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Sound and Vision - The Bristol Show logo

Acoustic Energy Wi-Fi internet radio

Acoustic Energy Wi-Fi radio

Diminutive in stature yet pulling in a steady number of interested listeners to the exhibition stand at The Bristol Show, the Acoustic Energy Wi-Fi Internet radio is a standalone solution to listening to stations streamed over the web.

A central, rotating control knob works alongside a select button to choose stations based on worldwide location; there are also ten presets on hand for storing favourites. There isn’t a graphical representation of the world, you just simply drill down to Europe then United Kingdom and hey presto a list of some four hundred stations is at your fingertips. Choosing another country is as simple as hitting the back key.

The Acoustic Solutions Wi-Fi internet radio uses a broadband connection and links to the network wirelessly via an appropriate broadband router. You don’t then need to switch your PC on to listen to stations as the internal software handles the streaming requests for you.

A similar radio, The Imp Wifi Internet Radio, is also available - the only difference is that the AE Wifi radio features stereo speakers, whereas The Imp is a mono unit (unless you plug in headphones or connect it to a hi-fi system).

Reciva, the company that handles updates and software for the Acoustic Energy Wi-fi radio, continually updates streaming parameters to ensure all feeds are up-to-date. The base software runs on a Linux OS. The Reciva gateway lists over 2500 stations available via the wi-fi radio – not bad, considering the number of those you might actually get ‘round to listening to.
Acoustic Energy Wifi radio
acoustic energy wi-fi radio

Clarity and sonics are dependant on the bitrate of the station tuned to: the Acoustic Energy Wifi radio supports RealAudio, MP3 (shoutcast) and Windows Media streams. BBC stations and many of the local commercial stations sound exactly as you would expect over a PC, but many stations are now investing in higher bitrates as the shift from FM and AM listening patterns continue.

The radio can also handle ‘listen again’ requests; the BBC for example makes programmes available for up to seven days following a ‘live’ broadcast and the Acoustic Energy Wi-fi radio finds no problem in playing these, although the limited screen display space means some searching to find the programme you want. Still, this is no great problem.

Although the Acoustic Energy system looks as if it is hiding away just a single speaker, there are in fact two drivers behind the grille, allowing stereo sound from the box : no need for headphones here, although a ‘phones jack is provided. Stereo separation, of course, isn’t great, but twin drivers are most definitely a bonus.

The raised, tilted display suggests you sit the radio on a table (even a bedside table as the unit is equipped with an alarm function) for day-to-day use – it will also access music content from your PC in any combination of MP3, WMA and RealAudio format.

To access streaming is, of course, free and, taking a quick look at their website, the content provider Reciva is offering its service for a number of other products, allowing a deal of certainty over any future support issues.

Mac users should not feel short-changed, as the Acoustic Energy Wi-fi radio offers support for the AAC format and Apple's Airport WiFi connection protocol (although, strangely, this isn't mentioned on the AE official website, we have been inforrmed that the AE Wifi radio does indeed work with Macs).

Since the rise of broadband and the popularity and low-cost of wireless routers over hard-wired equipment, the Acoustic Energy Wi-Fi radio looks like a good buy. If you already have a wireless network, at around GBP200.00 the Wifi radio should be given serious consideration. If you are out of the coverage area of DAB digital radio, the Acoustic Energy radio gives access to many stations, plus a huge range of international shows.

For: Compact, easy to use and smart; alarm clock functionality
Against: Requires a wireless router (and broadband connection) for results
Verdict: A clever way to receive internet radio without having to power up your PC/Mac each time
Price: GBP199.99

The Acoustic Energy Wi-fi internet radio is now shipping. Find out where you can buy the Acoustic Energy Wi-fi internet radio online.
Acoustic Energy Wi-fi radio Tech Spec

Manufacturer's specification and further details

The AE Wi-Fi radio automatically links into your existing Wi-Fi network (with WEP encryption if enabled) and uses your broadband connection to access the internet radio Gateway. The gateway then uploads channel listings alphabetically by country and genre to your AE Wi-Fi radio fully automatically. You simply select the station name you want using the rotary control knob and LCD display, and press play – as simple as that.

There are currently over 2,500 stations registered on the gateway and more are added every day. Every time the radio is switched off and back on again a new channel listing is uploaded meaning the AE Wi-Fi radio will be fully up to date with all the latest stations.

AE Wi-Fi radio key features:
* Access any radio station anywhere in the world
* Plays live and listen again content
* Daily updated station listings
* Alarm clock radio function
* Use as a media adapter to play stored content
* Fully upgradeable software
* 3.5mm jack output for headphones
* Plug and play simplicity
* Subscription free

AE Wi-Fi radio technical details:
* Supports Real Audio, MP3 and Windows Media streams
* Stereo sound from unique twin AE drivers
* Uses 802.11b and 802,11g Wi-Fi connectivity
* Offers 128-bit (max) WEP security
* Supports HTTP protocol
* ‘Reply Key’ enables future interactive features
* Uses Linux OS Kernel
* Works with both PC and Macintosh computers


Other links:

more wifi internet radios, on this website.
features and reviews, on this website.
guide to DAB digital radio, on this website.
where to buy DAB digital radio, on this website.
what to buy - a DAB Buyers Guide, on this website.
more DAB radio receiver, system and tuner reviews, on this website.