So Slim Devices has released a new piece of hardware, the Transporter, which they’re billing as their “audiophile” music player. Basically, it’s rack-sized, contains even higher-quality components than the Squeezebox, has buttons and a knob on the case, a lighted remote, tons more inputs and outputs, and 2 displays instead of one. I must admit that when I first saw the picture I thought it must have been a crazy mock-up with the two screens and all the buttons. It looks really nice, and costs $2000.
This is clearly a part for the high-end market. Reading stuff about the Squeezebox, you realize that many of the absolute pickiest audiophiles didn’t take the Squeezebox seriously because it didn’t look like an audiophile component. They’ve certainly addressed that, and the price is enough to make people feel it’s worth something, but it’s still quite cheap compared to things like high-end CD players. Thing is, the Squeezebox is a sensational box–blows things like the Netgear and Roku away sound-wise–and 95% of the people who want a device like this will be happy with the $300 Squeezebox. But now, for those who insist on the most exotic stuff, the Transporter will be there to transport an additional $1700 out of their bank accounts.
If you can’t tell, I won’t likely be buying one, mostly because it’s completely out of scale pricewise with the rest of my equipment, and it’s hard to justify $2000 on something like this when the Squeezebox is pushing the bits just fine. But I’m glad Slim Devices made this to help satisfy some of their audiophile critics and get some revenue from them. There will be plenty who are happy to pay $2000 for it and from what’s been said it will be better enough than the SB3 to make them happy with the sound. And I can only assume some of the innovations in the Transporter will trickle down to the Squeezebox line in good time. Certainly it will be using the SlimServer software like my box, and stuff they develop for the high-end market in terms of interface will likely be available to me.
So, good for Slim Devices on their new box, and here’s to more innovation.