So What Is New With Version 3?
If you already have a Squeezebox, you may be wondering what's different between the first-generation Squeezebox, Squeezebox2 and now the third-generation Squeezebox? The first thing you notice is that the third-generation Squeezebox has a completely redesigned form factor, though it is functionally identical to Squeezebox2. Features that distinguish the latest generation from the first-generation Squeezebox include:
- An upgrade to 802.11g networking, with support for current encryption standards and throughput up to 54 Mbps
- An upgraded vacuum fluorescent display with more than twice the resolution (320x32 pixels).
- A 30 frame-per-second stereo spectrum analyzer on the Squeezebox display. The animations allow you to see balance and the spectrum analysis can display as a small set of icons or as an overlay that lights up the length of the entire display.
- Wireless bridging - plug other wired Ethernet devices in to the wireless Squeezebox, and they're on the network
- Native WMA support; provides playback capability not only for WMA files, but also many internet radio stations
- High fidelity 24 bit Burr-BrownTM DAC
- High precision dedicated crystal clocks and separate linear power supplies for the audio stages. The S/PDIF interface and DAC clocks are driven directly by two dedicated crystal oscillator circuits running at fixed frequencies. Other devices generally typically use a PLL circuit or resampling techniques to simulate multiple clock frequencies, which may introduce noise from the power supply and other environmental factors. By using dedicated fixed oscillators, Squeezebox eliminates the predominant source of reampling noise, jitter, and clock imprecision in S/PDIF sources.
- A 64 megabit buffer for resilience to adverse wireless network conditions.
- Improved upgradeability - all audio format decoding, synthesis, filtering, mixing, and attenuation operations are tuneable and upgradeable with firmware. Even all of the audio-releated logic circuitry, such as the encoding of the S/PDIF output signal and the presentation of data to the DAC, are implemented in a field-upgradeable Xilinx gate array.
- SqueezeNetwork - allows access to your favorite internet radio stations, alarms, and more without a computer being on
- Cross fading between songs
- 100Mbps wired Ethernet interface
Some of these updates are enough that with a discerning pair of ears (and speakers) the Squeezebox v3 really outshines its earlier incarnations.
The SlimServer software, on the other hand, still needs work. Version 6.2 looks (and acts) a lot like its earlier incarnations. While sections have been added for Internet radio, the standard audiophile will still not find it intuitive to get their music collection to actually show up for playing by the Squeezebox. Many may be left puzzling over the disconnect between having your audio files showing up on the SlimServer page and getting those same files to migrate over to a playlist that the Squeezebox can play.
The remote itself has not changed noticeably since the original. If anything, the original remote is better at resisting fingerprints, and the light blue "play" buttons of the earlier version made it easier to find this critical function.