Logitech Squeezebox Touch DAC: How Good?

Logitech Squeezebox Touch's are allegedly raining out of UPS trucks into the arms of new owners, as we speak.... or as you read this ;-)

NOW, advance word is that the analog out is a huge step up from it's predessor. It's alleged to have quite a good DAC.

How good?

Those of you with some experience on this matter - please speak up! It is stomping your Berkeley DAC? Empirical? Weiss? Peachtree? Cambridge? Devilsound?

(Is it listenable?!)

The world wants to know!

Ok, now that I have several hours experience with the unit, I'll talk a little bit about the sound. However, I won't be able to comment on comparisons with DAC's until this weekend when I borrow my friend's Bryston.

System: Cary SLI-80, Silverline SR17.5, Cary 308T cdp, EAR 834p modified phono. Interconnects Cardas Golden Ref, speaker cable Audience AU-24, powerc(h)ord mostly Audience. (no "e" levels alas...).

The analog outs sound very, very lovely, with natural level of detail. Neutral, perhaps a tad more neutral than my 308T, but generously musical. Deep bass, but not as deep as the 308T. The sound has a couple of problems at this point that prevent it from entering the league of my 308T, or turntable, or any other source I've been using over the years: (1) it is very polite. (2) it is somewhat flat sounding. I'm not getting depth of image. On wireless there is a slightly ghostly quality.

That said, having spent even a few minutes using this thing, it is hard to go back to any kind of spinning platter. It is very enjoyable and great fun - for natural music like classic, jazz, singers, etc. It seems not dynamic enough for rock or pop, but my system is not designed for rock anyway (that's for the car and Shuffle with Westones at the gym:-) . So I suspect that it is not fair for me to evaluate the Touch on music that my system is not designed for.

The Touch appears to be a keeper, but so far at least, I will be pulling out my spinning disks for serious listening.

Perhaps that will change with the addition of an external DAC?

I can comment on how this compares to the Devilsound that I use in my home office and have tried in my main system. It does seem a bit clearer than the Devilsound.

All of my music is ripped in iTunes at both 256 and Apple lossless. I use the smaller versions on small capacity ipods for gym and travel, and lossless for serious listening and large capacity ipod. In direct comparisons last night, it was hard to hear a difference between 256 and lossless. Again, perhaps an external DAC here will reveal greater differences.

I tried playing the Touch using iTunes as a source from my MacBook Pro wirelessly, and also, from an SDHC card directly. In my relatively brief testing, the SDHC card sounded a bit more saturated, full of color.

I intentionally used the SDHC card (32GB) rather than a spinning hard drive to avoid issues of electronic noise. The SDHC card has 256 bit rate versions of the music.

I played the Touch with the volume all the way up, and rely on the volume control of the amp for control.

I found setup of the Touch very straightforward until I began to alternate between sources, and also alternate between using the Mac to control it rather than the screen or remote. Alternating sources or control units is very tricky - to me, anyway. Also the online control unit froze up use of Firefox for any other concurrent purpose. I wish I could use iTunes as the control interface rather than the Squeezebox software - which is not bad BTW. Perhaps that is possible, we shall see.

Having access to radio stations from all over the world is a revelation to me, but Squeezebox owners are used to this for a long time now I guess, going back to generation 1, right?

That's about all I can think of to say at this point. It does sound way better than a cheap cd player. I can't really compare it to better cd players or turntable since it seems to have its own sound. I've never heard any source component have this combination of neutrality, detail, musicality, robust bass, yet flawed with a dominating politeness (lack of dynamics?) and flatness of perspective.

Caveat: Many of you know from personal experience that a few hours of experience with a component is premature to draw firm, fixed conclusions, so I reserve the right to update as things progress.


Thanks for this update. I've been waiting for someone to post on it. At this point I am planning to get a SB Touch sort of as a poor man's Transporter but am waiting to see what others' opinions are before jumping. I did want the 24/96 capability so that's the reason I haven't bought a Duet or the original SB. I'm also intrigued by the idea of adding an inexpensive USB hard drive to stream music. Please keep updating this thread as you get more experience and thanks for being willing to be the first to post.

Thanks for the comment Dick. I suspect that the Touch will retain a high level of used value for quite some time so particularly at it's price, it's a safe bet to try out. And you might find that it fills your needs just fine without a DAC. In my system it is definitely very enjoyable.

