When Logitech announced, way back in 2102, that they were killing off the Squeezebox product line, loyal Squeezebox fans were understandably disappointed, to put it mildly. (For example: http://www.geekintheforest.com/long-live-squeezebox/). Others were more optimistic. After all, the server and player apps would live on in the open source community, we could all build our own for a while, and soon someone would come along and built something as good as the Logitech Touch and life would go on.

And then we were disappointed again. No one (yet) is selling a Squeezebox compatible player as a commercial product. Remarkably, Logitech Squeezebox products are still appearing on eBay and Amazon, at steadily increasing prices. People must be finding them in forgotten warehouses somewhere, I suppose. Or they're being crafted in some small factory in a quiet neighborhood. Is it a "knock-off" if the original product no longer exists as a commercial product? Maybe not.

Most disappointing is that it still isn't exactly easy to build your own Squeeze player. The software we have is fine for computer experts, but (mostly) not so fine for people who's orientation is appreciating music ahead of crafting computer code.The software has evolved - the latest versions of Squeezelite and Squeezeplay are more stable - but they've not gained much new functionality, and they aren't any easier to get up and running on Linux boxes.

Here at easysqueezebox, we want to suggest ways in making the Squeeezebox environment easy to use, so you can listen to music. We are less concerned with helping you navigate the complexities of hardware and software. Yes, we know that getting a chunk of code running through a process of trial and error can be most fulfilling. There is a smug satisfaction in being able to make something work after you have battled with incomplete documentation and conflicting advice from all directions. All of that can be fun, but it's not what this website is about. This is about getting stuff together so you can listen to music. Listen to music using that Squeezebox server that has been running uncomplainingly for so long.

With that in mind, we offer this quick review of possible DIY Squeeze player options, based on our investigations so far. This is a work in progress, so watch here for updates. The list contains entries for both Small Boxes and Big Boxes. Small Boxes are low-power devices often intended for single-purpose use - ideal (if they work) as a music-playing appliance. Big Boxes are general-purpose computers with full-fledged operating systems and good performance. Big Boxes are generally better for music servers but often a bit expensive (comparatively) for a music player; however older and less powerful models can make cost-effective players too.

Here is our list of Squeeze DIY options, still incomplete. We have arranged the items roughly in order of 'easiness' of setting up and use. But other factors may sway you, so we provide some other pros and cons. These entries will change over time, especially as new versions are released, and documentation becomes more helpful. Also new items will be added as we get round to assessing them.

1. Roku with Roku Media Player

This option would not have appeared on this list a year ago, as the Roku back then couldn't handle FLAC or WAV and only worked with DLNA, not with LMS. Now it's #1 on our DIY list, at least as far as ease of setting up is concerned. It's very easy to get it up and running: just install and run the Roku Media Player app from the Roku Channel Store. The app will find your Logitech Media Server and you can play your music. Music output will be via HDMI to your TV or Surround Sound Processor.

Lack of music search capability and a bug in the handshaking with LMS are negatives. Also if you must have high definition playback (better than 16/24) then the Roku would not be your first choice.

Otherwise, it's easy to use and plays music just fine at CD quality. Short of buying a Logitech device (if you can find one and afford it) then the Roku has to be the simplest path to Squeezebox playback.

Roku as a Squeezebox Player

Does it work? Yes, if you aren't looking for something to play HD files (48/24 and higher).
Is it stable? Yes.
Is it easy? Yes. If you alreay have a Roku and a Squeezebox server, you can be playing music in two minutes.

2. Vortexbox Player

If you already have a Vortexbox installation, then Vortexbox Player can be enabled quickly and easily. On current versions of Vortexbox (2.3.0) you can have up to five players running on the same box as your server, which is good if you have a listening space near your server. Official instructions are here. Depending on your choice of output device, Vortexbox Player can handle 192/24 files, perhaps higher.

Tips: Plug in your DAC or other output device then reboot. To configure a new player, just make an entry in the "Audio Output Device" list that looks like hw:DAC,0 but replace 'DAC' with the appropriate name within square brackets in the ALSA list below the table. You may need to reboot again if the device doesn't show up on the network. You can configure the device further through the Player tab in the Squeezebox Server web interface.

