The Logitech Squeezebox Duet has me convinced that all music will eventually be on storage drives. The Duet looks too easy to use, and that is the secret. Lets face it; most changes in the world of music were not made in the name of greater audio, but greater ease. CDs never needed a needle delicately lowered on to them to play, and MP3 players do not need to change discs. This same mentality will eventually make your hard drive into your music library.
While several roadblocks have stood in the way, two of the biggest have been wiring and control. Logitech looks to have dealt with both of these. The Duet is a wireless interface between your computer and stereo. The system uses your Wi-Fi network to transfer music from your computer to the Duet receiver attached to your stereo. Don’t worry audiophiles, the data stays digital until a 24-bit Wolfson DAC interprets it back into music. Wolfson DACs have long been considered among the best of breed. The music can be stored as MP3, Apple Lossless or any of half-a-dozen popular compression schemes.
The other roadblock is access. The Duet slaps that down with a color remote that gives you full control of your library, be it on a PC or Macintosh. The 2.4-inch color screen displays song titles, artists, cover art and more. Selections are done via an iPod style remote.
As a bonus, you can now stream music from online sources such Pandora and Rhapsody. This is what gave Wired Magazine such a big smile. I played with the original version several months back and loved the concept but was only OK with the remote. The new version looks like a big improvement and the streaming is a sweet option.
If you want to expand your music network you can add more receivers to other music systems throughout your house. At $399.99 for the initial rig and another $150 per additional receiver, this is not cheap, but it is nowhere near those $10 grand music servers that high-end audio loves.