BTW, Cardas Golden Ref would probably not be the interconnect of choice to liven up a "flat" sounding source, so I may end up experimenting with that. I love CGR in virtually all applications but perhaps Nordost here?

Also I'm runing Mac OS 10.5.8 "Leopard". Rumors are that the 10.6.x "Snow Leopard" actually sounds better when driving a Squeezebox. Who knows - we shall see.

The Bryston DAC test will be very very interesting :-)
FYI, I was able to stream 24/96 aiff files through Touch wireless from Windows server using a USB hard drive. Sounds great.
I am running my Squeezebox Classic 3 with a new IMAC 10.6 and i must say we notice a difference... things moved up a notch - i'm not saying night and day but a nice upgrade in the sound with things sounding fuller and livelier.
I've been using a Squeezebox 2 for a few years now with an external Anthem DAC 2.0. My touch just arrived (flying of the UPS truck) yesterday and I look forward to comparing the two. Even if the sound is close, the Touch has a much cleaner UI and WAF.

Has anyone had a chance to compare a SB2 to the Touch yet?

I have found that WAV files ripped with dB poweramp sound better than those ripped with EAC- More dimensional, better imaging etc. Using Touch analog outs into preamp.
I just got in touch with my Touch yesterday... ;o)
It sounds very nice.

I find that the sound is very good indeed, however I disc overed the same problem with mij VTL reference DAC. The signal cannot be found. This means that the DAC cannot lock the signal of the Touch.
I would definitely want to hear the Touch through the double mono Analog Devices 20400 tube DAC's
So I will have to try and see if there is a solution.
If someone has a good idea on how to solve this ?

Regards and have fun !, Laurens
Get in Touch ! ;o)
So far I'm finding that going using the analog outs of the Touch (Cardas Golden Ref interconnects into Cary SLI-80 into AU-24 into Silverline SR-17.5's), the following all sound very similar:
a. wireless out of my Mac (Leopard, not Snow Leopard) with cds ripped at 256,
b. wireless out of my Mac, with cds ripped Apple Lossless, and
c. SDHC card containing the 256 bit rate rips.

They all sound VERY musical, not fatiguing at all, with sufficient and extension to be very enjoyable. They are less saturated and less detailed and less extended than the sound out of my cd player (Cary 308T).

That said, it is EXTREMELY enjoyable. Somehow the convenience of flipping from album to album instantly, then jumping to internet radio - classical music out of France and Eastern Europe, .... there is HUGE pleasure in this.

I am increasingly curious to try a DAC with the Touch. Will probably happen early this coming week with a Bryston loaner from a good friend.

(DAN, the entire high end audio community of the planet earth is sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for you to lend me the Bryston DAC! ;-)

Lend Art the Bryston Dac so he can report if any improvements!
Art, I posted some initial impressions over on AC in the Bolder forum. Here's the link


The bottom line IMO is that the Touch analog out is very nice but the digital out is the keeper. Having said that the digital out into my Noble modded EAD DSP7000Mk.III is still not as good as my PDT3 into the same. Having said THAT :-), it blows away my modded SB3 and comes very close to being my primary "non analog" source. For the money it fights way above its weight.
Thanks for the note Tony, it sounds similar to my experience on the analog side. I'll check out your note.

To be fair to Dan, actually I'm real busy too so it's more that we need to find a mutually convenient time.

Can someone confirm that the Touch will do hi res 24/96 over USB? Currently, I am streaming AIFF files using iTunes from one Mac to another. Current setup looks like this:

Mac #1 (with iTunes library on external HD), which I access wirelessly from Mac #2 => external DAC => System.

With the SB Touch, I'd like to simplify this by connecting an external USB drive directly to the Touch. Setup would basically take the Macs and iTunes out of the equation:

External USB HD => SB Touch => DAC => System

So the question is: Will this setup do 24/96? Currently, it is my understanding that iTunes and the Airport Extreme wireless will only stream 44.1 Khz... The new setup would not be wireless, as the HD is connected to the Touch via USB.

As hi res downloads are becoming more popular I think it is wise to plan to accommodate these files.
I just transferred a 96/24 wave file from my PC to a USB stick and popped into the back of my touch. It takes a few minutes to figure out how to switch from your main library to the USB but when I had that part sorted out it lit up as being 96k on my Lavry DAC and the file played flawlessly.

