More often than not, a monolithic public corporation acquiring a small independent company ends up stifling innovation, sacrificing quality for quantity, and inexorably suffocating the golden goose. Happily, that scenario never played out when Logitech bought Slim Devices. While we don’t have any insight as to what’s gone on behind the scenes, we can tell you that the Touch—the fourth addition to the Squeezebox family of digital audio receivers under Logitech’s reign—is utterly fabulous.
The Squeezebox Touch’s slab-like industrial design harkens back to the Squeezebox 3, which Slim Devices shipped in late 2005. But where that player was equipped with a 320x32 vacuum fluorescent display, suitable only for displaying text and crude, monochrome graphics, the Squeezebox Touch is outfitted with a 4.3-inch, 24-bit color, capacitive-touch LCD. The onscreen icons are just the right size for our relatively fat fingertips, and we had no trouble navigating the menus.
The touch screen on the Squeezebox Touch is a joy to use, provided you’re in close proximity to the player and don’t have to bend over to tap it.
The Touch comes with a basic infrared remote control, too; but having grown accustomed to the Sonos Digital Music System’s RF remote, we quickly tired of the Logitech’s line-of-sight leash. There are a few alternatives, although we haven’t tested them: Logitech’s C-RL65 controller (the remote that ships with the Squeezebox Duet) will control the Touch via your Wi-Fi network and it has an LCD of its own. iPhone users can use the iPeng app, and Palm WebOS users can use the Squeeze Control app.
The Squeezebox Touch has a great onboard DAC and analog outputs (stereo RCA and headphone), or you can use any outboard DAC with an optical or coaxial digital input.
The Touch is the first Squeezebox capable of hosting a USB storage device; it’s also outfitted with an SD memory card slot. The Touch is equipped with an AKM Semiconductor AK4420 stereo DAC that supports bit streams up to 24-bit resolution with sampling rates as high as 192kHz (the Touch itself is limited 24-bit/96kHz) while delivering an impressive signal-to-noise ratio of 105dB. This is the first time we’ve encountered this DAC (Logitech has used Burr-Brown and Wolfson DACs in the past), but we dig it. It not only sounds great, but it also enables the Touch to play the 24-bit, 48kHz FLAC files we’ve been buying from B&W’s Society of Sound music service. That’s a feat the otherwise mighty Sonos system can’t match.
Gorgeous touch screen; USB host and SD card slot; supports 24-bit, 48kHz FLAC, and Internet radio.
Infrared remote; inferior to Sonos in multi-room configurations.