Logitech Squeezebox Boom WiFi Internet Radio and Network Music System Review




Rich full stereo sound, thousands of Internet radio stations to choose from, numerous apps that play audio as well, and a full-function remote control.



These key features describe the 2008 vintage Logitech Squeezebox Boom Network Music System, model X-RB2, with Internet radio.  This highly small, yet high fidelity system is a fully self-contained unit with an easy-to-read, blue-green vacuum fluorescent (VFD) display, whose high contrast appearance resembles those bright LED displays of decades past.

This receiver has been on the market for several years now, and is no longer manufactured as of this writing unfortunately.   So if you can find this on eBay or amazon for a good price, buy it.  Just beware though that the supporting website (mysqueezebox.com) could be removed at any time, without notice, seriously limiting the radio’s ability to access up-to-date audio station streams.  So far though, we’ve enjoyed our Boom in our home for nearly three years, without any service dropouts.

Picture of the Logitech Squeezebox Boom Internet Radio, Front View, while operating.
Logitech Squeezebox Boom Internet Radio, Front View, while operating.

 

Benefits, Features, Advantages, and Pros

Usual size and weight for a clock radio.  The Boom is not much bigger than the average sized clock radio that you’re likely to find at market.  It measures approximately thirteen inches long (front left side to front right side), and five and a quarter inches tall (top front side to bottom front side).  It weighs five pounds, one ounce.  Perhaps a bit heaver than typical radios, probably due to the rugged plastic case and large magnets in the speaker system.  But for this little extra weight, you get plenty of volume that easily qualifies as “high fidelity” stereo sound.

Both local and remotely controlled.  The unit has a jog wheel menu system and several buttons for navigating through and changing settings, using the built-in VFD screen.  However, most of the functions may also be controlled by the remote control, pictured below, and basic streaming functionality can be controlled also, from your Internet-connected computer on the Logitech Squeezebox radio portal website.



Full-function remote.  The remote is about the right size for comfortable fitting into most small to average sized hands, and features ten buttons including: Home, Sleep, On / Off, Add to Favorites, up-down-left-right arrow keys, Volume up-down, skip back, play-pause, and skip-forward.

Magnetic remote control pod.  An indented, magnetized area on the top of the Boom provides a secure, easy-to-locate holder for storing the remote. The magnets hold the remote tightly.

Lots of volume.  Deep, full-bodied bass.  30 watts of total audio power. 15 watts per channel, as fed to the built-in speakers.  Each of the four speakers (a woofer and tweeter for each of the two audio channels), is driven by its own class D audio amplifier.  Exceptional sound for speech records, and surprisingly decent sound for well-recorded high fidelity music recordings and streams, given the radio’s compact size.

Hefty power supply.  This radio comes with a 12-volt, 2.5 amp power adapter, with a positive tip.  Always runs, at most, lukewarm.  Does not get overly hot, even when listening at full volume.

Can control from your computer.  You can change stations and adjust volume levels from your computer, via the portal website once your Boom is connected to the Internet and you’ve created an account on the portal and associated your radio with it; an easy to follow process.



Reliable portal site.  In the three years that we’ve owned our Squeezebox, we’ve always been able to play Internet radio on demand.  The Logitech infrastructure has never failed in our experience, and has always been available.

Wi-Fi and Ethernet networks supported.  You can connect to any 802-11 b/g wireless network, or via an Ethernet network cable, to your home network.

Internal Wi-Fi antenna.  No external antennas to adjust.  The Wi-Fi radio in this music center seems adequately sensitive to receive wireless network signals reliably in any position so long as it’s not too far from the Wi-Fi access point.

Bass and treble adjustments included.  You can adjust bass and treble levels via the on-screen controls in the menu system, or from the remote control.

Station preset buttons.  Like an old-fashioned car radio, this Squeezebox features a set of six pushbuttons that allow you to instantly switch among the first six stations in your favorites list by default.  Or, you can program them with specific stations.



Functions as a multi-alarm clock radio.  You can set numerous alarms and for each one, configure not only the time of day it sounds, but what sound you want it to make, as well as what radio station or music source you’d like it to play.

Automatic clock setting.  The built-in clock sets itself to Internet time when the radio is plugged in and connected to a network with Internet access.  Happens within ten seconds of pressing the power-on button when valid Wifi network login information has been entered previously.

All connections located on radio back.  Back panel ports and plugs include the power supply, Ethernet, line in, and subwoofer / earphone output plugs.