I've only had the Touch for a couple of days but it has been streaming 96/24 wave flawlessly since I hooked it up. 96/24 FLAC files however have not been playing for me, they start out fine and then become slow and choppy sounding. I'm not sure if my router is too slow or if it's a software issue.

It is likely the case that the SD card slot will play back 96/24 no problem as well, I can test that out at a later date if anyone is interested.
UPDATE: Well I'm getting great sound via analog and even better via digital outs into a DAC, and the SDHC card (32GB) works great, and internet radio works perfectly, and connection to my Mac-based server is superb.

USB hard connection is very flakey, not quite ready for prime time.

And switching from controlling the player via direct touch to the Logitech-supplied remote and then back works fine, but switching to a player on my Mac is just about hopeless (perhaps I'm doing it wrong?).

Cannot comment on hi rez files, I only use music ripped from cd to Apple Lossless or 256 bit rate.

On balance I am thrilled with this thing and already bought a second one for the bedroom, and can see my days of owning a standalone CDP being numbered.

The functionality that works well is flat out spectacular.

What DAC are you using?
Hello All,
I am seeking some technical advise from you all that How to connect (wire less) the SB Touch to DAC? I do agree the touch has DAC still I need to us my external DAC. Please Suggest. Also the possiblity to go with wire less connection between from Laptop/External HardDrivd to SB Touch? My Setup is planned....
External Hard drive>Laptop>SB Touch>DAC>Stereo System and speakers.

SmHoll, I've been using the Bryston BDA-1 DAC that I borrowed from Dan.

BTW, yesterday evening we have a major shootout with me, Dan and Brent:
- SB Touch analog outs (Mac server)
- SB Touch digital out to Bryston BDA-1 (Mac server)
- Cary 308T cdp player with tube output stage
- MacBook Pro USB output to Bryston BDA-1 USB input
- MacBook Pro USB to Empirical anti-jitter device to Bryston BDA-1 digital input

Results of the first three were similar to my earlier brief testing. The Touch analog out is very, very satisfying, but the Bryston and Cary are better at isolating images in space, and better at bass control. The Cary seems a touch more "human" (presumably due to the tubes).

Bottom line is that I do NOT feel compelled to get a DAC for the Touch even though this is my high end audio system! And, I don't feel that getting a DAC would be a waste so I might do that in coming months.

Caveat: interconnects are RCA Cardas Golden Reference, which, as many of you know, have a nice musical touch of their own.

BTW, much of the testing was done blind. As in, blindfolded!


Mac to Bryston USB input sounded distorted!
Mac to Empircal anti-jitter device to Bryston digital input was fantastic.

Finally, today I called Squeezebox support and they are well aware of the two problems I along with others been having:
- USB drives directly connected to the Touch. They are working on this and are hopeful that it will be a software fix.
- Player on the Mac working intermittently (I find the server works great, rock solid, but player often can't find the Touch to control it.)

Overall happy camper.
BTW, yesterday evening we have a major shootout with me, Dan and Brent:
- SB Touch analog outs (Mac server)
- SB Touch digital out to Bryston BDA-1 (Mac server)
- Cary 308T cdp player with tube output stage
- MacBook Pro USB output to Bryston BDA-1 USB input
- MacBook Pro USB to Empirical anti-jitter device to Bryston BDA-1 digital input

Art, in these listening tests how did the Touch digital out compare to the stock 308T and MacBook->Empirical->BDA-1?
On first listen is is hard to find any differences at all! After a few minutes though, it becomes clear that the Touch is very enjoyable, and does not have any serious flaws that make it harsh or uninviting but compare to 308T and Bryston/Empirical, it has (a) somewhat looser bass and (b) flatter presentation. Both the 308T and the Empirical-Bryston would place a singer or instrument more clearly in space horizontally and vertically and have a bit more depth of field. Also they had a bit better bass control. The 308T seemed extremely similar to the Empirical Bryston at first but over time there was a lifelike quality, very subtle, that tubes often have over solid state.

I suspect that playing the Touch without direct A/B to other sources I'll end up just enjoying it.

BTW, I forgot to mention that we also tested my Devilsound briefly. In a high end setup it sounds very vague and ill-defined compared to the others, and it is particularly less detailed and refinced than the Touch. However it does haver its own cabling and so does not benefit from the Cardas Golden Ref. I will continue to use the Devilsound in my home office.

