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Thread: Logitech Duet hands on

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    Logitech Duet hands on

    The Hardware

    Back in September I was invited by Logitech to take part in their beta development program for a new piece of hardware.

    This turned out to be the new Squeeze Controller.



    There have been a couple of iterations of the hardware during the development process, and although they all look pretty much identical, there are some internal changes. The very first revision didn’t have a Logitech logo and will, at some point, not be able to handle newer firmware revisions. The second revision is the one I was sent. It is almost identical to the final hardware you will be able to buy. The only real change is an improvement to the wireless antenna on the final hardware (photos later).

    At the start of February, Logitech sent all the beta testers and email saying they would be sending out a final production controller and a complimentary Squeeze Receiver. The Receiver was unveiled at CES at the start of the year, the only inkling the community had of its existence was a brief reference to pressing the button on the front while testing one build of the Controller firmware.



    My Duet (Duet is just the name of the Squeeze Controller and Squeeze Receiver combination) bundle arrived at my parents place a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve been away offshore so this is the first chance I’ve had to take a look at it all. There are a couple of significant differences between what I was sent and what you would get in a retail environment. First up is the lack of retail packaging, everything was just bubble wrapped and placed in a small brown shipping box. Next up is the lack of battery and charger cradle for the Controller. Apparently there is a shortage of these items at the moment and all are going for retail. Not to worry, I can just use the battery and cradle from the beta hardware (the battery is also the same item used in the harmony 1000 remote control). I’ll be able to buy spares eventually, I don’t mind I’ve been sent in the region of £500 of audio gear so far

    Now for some hardware photos.


    The packing box.


    The contents of the box. Mains adapter, SqueezeReceiver and SqueezeController.


    As above but without the bubble wrap.


    Mmmm I love how they are coated in that clingy almost-sticky-but-not-quite protective plastic.


    My original beta Controller and charger dock.


    Final unit and beta side by side. Note the final has a rubber cover over the (as yet) unused expansion/accessories port
    (The port has several potential functions once the software is further developed to take advantage of it).


    Backs of the Controllers without battery and cover. If you squint, you can just make out a tiny ‘M’ printed in the middle above the battery compartment on the left (final) Controller. There is a SD card slot tucked in there. The only use for it right now is for allowing the unit to dump error logs for debugging and storing screen grabs. Although it is completely software controlled so is SDHC compliant and can apparently handle 32GB cards. I wonder what you could do with that with the right software


    Naked Controllers!! There goes that SD card slot. Note the only real difference. The final hardware has a small, metal, vertical antenna at the top left. This is the visible part of the re-designed wireless pickup.


    Headphone socket and IR transmitter. The only thing the headphone socket does right now is play the button press and scroll wheel sounds effects. Music playback is planned, but that will be in the future. The IR transmitter is non functional right now, again, the software isn’t there. This will probably be used tell amps to turn on eventually. Although you could technically use it as a universal remote, the scroll wheel and limited hard buttons doesn’t lend itself to this.

    Some other cool things about the Controller:
    • It has a built in accelerometer. At the moment it is just there to detect when you pick it up, but it could be used in the future for gesture control (or anything else the comunity/developers can think of)
    • There is a Flikr screen saver buily in
    • The whole 'SqueezeOS' is linux based with an ARM processor. Specs are here: SqueezeboxController - Slim Devices : Community : Wiki and HardwareComparison - Slim Devices : Community : Wiki
    • The interface is written in Lua

    Factoids about the Reciever
    • The internals are based on the SqueezeBox 3 (or SqueezeBox Classic as Logitech are callin it now)
    • Becuase of the lac of display and other factors the bower brick is now 9v so they changed the DAC as well. There is no firm conclusion whether is DAC is better or not. The digital outputs share exactly the same path and caracteristics of the SB3 though.
    • There is a very cool mulit-coloured status LED on the front of the unit embeded in a button. Colour codes: SBRFrontButtonAndLED - Slim Devices : Community : Wiki
    Last edited by Funkstar; 20-02-2008 at 10:10 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    SqueezeCenter v7

    The Controller and Receiver will only work with SqueezeCenter v7 (formerly SlimServer, notice how everything revolves around the Squeeze nomenclature, this is intentional. Clever or annoying, you decide). I’ve been using my two SqueezeBox 3s with SlimServer 6.5.4 running on my Thecus N5200Pro for the last couple of months, but as SC7 hasn’t gone gold yet (they are keeping it in beta until the very last moment, this will be the most stable and functional server release from the Mountain View team yet) I’ve had to install it on my media box to get these two new devices working.

