Squeezebox Media Center
Squeezing a lot of music into a Slim Device
"Squeezebox" is a bit of a dated word in the world of music. Most people who might instantly recognize its meaning are probably fans of the 1960s and 70s culture, and, coincidentally, might be at the "mid-life crisis" age where the purchase of something as extravagant and cutting edge as a wireless network media center could be feasible. At one time, the term "squeezebox" referred to a musical instrument. In the era of the Cold War some years later, The Who used it as a euphemism for breasts in one of their songs. Today, it refers to Slim Devices' Squeezebox media center, a device that plays both internet radio and digital audio across a home network using wireless technology.
Standalone Mode : Connects to the SqueezeNetwork.com service without even connecting to a computer
SlimServer Mode : Allows users to link to the internet and access their music library from anywhere with a network connection. It is an open source audio service and supports a number of different formats, including MP3, OGG Vorbis, WAV, FLAC, and Apple's AAC.
Although it is primarily a music player, the Squeezebox features a fluorescent display with impressive bitmapped graphics, multiple fonts, and a variety of smooth animations.
As far as features go, the SlimServer and Squeezebox device are for the fanatical music listener. For those of us who simply cannot live without the sweet harmony of song for more than a few moments, the Squeezebox allows you to access an enormous music collection from any room in the home.
For the technical music collector, the Squeezebox's incorporation of lossless audio formats means that the device itself is capable of emitting some of the highest quality sound possible. Supported codecs like FLAC and Apple lossless ensure that the music lover who is undoubtedly equally obsessed with sound quality can find exactly what they're looking for by investing in the Squeezebox. With that said, Squeezebox also supports the stuff of most listeners' music libraries, including lossy compression files like MP3s, AAC, and OGG Vorbis.
The most recent version of Squeezebox is Squeezebox 3, which was released in 2005. There are a variety of versions of Squeezebox you can purchase, with the lower-end editions starting as low as $249 USD.
Considering the impressive reputation of the Squeezebox and all it offers to music lovers, that's one heck of a deal. However, for the systems that compete with the more powerful Cambridge Audio Azur and Olive Opus, you'll have to spend approximately $2,000 USD for the Transporter model.