Just received my touch today and thought I'd share my initial thoughts. Setup was a breeze. It connected to my wireless network without a problem and I was able to access my computer/server that is also connected wireless. Flac files, 24/96 WAVE files and even a 24/192 rip of an Eagles DVD-A played flawlessly without any stutters or rebuffering (again, this is all over a wi-fi connection).

I connected the touch analog to my preamp (Wyred4Sound STP) and coax to a DAC (stock PS Audio DL3) and switched inputs back and forth on my preamp. There is no lag when switching between the two inputs, but there is a difference in volume levels between the analog outs on the Touch and the balanced outputs on the PS Audio. I tried to adjust the volume a few steps down when switching to the PS Audio to match the levels as close as possible when switching between inputs. I know, not very scientific.

My initial impression is I won't be selling my dac anytime soon except maybe to upgrade. I could definitely tell a difference between the analog outs and digital into a dac. Without getting into the typical audio review adjectives to describe the differences, let's just say it brought me into the music more. It was subtle, but noticeable even if I played the volume through the dac at a lower volume than the analog outs. The analog and digital outs on the Touch do sound better than the Duet it replaced.

I was hoping to sell the dac and to simplify my system with less components and cables, but I can't do that now that I've heard it through the dac. Regardless, I am happy with the purchase and will continue to see if there is any change in the analog outputs with time.
Are you using the Empirical Audio Pace Car or Off Ramp jitter device?
>Are you using the Empirical Audio Pace Car or Off Ramp >jitter device?

Heck if I know - it was borrowed. My friend said it had retailed for around $1000, does that help?

The Squeezebox Touch sounds interesting and I would like to try one.

Can someone please explain: to organize my various music files - whether ripped from EAC, ripped through iTunes, downloaded from HD tracks, or downloaded from iTunes....

Does the Squeezebox Touch provide music server software to organize the music library?

Or does it just look through to My Music or whatever, and stream and display it on the Touch device?

If so, and I organize all music with the Squeezebox in miind, what happens when I try to synch my iPod? Would an iPod touch be better than an iPod Classic.

Thanks - if I can figure this out, then I may finally be organized and fully integrated inside and outside the house!

Re DAC and sound, there is quite a good review in the new Stereophile.

I am thinking Behringer A500s and Epos speakers for quick and easy music anywhere in the house.
The best thing you can do with your Squeezebox of any persuasion is to ditch the standard switching powerpack and purchase a laboratory grade power pack whose ripple voltage is next to zero and the improvement in sound from the squeezebox will be profoundly beautiful by comparison.

Still not in the Transporter's league but never-the-less, still many times better than the standard switching powerpack for Squeezebox.
CW, my iTunes libraries are organized for sync'ing with my various iPods. The Squeezebox Touch seems to like it just fine. I use the wifi connection and the Touch finds the database on my Mac no problem. I don't remember whether I tried the PC or not (different iTunes libraries) but from what I hear it is just as easy.
Sutherk; good suggestion, but may I ask for an example of powerpac whose ripple voltage is near zero? Are you speaking of a linear power supply? Can you recommend one that is not too expensive?

Thankyou for any information;
I just replaced my Squeezebox 3 with a Touch and, although it needs break in, the increased resolution was apparent from the onset. I am using the CI Power Supply, Monarchy Combo and Berkeley DAC. The installation of the Monarchy between the Touch (and previously Squeezebox) was absolutely amazing. I HIGHLY recommend the Monarchy Combo to anyone with a Squeezebox (going into an outboard DAC which can handle the upsampled 96k signal).
I have about 300 hours on the Touch and listened last night for about 5 hours. The unit is definitely broken. It is more resolving and has better detail than the Squeezebox 3 it replaced. The biggest difference is the 3D sound hologram that it now projects. The Squeezebox 3/MonarchyCombo/Berkeley had front to back and layers of soundstage before but it was something you had to look for. The Touch throws out a beautiful, glow in the dark, soundtsage that just makes you want to listen. I was a bit skeptic about the superiority of the Touch's digital out vs the digital out on the SB3 but after experiencing both units, the Touch is notches above the SB3. (both SB and Touch w/Channel Island PS, display turned off on both).
Can either the 'Touch or SB be run as wireless clients without internet access or a wireless router?
I connect to internet with wires, but turn on my Airport in the confuser when I want to stream music to my AirPort Express......
I'm new to the Squeezebox Touch. I quite like the sound of hi-rez .flac files transported over wifi and passed by coax digital from the SBT to my Mark Levinson 30.6. But there is a lot of hashy grain in the louder sections of orchestral music.