    At first glance SC7 doesn’t seem to be that much different to SS6.5.x, but really there has been a massive change.

    • The whole plugin system has changed, plugins should no longer take down the whole server.
    • The error catching and reporting system has been over hauled so has the logging and de-bugging.
    • The new interface is a lot more than just a new skin. Things have been re-organised and most things have become Web2.0 and dynamic
    • The music scanner has been spun off into a separate application. This means the interface is still responsive during scanning. Scanner status and progress is also reported so at least you can see what it is doing and get an idea of how long it is going to take.
    • SqueezeNetwork is also integrated with SqueezeCenter now. I’ve not played with the integration as yet, but most player settings are transferred between the two. So, for example, when your SqueezeCenter is off your favourite Internet radio stations are still available, time/date formats are the same. I hope alarms are synced as well, that will be neat to play with.
    • Player synchronisation is vastly improved too. All the Slim hardware players (right the way back to the SliMP3) and the Java SoftSqueeze should now sync and remain synced perfectly.

    There are lots of other smaller changes, but this is what I can think of right now. There has also been features bumped back to 7.1 or further. For instance there were plans to be able to install plugins and skins through the web interface.

    SC7 now has a pretty cool wizard interface that launches after first install. As with the rest of the SC7 the whole wizard is web based, but it is nicely designed, fast and uses a fair amount of AJAX/Web2.0 code.


    After SC7 is installed and started, this window opens.


    Put in your SqueezeNetwork details if you have any.


    Next specify where your library resides. I don’t use iTunes or MusicIP so can ignore those options.


    Specify your music library location. Mine is on a NAS so I manually enter the UNC pack name in the box at the bottom. There was a problem
    with using mapped drive in Windows with previous versions of SlimServer. This may be solved now, but at that drive isn’t mapped on the
    server I’m using, I’ll stick to direct path names.


    Same goes for your playlist folder.


    The wizard helpfully shows you what you have already told it and you are ready to get going.

    I wish there was an Advanced button on this page. Because the SC7 launches straight into scanning your library, it often uses the
    wrong settings, well at least for me it does. By default multi-disc albums are treated seperately, meaning it thinks I have 1300+ albums, but
    thats just the number of disks I have. In reality there should be 1172 (at the moment ). Pretty sure there is an enhacement request for
    this logged in the SlimDevices Bugzilla though.


    SC7 home page. Library scanning is taking place and I haven’t pointed any players to it yet so there isn’t anything exciting here.


    Scan complete. 30minutes, I’m impressed. All this was being pulled across m network from the NAS over gigabit. Note though, if you have a lot of playlists, this can add a long time to the scan as it will verify all the
    linked tracks are valid before making them available.
    Last edited by Funkstar; 20-02-2008 at 10:19 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    The Setup

    Now I guess it is time to set up this lovely new hardware

    Setup is pretty easy. I’m not going to do a step by step of this because there isn’t much need it is really straight forward (anyway, taking photos of an LCD screen is a pin in the ass and I can’t be bothered ). You need to setup the controller first, the Receiver is headless so it would be a little difficult to set it up manually

    Officially, to use a Reciever at all you need a Controller, you can’t even (officially) set one up without. However, there is a plugin being written for SqueezeCenter that will allow you to manually enter your wireless settings and send them to the Receiver.

    Once the Controller is setup, it then creates an ad hoc network between it and the Receiver, transfers the settings, kills the ad hoc network and then controls it over your wireless network through SqueezeServer. It all works pretty flawlessly as far as I can tell.

    You will be prompted to update the Controller firmware, there has been some massive changes recently. Wireless performance is much improved, power consumption is much better, and performance is leaps and bounds from what it was when I last used it.


    I’m planning to replace the SB3 in my living room with this so it forces me to use the Controller and SC7 as opposed to how everything is set up right now. So I’ll post more about how it works etc as time goes on.

    Autopilot has also been in the beta group and has been using his setup far more than I have over the past few weeks, so I’m by no means the expert on this

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    Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    2008-02-25
    Just turned on my Controller after being away for the weekend and am prompted to update the firmware. Fine by me. Looks like they have added a progress counter to the update at some point, it never used to be there. Certainly stops you wondering if the unit is actually doing anything.

