Sunday, 9 November 2008

The Squeezebox Boom (an audiophile's dream)

(and getting Squeezecenter up and running on Fedora 9)

I'm afraid that if you're popping by for some of my usual witty observational drivel you'll be disappointed. For once, I'm writing on something technical. It you are a technophobe then I would leave now. On the other hand, if you are an audiophile, or simply love cool things that just work, then read on.

The Squeezebox Boom is a gorgeous all-in-one network music player with an integrated amplifier. A mere thirteen inches long and five inches high, this baby will rock your joint, look and sound awesome, and make you smile like one of the goons in the Listerine advert.

It hooks in to your home network, over wireless or Ethernet, and allows you to access your digital music collection via a cute little LCD interface. Best of all, it plays virtually any digital music format, including MP3, FLAC, WMA, WMA Lossless, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, and AIFF.

This is a big win for me, as all my music is in Ogg Vorbis (I can hear you technophobes starting to wail, but I did warn you not to read on), which generally offers better quality sound at similar file sizes to, say, MP3.

The software required is called SqueezeCenter, which is open source and available for Windows, Mac and Linux, which is a joy for someone like myself who refuses to run Windows or Mac.

Setting it all up is a breeze. Download and install SqueezeCenter (instructions online), and point it at your music collection.

Turn on your Squeezebox Boom. It will gracefully lead you through connecting to your network (wireless or Ethernet) and finding your SqueezeCenter. Then you can browse and play your music to your little heart's content. The sound quality really is fantastic.

I can't speak for other distros, but I set up SqueezeCenter on Fedora 9, Fedora being one of the loves of my life (somewhere behind God, my lovely wife and my little baby girl). Installation was a painless as eating a Jelly Baby, and just as juicy.

On Fedora, simply do the following as root:

rpm -Uvh

then do:

yum install squeezecenter

to install SqueezeCenter.

You then need to open the following ports in the Fedora firewall:


Note, if your music is (sensibly) on an external hard drive then you will want to auto-mount this using fstab. Otherwise SqueezeCenter will start before your drive mounts (How are you technophobes doing?). You probably want to make sure that it is only mounted read-only for most users, but as a starting point a root do:

mkdir /

vi /etc/fstab

And add an entry

/ vfat auto,defaults,umask=000 0 0

After rebooting this will auto-mount ready for SqueezeCenter.

Reboot, and SqueezeCenter will be up and running. Browse to http://:9000 to access SqueezeCenter. It will lead you through the setup, pointing at your music collection etc. etc.

A delight.

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As I have quite a few new readers since I became a "Jelly Biter" I've put this up here again. To understand the context you must read this post!