But, for playing Apple Lossless CD rips, the SBT does NOT sound as good as my airport express driving the the same Levinson 30.6 DAC through a Toslink connection. The SBT sound stage seems vague, almost confusing compared to the APE.

Is anyone else having this problem?

Could Flac files sound better? I think I am using the SBT server application to do the decoding, but I am not certain.
Is the volume control on the Touch always kept up at 100%?


05-04-10: Artmaltman
SmHoll, I've been using the Bryston BDA-1 DAC that I borrowed from Dan.

BTW, yesterday evening we have a major shootout with me, Dan and Brent:
- SB Touch analog outs (Mac server)
- SB Touch digital out to Bryston BDA-1 (Mac server)
- Cary 308T cdp player with tube output stage
- MacBook Pro USB output to Bryston BDA-1 USB input
- MacBook Pro USB to Empirical anti-jitter device to Bryston BDA-1 digital input

May I ask how do you connect the Mac server to the SB Touch? Do you stream music files from the Mac server wirelessly or the Mac is wired to the SB touch via Ethernet/USB inputs? I would like to know whether there is an appreciable difference between these two connections.

Thanks in advance.
The Lampizator guy will release a tube output squeezebox based digital transport in the coming weeks. The digital section will have a tubed power supply as well.

This will dovetail nicely with any of his Lampizator DACs.

This promises to be analogue heaven.
Ryder, it can be both/either wireless or wired...

A question, and a followup to my previous post. I have a Touch that I stream to from a MAC. Is the Touch receiving 24/96 for my hi res files? I know that there is a 16 bit limitation for the streaming with Apple Airport with iTunes, but is the Touch limited by this? Or is Squeezebox Server doing its own thing? I have not been able to find a definitive answer to this question.
Ive been rocking the SBT for about one week now. The interface is easy to use, the server software is simple, and the sound is great. I'm seriously neglecting my CD player and turntable. Best purchase of 2010.
The Touch is great out of the box and can rival the best servers with some additional gear (power supply, cables, a great dac). I love mine. It ain't vinyl, but very, very excellent.
What is a cost effective DAC that would compliment the SBT?
I had great results with a Benchmark DAC (upgraded the fuse) and had it on black diamong cones (#4). It served me well for two years or so until I upgraded to a Berkeley Dac. The Benchmark was wonderful. Nice soundstage, very good reslution, squeezed the details right out of the music. Very truthful to the recording. Lots of fun to listen to and not fatiging at all. Use a good digital cable.
Is there. Good budget DAC? I'm really pretty tapped out financially. Sub $200?
What the consensus on the musicstreamer 2 dac?
Has anybody tried the Touch with the Oritek DAC?
I've been using the MF VDAC and can only praise it's rich musicality. It's nearly a night and day difference. For the budget guy.
I had an Eastern Electric DAC for a couple of weeks and was able to A/B with the touch dac analogue out. Could tell little difference, although I preferred the ss over the tube output on the EE. My old Theta dac was better than both on redbook. The EE was a little better on 24/96 though than the Touch. I could survive with the Touch as my dac.
I have ripped much of my CD collection in FLAC to my hard drive and wirelessly play them through the SBT with coax into a DAC Magic. It sounds identical to my CD player and radio never sounded so good. AM and FM are crystal clear. I can now toss my CD player and my Sansui TU-717 tuner. I cannot tell any improvement in sound with or without the DAC Magic. Maybe because it and the SBT have Wolfson chips.
The Squeezebox Touch has the AKM 4420.
Been using the touch through analogue outs for about 3 months now. It is surprisingly good, and improved markedly over the first 100-150 hrs. Also, I will be bipassing the output caps as John Swenson has recommended here


which will improve it significantly, and do the relavant Soundcheck's software mods listed here:


I am not expecting to guy a dac for it as I think when the mods are done I shall find the internal dac sufficient
Anyone try Peachtree DACiT with SBT?