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Logitech's Squeezebox Touch - opinions sought on quality

post #1 of 314
Thread Starter 

I'm not sure if this should be in this forum, or the portable source forum but I'm thinking of buying a Squeezebox touch to use with an iBasso DB2/PB2 combination fed from it's digital output.

 

I'm working on the premise that whilst I am at home, I can stream from my network and use SD cards to store music, whilst travelling.

 

Any views on the sound quality - is the digital output bit-perfect? Would I be better off trying to find an old iRiver player?

 

kind regards

Chris

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 314

if ur just using it for work with ibasso i wouldnt bother

 

squeezebox touch isnt cheap and its more a luxury having a touch screen network player 

 

its like perfect iciing to your hifi setup

post #3 of 314

The Touch is a pretty quirky device.  It is best-used in a Squeezebox system, where you are running Squeezecenter music server on a network.  As a stand-alone player, it can be used with a plug-in USB hard drive, but it can be difficult to set up.  It doesn't have enough juice to power many external USB drives, although the Toshiba Canvio line seem to work well.  And it works best if it has an internet connection.  As a standalone, it runs a tiny server embedded software, and the processor in the Touch is barely capable.  So whenever you connect the external HDD, it rescans the contents, and if there are a lot of files (I have about 320GB) it can take 15 minutes.  But leaving it all connected the interface is fairly snappy and it all seems to work OK.

 

All that said, I really love mine.  The internal DAC is so-so, but the overall SQ when used with an external DAC is outstanding, especially when playing FLAC files or hi-rez music files.  Many USB DACs will not play high-rez music files directly from a computer, whereas streaming them from a server to the Touch works well.  My Touch sits up on a shelf, and I use the included remote, or an internet browser (or iPeng on the Apple iPod) to control the music selection.

 

Conditionally recommended!

 

 

Frank

 

 

post #4 of 314

I forgot to mention that it is also a capable internet radio player, and I use mine a lot this way to listen to new music online.  This is perhaps its best feature!

post #5 of 314
Thread Starter 

thanks for that - I don't think I would have anything quite as big as 320Gbytes, more like 32Gbytes on an SDHC card. Are there any alternatives - apart from out of production items, that are compact audio players with digital outputs? I have done several searches without much success.

 

regards Chris

post #6 of 314

Were you considering using the Touch as a standalone player?  Currently there is a bug in the software which will not let it operate standalone unless it has an internet connection (either WiFi or Ethernet).  Supposedly this will be fixed soon.  The description on Logitech's website claims it can be used standalone, which it cannot without access to the net.  Of course, if it has net access, it can directly tap into internet radio, which works well.  It will also run (pay) apps like Pandora or Last.fm.

 

With only a 32GB SD card it should fly.  I've never used the card reader, so I don't have personal experience with doing it, but I've heard that it works well.  The Touch is a solid & heavy-feeling device.  The built-in stand sticks out and will not fold, so it is not really designed for portability.  I use mine in my office and it doesn't move.  I occasionally use it at home too, hooked into the Squeeze network (which is run off of a Windows Home Server BTW).  The internal DAC is pretty good, so I simply use the audio cables to my Mapletree headphone amp in the office.  At home, I use a Bel Canto DAC that I borrowed from a friend, into a vintage Eico HF-81 tube amplifier from 1959.  When I went to the White Plains meet last November, a couple of people were using the Touch as sources, and those systems sounded extremely good.

 

As far as other network players with digital outputs, I think there are a bunch of cheap Upnp media players that are oriented to video playback, some of which have digital outputs (usually via HDMI).  I do not think many have been designed specifically with SQ in mind.  I have heard that there are a number of high-end audio manufacturers who are introducing/have introduced new network media players which might be of interest.  For instance, the Cambridge Audio NP30 looks interesting, as does the $$$ players from Ayre and McIntosh.

 

hope this helps!

 

Frank

post #7 of 314

I totally agree with what's been said about the Touch: great player, a few operational quirks, and certainly not for everyone. But it fits me perfectly.

 

I've noticed that it isn't so fun to use unless you are really on top of your tagging. You can also browse by folder but again that assumes a certain level of organization.

 

The built in DAC is actually decent. Not high end by any means, but surprisingly good for such a little device that does so much. And used as transport with digital out, I don't find it to be a bottleneck at all in a multi-thousand dollar setup. It is bit perfect.

 

As for alternatives, here is an interesting option:

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/AUNE-HIFI-APE-player-Pocket-portable-digital-player-/120701358194?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c1a5c9072#ht_10330wt_1709

 

I have no experience with it myself but there was a thread on another forum where people seemed to enjoy it. It can be used as a stand alone DAC as well since it has a coaxial input. So you could add a CD player and run the whole thing through the player and out to a single DAC. Kind of a cool product in theory.

 

 

post #8 of 314

That looks like a better fit with the OP's needs, assuming it is any good.  Nice find!

post #9 of 314
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadEars View Post

Were you considering using the Touch as a standalone player?  Currently there is a bug in the software which will not let it operate standalone unless it has an internet connection (either WiFi or Ethernet).  Supposedly this will be fixed soon.  The description on Logitech's website claims it can be used standalone, which it cannot without access to the net.  Of course, if it has net access, it can directly tap into internet radio, which works well.  It will also run (pay) apps like Pandora or Last.fm.

