INTRODUCTION TO SQUEEZEBOX
Squeezebox – a brief history
Slim Devices was an American company established in 2000, and was first known for its SlimServer software used for streaming music. This was followed in 2001 with the introduction of a compatible hardware player called SliMP3. Although the first player was fairly basic, only supporting wired Ethernet and MP3natively. it was followed two years later by a slightly more advanced player which was renamed ‘Squeezebox’. Other versions followed, gradually adding support for a wider range of file formats, Wi-Fi-support, and over time adding larger and more advanced displays. The standout product however, must be the ‘Transporter’. This was specifically designed for optimum Hi-Fi performance. Support was later added for playing music from premium on-demand streaming services.
In 2006, Slim Devices were acquired by Logitech who continued the developmentof the Server and Players until 2012 when production was discontinued*. Since then, the Logitech Media Server (LMS), which replaced the original Slim Server, has been made available as open source software, released under the terms of the GNU General Public License
*This decision was almost certainly down to what was seen as the ‘limitations’ of the Squeezebox client/server topology. Whilst ideal for true Hi-Fi applications where there is still a desire to store, navigate and play Hi-Res digital music files, it proved less convenient for mass-market buyers, who just wanted a simple one-box solution.
Why the Squeezebox platform is very special
Both Slim Devices and Logitech deserve tremendous credit for creating, developing and supporting the Squeezebox platform, which many people still regard as being superior to anything currently available in the marketplace today. Furthermore, Logitech continue to update the Logitech Media Server(LMS), with the latest release ‘8.1.0’, published late in 2020.
Squeezebox is especially suited to locally storing and playing high-resolution digital music files and for its open access to what are called ‘Plug-ins’. Squeezebox is the only system of its kind which allows such ‘under-the-bonnet’ access and this has spawned a host of 3rd party developers who continue to support existing Plug-ins and even to write new ones – Long may it continue.
As explained above, Squeezebox utilises a Server/Player topology. The Server is normally referred to as ‘LMS’ (Logitech Media Server) and this serves two purposes. The first is the gateway for the connection to a wide range of on-line services. The second is as a repository for locally stored digital music files up to and including Hi-Res files. The Player’s job (e.g DAC32) is just that, to play content from the LMS in any given zone. A Player is required in each zone of a multi-room system, but only one Server is required – regardless of the number of zones.
The LMS (Squeezebox Server)
Every Squeezebox system requires a Server, and this can be a standalone 3rd party server as shown in the above diagram. It is also possible to run LMS on a Mac or PC, but the downside of this is that the LMS will only be operational whilst the computer is on – hardly ideal for laptops, unless of course, it is an old computer just being used for this purpose. Another company specialising in Servers which incorporate LMS, is Vortexbox – see useful links below. A roon Server (roon is a high-end network music system platform) also has an option to connect to Squeezebox devices.