I'd spotted the Logik Internet Radio box a few months before I bought it, at what I considered a steep £100+. I knew I could listen to all the stations on my Mac already, so £100 didn't sound worth the money.
Then I saw it knocked down to £35 (strange as I've not seen it this cheap since) and snapped it up for the kitchen! It really works perfectly for a background radio, with what pretty much amounts to an unlimited supply of radio (3000+ channels I believe).
The perks don't end there, with a function to read shared iTunes libraries across the network - this becomes a much loved device in our household!
The only downside is that my box doesn't seem to like WPA wireless encryption.
Depending on how much you manage to see it being sold for, I'd recommend this over a usual analog (and possibly even a DAB) any day. You get what you would normally get, and then some!
IN A NUTSHELL
+ Wi-Fi Internet Radio receiver that allows you to access your computer's music files; listen to a huge range of radio stations without interference; BBC "on-demand" available
- Connectivity issues; poor, mono sound; need to have your server on for media file access
- Wi-Fi router
An excursion to buy a new radio saw us coming out of Currys with something a little bit different - an internet radio...
Having a house that's equipped with wi-fi gadgetry has its advantages. Having a baby who loves to press buttons and throw CDs around the room has its disadvantages. In the Logik IR100 we've almost found a solution to the disadvantages and have started using the advantages to the full.
The Logik IR100 is an internet radio receiver sold by the DSG group (Currys, PC World, Comet and the like). Retailing at around £65 (as at August 08) and often available at a discount (we paid just £40) this is a cheap way of finding out whether internet music technology is for you. It sits firmly at the bottom end of the market for kit like this, although, it must be said, the market is hardly flooded with products of a similar type.
The Logik IR100 uses wi-fi and broadband technology to receive and broadcast radio stations. This means that, in areas which are traditional poor for radio reception you can get crystal clear radio so long as you have a decent internet signal. It also means that you are not restricted to the few stations that you can tune into on a conventional (or DAB) radio - you can, quite literally, listen to radio around the world. If it's available on the net then it's available on your Logik.
In addition, you can get your Logik to "talk" to your computer and have it broadcast your music files, wirelessly. In this sense the Logik is rather like a wireless i-Pod. Simply rip your CDs to your computer (stored on Media Player or Real Player) and then you can listen to them remotely (although always within range of your server and router).
Setting up the unit is easy, even for the technologically challenged. The instructions provided are not the best but, unless you've got a non-standard set up for your wireless system they are sufficient to enable you to get the two bits of kit "talking" to one another. Radio stations are automatically updated, as is the time.
Getting the receiver to read your computer's music files is slightly more challenging, especially if you have multiple sources on your wi-fi system, but it's not too bad.
Organising your music is harder - we've not succeeded, as yet, to set up a playlist-style. Instead, we've had to rely on different files on the server to sort our music. Apparently, pre-set play lists are possible, we just can't do it!
Control of the unit is not top notch but again it's not challenging. It's frustrating that you have to make multiple button pushes to change from radio to media files but once you've got the hang of the sequence it's easy to remember. An easy-to-use knob can be rotated to make menu choices from the screen and then pushed to select the choice made.
There are five pre-set radio stations which, given the number of stations there are to choose from (over 6,000), isn't much. To select other stations you have to browse and manually select the channels. There's no clever way of typing in a station name or web address. Instead you sort stations according to music type or country and then the stations will appear in alphabetical order. Apparently, registration with the Reciva website (the providers of the technology behind the unit) allows you to set up a favorites list but I haven't tried this.
Depending on how you have your music files set up on your computer you should be able to select tracks as you would on any media player, by artist, title (piece or album) or genre. You can queue up tracks or albums on the receiver but each track or album must be added manually. If you stop the unit before the queue has finished then when you turn the receiver on again any new tracks you add will be added to the previous queue unless you clear the queue. This can be confusing at first as you wonder why music you haven't selected in that session is playing!
You can listen to the radio with just a router switched on but if you want to access music files then your server (or computer) will need to be on.
Um, hang on a moment!
Being at the bottom of the market has its disadvantages. This is not a great sounding unit. In fact, one wonders sometimes. Here you have a bit of kit that uses the most up-to-date technology available to allow you to access music files and yet it pumps the music out in mono format! I think you'd struggle to buy a mono radio these days!
You can get around this issue by connecting the unit to play through a stereo or sound system but, for me, this defeated the object. I wanted something that was small, discrete, and could be kept out of a toddler's reach. The actual balance of the mono speaker isn't bad though with good treble and bass.
Some radio stations only broadcast in low "resolution" (I'm sure there's a technical term!) and so you can never expect these to be good. Others are very good and certainly on a par with DAB broadcasts (although the mono sound will always limit).
Volume control is good and you can turn the unit up without sound distortion.
From time to time we've had connectivity issues (and it would appear, we're not the only ones). The box is, apparently, hackable, and moving a receiving dongle will fix these issues. Personally I've left ours alone as switching the unit on and off again at the wall, and sometimes rebooting the router, seems to sort most problems. The only downside with this course of action is that you lose the basic connectivity with your server and so have to go through the search and find set up procedure again.
Sometimes the unit will hang and either stop playing or go into a constant "buffering" mode. It's not clear why this happens and sometimes it's only certain radio stations that cause this to happen and so I wonder whether it might actually be the broadcast rather than the unit in these cases.
Like many items of equipment that download and have an internet connection there is a bit of a background hum but it's not too bad and, unless you're a purist, it won't detract from your listening experience.
It would have been nice if the unit had come with a remote control but it doesn't.
Logik seem to support the product with firmware upgrades (we've done one) and these seem to work. There is no real technical support though. As a result (and the fact that this is probably quite a geeky product) there are a number of forums out there with instructions on how to hack the box, how to get stations such as last.fm to play on the box (normally last.fm won't play as it's not a standard streaming station) and other handy tips. You'll void the 12 month warranty on the unit but, given the low cost, are you really bothered?
If you like listening to weird radio stations from obscure countries and don't mind a bit of fiddling, this is a great, relatively cheap gadget.
Listen to over 5000 radio stations over a wireless network with this internet radio. Stream audio files from you PC over a wireless network. The IR100 has five preset stations and is mains powered.