Roku Soundbridge V Squeeze Box 3

Discussion in 'Music Streamers' started by Noswar, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. Noswar

    Noswar
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    There seems to be a fair few people who are agonising over purchasing a Roku Soundbridge M1001 or a Slim Devices Squeeze Box 3.

    Has anyone got any experience of both products and could shed light on the debate?
     
  2. swanytroon

    swanytroon
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    andrew who uses these forums has used both and if i remember right he recommends the squeezebox.
     
  3. Uridium

    Uridium
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    But is the Squeeze box really £80 better?
     
  4. andrew1810

    andrew1810
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    I have owned both the M1000 and the Squeezebox 2 (amongst others) and it all depends on your own personal circumstances.

    If you are after best sound quality and don't own a decent DAC then the SB3 is better than the Roku in terms of analogue outputs (it has a much better internal DAC)

    If you want something simply for background listening, its probably not worth £80 just for the sound quality.

    If you have ripped any CD's already, this may have an influence on the final decision, but only if you have used FLAC which only runs natively on the SB3, it does work on the Roku, but not as well.

    Also, how much do you want to be able to mess with settings etc? The opensource slimserver software for the Squeezebox does allow more altering of settings, extra plugins, so if this is your thing, you may want to download slimserver to have a look at it.

    As far as I'm aware, the Roku won't play BBC internet radio, so this should be something to consider.

    The reason I chose the SB2 over the Roku was that I wanted a decent web interface so that I could control it by laptop/PDA (although the price difference was smaller when I bought it)

    I am working on some reviews (still work in progress) here:
    http://www.audiofi.co.uk/reviews/

    Hope this helps

    Andrew
     
  5. Noswar

    Noswar
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    I'm still dithering... I'm slightly favouring the SB3 because of the reports of better sound quality. I'm not sure it's worth an extra £80 though. If I was going to use it in my living room with my hi-fi seperates I would definately go with the SB3. In this case, it's to connect to my Denon Mini system in the kitchen. Bearing in mind it's a mini system (a nice one at that) and in a kitchen will I be able to hear any difference between the Roku & the SB3? Where would you put the sound quality in comparison to a typical £180 seperates CD Player? I would hate to purchase the Roku and be dissapointed that the sound quality wasn't up there!
     
  6. Uridium

    Uridium
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    Here's the opinion of a previous SB3/Roku ditherer!

    At the end of the day your playing back Compressed audio so the quality on all of them is going to be lesser than that of a CD based system if you are a real hardcore audiophile. then again if that was the case you would be sticking with CD's anyway!

    I'm sure you won't be disapointed if you went for the Roku (have you EVER read a bad review from someone disapointed with one?)

    I have mine running through a Panasonic SC-HT530 surround sound system and am more than pleased with it.

    I know some people prefer the SB3 because of the open source SlimServer software, however i saw this as a minus point.,As I already had Sony Sonic stage for my HD3 i really didn't want another music management app installed.

    The Roku works superbly with Win Media connect which was already sitting on my PC.

    As Andrew has said the SlimServer software does give you a lot of opportunity to play around with plugins etc.. howver Roku seem to be catching up on this front as there appear to be quite a few 3rd party apps around now as well as the Roku control protocol allowing integration and control of the soundbridge through browsers and other apps (even your Pocket PC:smashin: )

    http://www.rokulabs.com/community/sbthirdparty/index.php
    http://www.rokulabs.com/community/developer.php

    To sum I still prefer the styling of the SB3 but am utterly pleased with the Roku and still have the £80 left over for my Gigabit Lan upgrade!
     
  7. Strobe

    Strobe
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    Can't comment greatly on the Roku as only had a brief shop demo.
    I went for the Squeezebox because ...
    - better quality DAC
    - better quality display
    - liked the interface (easy to navigate the music)
    - it integrates very well with iTunes
    - slimserver just sits quietly in the background
    - did not see one duff review of the squeezebox out of dozens
    Sound quality is always a subjective thing. I have mine connected via analogue to TEAC Ref 250 mini system and it sounds great. I have ripped at 320 kbps mp3 and this is on a par with the Teac's in-built cd player (at least to my ears).
    If you check the forums for slimdevices and roku you will find both being used as a source for seriously high end hifi equipment. If ripping at lossless and connecting via digital then I am sure the sound will better a comparably priced cd player.
     
  8. andrew1810

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    Not exactly, I rip my music into AIFF (identical to WAV), so no compression at all, the quality is equally as good, if not slightly better than my Marantz CD6000 OSE

    Disk space is so cheap, it makes sense to rip in the highest quality (AIFF files are 20-40Mb per track)

    I chose AIFF because it does support tags unlike WAV and is completely lossless, plus it is compatible with the SB3, Roku and an ipod should I ever feel the need to buy one. If I need MP3 versions, I can simply select the tracks in itunes and convert them to mp3 without having to re-rip the cd's.
     
  9. Michael J

    Michael J
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    A first-time post, so hello to everyone!

    I too have been looking at these two in fair depth over the last few days. Both say they are able to play lossless music, both have digital outputs if required, both have a nice, easy to read display. Sure, there are some differences (Squeezebox can be used as an IR Blaster / repeater, Soundbridge is cheaper, both use different server software etc.).

