Post-Squeezebox audio setup at long last

We stuck with the Logitech Squeezebox system for streaming home audio long long past discovering that Logitech was ending development of the ecosystem but inevitably it started to date. Our Squeezebox Classic didn’t survive our house move in May. Our Squeezebox Boom and Squeezebox Radio did, but over the last year Andrew subscribed to Google Play Music, I switched to a podcasting app (Pocket Casts) for my phone rather than a command line tool that downloaded new episodes (podget), and so more and more things became phone-only and unable to easily send audio to the Squeezeboxen.

We like whole-home audio (the ability to play the same thing throughout the house), so even aside from audio quality issues, Bluetooth wasn’t going to cut it. I started to look into switching to the Sonos system, but it was another all-in system where we’d be looking at replacing all of our equipment if Sonos went out of business or end-of-lifed their setup. Logitech, you’ve done a number on the hardware side of whole-home audio systems. So we’ve switched to using good speakers with fairly cheap and disposable ecosystem adaptors, ie, the Chromecast Audio.

Software:

  • ReadyMedia (formerly MiniDLNA), which we were already using to stream video to the TV, let’s us continue having access to the audio on our Ubuntu home server
  • BubbleUPnP to send audio from the home server to the Chromecasts

ReadyMedia has to be one of the easiest to configure Linux services I’ve ever dealt with. I’m intending to play around with BubbleUPnP Server in front of ReadyMedia shortly; shared playlists are still a Squeezebox feature missing from this setup so far.

We also needed speakers to replace the Boom and Radio (we could have used their line in function, but we’ll sell them to continuing Squeezebox users). Thus, new equipment to go with the set of Yamaha MSP5 powered speakers we already have:

The mixer is something of a revelation: we’re feeding the TV audio and a Chromecast into it, in order to be able to listen to either of them through the Yamaha speakers without having to press any buttons or even use any kind of remote. Obviously we pretty much never want to listen to the TV and the Chromecast outputs simultaneously; but we can now listen to them in very rapid succession and the energy needed to decide to listen to music in the lounge room is way way lower than it was. Long may the Hamilton cast recording, Justice Crew’s Que Sera, and Doctor Who podcasts be heard around our house.

4 Replies to “Post-Squeezebox audio setup at long last”

  1. FWIW, Logitech is still actively devloping the server software, and thanks to the likes of squeezelite, anything can operate as a client. I’m using two RPis in that capacity right now, along with a SB2 and a SBB.

    The SB2 was purchased a month ago (for $40!) as a replacement for my ol’ SLiMP3, which died after nearly 13 years of steady service when its PSU lost its magic smoke.

    1. As far as I know this is true, and so people wholly in the ecosystem (ie, not also subscribed to streaming services or otherwise wanting to wirelessly play sounds that originate on their phone) who have the background, time, and energy to acquire secondhand hardware (this is much easier and cheaper in the US than it is for me in Australia) or build out RPis may still be interested.

      I am neither wholly in the ecosystem, nor have the time or interest to devote myself to building out hardware as a hobby.

      1. How do you find the multi-room sync with the Chromecast audio? When I tried the squeezebox software I found it wasn’t perfect – noticeable echo when playing across multiple-speakers. I ended up writing my own GStreamer based software for it a few years, which does the audio sync well but is still only a toy in terms of music library and playlist management.

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