I'm wondering if anyone knows more about the USB feature. Can any USB 2.0 drive be used with the Squeezebox Touch? Also, how intuitive would it be to navigate an iTunes library on a USB drive through the Squeezebox Touch?
(I'm hoping to plug in a Freeagent Go drive with a copy of my iTunes library and be able to put my laptop away.)
Yes, any USB drive will work. Currently the Touch only supports FAT16/32 formatted drives, NTFS format support is planned. Some USB drives may require their own power, not relying on the USB power output. iTunes music library on USB should work as long as your iTunes music is not DRM infected. But I'd suggest you carefully read the Touch's onboard server specs very carefully as the Touch must be able to play *whatever* format music natively (no transcoding). The Touch's onboard server is not powerful enough to transcode.
So a USB bus-powered HD, or SSD, would work then. Cool. Now I can place a copy of my iTunes music library (ripped from CD's in Apple Lossless) onto the external HD, plugged into the SB Touch w/ no additional power cord, and play music w/o any wireless drop-out issues. Alternatively, I could also use an ethernet cable to my iMac, but having the cable running along the walls from another room is unsightly. The USB connection provides a simple and clean solution to this dilemma. I only wish I could use the iTunes GUI instead. That's the one aspect with SB I don't care for. I already have the perfect UI, plus iPhone remote. Now if only Logitech could get this thing rolling and release it.
A few things to keep in mind using the Touch's built in server: - no transcoding, will only play music formats native to the Touch (I presume Apple Lossless is supported, not certain) - no computer UI whatsoever - no plugins supported
Is there a difference between formats supported wirelessly versus via USB or SD?
I was initially excited about connecting a USB powered hard drive to the Touch and taking the PC and wireless out of the picture. HOWEVER, USB drives are said to be electronically noisey and this might affect sound quality. I am planning to use this on a very high resolution high end audio system otherwise I would not bring this up. SD card might be a LOT better in this regard but then we are limited to 32GB and I used Apple lossless.... sigh.
No, there will be no difference in format support based on which connection is used to access your files.
There's no reason a hard drive would interfere with the Squeezebox Touch. If you're concerned that the hard drive would interfere with your receiver (I doubt it would), just place the Squeezebox Touch and hard drive a small distance from your audio equipment and connect via fiber-optic cable. You'll have a pure digital connection all the way from the hard drive to the receiver, and the connection between the Squeezebox and receiver will be optical, rather than electromagnetic.
In addition to connecting USB hard drives, you can also connect USB flash drives to the Squeezebox Touch. They won't be limited to 32 GB, but in the near term they will be pricey above that size.
Just an FYI: I'd suggest anyone read the Touch spec's very carefully. If using a USB drive connected to the Touch then the music files must be in a format *native* to the Touch. There is no transcoding using the Touch's inbuilt server.
Also, Digital outs from Touch to AVR/receiver will work great, but then you are bypassing one of Touch's great selling points being it's very good DAC. Most AVR/receiver DAC's will not be as good as is included with the Touch.