The Squeezebox is an excellent unit for streaming audio data from a computer to a stereo system.
You have the process correct, except for the "SQ is ethernet connected to a fast external hard drive and pulls the files out of HD". (I believe there is an NAS that can be rigged to work with the Squeezebox without an intervening computer.) Rather, attach your laptop to a large external drive, install the Slimserver software on your laptop (it works on Mac, Linux, and Windows), configure your wireless (or wired) ethernet connection to communicate between the laptop and SQ, connect the optical digital out from the SQ to the DAC, and you're done!
You can control the volume both from the Squeezebox (digital volume control) or the preamp (analog volume control). I prefer to simplify it and make a single point to control the volume for everything (ie, the preamp) and leave the Squeezebox volume at max.
Also, you are correct that you can interact with the Squeezebox using its provide remote control, or you can use the laptop (this provides more functionality in my opinion).
The HD, atleast for me, will not/can not be connected to laptop at all, just the Squeezebox.
See I need/want the laptop available and away from cabinent (i.e on lap, on end table, etc.) directing traffic wirelessly but having data transmissions wired as I do not see the need for the broadband monthly cost, nor trust the wirelss data transmission process with the buffering issues and such.
The plan is to remove one of my CD players from cabinent and put HD(s),DAC, & Squezebox in that location. Keeping the cabinent full(slightly aesthetic, moreover functional).
Can't this be accomplished without whatever a NAS is?
I do have the TIVO HD machine in the cabinent... which could be another opportuntiy altogether to serve audio, but I do not believe I can push music through that device AND have the TV run video simultaneously(i.e. watching sports on mute with tunes through the two channel setup.
Get an NAS external hard drive (ethernet connection) and connect it to your wireless router. Most wireless routers have at least a couple of ethernet ports too. Then direct Slimserver to make your music library directory the HDD on the router. Laptop will then control the music on networked HDD.
Does that mean I can use just slimserver software or any other software for that matter and not need the Squeezebox component at all?
call logitec/slim devices tech support. Get bounced UP their chain and talk to Julius. He is the man. Note: they just released a new version of their server, and it is a bit buggie still.
You still need the Squeezebox as it plugs into your equipment via digital cable or analog interconnects and supplies the signal. Can either use the laptop or remote to control the Squeezebox.
I'm currently working on setting up this particular solution with WD 1Tb Mybook. One comment I have heard is to be careful which HDD you get as each has its own network interface software built in. Some are faster than others.
This yeat naother thought.
If the NAS HD is wired (etherent) to the router, can't my laptop then see the HD via network then send orders (any music software, winamp, etc.) to the HD which goes to the DAC and through the rest of the system?
Simplify the NAS stuff...
Change to an Airport Extreme Base Station and hang a regular hard drive off it's USB port. Anything with network connectivity can see the drive.
If you need more than one remote drive, buy a USB hub,connect it to the Airport Extreme Base Station and connect your drives to the hub.
In addition to sharing you music files, you can also share anything else you wish between your laptop and desktop computers.
I have a similar setup but with a Benchmark Dac1 and I use a Hitachi 1 terabyte HD connected by usb2 (firewire also an option).
My understanding from Logitec is that the PC should be directly connected to router - not used wirelessly. The Squeeze box is wireless to the PC running the softwear. Upgrade the Squeeze Box wall wart with an external power supply, get some decent cables. I was surprised at how good mine sounds. Not quite my Esoteric X03 SE but for just sitting back and listening to preselected hours+ playlists, I can't complain.
So, with a NAS HD, do you need to have a computer involved at all, for running Slim Server? Or could you just listen to music using your remote control with the Squeezebox, and having it access its music from the NAS HD?
I have several computers in my house, and would like to install Squeezeboxes in atleast two locations. Problem is that none of the computers are "Wake Upon Lan", which means if I use them to run Slim Server for the Squeezebox, I have to go turn them on. I was hoping to avoid this with an NAS hard drive.
Peter - With the new squeezebox duo a computer does not have to be on. Don't think that's the case with SB3. You should to check with slim devices. You should also ask them if they recommend particular NAS drives. The Duo is brand new so they may not have much of a track record yet.
But Sonos, who has had the capability from the beginning has a pretty extensive list on their site of known compatibility issues with NAS drives. That's not to scare you off, I think NAS is THE way to go. But they aren't all the same so a little research before you buy is good.