- Solidly-built, integrated device; it has a built-in speaker; it can view and stream files from Windows shared folders on a PC; it can play MP3, WMA, OGG, AAC and Real Audio files
- It doesn't support WPA-AES or WPA2 wireless encryption, it doesn't have an Ethernet port, its file playback method is a little hard to use
For users who want a simple Internet radio and MP3 streaming device, the Grundig IR 6114 is ideal. It's relatively easy to set up and use, and its design is basic, yet functional.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
Grundig's IR 6114 is somewhat of a throwback to the radio-cassette players of old. However, instead of blaring tunes from a crinkly tape, the Grundig can stream MP3 files, and instead of tuning in to dodgy AM/FM signals, it can stream Internet radio stations.
It's a relatively elegant, self-contained audio streaming device, with a built-in 802.11g wireless adapter and speaker. When the Grundig is off, it displays the time on its blue, backlit LCD interface, and has an alarm clock and sleep functions, too. There's only one protruding cable at the back -- it's the power cord, of course -- and it doesn't even have a remote control. In fact, the only port at the back is a 3.5mm stereo headphone/line-out jack.
It's an ideal device for the kitchen, or any other room where a stereo system isn't a viable option. The unit is designed as an Internet radio streaming device, but it can also be used to play music from shared folders located on PCs on a home network. It supports MP3, WMA and OGG files (it will play AAC files, but not ones from the iTunes store, which have copy protection), but before files can be played, the Grundig needs to connect to a wireless network.
Unfortunately, it doesn't support the latest encryption methods; it supports WEP and WPA-TKIP encryption methods, but not WPA-AES or WPA2. This means that some networks might need to be reconfigured to implement lower encryption settings in order for the Grundig to be useable. We had to change our network from WPA-AES to WPA-TKIP.
Once our encryption settings were correct, the Grundig connected to our network without any problems. We were playing music in not time when using the rotary dial and buttons on the top of the unit to scroll through its built-in radio stations. The interface menu is relatively simple to operate, but in case of confusion, Grundig supplies a diagram of the menu structure in the manual. There are three parts to the menu: the radio station features, the media player features, and the configuration options.
Playing audio files off a PC requires that the music folder(s) on that PC be shared. If they are, then the Grundig will find and play the music in them. However, it was a little hard to decipher the way in which files can be played back (if files are to be played sequentially, they must be added to a queue). Thankfully, the player does support M3U playlists, which can make file playback a breeze.
We love that the Grundig can be used straightaway without having to plug in speakers. It's only one speaker, but it supplies surprisingly decent sound. Internet streams encoded at a low volume may not come through loud enough, but most of the streams we tested played back loud enough for a typical home environment. The volume can be easily adjusted by rotating the dial.
Physically, the Grundig is very solid and its control buttons are responsive. The headphone/line-out jack at its rear can be used to plug in a set of speakers, or it can be connected to the auxiliary port of a stereo system. We just wish it had an Ethernet port, and that its file playback process was easier.
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