Squeezebox Boom

With the release of the Squeezebox Boom, your old school radio & boom box is now fearing for its life.

“Radio is dead! Long live radio!”

These are the sort of words that should be heard from the streets with the release of the new Squeezebox Boom, a boom box for the modern generation.

Not known to our generation, the boom box used to be a staple musical icon for people in the 80’s. A radio and tape deck with a large speaker on each side, the boom box for years provided listening entertainment for people at home as well as portable listening provided you were carrying it with you and holding it on your shoulder. Ahhh… the eighties.

I didn’t actually get to live through it, but I can certainly try to with the Squeezebox Boom, a reinvention of the “boom box” with the deck being not a radio, tape or CD player but rather a Squeezebox.

For the uninitiated, a “Squeezebox” is a digital radio system capable of connecting to either your home network for listening to your own music or logging online to hear radio streams from around the world. Operating from the Squeeze Network – a service every Squeezebox owner gets when buying a Squeezebox – you can listen to hundreds of radio streams broadcasting through the web, nature sounds, read news, and a whole lot more basically giving you an entertainment network all through an audio platform.

Previously, Squeezeboxes have just been limited to being speaker-less devices that you’d attach to an amp or a set of speakers enabling you to listen to music on the system however you’d want to. The Squeezebox Boom changes all of this.

Designed much like what you’d expect a small modern stereo system to look like, the Boom features a large speaker on each side of the main Squeezebox component. An LCD covers up the top half of the middle in the Squeezebox making that center area the brains of the operating. Beneath that are some buttons for things like power, volume, and various other control options. A sleep button also sits on top of the unit activating a sleep function similar to that of an alarm clock when you press the rubber that makes it up.

The back of the Squeezebox Boom is simple and easy to understand as everything – all four of the items – are clearly marked for use. Left for you to use is a Line In port (for things like an iPod), headphones & subwoofer out, an Ethernet cable, and the power port. Having an Ethernet option is something of a secondary nature as – like every Squeezebox – the unit comes with WiFi (802.11g for the Squeezebox Boom) out of the box.

The power pack, on the other hand, is a shame as it would be better if Logitech had given you the option for a battery pack as well as the wall connector.

Regardless, the Squeezebox Boom features 3-inch speakers, class D amplifiers, and the ability to support almost every audio format under the sun including Apple’s AAC and the lossless FLAC. To use the Squeezebox to run off of your mp3’s, you’ll need to install SqueezeCenter onto one of your computers and leave it running for whenever you need it.

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But for Internet Radio, no computers are required. You merely need to plug it in to the wall, connect it to your network and away you go. The Squeezebox Boom works brilliantly here as an alarm clock & radio capable of playing music from around the world.

Controlling the Squeezebox Boom is a bit on the fussy side, however. While you can see that the front of the Boom has been designed to be as easy to use as possible from the sense of a radio, it lacks any convenient way to type in letters quickly. This means you’re often scrolling through the alphabet one letter at a time as you dial the knob on the front.

Not making matters any better is the remote, a tiny palm piece you might lose if it weren’t for the magnet underneath that allows it to rest nicely in the crevice left for it at the top of the Squeezebox Boom (provided you remember to put it there).

So if you’re looking at the Squeezebox Boom with the hopes of using it to pick and choose the music on your network, good luck. You might want to look at either the original Squeezebox or the Duet with its colour interface and quicker clickless wheel.

Regardless, the Squeezebox Boom makes a good attempt of it becoming a fantastic alternative to a radio or CD system. Provided you’re listening to web radio or you’re not going to hunt and pick for a specific song to play on your network connected music player, the Squeezebox Boom does a fantastic job being an easy to setup and great sounding device. Stylish and simple, it’s sure to fit in your home just as easily as the radio you’ll be sure to replace with it.

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Product: Squeezebox Boom

Vendor: Logitech

RRP: $649.95

Website: Logitech Squeezebox Boom

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark