Summary: iRhythm great for its price, but could be improved....
Review: (..) I actually stumbled upon this while looking for MP3 players at Amazon, and nearly lost it when I realized I could play my 400+ Mp3 files off my 400w stereo! Received the product today, and it took less than 10 minutes to set up (software installation included). My only real problem was that the audio controls on Windows Player (on the PC) needed to be modified (uncheck "digital output only"). That alone took about an hour of my time, since there was no specific support item at iRhythm's website. At any rate, I now have 800 internet music stations from German techno to classical, and the Mp3s are roaring out of my stereo. Unfortunately, the sound comes out lower than normal, so even at full stereo volume the sound is subdued. Still, this is one cool toy!
Summary: A novel, yet very handy gadget of exceptional value!
Review: Before I begin, I must mention that the price point on this gadget is excellent. I was looking at a similar device that transmits audio from a PC to a remote stereo system but does not offer an integrated hardware/software remote solution and costs nearly twice as much.
Today I received my iRhythm tuner in the mail. I was at work so I didn't get to set it up right away, but I immediately popped the batteries in the remote and watched the remote's display light up blood red as it powered on. Way cool.
Upon getting home I was set to install this puppy. Honestly, I was somewhat pessimistic. Although I had read many good reviews about this device, along with a couple of users having trouble with it (however tech support on their newsgroup server seemed to fix their problems right away), I was afraid that this might not be the ideal solution I was hoping it to be.
I was wrong. Installing this device was a breeze. The first thing I did was install the base. Think of this as the base for a cordless phone, it connects to your computer which in turn connects to the internet and then broadcasts its music to your stereo in the other room. (it even uses the same 900mhz as most modern cordless phones). I didn't even have to install the iM radio software because I already had the latest software from online. It instantly recognized the device, no rebooting! The next thing I did was play with the remote, I was able to start and stop the iM radio app using the power button on my remote. Too cool! (The app did crash on me once, I simply pressed the power button on the radio, and the app restarted itself).
The next thing I did was connect the receiver to my stereo in the neighboring room. At first, there was a significant bit of distortion. I realized this was because the volume on my computer was too high. I simply adjusted the computer's volume using the volume controls on the remote and the distortion was gone.
I can't stress how clear the transmission is. The sound coming out of my stereo in my bedroom is identical to the sound coming out of my tethered speakers. There is the occassional static if you walk by the receiver, and when there are quiet moments in a song you can hear a little bit of background static, but nothing that you wouldn't expect from listening to FM radio. Infact, I would go out on a limb and suggest the quality is better than FM radio.
After I got everything hooked up, I laid back on my bed, iRhythm remote in hand and began scanning through the stations. As soon as I found a station I liked, I pressed the "Add to Z band" button, heard a distinct beep from the stereo, and the station was instantly added to my presets. There are 25 bands each with 30 possible stations, and the Z band which is where you put your presets, your MP3 playlists, or your custom streaming audio stations.
I heard a song I liked while I was playing with my new remote, I pressed the smiley button to vote for it and then pressed the info button to get more info. When I got back to my computer later on, the name of the artist was sitting in my in box. All "Best of the Planet(TM)" music at my fingertips and the computer, my keyboard, mouse and ethernet connection were out of the way. It was just me, my stereo and my iRhythm remote control.
I can't say anything bad about this device, the only thing that is annoying is that some of the streaming audio sites are a bit latent and take a while to buffer, even though I have a 3Mbps cable connection. The nice thing is, while you are waiting for it to buffer, iM radio plays a nice intro message, usually the name of the station, and some looping music to let you know that you are still connected. Besides, iM Radio can't control other people's bandwith issues, they are just a third party, organizing streaming content for me.
If you like the idea of being able to control your internet radio stations without being tied to your computer but do not want to deal with wireless audio, there is also the iRhythm K.O. (...) which acts as a stand alone remote. You can always download the software for free to check it out before you buy the hardware. The software interface is almost identical to the hardware interface and you will be all ready to go when you receive your hardware.
Summary: Looks great but does not work for me.....
Review: Everything looks great with the AceriRhythm, except that it does not work for me.
The distance between my pc (with the transmitor) and the stereo set (with the receiver) is only 10 to 12 ft (with a normal wall in between). However, the sound is highly distorted, even though I have re-tuned over and over, and the sound volume levels have been reset everywhere.
I need a stronger signal..... Otherwise it is a great product.
Summary: ALERT - the website that this hardware needs is DEAD
Review: HI - I wrote a review of this earlier this year - and I am still impressed by the fact you can send computer audio or any audio throughout your house...However, it looks like as of about May 1, 2004 the website that the hardware works with is no longer active. When you are deciding whether you want this, factor that into your decision. In my case, it's still good, but I can no longer control the channels. I have to set up some audio playing on the PC first and I can't change channels. Buyer beware.
Summary: Internet on your home stereo!
Review: I have one of the original "Sonicbox" versions of this product and it is great. My favorite time using it was when we had our block party. We were able to chill to Radio Clambake (Internet Jazz station) on my portable boom box while we were eating our hamburgers on the neighbor's driveway.
Summary: Get the one with the pager
Review: I have two of these, one is an older SonicBox version and the other is a newer Acer one with the little mobile pager thingy. The little pager-looking device receives a signal from a component that plugs into the back of your computer with a USB connector. It allows you to listen with headphones while you walk around the house. I've even worked in the yard while listening. My wife and I like to use it to listen to Efolkmusic.com and CelticGrove.com on the E-Band. The Louisiana Radio station is real nice too. It's a neat product for gee-whiz factor, it kind of leaves me wondering what is next though. Other products of this type like the Kerbango haven't lasted, but this one seems to be real nice.
Summary: Software Issues / No Support
Review: I like transmitting audio from my machine to my home stereo. My wife really likes it a lot - Austin radio is terrible - so getting a few thousand more stations is great. I bought the remote tuner though and the software always crashes. I wrote support and got no answer. I've also checked the web -- nothing. Also weekends are bad because many people are using their cordless phones in our building and so we get the loud "BBRRRRPPPP!" every couple of minutes when someone uses their phone or gets a call.
Summary: It works!
Review: I recently wrote a negative review of this product due to a software issue, which in the review I felt was a server problem. The problem is fixed and I want to set the record straight.
Thanks to the IT guru at IRhythm, the tuner now works. There is a bug in the tuner when uninstalled and then reinstalled. After deleting some files as instructed by their IT department, the system is now working great. I've been told their engineers are working on this, "bug."
Other new developments: The pager sized receiving unit has a problem with the line out jack. When inserting the headphone jack all the way into the socket, only one of the stereo channels works. Also, when using the ac adapter in the unit, a loud hum comes over the speakers of my stereo. This isn't a problem when using batteries. These may be a defects only in my unit.
The remote control works flawlessly. I highly recommned this product. My thanks to the IT department at IRhythm.
Summary: Great Little Device - Poor Documentation
Review: I've had this device for several months now and am very pleased with it. Installation was simple although the documentation was sketchy at best. I've read several reviews that complained about low audio levels but haven't experienced that problem. There are numerous settings that can screw up your final level. There's the WAVE input level on your computer, the audio out level on your computer, the volume level on the iRhythm receiver and the volume of your stereo.
When listening to the internet radio it's hard to keep track of what station is where. The pre-printed band descriptions on the back of the unit were already out of date when I received it.
One pleasant surprise that wasn't mentioned in the documentation is that the iRhythm receiver can work on two AAA batteries. I thought that the receiver looked alot like a pager - it even has a belt clip. This allows you to connect a set of headphones directly into the receiver and listen in bed or by the pool. I wouldn't recommend moving around much when you do this, as reception has to be fined tuned to get good reception.
Summary: 2004 review - Great if you can get it for $40 or less!
I first bought a RCA pair of wireless speakers over ebay for listening to internet radio in my bedroom - that was okay, but lacked a headphone option and control of the channels I listen too -- and I was forced to hang out near the bulky speakers.
Now, seeing the Acer/SonicBox thing for $40, I bought it - WORD OF CAUTION: don't get the KO version unless you don't need wireless. As long as you get the little blue pager thingee, you will be able to broadcast from the square transmitter thing 'up to 100 feet'. For me wireless was the whole purpose.
It works pretty well even several rooms away on a different floor. In 2004 though, it looks like the manufacturer is out of business or not supporting the product and about a third of the preprogrammed stations don't seem to work for me. However, I love this product! Now I can listen to channels fro around the world from VOA to VOIran (!)
Interesting Points I found:
* The RCA 900 mhz speaker/transmitters I already owned seem to work with the Sonicbox - though not in stereo. I am trying to figure out how do something neat with this.
* Pray your IRhythm works - mine worked well. I'm not sure how you'd get service or help if it doesn't work. This does seem to be the best remote internet listening choice.
* I'm still trying to figure out how to get extra stations added. I have been able to add most mediaplayer format streaming stations, but haven't had any luck with ReadAudio stations added to 'your personal Z band'. I'm not sure how to get MP3s to work.
* My PC is XP Home and seems to work fine with the tool. There doesn't seem to be much help for hacking or using this product on the web. I'm using these customer reviews as my primary help source! (Thanks Amazon for having the reviews in the first place!)
* This product is actually a pretty cheap way to make yourself a pair of wireless headphones - just plug your good headphones into the pager thingee and an audio source into the transmitter input and you've got decent stereo - though I would not agree with other reviewers that the sound is better than a good FM tuner.
* I have a CABLE MODEM (read: Broadband Connection) which makes the IRhythm a great thing to have. I don't know if I would think the product was so good if I didn't have a fast constant connection to the internet.
It would be great if someone with a dial up modem could tell us all if the product is still any good -- for example, wouldn't it be cool if when you turn on the unit it was smart enough to dial up your internet provider and get you on line, even though you are in another room lying on your bed!