September 22, 2008

Review: Logitech Squeezebox Boom - Big Sound in a Little Package

Last month, we let you know about Logitech's announcement of the Squeezbox Boom. Well a review has already hit the streets and overall the Boom got high marks. According to the review at Engadget:

Let's address the most important point first: this is an excellent sounding radio. The R1000 was lauded for its sound quality, too, and while the Boom might (emphasis on "might") come just shy of the R1000 for bass response, it's still got a beefy low end and a crisp, full delivery across the range. You won't mistake it for a Transporter connected to $50,000 worth of amps and speakers, but for a diminutive radio chilling on your nightstand, it'll give you more volume than you need (and besides, if you're bleary-eyed enough to be in bed, do you even care how precise the sound is?). Anyone absolutely demanding more bass is in luck, anyway -- the 3.5mm jack on the Boom's backside can be switched between headphone and subwoofer out.

The biggest concern in the review is that the Boom is totally network based. Being the Boom is designed to be a bedside alarm, if you lose your network overnight you might have a problem in the morning. Still if you need internet radio in a small package, you might want to check out the Squeezebox Boom.


Logitech Squeezebox Boom at Amazon

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September 16, 2008

Logitech Announces the Pure-Fi Line of iPod Docks

logitechpure-fiexpressplus.jpgThere's currently about 8 billion iPod docks on the market, so it doesn't hurt to add a few more. Logitech has announced two new Pure-Fi iPods Docks. According to iPodNN:

The Express Plus works with all fourth-generation iPods, iPod minis, and later dockable Apple devices up to the very latest models and the iPhone 3G; an aux-in jack supports nearly all other portable media players. It surfaces in October for $100.

Logitech is also making its move into higher-end clock radio docks via the Pure-Fi Anytime. Apart from its new iPhone support, the AM/FM stereo also draws heavily upon motion sensing to simplify many tasks that would either require more light or awkward input. The backlight will only invoke when the user is close, guarding against having to turn on a nearby lamp; owners can also wave a hand over the Pure-Fi to trigger snooze mode rather than hit a button. A sometimes uncommon recessed dock design prevents users from hitting the iPhone or iPod in the morning.

If you're looking for an iPod dock, we still lean towards a wireless dock like the Mint 220.


Logitech Pure-Fi Express Plus at Amazon

Logitech Pure-Fi Anytime at Amazon

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September 11, 2008

IOGEAR Announces the Powerline Whole House Audio System


Just in case you don't have enough electronic devices sucking up all of the power in your house, you might want to check out the Powerline Whole House Audio System. According to

The Powerline Stereo Audio System uses existing electrical lines within the home to stream music to any room, creating a full-house multimedia network without the need for expensive audio cable installation," the companies said in a statement. "Arkados' HomePlug powerline technology and its Direct-to-Speaker software provide reliable connectivity and the highest quality digital sound from the audio source to the speakers for the system."

We're really interested in the quality of audio over power lines. If you've used this system, let us know what you think and in the meantime we'll work on getting a review unit.


Powerline Whole House Audio System at Amazon

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August 28, 2008

ReQuest Unveils Intelligent Media Client


ReQuest announced today that ReQuest iQ and F-Series media servers owners can now purchase a network add-on that brings local DVD, video, and music playback and archiving to multiroom systems, According to the press release:

The ReQuest Intelligent Media Client includes a slot-loading DVD drive to deliver local playback of DVDs, as well as the ability to archive movies to the host system's iQ or F-Series media server. Once archived, music, movies, and videos become part of the server's library, available for search, instant recall, and enjoyment in any room of the house via ReQuest's powerful yet simple graphical user interface (GUI). Movie playback, whether local or archived, is upscaled to 1080p by the IMC for near-HD image quality via its HDMI and component outputs. The IMC also acts as a gateway to online media and offers access to millions of videos from YouTube. In the near future, ReQuest plans to integrate many more services like YouTube for streaming and downloadable content of music, video, and photos.

