After I fired up the ReadyNAS, I noticed that it was a bit noisy. So if I wanted to use it as a home music server, it would have to be located somewhere out of earshot. Once it was fully up, I explored its configuration Web pages looking for a reference to the Slimserver server software that would feed the Squeezebox. The only hint I saw was a pre-defined network share of "Music".
With no other options left to explore, I turned my attention to the Squeezebox. There are a couple of different versions of the Squeezebox on the market, one with wireless capabilities and one without. The model included in the bundle has both wired and wireless capabilities, but for my initial checkout, I opted to explore the easier wired option.
Setting the device up was just a matter of plugging in the power and Ethernet cable and then hooking the audio cables into my stereo. Figure 1, from the Slim Devices Website, shows the back panel of the device with all of the connectors labeled.
Figure 1: Back Panel, Squeezebox
As the Squeezebox booted up, I noticed its striking display. The bright vacuum fluorescent display was crisp and readable, even across the room. This was one big difference between the Squeezebox and the Sonos system. With the Sonos system, the display and all controls are located in a very nice, full-color remote and the player itself has no display. The Squeezebox takes a less elegant approach and separates the controls into an infrared remote.
Although the large vacuum fluorescent display is readable across an averaged-sized room and the remote is perfectly functional, you feel like you're operating a run-of-the-mill networked player. In contrast, the integrated Sonos display / control approach definitely projects the feeling of operating a high-end custom-designed system.
As I continued with the Squeezebox, the first screen displayed gave me an option of configuration, so I started down that path, and a few clicks from the remote later, I had the device set up to connect with Ethernet using DHCP to get its IP address.
Continuing on the setup path, the device searched for, and found, the server running on the ReadyNAS. At this point it was ready to use. In all, the setup was quick and easy. I suspect that had I not opted to go into the configuration section of the boot up, I wouldn't have needed to do anything. It would have automatically acquired an IP address via DHCP and connected to the only server on my network. Figure 2 shows the initial display of the Squeezebox after bootup. From this menu, the idea is to start browsing the music library and making selections for playing.