    And I can say for definite that the scrolling performance is vastly improved from the last time I used my Beta controller (It has been sitting unused since the new year, mainly because I moved the my NAS and couldn't use the SC7 nightlies). Scolling though my 1100+ albums is smooth and quick. You get a large semi-transparent letter overlayed telling you where in the alphabet you are. Cover art loads quickly when you stock scrolling too.

    2008-03-04
    SqueezeCenter 7.0 has finally gone gold.

    See Transporter & Squeezebox Wireless Network Music Players - Every room deserves a soundtrack for downloads.

    Now I justneed to wait for this to be built into a new module for the N5200 (and get home from offshore).
    Last edited by Funkstar; 04-03-2008 at 07:16 PM.

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    HEXUS reader goes hands on with Logitech's Squeezebox Duet

    HEXUS forum reader, Funkstar, provides a closer look at Logitech's Squeezebox Duet, a device that Logitech states will allow you to "listen to the music you love in any room in your home".
    Read more.

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    Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    Be interested to know how the internet stations work via squeezenetwork on squeezecenter 7 as have problems connecting to the stations on my squeezebox 3. Ended up going back to the latest 6.5.x stable version which doesn't have these probs.

    Did use squeezecenter 7 for a while though and liked the changes. Loved the scanning of my library as I never knew with the old version when it was finished.

    Took a bit of getting used to the new layout on the SB3 but did like it. Would have kept it had it not been for the prob of connecting to the internet stations.

    I would suggest others try squeezecenter 7 though as they release updates nightly.
    I do know everything, just not all at once. It's a virtual memory problem.

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    Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    can you use one of these without a wifi network?

    I have seen they have wired sockets network sockets etc but after reading the article im concerned about the controller...

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    Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    Hey,

    Nice info about your findings of the Duet so far.

    I wish they asked me to join the beta team

  9. #9
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    Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    Quote Originally Posted by trifin View Post
    can you use one of these without a wifi network?

    I have seen they have wired sockets network sockets etc but after reading the article im concerned about the controller...
    They both use 802.11g and both WPA and WEP security and should work without issue with an existing wireless network. In fact at the moment a wireless network is required for using the Controller.

  10. #10
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    Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    Quote Originally Posted by starbuck View Post
    Be interested to know how the internet stations work via squeezenetwork on squeezecenter 7 as have problems connecting to the stations on my squeezebox 3. Ended up going back to the latest 6.5.x stable version which doesn't have these probs.
    I've no heard of any specific problems of SC7 not connecting to internet radio stations.

    The only ones I use are though AlieBBC (I still need to isntall the plugin for SC7 actually) so I might need to do some playing around to test it out.

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    Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    Thanks for the impressions. Will definitely be looking in to something like this in the near future.

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    Unhappy Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    Quote Originally Posted by Funkstar View Post
    In fact at the moment a wireless network is required for using the Controller.
    Thats a real shame. I have a wired network throughout my house and I don't like leaving the wireless network turned on all the time as it wastes electricity.

    In your write up it appears that the Duet is able to run as an ad hoc wifi network for setup purposes. Why doesn't this continue to function if no other wifi network is present?

    Wired networks are superior in so many ways over wifi. Logitech are missing out on some customers here.

  13. #13
    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    hmmmmm

    You've got me thinking

    I'll give this a go this week (tonight if I remember and get a chance). It is possible that it might work.

    If it doesn't work just now, it is possible that it may work in the future with a software change.

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    Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    Quote Originally Posted by Funkstar View Post
    hmmmmm

    You've got me thinking

    I'll give this a go this week (tonight if I remember and get a chance). It is possible that it might work.

    If it doesn't work just now, it is possible that it may work in the future with a software change.
    thanks! please report back

    If it doesn't work now I really hope it will work - they include a rj45 socket on the back so they must expect wired network use....

  15. #15
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    Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    Yes the reciever can be used with either a wires or wirless network, I have mine wired at the moment.

    It's just the Controller i'm not sure about.

    I'll ask on the SlimDevices forum tonight and see what they say.

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    Re: Logitech Duet hands on

    Quote Originally Posted by Funkstar View Post
    Yes the reciever can be used with either a wires or wirless network, I have mine wired at the moment.

    It's just the Controller i'm not sure about.

    I'll ask on the SlimDevices forum tonight and see what they say.
    Did you find out ?

    thanks!

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