The release also states:

Setup is equally easy: The IMC requires just a standard Ethernet CAT5 connection to the home network, and is quickly configured using the HD TV GUI. The IMC provides high-definition video output up to 1080p via HDMI and component video simultaneously, allowing installers to display HD on the local room's TV or projection system while distributing the same HD content throughout the house. Connections for optical digital audio output are supported for the local home theater or stereo audio installation.

The press release states the device is affordable at just under $2500 but for an add-on but it's still a little rich for our blood.


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Logitech Unveils the Squeezebox Boom


It's been a few months since we've had any real news on the Squeezebox but here's something but here's something exciting. Engadget says that the Squeezebox Boom will be available next month. According to the report:

Yeah, it's basically a standard-issue Squeezebox with a built-in amp and speakers, but that's a pretty solid idea, especially since we're guessing the 24-bit Burr Brown D/A converter and bi-amped 3-inch woofers and 3/4-inch tweeters will offer up some decent sound. Everything else is regular Squeezebox kit -- 802.11g WiFi, SqueezeNetwork, optical and S/PDIF out, VFD display, 10/100Base-T Ethernet -- so if you're looking to expand your system, this is probably a pretty solid way of getting it done.

If you will already have a Squeezebox, you may not want to invest the $299. If you haven't got a Squeezebox yet, you may want to check out the Boom box when it hits the streets next month.


Logitech Squeezebox at Amazon

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August 27, 2008

Hands-on Review: Grace ITC-IR1000 Wireless Internet Radio with Pandora Radio Support

One of the great things about technology is how much it evolves. One of the things that sucks about technology is how much it evolves. As technolgy devices become more evolved and complex it usually means you need a degree from MIT to hook up some of these devices that are coming out. So when we get a device here at NAV that is easy to hook up and does exactly what it's supposed to do, we get a tad excited. We'll start out this review of Grace ITC-IR1000 Wireless Internet Radio by saying it fits right into that "easy to use - but powerful" genre.

We told you about the ITC-IR1000 last month after we found out that the radio could also play Pandora radio streams. You've heard us here at NAV mention a few times that we're big Pandora fans, so we were pretty excited about getting our review unit.

ArrowContinue reading: "Hands-on Review: Grace ITC-IR1000 Wireless Internet Radio with Pandora Radio Support"

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August 25, 2008

Acova VIP Music Edition Arriving September 4


Ready for a high-end voice-activated music control system? Then you'll be interested in the Acova VIP Music Edition which will debut at this years CEDIA Expo on Sept. 4th. According to the Acova press release:

Avoca Semiconductor Inc. (Avoca), a leading designer of voice-enabled user interface solutions, will launch its new VIP Music Edition™ at the CEDIA Expo in Denver, Colorado, Sept. 4th, 2008. The new Avoca system is an extraordinary residential music control system designed for living rooms and fast, convenient, transparent use. It turns a CD collection into a fully, immediately accessible digital library through a unique touch-and-talk interface that delivers the best available system for conveniently operating and enjoying home music collections.

So how does the Acova work?

The VIP Music Edition consists of a VIP Music Player, a wireless VIP Music Companion (MC™), and the unique Say it-Play it™ control interface. The Music Player plays CDs on a slot-loading, front-panel CD Player, stores a copy in lossless digital format in its built-in hard drive, and plugs into any stereo or audio system via RCA or optical cable connections. Once a CD is loaded into the Music Player's disc storage, building a digital library becomes as easy as simply listening to the music.

The VIP Music Companion is a wireless handheld controller equipped with Avoca's touch-and-talk interface and a large, bright 3.0 x 2.25-inch touch-screen. The screen provides a portable browsing list of its owner's music library by genre, artist, album, or track. By touch or voice, users can control their audio environments, from anywhere in a home, without depending on a direct line of sight to the Avoca Music Player, or to the TV to see a music list.