 

With only a 32GB SD card it should fly.  I've never used the card reader, so I don't have personal experience with doing it, but I've heard that it works well.  The Touch is a solid & heavy-feeling device.  The built-in stand sticks out and will not fold, so it is not really designed for portability.  I use mine in my office and it doesn't move.  I occasionally use it at home too, hooked into the Squeeze network (which is run off of a Windows Home Server BTW).  The internal DAC is pretty good, so I simply use the audio cables to my Mapletree headphone amp in the office.  At home, I use a Bel Canto DAC that I borrowed from a friend, into a vintage Eico HF-81 tube amplifier from 1959.  When I went to the White Plains meet last November, a couple of people were using the Touch as sources, and those systems sounded extremely good.

 

As far as other network players with digital outputs, I think there are a bunch of cheap Upnp media players that are oriented to video playback, some of which have digital outputs (usually via HDMI).  I do not think many have been designed specifically with SQ in mind.  I have heard that there are a number of high-end audio manufacturers who are introducing/have introduced new network media players which might be of interest.  For instance, the Cambridge Audio NP30 looks interesting, as does the $$$ players from Ayre and McIntosh.

 

hope this helps!

 

Frank


I bring my Touch to meets, and it's pretty touchy as a stand-alone player.  I use a 16gb SD card and it usually takes me a few reboots to get the darn thing to realize that "no there is no network out there" and "yes I want you to play off the SD card".  It usually involves a bunch of mumbled expletives and empty promises, but I've eventually gotten it to work.  Don't ask me how, though.  Maybe one of the empty promises worked.  And, as DeadEars stated, the thing is darn slow.  SD card is faster than external USB HD, which is why I use it that way, but it's still pretty painful.

 

Overall, I love mine as far as a source at home running from my desktop server on a different room, but if I needed something portable I'd look for a different solution.  For instance, I use my Touch->Assemblage DAC->Stacker II Amp at home, but while at work or at another site I use my work laptop with FLAC files->iBasso D10.  For actual travel (plane flights, etc), I just use a Cowon D10 without any amp or anything, because I don't mind the tradeoff of sound quality for portability.

 

post #10 of 314

Oh yeah...and I think the analog outputs are quite good, while the digital output is really good.  How nicely subjective is that?  wink_face.gif

post #11 of 314
Quote:
Originally Posted by Equus View Post

Oh yeah...and I think the analog outputs are quite good, while the digital output is really good.  How nicely subjective is that?  wink_face.gif

I agree.
I've had the Touch since it came out, and, despite the quirks mentioned elswhere, I love it.
From its anaogue RCA outs the Touch has a big enthousiastic sound, not the most refined, but still enjoyable.
From the SPDIF out it sounds very clean and clear (compared to f.i. The Squeezebox Classic I had before), and I understand measurements are very good.
Edited by dura - 4/14/11 at 12:01am
post #12 of 314

Measurements are indeed good. See this link:

 

http://www.anedio.com/index.php/article/squeezebox_touch

 

That's the first time I've seen anyone do some serious measurements on the Touch. They confirmed that it has bit-perfect output at all sample rates and bit depths. They also measure the jitter at the analog output and it is quite respectable - on the level of a higher end CD player. Obviously jitter is not the only factor in sound quality and I believe the analog output of the Touch falls short in some other aspects, but still..... a very nicely done product.

post #13 of 314

The Touch is a very good platform to start from (unless you already have a Transporter).  Either way, they need to be modded to pull the maximum performance out of them.  In the case of the Touch, you'll want to replace most of the caps, replace the oscillator with a low ppm TCXO, and get either a high quality linear regulated supply or a battery supply for it.  You can take the Transporter even further because of the workspace inside the unit.  Unfortunately, the Transporter doesn't have a USB drive or SD card like the Touch does.  But out of all the Squeezeboxes, the Touch is surely the best.

 

By the way, Squeezebox just came out with a remote app for Android a few weeks ago.  Why they didn't make one for the iPod and iPad is beyond me; perhaps they are working on it; I'll have to check the SB forums.

post #14 of 314
Quote:
Originally Posted by IPodPJ View Post

The Touch is a very good platform to start from (unless you already have a Transporter).  Either way, they need to be modded to pull the maximum performance out of them.  In the case of the Touch, you'll want to replace most of the caps, replace the oscillator with a low ppm TCXO, and get either a high quality linear regulated supply or a battery supply for it.  You can take the Transporter even further because of the workspace inside the unit.  Unfortunately, the Transporter doesn't have a USB drive or SD card like the Touch does.  But out of all the Squeezeboxes, the Touch is surely the best.

 

By the way, Squeezebox just came out with a remote app for Android a few weeks ago.  Why they didn't make one for the iPod and iPad is beyond me; perhaps they are working on it; I'll have to check the SB forums.




I think the main reason Logitech/SB didn't produce an iPod app is because iPeng is already out there and is very good.  Highly recommended if you have an iPod and a Squeezebox.

 

Regarding sound quality, I have both the Transporter and the Touch (and a Duet) and the Touch is clearly better via its analog outputs than either the Squeezebox or the Duet, but not up to Transporter standards.  Unfortunately, the Transporter is out of production, so the Touch is the best that remains.

post #15 of 314

Hi, guys

 

I am about to buy the logitech sb touch and I am gonna but a dacmagic or other similar dac to increase the sound quality. but before that I have 2 questions:

1.how does the sb touch sound with an extenal dac compare to a $1000 cd player(I have a rega planet 2000), cause I am thinking about replacing my cd player with sb touch

2.how does the sound(sb touch with external dac) compare to ipod classic with wadia 170i?

I will be using the sb touch as a standalone player and put in a 16gb sd card, if a full cd is about 330mb in flac, so I should be able to fit 48 cds in that sd card, which is more than enough for now maybe.thanks

 

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