Category Archives: Sooloos

Sooloos On The Loose

Roon, the software that drives Meridian Sooloos, is being detached from the dedicated Meridian hardware and will be available to run on any computer soon. Jeff Dorgay of Tone Audio magazine has authored an in-depth review of Roon which you really should read.

Shoe horning a Sooloos

joesixsooloosSince hardware vendors seem reluctant to put new stuff on the street at the moment, it is refreshing to see how audiophiles can help themselves. Chris Connaker of Computer Audiophile saw a parallel between the stunning Sooloos media controller and a humble Dell multi touch computer monitor. In his blog he explains how tweaking and poking, he fused a computer, the J. River Media Center and a Dell monitor into a home grown and very shiny Sooloos clone. As he himself readily admits, the Sooloos is of another world and not quite replicable. The idea, however, of having an easily navigable media center composed of off-the-shelf parts, is just plain wonderful in all its simplicity.

We have tried something similar ourselves, using an earlier generation resistive single touch monitor and Foobar2000. The problem with this setup was mostly lack of screen real estate, making an on-screen keyboard hard to use, and lack of slide response; it was just not easy to scroll. A better touch monitor, such as the Dell SX2210T used here, would have helped quite a bit. Another issue we had was lack of multi room support. This issue is present with the Sooloos clone too. With iTunes you can use Airports and have real time control of other rooms. The rigid implementation and lack of HD support makes iTunes an unattractive solution, though.

While we stuck with a good-quality-but-no-thrills soundcard, there are some high-end solutions that can make such a setup sound incredible.

Sooloos makes headlines yet again

Or one more headline, to be truthful. Stereophile magazine promoted the Sooloos Music Server System from editor’s choice to product of the year…!

Let’s try that again: Stereophile awarded a from-the-bone-out digital sound source one of the most prestigious  accolades of the business over a bunch of analogues. Now, that should raise some eye brows. Way to go, Sooloos.

Meridian to acquire Sooloos

Friday last, news hit the streets that Meridian, a genuinely household name in British hifi circles, had bought Sooloos. Meridian are renowned for their compact solutions but has little experience in streaming audio. The fact that Sooloos has exactly that and on top of that a compatible outlook on life, sound and what-not makes this a truly holy alliance. Sooloos is in itself an interesting system but what is really interesting in my view, is if Meridian will come up with a Sooloos compatible compact client to match it.

Sooloos

Sooloos

The Sooloos system consists of three different components. The Store which is the actual disk, the Source which streams the music to up to 32 zones and the Control which is a 17” touch screen with a built in CD drive [“Music isn’t all zones, terabytes, and signal-to-noise ratios”, they say]. Additional controls in the form of a 7” remote or a 7” satellite are available.

The Sooloos is the second system I have come across that uses mirroring on its datastore. Considering that hopefully more and more music will be downloadable in lossless audio formats the backup implications become more challenging; in case of a disk crash, how do you get your music back? A CD is straight forward. Buy it again and rip it once more. With music from, let’s say the B&W Music Club, you are in a jam. You cannot simply redownload music from previous months. A backup is actually a very good thing to consider in these days of digital distribution.

An interesting and rather important point with the Sooloos system is that CDs are ripped as one large file rather than individual tracks. This ensures that when songs or, perhaps more importantly, musical movements are played in order, they are played with exactly the gaps they were supposed to. If you play individual tracks they are seeked at runtime, so the obvious shortcoming of this method has been taken care of.

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