v1.5, so still not entirely sure about that. So you reckon it should work on the Archos? thats brilliant news, thanks alot!

There's 2 versions of Archos 5, i was looking into them last week, the Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet and the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, the latter is Android but it does not support the Android marketplace so you won't be able to get the Squeezebox application for it.

I have the Duet remote and can't fault it!
 
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FaberOptime

Standard Member
By way of some repayment for the helpful information shared in this thread, I thought I'd add my 2¢!

I have Logitech Squeezebox Duet (plus an extra receiver) and a Squeezebox Boom.

I can recommend, for a number of reasons.

All components work wirelessly via the common standard 802.11G network (I have my own internet connected router here, but they'll work as well with a USB wifi adapter plugged into your internet connected PC).

Network performance is good, even when simultaneously streaming hit bitrate content to three players.

The Duet controller is excellent and the Touch's remote doesn't compare.
Despite the "main unit's" touch display, the remote has no display and is infrared.
In contrast, the Duet's works directly via wifi (so no line of sight required - up an apple tree down the drive works just fine!).
The screen is good, with album artwork readily apparent. You can even obtain plugins to get lyrics, artist/album information, play you recommendations based on your listening history, even show your local news and weather (on Boom/Touch display/Duet controller/web interface)!
On the flip side, battery life is poorer.

Squeezebox frequently update their software, providing considerable new features and functionality all the time.
For example, since I bought the Duet, I've obtained the capability to use the controller as another player and play what's going through my stereo via the controller's built-in speaker (or on headphones plugged into it in the garden!).
They're making it prettier and more useful all the time.

With open-ended, extensible architecture, 802.11G compatibility, lots of publisher and manufacturer support, bangs per buck, it get's my money.

I've three "zones" at home (powering 16 speakers - 2 relocatable since they're in the Boom), c/w a rechargeable, full colour display remote (that can act as an MP3 player from the same sources) for less than I'd pay for half the Sonos functionality.

I do have some criticisms to make.

Though I've yet to play with the Touch (or forthcoming Radio), the lack of audio inputs is of impact.
Whereas I can play any/all music content from my network and/or internet radio in any/all zones (and at this, it does great!), I cannot take any analogue input (be it from a TV/satellite receiver or a CD player) and stream it to other Squeezebox connected zones.
It's just a notable hardware constraint.

The other notable constraint was alluded to in the original post.
Both Squeezebox and Sonos options are designed to stream stereo audio.

We may have 5.1 sources (typically a DVD/SA-CD/Blueray player(s)) and we may have 5.1 systems (5.1 speakers and amp), but presently (wireless) distributed audio systems don't directly support them (all inputs/outputs converted to/from stereo).

For those of us lucky enough to enjoy the fidelity of a 5.1 audio source to a 5.1 speaker system, having source downmixed to stereo to obtain output remains a significant issue.

But given the SOTA, that one is "a three pipe problem" and should not deter any buying decisions - I've yet to see a viable solution to that issue offered up by any provider (yet!).

I also found some hardware issues (which Logitech resolved to my satisfaction).

All said, I'm a fan.

Being able to play whatever/wherever is a hefty goal in all its develish detail and right now Logitech gets my vote.

Happy to respond back on any queries and thanks again to all prior thread contributors for their contributions.
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
Though I've yet to play with the Touch (or forthcoming Radio), the lack of audio inputs is of impact.
Whereas I can play any/all music content from my network and/or internet radio in any/all zones (and at this, it does great!), I cannot take any analogue input (be it from a TV/satellite receiver or a CD player) and stream it to other Squeezebox connected zones.
It's just a notable hardware constraint.

You can if the source is connected to your PC.
 

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