Adjustable display format and brightness.  Display brightness, fonts, and time formats can be adjusted via the extensive Settings menu.

Snooze / sleep button. Located on the top of the radio, this button allows setting of a sleep time, in which the unit will play before going silent.  This button also serves as a snooze button if pressed during alarm sounding.



Numerous audio stream formats supported.  You can play MP3, WAV, WMA, FLAC formatted audio streams.  However, we haven’t been able to find any AAC or AAC+ streams that this receiver plays, though the documentation says that it can indeed play AAC.

Apps gallery.  This radio can also run apps (similar to those found on smartphones), that provide access to even more audio sources besides Internet radio stations; sources such podcasts, sound effects, and players for many of the major media networks and outlets.

Stations and podcasts playable without longing onto the portal site.  By working the jogging control, previous, next, and play buttons, you can navigate the included Internet radio station and podcast library from the radio itself.  You don’t need a computer to enjoy the bulk of the radio’s functionality, though you do need one to initially set up the Internet functionality of this wireless music device.

Cool to slightly warm operation.  Only the vacuum fluorescent display area on the front of the case becomes lukewarm.  The rest of the case remains cool to the touch, even after hours of music listening, no doubt due to the very high efficiency class D power amplifiers, which give off notably little heat given how much power they can handle.

Can play Rhapsody and MP3Tunes Locker recordings.  Requires respective accounts on these services prior to playing however.



Multiple radios can share same station playlists.  All Booms linked to the same MySqueezeBox account receive the same favorites, podcasts, and playlists from the portal.

Local media server software available.    This server supports playing of your local music library on the Boom.  It runs on a computer on your local network.  So you would need a computer to use it.

Picture of the Logitech Squeezebox Boom Internet Radio Back, showing all connections.
Logitech Squeezebox Boom Internet Radio, Back View, showing all connections.

Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, Limitations

iPod docking not provided.  No place on this music system to plug in, control, or charge your iPod devices.  No iPod docking connector.  However, you can play the iPod through the Boom’s auxiliary input port.  This requires a 3.5mm male to 3.5mm male stereo patch cord.

No AAC or AAC+ stream support.  This radio does not currently play AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) or AAC-plus radio streams. Unfortunate since so many of the popular Internet radio stations use these advanced codecs.



No AM / FM radio.  The Boom does not include a built in AM / FM radio.

No longer made.  According to Amazon.com, this net radio is no longer manufactured.  So, given the evolving and fleeting nature of Internet and computer-based technologies, it’s only a matter of perhaps a small time, before this device becomes obsolete and non functional.

No recent firmware updates.

High price.  New copies of the Squeezebox Boom sell for north of $500, and we expect this price to rise further as these radios become rarer.  They are highly sought, even today.

Suggested Improvements

Add and AAC+ stream support.  Many Internet stations have migrated to Advanced Audio Coding stream format, due to its better audio frequency response at lower data rates.  Fortunately however, most of the bigger stations doing this, are still supplying the older format MP3 and WMA streams for legacy devices like this one.  However, without this ability, this radio will become less usable over time, as more Internet broadcasters take down these older formats.

Add Wi-Fi Protected Setup capability.



Picture of the remote control for the Logitech Squeezebox Boom Internet Radio.
Logitech Squeezebox Boom Remote Control, Front View.

Our Rating

We’re pleased with the big sound and stereo performance of the Logitech Squeezebox Boom.  The speakers sound further apart than they actually are, for a richer stereophonic listening experience, in which instruments and voices seem to come at you from places in the room where there are no speakers.  It’s an awesome sound stage effect.  We wish this radio was not nearing obsolescence, as  wondrous sound and reliability should be virtually timeless traits. But aside from the end-of-life-cycle, we see no reason not to own it, especially if you can procure it for less than $250.  This is often possible on sites like eBay and Amazon.  We like the Boom a lot, and so, overall, we’d rate it at 96 out of 100.

Disclaimers

  • The comments in this review apply to the radios running firmware version 57.

Firmware Versions Tested

  • 57

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References

Revision History

  • 2018-02-26: Updated post title and tags.
  • 2018-02-02: Added a Related Posts section.
  • 2017-02-04: Revised the tags list. Added the featured image.
  • 2015-01-14: Added more appropriate tags.
  • 2015-09-27: Added more appropriate tags.
  • 2015-07-25: Fixed some typos and content errors.
  • 2015-07-23: Originally published.