Brian Kahn is the longest tenured writer on staff at HomeTheaterReview.com. His specialties include everything from speakers to whole-home audio systems to high-end audiophile and home theater gear, as well as room acoustics. By day, Brian is a partner at a West Los Angeles law firm.
The Logitech Duet is unique in the Squeezebox series of network music players, as it comes with a bi-directional wi-fi remote. Some of you may be saying, "So, what's the big deal about a bi-directional remote?" It is a big deal for music servers. The wi-fi remote allows the user to see all the display information right on the screen of the remote in hand, rather than having to walk over to the equipment rack to look at the front panel of the player. The user interface is the remote, not a box on a rack or in a closet. This is huge for whole-house and multi-zone systems. The utilization of wi-fi connectivity means you can be rooms away or even floating in your pool and still browse and control your music as though you were standing next to the equipment rack.
I won't go into detail about how the Squeezebox system generally works, as we just did a full-length review of the Duet's big brother, the Transporter, which describes this in detail. Unique to the Duet are the bi-directional remote and its physical form factor. The receiver is approximately four inches deep, six inches wide and one inch high. Connections include Ethernet, analog and digital outputs and power. Notably absent is any display, as the unit relies upon the remote's display. The bi-directional remote is wand-like in shape, with a full-color 2.4 inch LCD screen above an iPod-style scroll wheel and basic navigation buttons. The remote is definitely what makes this system special and allows the $399 Duet to compete with the Sonos system (approximately $1,000). The Duet is especially attractive if you want to start with one zone. Additional receivers can be added for additional zones for $199 apiece. Additionally, if you already have a Squeezebox server, you can buy the remote separately for $299 and it will control the other Squeezebox products. If you have multiple Squeezebox products running simultaneously, such as one for each zone, you can easily use the same remote for all zones by selecting the receiver you want to control from a menu on the remote.
Read about the high points and the low points of the Logitech Duet on Page 2.
• The remote provides you complete access to your music library and Internet sources in an easy-to-use and, more important, handy package.
• The Duet remote can easily control multiple Squeezebox receivers to work in unison or separately.
• The Duet provides the ability to play your music without a computer by using a NAS device or an online music storage service.
• The remote gives you the ability to use the remote at extended ranges.
• The remote has a relatively short battery life and must be charged every few days with moderate use.
• The remote may not instantly respond when first utilized, as it needs to reestablish a wi-fi connection.
• As a member of the Squeezebox family, the Duet is still subject to the same software quirks that affect all computer-dependent music servers.
The Logitech Duet is a great way to get the power of a music server into your hand. The Duet gives Logitech's Squeezebox line of products the ability to act as multi-room servers that can be controlled anywhere you are, so long as you are within range of your wi-fi network. A nice feature of this system is that it is scalable. One can start by purchasing the Duet system for $399 and later add other receivers in other zones at any time for $199 each. Additionally, the controller can be purchased separately for those who already have a Squeezebox product, but wish to control it from another room or from the yard.
In short, if you are only looking for a single-room solution and you will be controlling the music server from that room, the Duet holds no benefit for you over the other Squeezebox products. However, if you want to be able to access your music from wherever you may be on your property, the Duet is an affordable and easy-to-use music server that provides you with plenty of options and room to grow. I bought one and my wife and I use it all the time. Highly recommended.