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In Use

The Music share on my ReadyNAS had a few songs in it that were provided by Infrant. For review purposes but for a better workout, I turned to my new MacBook Pro, mounted the network share, and copied in a few more from my iTunes library. The Slimserver used on the ReadyNAS has the ability to use an iTunes library directly, but it's really designed for the case when you are running the server on the same computer as you normally run iTunes. This lets the server keep in sync with your iTunes playlists and song library as you make changes.

If you wanted to use this feature in conjunction with the ReadyNAS, you'd need to arrange for iTunes to keep its library and configuration files on the network-mounted Music share. But Infrant doesn't document the steps you'd need to take to do this. Note that Slim Devices advertises support for MP3, WMA, FLAC, AAC, WAV and Ogg Vorbis. But like all non-Apple products, the Squeezebox can't play DRM restricted music purchased from the iTunes store. The same is true for DRM restricted WMA files. But if you prefer subscription-based music, the Squeezebox supports the Rhapsody music service.

Once I had my non-restricted MP3s loaded, I browsed through the Squeezebox menu system and started some music. Figure 3 is a photo of the display while a song was playing. Note that the display used during the playing of a song can be customized greatly. Options are available for displaying various information about the current song, equalizers, time, etc. As nice as the display was, it was in a different class than that of the Sonos display. The Sonos display could show full-color menus along with album art from the song being played.

Figure 3: Song Display

Figure 3: Song Display

As I browsed through the menus, I found I could search for my music by album, artist, genre, directory, playlists, year, or by new music. It was quite complete. The bulk of these groupings was created automatically based on the tags from my MP3 collection. One of the submenus let me select from a large set of categorized Internet radio stations. This feature was quick and easy to use.

In general, I found the remote (Figure 4) worked well. As I moved from menu to menu it seemed responsive. And to give some context, the text on the menus would "slide" back and forth to make the navigation more obvious. As I played music, I heard no dropouts of skips. It all worked well. And unlike other units I tested recently, it had no trouble with my MP3s that had embedded album-art.

Figure 4: Squeezebox Remote

Figure 4: Squeezebox Remote

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