Squeezebox Duet vs. Apple iPod Touch Remote App

Discussion in 'iPod' started by darrenwm, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. darrenwm macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2008

    I have been using a Duet for a while and have been happy, but the Remote App for the iPod Touch looked good so I thought I'd give it a go.

    Both solutions offer a remote control that displays all of your music.

    The Touch offers touch screen and a larger screen. It is also a web browser and much more. Oh, and a portable music player!



    And they both receive this music over a network and can be plugged into your DAC or ADM9s.


    Both solutions require software to be run on a computer - either SqueezeCentre or iTunes:




    I have started using Podcasts recently. It suits me well as it is effectively radio-on-demand. I don't listen to that much; it's mainly BBC stuff, like Business Daily, Composer of the Week, Wake Up To Money, and occasionally The Archers.

    SqueezeCentre and iTunes handle Podcasts in quite different ways...

    Within SqueezeCentre you have to enter the URL of the Podcast into the setup menus when you're on the computer. Once entered, these will appear on your Duet Controller when you navigate to Extras>Podcasts. When you play a Podcast it is streaming in live over the internet.

    As far as I can see in iTunes, to add a Podcast you need to go into the iTunes store and pick the ones you want. They are then downloaded to the harddrive. There is an option for iTunes to download new episodes automatically as soon as they become available too, so that they should always be there waiting for you when you're ready to listen.

    I think the Duet is the winner for Podcasts. It can stream instantly from any URL you care to enter and you don't download anything you don't need.

    There are some advantages to the iTunes approach though, it automatically downloads new episodes in advance so that you shouldn't have to wait in reality. Also, you shouldn't suffer dropouts if there is demand on your internet connection.

    Internet Radio

    At first it seems like you cannot access Internet Radio from the Touch Remote App. However you can, and the way to do it is to drag the stations into a playlist.

    However, the range of radio stations on the Duet is more vast.


    The Duet comes with it's own nice little charging cradle in the box for free. The Touch is annoying in that I have to plug it into the USB cable of a computer by default.

    To remedy this I have ordered a dock and a mains adaptor at small cost, so that it can reside on the coffee table in the same fashion as the Duet.

    Portable playback

    The Duet Controller has a headphone socket and an SD card slot but I currently know of no way to put music on it to play via headphones.

    The iPod, naturally, is a fantastic portable player, except for the fact that it is huge. I personally still use an old Nano when I am out cycling.

    The Touch sounds very good though, even with stock headphones, and cover flow animation is truely impressive as well as useful.

    Network receivers

    I am outputting both the SB and the Apple via optical into a DAC. This is via the Duet Receiver and Apple Airport Express, respectively. Both receivers can be connected to the network via Fast Ethernet or WiFi - but the Airport allows Wireless N, whereas the Duet Receiver is Wireless G. Both should be sufficient for lossless in reality.

    Audio connectivity is better on the Duet. You get proper analogue RCA outputs that sound quite fine, as well as toslink and digital coaxial. The Airport Express has a headphone socket that sounds ho-hum, and it doubles up as a mini-toslink too.

    Via digital into the DAC I don't think there are sound quality differences.

    Other observations

    At present I am still preferring the touch screen interface via Remote App when sat on the sofa navigating my main music library. The Touch feels nice and has a good interface and lovely screen.

    Tagging of artists

    I have noticed that album artists are treated differently on my Duet Controller and on my Touch.

    Both are looking at the same iTunes library. I have SqueezeCentre set up in the recommended iTunes style where you point it at the iTunes.xml file and not at a folder.

    Anyway, I have quite a lot of compilation albums and am reliant on the Album Artist tagging field.
    For example, my Best of James Bond 007 soundtrack CD, I tag the Album Artist as "James Bond", and leave the Artists field as Ah-Ha, Duran Duran, Shirley Bassey, etc.

    When browsing artists on my Duet it actually lists album artists, so I just have one artist entry - James Bond - rather than loads of individual artists.

    When browsing on the Touch it lists artists, so I have a load of new artist entries.

    I prefer the Duet's approach and need to find a way replicate this on the Touch, rather having to simplify all of my tags and lose detail, and waste time.

    Charging dock arrived

    I missed that my Duet had its own cradle and the Touch needed a USB lead for charging, so I ordered my mains charger and dock so that they can sit side by side in the living room:




    I can't seem to be able to add my own wallpaper to the Duet.

    It is easy with the Touch though, and I have added the logo of the people who make my loudspeakers:


    I also introduced the pair to a Sonos and got a pic side by side.

    It is interesting that the Touch is the smallest controller but has the largest screen!


    More to follow...
  2. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    For me, the Touch hasn't been compelling as a remote due to the relative unreliability of the connection. There have been times when I have to 'fiddle' to get things connected (and it's not down to the Wifi) and that is a complete deal-killer.

    However, I have ordered another Touch to use solely around the home so I'll see how I get on if I use it in a far more limited way than I would with one that I take around with me.
  3. Roadking macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2008
  4. DCEFrance macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2008
    Sonos iApp

    Nice comparison. A bit simplistic but nice. The sound output between the 2 is actually quite an important difference...

    I too have Squeezeboxes, AirPort Expresses and AirPort Extremes and Sonos throughout my house.

    You should probably update your comparison now to include the Sonos iPhone/iPod App. The Sonos iApp combination provides the beautiful touch screen interface you're used to on your iPod Touch and the superiour sound quality of the Sonos outputs.
  5. sr1329 macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2009
    Please tell me which one works the best.

    I use Squeezebox currently and I feel the server software is simply put - a joke.

    It is not very reliable, they keep changing the database: it was SQLlite, then they made it MYSQL and now they want to go back to SQLlite. All the while plug-ins lose compatibility.The whole system is very unfriendly and requires a LOT of maintenance to keep running. Updates and sometimes it needs for the Squeezebox to be unplugged and replugged to work. I don't feel as if I can come home and just use it. It always seems that some work needs to be done first. It is also very slow to respond in the web interface and for that matter in the iPeng app on iPhone.

    So I tried iTunes remote with my iPhone and iTunes running on a Windows machine. I hear that switching to a Mac makes iTunes run with some decency, so I am open to running the thing on a Mac Mini. However I noticed it has it's own set of problems such as slow loading of album art, connections that are not stable (though I suspect this is a router placement issue). It also does not have the flexibility of Squeezebox in how to search for music and keep stats.

    Then there is Sonos, which is pretty expensive and a little too rich for my blood, but I'll plunk down the cash if it really will stop all my headaches with the other systems.

    Since you have all 3, please tell me what I should do. Thank you.
  6. dazey macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2005
    Please correct me if I am wrong:

    -I thought that the duet would work without a computer as well as with (but only getting you internet radio without). Am I wrong?

    -If you want to deploy multiple duets, my understanding is that you can use two or more duets to stream from a single computer library, each being able to play different music. To do the same with apple you would need two computers.

    I don't have the duet but am interested in it so please let me know if I am misunderstanding it.

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