Slim Devices Transporter SqueezeNetwork and Remote
SqueezeNetwork was cool the last time we tried it. This time they added the popular Rhapsody Music Service - meaning you can pull music from your Rhapsody account without having to have a PC (or push it to your Transporter or Squeezebox using the Squeeze Network web interface). Now that's pretty cool and takes the Transporter (and Squeezebox) product to a whole other level. I was, unfortunately unable to get Rhapsody to work in my system which could well have been part of an internal networking problem. I also encountered a bit of a firmware "round robin" whereby in order to utilize Rhapsody I had to update my firmware… then when I exited to the Slim Server I had to update it again… and then again when I went back to Squeeze Network… you get the idea. The workaround fix is to update the Slim Server software to 6.5.2 (nightly build) or do a manual edit to the Firmware/squeezebox2.version file. My guess is that by the time most people read this they'll laugh in fond remembrance of Slim Server 6.5.1.
We haven't yet seen Slim Devices enhance the SqueezeNetwork to include shared playlists, etc, but we suppose DRM might have something to do with this. It is still nice to have the ability to stream content without a PC and we like the capability it gives us to "push" discrete content to players throughout our home.
Backlit Remote Control
Hey, a new remote - and it doesn't suck! This completely redesigned remote which comes with the Transporter is unlike anything I've seen in my AV travels. It is reserved in appearance yet the backlighting makes it very elegant and high-end in appearance. It's a subtle fluorescent backlight effect - and it activates when any button is pressed. If I had my way, all of my remotes would look like this and function in near the same way.
The button layout is very ergonomic with the most commonly-used navigation falling right under the thumb. Just below is volume - and I find that I use that less frequently, but it's nice to be able to activate these controls without having to switch remotes to the Marantz PM-11S1 integrated amplifier I'm using with this system. Located beneath this is the number pad and then 8 buttons which serve very specific purposes. Most of this has been described in my prior reviews of the Squeezebox systems, so suffice to say that Favorites, Search, Browse, Shuffle, Repeat, Now Playing, Font Size and Brightness (also triggers the firmware update function) are present.
At the top there is a Sleep button in addition to Power, standard Play Controls and an Add button. This is a nice remote and it only lacks one thing in my opinion - a direct digital input button to switch the unit into DAC mode for use with a CD player (or other) digital outputs. With the Transporter, one of the big features you're paying for is the ability to use a nice DAC - so you can conceivably "upgrade" a CD player or other digital source component with the Transporter.