The Say it-Play it Interface on the MC Controller responds to simple, intuitive voice commands like: "Play The Eagles," "Play the Boss," "Set volume to 8," "Display by Artist" and "Queue Yesterday." The responsive voice control makes browsing music collections fast, convenient and fun, while bypassing the menu trees and avoiding the delays of traditional interfaces. Users can also attach nicknames or shorter names to music items, making them even more convenient to select.

The Acova sounds like an incredible device but be ready to shell out around 4 grand for the system. What we love about the Acova VIP system is how the Say it-Play it™ control interface is really an iPAQ PDA. Hey if it works, go for it right?

Acova Press Release at

Acova Vip Music Edition Product Page

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August 22, 2008

Sony Introduces the S-Airplay Wireless System


Recently we gave you our review of the Mint 220 Wireless iPod Dock, now another player has entered the wireless iPod dock fray. Sony has announced the S-Airplay Wireless Multi-Room Audio System. One thing we'll say about the S-Airplay is the sleek glossy design is beautiful. The Sony press release starts out:

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 21, 2008 - Sony today took the wraps off its new wireless, multi-room audio system for listening to iPod® players.

The new S-AIRPLAY™ system features Sony's S-Air™ technology, which provides a practical, wireless multi-room solution without complicated setup requirements. Wireless audio can be transmitted from the system's main docking station in one room to various rooms throughout the home -- up to nearly 164 feet--simply by plugging a separate S-Air wireless speaker into a power outlet.

"This technology makes it easy to listen to music from a compatible iPod without carrying it from room to room," said Andrew Sivori, director of marketing in the personal audio group at Sony Electronics' Digital Imaging and Audio Division. "It's an easy, inexpensive way to get multi-room audio without professional installation."

S-Air technology delivers audio wirelessly to the included speakers without interfering with other household devices. The system comes with one docking station and two S-Air wireless speakers, but it can transmit to up to 10 speakers simultaneously (additional speakers sold separately).

Equipped with an AM/FM tuner, the S-AIRPLAY system's dual source feature lets users listen to music from the iPod player or from a radio station. Listeners in one room can hear their favorite radio station, while listeners in another room can enjoy music from the iPod at the same time.

The S-Airplay looks pretty sharp but since the MSRP comes in at $400, we'd recommend taking a peek at the Mint 220 which comes in at $179.

At [via]

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August 13, 2008

Hands-on Review: Mint 220 Digital Music Station

If you're an iPod user, you've probably noticed iPod docks are a dime a dozen. Once in awhile, an iPod dock comes along that go above and beyond the call of duty. The dock we're talking about is the Mint 220 Digital Music Station, a dock and wireless speaker system all in one. Before we start the review, let's look at the features list:

  • The Mint 220 Digital Music Station offers the highest fidelity digital audio, using Texas Instruments' PurePath Digital audio amplification for optimal performance.
  • Wireless 2.4GHz lossless audio streaming from your Mac or PC with the included Mint USB Wireless Transmitter
  • Mint's Di-Fi™ digital-sound is delivered from your PC or Mac wirelessly, with no loss of fidelity, up to 45 feet or 15 meters
  • Careful craftsmanship, acoustic engineering and sealed enclosure design offer precise audio usually found only in much pricier systems
  • Two 3.5" full-range Peerless® transducers for big speaker sound and compact, mini-speaker versatility.
ArrowContinue reading: "Hands-on Review: Mint 220 Digital Music Station"

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August 7, 2008

PCMag Lists the Best media Extenders on the Market


It seems every week a new media extender hit's the streets so it can get a little overwhelming deciding which one to get. We ran across a decent article at the gives a breakdown of the major media exteners on the market. Here's a list of the devices they mention (Click the links below to see what we here at NAV had to say about each device):

Overall, they did a good job with the list so be sure to stop by and see what PCMag has to say about the best media extenders on the market.


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