Pros Price, flexibility, open source nature
Cons stability, expandability
Summary In short summary:
I purchased, setup and lived with the Duet for two weeks. I then returned it.
I had three zones total (upstairs, downstairs, outside)
Duet. Two. As in two faced, when it worked, it was fine. And when it didnt it was frustrating.
I work in IT. I consider myself more than just "Tech Savvy". Even still, setup on this device was maddening. The Logitech tech support folk were very helpful and patient and after four hours we got it to work. When applying the multiple firmware upgrades / patches it kept losing settings and having to be reconfigured. Each reconfigure required a reboot of my router (D-link). Wireless setup is not so easy to do. Wired setup was only a little better.
The original plan was to have this setup over the wireless network. Whelp, that didnt work so well. 15 feet away from the router the signal would drop and the device would stutter / drop out. Is this the fault of the router? Perhaps. But on more than three occasions the Duet would need to be reboot to synch back into the network (or the router would need a reboot to allow it back in). So that plan was nixed for a wired solution. Purchased a network switch to reuse the network cable going to the Tivo.
Once it was up and running on a wire it was much more stable (the same could not be said for the two other zones). However, access over the remote had similar range issues. I could not sit outside and control the unit (25 - 30 feet away). And performance was intermittently slow (a consistent 15 -20 second delay was the deal breaker. Up to three minute delays did happen)
Lets talk synchronized music for a moment. Yes, the Duet did synch the playback - and it came very close to doing so well. But either network issues or something else got in the way (about once an hour a song would un-synch then re-synch). On a few occasions my local network was overwhelmed by the demand and crashed.
Lets talk NAS (Network Attached Storage). This is in place of having to leave your computer on all the time. For whatever reason the NAS would shutdown in the middle of a track or the Duet would not be able to access the NAS and throw an error (this happened three times, once requiring a reboot of the Duet). In all cases I was able to access my NAS from any of the computers in the network.
Performance. When the remote what in the same room as the router and network speeds were not in question, to scroll through my media library was not as easy as I would like. Not enough screen space (or perhaps poorly managed screen space). Then there was some lag time for the remote to catch up with my key entry. On several occasions I had keyed ahead too far and had to backtrack. In any case I was not able to navigate as well as I would have liked. The remote did fit very well in the hand and was physically well designed. Performance on the Duet was adequate. There were some audio artifacts (noise) in my FLAC files and MP3 files that did not return on repeat playback. Kind of like a juice harp being introduced to Led Zeppelin (along with cow bell). It was often enough to be noticed, but Logitech support could not explain it.
In the end I was not happy with the device. I fully support open source, but never felt comfortable with the basics of the machine to see what was developed by the community at large.
Hence I returned the Duet.
I next purchased, setup and am living with the Sonos system. The Sonos proprietary network has not given me any trouble. I had it setup and running within an hour of opening the box. The Sonos unit that is wired has an extra port and acts as a network switch so I did not have to run an extra line or buy additional hardware. Synchronized playback has yet to even hint at a problem. And while the remote is big (not quite clunky) it responds beautifully and was easier to operate. I am now looking for some GPL stuff for the Sonos as the manufacture does put some of their code out to the community.
Is the Sonos more expensive? Yes. Do you get what you pay for? In the case of the Sonos yes. But I sure do hope they come down in price and add some to the feature set now that there is another game in town!
Bottom Line: If you are using a wired system and just need one “zone” to liberate your music, the Duet may just be the right answer for you. If you plan to fill your house with sound, don’t plan to do it with Duet.
Pros Great Open Source Community, Terrific D-to-A
Cons I guess iTunes DRM, but hey, that's going away, too.
Summary Ok, first and foremost, the user "ro53ben" above is a longtime Sonos advocate and big contributor on the Sonos forum, so consider the source (google "ro53ben sonos").
For me, it was between the Squeezebox and the Sonos. Sonos is closed architecture and yes, awfully expensive. The Duet (which I received today) will replace my Squeezebox3. It's the perfect choice for my whole-home audio system. I just need one source to replace my 200 disc CD changer to provide music throughout the house. This fits the bill. The UI is great, bright and responsive. The setup was easy, and I'm very happy.
The Duet is $200 less than the cheapest Sonos alternative...oh yeah, you have to pay $40 extra for the Sonos charger. Add the open source community to the mix with the great plugins availabile, and it's a winner.
Pros Great concept.
Cons Extremely unstable.
Summary I was looking for a solution that would allow me to listen to my iTunes music library on my stereo. I tried the solution provided by Apple (apple Airport Express connected to my stereo, wireless connection to my iMac, iPhone remote app). I then discovered Logitech Duet and fell in love with the concept. On paper, much more flexible than the Apple solution (one user friendly remote that everybody in the family can use, no need to use iPhone as a remote, no need to continuously run iTunes on my mac, access to Pandora and other services, etc.). I did some research and compared this solution to the Sonos. I decided to go for the Duet as it was more reasonably priced and as it addressed my needs.
My initial impressions were very positive. The remote is easy to use, the system was easy to install (I should mention that I consider myself as reasonably computer-savvy since I have an engineering background and since I used to be in charge of the maintenance of the network of a small company), and I could stream my iTunes music to my stereo. Bonus: I also had access to Pandora.
I own the system for 6 months now. And over time, I discovered the main flaw of the Duet: it is extremely unstable. Every time a software upgrade is downloaded on my computer or on the Duet, it takes me hours to fix the system (numerous reboots and download of upgrades). This happens on a regular basis (at least once a month). And as mentioned above I have a pretty good understanding of computers and networks. It is also unstable in use: the Duet freezes and refuses to restart. The streaming stops in the middle of a song. The Duet looses its connection to my iMac.
My assessment: the Duet is not ready for prime time. I still love the concept, it is great when it works. But it is equally frustrating when it does not work and when hours of work are required to re-stabilize the system.
I am now frustrated enough to spend time to write this review... and to start looking for another solution.
Pros All your music in the palm of your hand! Excellent price when compared to the Sonos or any other streaming device.
Cons Set-up I'm sure could be easier but .....?
Summary To "Not Entirely Convinced" the Sqeezecenter 7.0 fixes the sync issues and about the Rhapsody music service last I heard Sonos could only do one stream compared to three on the Slim devices.
Pros compact and easy to use
Cons slight niggles on set-up
Summary In particular, to "not entirely convinced", I for one am not interested in Rhapsody, Slacker or Pandora as living in Europe they are not available, so the fact the the squeezebox may or may not be able to stream these is irrelevant to me.
What I am more interested in is the fact that this remote gives me a visual access to my music easily in a configuarable way that I view by composer/ensemble/work/conductor or other combination without being fixed to the artist/album combination.
Finally the quality out of the duet is leagues ahead of any other simarily priced (even some more expensive) digital music systems.