    However I've just found the biggest issue for me. The Soundbridge M1001, unlike its predecessor the M1000, resamples everything to 48kHz internally. This applies to both the feed to the internal DAC and also to the S/PDIF outputs (which I was intending to use). See Roku's own forum page http://www.rokulabs.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4611

    Resampling means that the data sent to the DACs in my receiver is not the same as that on the original CD. It will also as I understand it prevent DTS pass-through and HDCD compatibility (not that this really worries me), as both of these rely upon bit-for-bit accurate data streams. In fact it can't really be called "lossless", as only 1 in every 441 samples on the original CD is passed through unmolested! (If my maths serves me correctly!) That's a whopping 99.8% loss of original data!! :rolleyes:

    This is a big issue for me, and was also one of the reasons why I returned an Elonex Artisan HTPC. The difference was very audible (we heard the difference before we identified what was causing it) and therefore I've just gone ahead and placed an order for two Squeezeboxes (Squeezeboxen? :) ) on Slim Devices' website. I thought I'd better put this post up smartish as they are only giving the $100 reduction on a purchase of two up until the end of today!

    Michael
     
  10. Strobe

    Strobe
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    The older Romu M1000 does not have the upsampling issue but the newer M1001 does. But the older one does have plasticky removable end caps to insert your leads. There are various threads about this on the Roku formus.
     
  11. Uridium

    Uridium
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    To my untrained ears the playback of my 320k MP3's through my Panasonic sc-ht530 sounds no different to playback though the internal cd player.

    maybe as you say it's not quite on a par with the quality of the SB3 but it's certainly as good if not better than anything else in the same price bracket.

    remember it's about £80-£100 cheaper than the SB3.

    network stability is superb though, mine was connected to my wireless router the day i plugged it in and has not once dropped connection/stuttered or even had a single reboot. located quite away from the router so has a relativley low signal (laptop with 54mb card occasionally won't connect in same location) but tracklist takes only a few seconds to buffer and streams flawlessly.

    and all without having to install yet another piece of music library software. just runs with win media player and win media connect

    well worth £135 IMO
     
  12. Michael J

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    Mmm, Uridium I agree - I expect the Roku does sound as good as or better than anything else in its price point. A decent music source at a fabulous price point. The styling is spot on too, and I would be very happy with something even half as good for my dining room.

    For my living room, where I do most of my listening, I wanted the optimum sound quality I could realistically achieve, and having audibly heard the difference when 44.1kHz was upsampled to 48kHz on my kit I didn't want to go down that route again. I haven't a problem with using the server software as I don't have any at the moment and will be ripping all my CDs into whichever is appropriate.

    I think they are probably both great products and it just depends upon the individual's requirements. If you want great sound quality at a great price buy the Roku, but if absolute sound quality is important then buy the Squeezebox.

    Fantastic that such products are available at reasonable prices! The Artisan I rejected was five times the price of the Squeezebox!

    Michael
     
  13. g0pkh

    g0pkh
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    Just to add my Twopennyth.

    I listen to music a lot, but am not an audiophile at all.
    I have 2 M1001's, and a reasonable music library ripped at anywhere between 192 and 320 Kbps MP3, depending on Album content.

    To my ears the M1001 sounds as good as any standard CD Player I have ever owned.

    Naturally I can't comment on the high end equipment, because I have never owned any.

    For everyday listening, the Rokus are superb. I am sure you will not be dissappointed.

    Pete
     
  14. Noswar

    Noswar
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    Hi,

    When you say standard CD Players - are talking about a hi-fi seperate or an all-in-one?

    Also, what hardware are your ROKU's feeding?

    Thanks
     
  15. andrew1810

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    One thing to note with the M1001 is that it resamples everything to 48khz, which degrades sound quality: http://www.rokulabs.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4611&start=0

    In terms of sound quality, without an external DAC, the Roku was slightly inferior to my Marantz CD6000, where as the SB3 is definitely better sounding, even on my budget Rotel amp.

    Edit, should probably add my system:

    Rotel RA-01
    Squeezebox 3
    Rega Ela mk1.5
     
  16. g0pkh

    g0pkh
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    I am referring to a normal integrated system, ie your normal midi system etc, NOT High end CD Players.

    One of my Rokus feeds a home cinema system via and Optical Cable, and the other in my Computer Room, just feeds a 2.1 Cambridge SoundWorks speaker system.

    I find that fine for everyday listening.

    As all others seem to be saying, it seems that the Roku doesn,t stand a chance against the squeezebox. :(

    Personally I doubt I would hear the difference between the "Upsampling" Issue anyway.

    You pays your money, you takes your choice. For £129 I think the M1001 is great value for money.

    Pete
     
  17. Gary_W

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    The SB3 claims to perform as well as a $1000 (US) CD player. I cannot comment on whether or not that is the case, but I can say that it gave my Marantz player a good hiding. Hardly high end, it used to retail at £300. But for a device that does so much more than a CD player, it is fantastic to get decent audio quality as well. Go and search on the 'Audiophile' part of the slim devices forum and you'll find lots of happy people as far as quality goes. Whether this is worth the extra £80 to you personally is something only you can decide.

    The Alien BBC plugin and the Pandora radio make the SB 3 worth the premium for me, even if there was no sound quality advantage over the Roku. Have a good look at these features to see if they appeal to you and then add it to your buying equation if needed :)
     

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