Steven Stone Changed My Life!
As an inveterate analogophile, I have entered the digital age, kicking and screaming but inevitably dragged along with the appearance of digital playback equipment that approached the best that analog (vinyl) has always offered. Equipment like the Esoteric P-03/D-03/G-Orb has made this life passage considerably easier than I expected. Now along comes Steven Stone’s “Music Servers for Audiophiles-The Time Has Finally Come” in the August Digital Issue. Until his review of the Logitech Squeezebox Duet, I had always considered such products as strictly low-fi accessories for background listening while working on one’s computer. After reading this thoughtful review and duly noting that Steve linked his Squeezebox to a superior DAC, I took the plunge and bought it. Following the hook-up diagram from Wi-Fi to Duet to DAC, I dutifully opened all of the free accounts that I could (already having Sirius and Rhapsody subscription services).
For potential listeners (and possible buyers), all I can say is WOW! Listening to on-line services with at least 128 kbps through an audiophile system, the sound is good enough to hold your attention without apologies or fatigue. I would add that I upsampling the 44.1k stream to 176k via the Esoteric D-03. The price of admission, compared to some of the other music server alternatives, is silly cheap. Readers who are Sirius, Rhapsody or other music service subscribers will enter a whole new sphere of existence when they play these music sources through good equipment.
As Mr. Stone points out, the added ability to surf some of the best radio in the world is an amazing bonus that would alone justify such a system.
A couple of minor cavils and caveats. To access stored mp3 files, there is a program called MP3tunes that talks directly to ITunes. The bad news is that depending on the number, size, and resolution of the files, it literally takes hours to sync these files to the MP3 locker. The good news is that once done, new files are added fairly rapidly. Another problem (that did not prevent me from using all of my squeezebox’s functionality) is that certain virus detection programs, like McAfee, prevent the Squeezebox center from opening. There is a work around for this problem but it requires disabling and reinstalling the virus protection software. Hopefully, the Logitech team will work on this bug.
I am truly in the Absolute Sound’s debt. Having added the Squeezebox Duet to my system, a new and exciting listening experience is now mine forever.
Lawrence Devoe, M.D.