It's been around the traps for a few years under different guises, but new parent Logitech has decided to give the Transporter another gentle push to coincide with the Australian release of the Squeezebox Duet. Not to be confused with the dodgy Jason Statham movie, the Transporter is an audiophile's dream come true.
The Transporter makes no apologies for its high-end design (or price tag). Each one is hand-built at Logitech's factory in California and carries a number of features you won't find on any other media streaming device. The Transporter features a high-end digital-to-analog converter — AKM's AK4396 — and if customers want they could also use this to upgrade the sound from their existing digital devices via the unit's digital inputs.
It also looks like it means business, with the faux rack handles, VU meters, and selection of balanced XLR connections on the rear. The system would suit owners of high-end systems built by Bryston and the like.
The system lacks a hard drive so needs a computer with the Squeezecenter software installed or a supported NAS such as the forthcoming Netgear ReadyNAS Duo. The Transporter will either connect via an Ethernet connection or 802.11g. Logitech's Jim Carlton, who was on hand during our demo, explained that the reason they went with G instead of N is that the device doesn't need the bandwidth and won't slow down an N network.
We had a brief listen to the device, and while poorly recorded music such as Sum 41 didn't sound very good (despite being ripped into FLAC format), less guitar-saturated music like JJ Cale and "our" Cold Chisel sounded clean and detailed.
The device is a little older than the very sexy Squeezebox Duet, and the lack of a touchscreen remote or HDMI interface may be off-putting. That is, if the price hasn't already deterred you.
Of course, while you could play 128Kb MP3s through this you'd be missing the point, because unlike devices such as theit's not designed to upsample poorly encoded music, just play it with the most fidelity possible. So FLAC, Windows and Apple Lossless, and WAV files would sound best.
The remote is a little rudimentary, but the large display is easy to read and the menu system seems easy to navigate.
You won't find one of these at your local computer shop, but if a cutting-edge DAC and bombproof appeal to you, then you could do a lot worse than invest in one of these. Of course, no need to apply if you own a HTIB, but if you take your digital music very seriously indeed then this is what you should be saving up for.