This streaming all requires a network connection, of course, and both Ethernet, unsecured Wi-Fi and secured Wi-Fi methods are supported. We had initial problems due to our complicated corporate Wi-Fi, but once we hooked up via Ethernet we were listening to music within a couple of minutes. The software is a breeze to use, as is the Squeezebox's remote control.
We didn't even notice any network lag. The remote was, on occasion, unresponsive, but it didn't interrupt our listening. Our Denon CX3 reference hi-fi was blasting our Apple Lossless library instantly -- we didn't even notice a lag as the PC transcoded the audio file either. Sound quality was terrific, with no stutters or skips. Could anything make us even happier with this system?
Yes, apparently. Our rip of Muse's Hullabaloo live album played without gaps -- that's right, gapless playback is supported. Even album art popped up on the remote control's delightful screen as we listened. Should you want a Squeezebox in multiple rooms, the remote lets you choose whichever one you want to listen to at any given time.
Our complaints are only minor. You have to download the SqueezeCenter software, as it's not in the box. We would also have liked to see a USB port on the Squeezebox so friends could add their music to that available on the network, browsable with the remote control. A brighter LCD screen wouldn't have gone amiss either, as it's not terrific in bright sunlight or outdoors.
Our favourite audio gadget of 2008 so far is the Squeezebox Duet. It's just an amazing, easy to use and intuitive product -- if you can work an iPod, you'll be able to use the Duet. We have only minor complaints, as on the whole, this is probably the best, most enjoyable way of setting your PC's music collection free. It may cost you a few quid, but it's worth every penny.
If you want integration with Napster's paid-for on-demand library, check out the Sonos music system. It too is a fantastic setup and comes with a built-in amplifier, negating the need for a separate hi-fi or amp.
Edited by Shannon Doubleday