Slim Devices Squeezebox, the device that launched the ‘networked music’ revolution, has reached its third generation with a radical new look.
Like its predecessors, the new Squeezebox is designed to sit atop your hi-fi and wirelessly stream music from your PC or Mac – so you can access your MP3 collection from your living room, and relegate your CDs to the loft (although we’d advise creating a virtual collection first, using software such as the beautiful Mac-only Delicious Library or the almost-as-good cross-platform Collection.)
The Squeezebox is made by people who truly love digital music, and powered by open-source software that plays almost any music or internet radio format. The big exceptions are Real Audio streams – as used by the BBC - and copy-protected AAC files downloaded from Apple’s iTunes Music.
The wireless connection is high-speed Wi-Fi (802.11g), which means the occasional audio drop-out that affected the original Squeezebox should no longer be a problem. And the unit produces true hi-fi sound thanks to a Burr-Brown DAC (digital-to-analogue converter), described by our sources in the know as sounding 'f***ing great'.
But the biggest change is cosmetic, with the Squeezebox radically - as they say on the West Coast - 'reimagined' by Californian design guru Fred Bould, known for his work with Apple and Herman Miller. It looks gorgeous, but it’s the large display that will really appeal, making it easy to navigate through hundreds of albums using the supplied remote control.
The Squeezebox 3G is available in black and white for US$300 (£170) and it's being shipped internationally.