Does it work? Yes.
Is it stable? Yes.
Is it easy? Yes, if you're already using a Vortexbox server. 

3=. Intel Mac / OS/X / Squeezeplay

Installing Squeezeplay on a Mac is a breeze. If you have an old Mac that you can afford to use primarily as a player, or you want a Squeeze player on your desktop so you can listen as you work, then this is worth trying.The Squeezeplay interface is, as always, minimalist, but it tells you what's playing, and allows you to control your music. The Squeeze server sees it immediately and everything is sweetness and light. A mac mini, running headless, is ideal for a listening room. And the audio quality is good enough for most normal people. There's no real configuration to speak of.

Just one tiny reservation. If you use Squeezeplay on a Mac as part of an audiophile setup, and you are especially picky, then you may become aware of some shortfall in audio quality. Squeezeplay sounds fine but ... Comparing the Squeezeplay audio quality with Decibel, for example, Decibel really does make a difference in clarity and soundstage, especially for material with higher than 48000 sample rate. One of the reasons for this is that Mac Core Audio (by default) converts all output to one format, no matter which app is generating the audio stream, and no matter what format the original file is in. If any conversion is going to be done, I would prefer it to take place in my own DAC, rather than inside the Mac, which has a lot else to think about. Decibel and similar programs commandeer the audio output stage, preventing other apps from introducing spurious sounds and noise, and also ensuring that music files are sent to the DAC in their native bit depth and sample rate. The difference can be audible with some material, on some playback equipment, and some ears.

But Decibel can't play from your Squeezbox server (or from a DLNA or iTunes server either, for that matter). Squeezeplay can.

Squeezeplay on Mac OS/X

Does it work? Yes, if you're OK with it using Core Audio.
Is it stable? Yes.
Is it easy? Yes. Just as easy as the Windows version.

3=. Windows PC / Squeezeplay

Easy to install, no significant problems that we found. The usual Squeezeplay interface simply tells you what's playing, and allows you to control your music. The Squeeze server sees it immediately and everything works.

The audio quality is good enough for most normal people. Squeezeplay uses Windows DirectSound but that isn't necessarily best: picky audiophiles should note that results will depend on the version of Windows being used, the capability and qualities of the sound card, and the PC itself. Definitely use an external DAC: either a powered USB DAC or an SPDIF DAC with SPDIF out from a good sound card.

You might also need to tweak Windows for optimum audio performance. Some pro audio sites provide a useful source of information, for example:


Does it work? Yes.
Is it stable? Yes.
Is it easy? Yes, if you run it without any Windows tweaks.

5. Raspberry Pi / Tiny Core Linux / PiCorePlayer

Download, flash, boot. The OS, app and libraries are all in one package. Configuration is via a web interface that works well, which means no config files to manually edit. Steen (the other) has done tremendous work in moving this app forward over the last few months.

The only playback problems we encountered were some drop outs on HDMI and USB digital outputs, which were resolved by increasing the buffer size in the web interface. No other issues unless you mess around with the power when it's running, in which case you risk corrupting the SD card, which can happen with any Pi application. However with PiCorePlayer you can reduce the likelihood of that happening by locking the SD card, which you can do safely once all the configuration changes you need have been made and backed up.

Versions 3.2x and other even easier and more stable, with no dropouts unless you have network problems. 

The easiest Small Box solution we have tried so far, next to an off-the-shelf Roku or a Logitech device.

Does it work? Yes and potentially great quality. 
Is it stable: Yes (providing you leave it alone once it's set up)
Is it easy? Yes, even for people who know nothing about Linux, just not quite as easy as options 1 to 4 above.

6. Raspberry Pi / Squeezeplug / Squeezelite

Squeezeplug is a useful single package that contains Debian plus Squeezebox (LMS) server, plus Squeezelite player and some other goodies. For this report we will focus just on the player, as we have discussed Squeezeolug's server component elsewhere http://www.easysqueezebox.com/index.php/projects/build-a-squeezebox-server-using-raspberry-pi/. Squeezeplug is available for Odroid (running on Xubuntu) and for Raspberry Pi. We tested the Pi version.

Installation is easy, because everything is together in one package that can be flashed to the Pi SD card. On initial boot, we go straight to a configuration page, where we can install Squeezelite and change some other settings. What then? Then we have to do some command line stuff that doesn't seem to be documented. (Our project article is going to be available soon.)

The end result is an instance of Squeezelite that behaves pretty much like the PiCorePlayer version described below. There is nothing exactly wrong with Squeezeplug / Squeezelite. It's just that it isn't as easy as PiCorePlayer. To be fair, we should note that Squeezeplug is intended primarily to deliver server functionality, and Squeezelite seems to be thrown in as an extra.  

Does it work? Yes.
Is it stable: Yes.
Is it easy? Fairly easy, but not as easy as PiCorePlayer. See above.

7. Raspberry Pi / Arch Linux / Squeezelite

We thought at first that Pi/Arch/Squeezelite would be a bit fo an effort, but we've now discovered (thanks to the website Klang und Ton) that there is a package containing Arch plus Squeezelite and, we assume, all the libraries needed to. We haven't tested this yet, but it needs to be on the list as a possible alternative to PiCorePlayer.


Does it work? Reportedly, yes. (But we haven't tested it yet.)
Is it stable: Yes.
Is it easy? Not sure. It depends whether the developers have included an easy interface to set Squeezelite parameters.

8. Linux PC / Squeezeplay/Squeezelite


If your chosen distro of Linux contains a version of Squeezeplay or Squeezelite in its repository, with all the necessary libraries, then installation should be easy. Otherwise Squeezeplay may be a pain to get running, involving some trial and error until all the libraries are present and correct. Note that Squeezelite may be less troublesome because it has reasonable documentation. Also configuration can be a bit of a chore, as audio setup in Linux requires special skills and understanding not available to your average non-expert. However if you know what you're doing, it's worth a try, because the audio quality should be fine. Maybe we'll get round to doing an easysqueezebox guide for this eventually.

Does it work? Yes.
Is it stable? Yes.
Is it easy? No. (Not unless it's pre packaged as part of a distro but we don't have any examples of that yet.)

9. Raspberry Pi / Raspbian / Squeezeplay

This project involves flashing an SD with Raspbian, configuring Raspbian, manually adding libraries, installing the correct version of Squeezeplay. Not much configuration via the app is possible. You set up your chosen output in Raspbian, and Squeezeplay just delivers the bits. This is quite a lengthy process. It worked fine on at least one occasion: the audio sounded just fine. Then Raspbian refused to fully boot. On other occasions when it booted, the Squeezeplay screen appeared but there was no audio. Attempts to reconfigure the audio resulted in Raspbian refusing to fully boot. Anyway, when it was working, it sounded fine and the player interacted with the Squeezebox server without problems. But invariably, when it did work, it stopped after a day or so, just like that.

We were frustrated because we know we must have done something wrong, but there is no clear documentation that sets out in one place exactly what needs to be done to get this working on a Pi. The software no doubt has been tested as working. But that's not much good unless there are instructions that tell ordinary folks how to install it. That being so, we set this one aside for the time being as an app that is suited primarily for people who know what they're doing. I know that some people will regard this as weak-minded, but we can't all be experts in everything, and for those who are not experts, please go back up this list to something easier.

Raspberry PI + Raspbian + Squeezeplay

Does it work? Yes, sometimes.
Is it stable: No.
Is it easy? No.

10. Beaglebone Black / Debian Wheezy / Squeezeplay

At first glance, the Beaglebone Black looks like a great candidate for a music player. Compared to the Raspberry Pi, it's a little smaller and somewhat more powerful. We must have installed Debian Wheezy plus Squeezeplay at least half a dozen times, following all the instructions we can find online, but it's never worked. Admittedly that is probably because here at easysqueezebox.com we aren't really all that brilliant at Linux stuff. We're too impatient, because we'd rather sit back and listen to the music.

Squeeze Player based on Beaglebone Black

Does it work? Yes, apparently, but not for us. If you're a BeagleBone expert, you'll be fine.
Is it stable: Don't know.
Is it easy? No. (See "Does it work?")

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