Tag Archives: Internet Radio

The Como Audio Amico and Musica via Kickstarter

The Como Audio Amico

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tom Ally, who writes:

Saw this and wanted you to know about it since you mentioned loving his past Kickstarter [for the Solo WiFi radio].

I backed the Musica model instead of the Amico since it still has 18 days left and it had a CD player in it but thought you would like the portable Amico

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/819585793/como-audio-amico-portable-multi-room-wifi-music-sy

Thanks for the tip, Tom!

If I didn’t already own the Como Audio Solo, I would grab the Amico. It appears to be nearly identical to the Solo–save, in a vertical orientation–and includes an internal rechargeable battery option.

Here’s a full list of its specifications and features:

  • Multi-room: play different sources in every room or sync them all together
  • Internet radio accessing 30,000+ stations
  • Spotify
  • Bluetooth with aptX
  • High performance FM Tuner 
  • DAB+ (International version only)  DAB+ upgrade and VAT is included in shipping cost
  • NFC Android Bluetooth connection
  • DLNA WIFI Music player allowing easy navigation and playback through a USB or network-shared library of music files including AAC+, MP3, WMA, WAV, and FLAC
  • High-Res inputs: 1 analog and 1 USB
  • Dual alarm clock functionality
  • Snooze function
  • Sleep Timer
  • 2 X 30 watt RMS amplifier, <1% THD
  • 3″ woofer with four layer voice coil
  • 3/4″ dome tweeter
  • Independent Remote Control
  • Universal Switching Power Supply 110-240V

I continue to be very pleased with my Como Audio Solo–it pretty much lives in my radio shack and I use it daily to catch up on my favorite news and music sources. I distribute the Solo’s audio throughout the house with my SSTRAN AMT3000 AM transmitter–admittedly, an old school version of Como’s “multi-room audio sync”–!

When I need a battery-powered portable WiFi radio these days, I read for my Sangean WFR-28–thus, the Amico would be a pretty pricey impulse purchase for me at this point!

The Como Audio Musica

I find it fascinating Como has also introduced the Musica model which includes a CD player–somewhat of a unique feature in 2017.

Here are the Musica specifications and features:

  • Multi-Room: play different sources in every room or sync them all together
  • Internet radio accessing 30,000+ stations
  • Integrated music streaming services: Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Napster, Amazon Music* (*Available Winter 2017)
  • On-board single slot-loading CD player engineered to meet stringent car audio standards
  • Supported CD formats: CD, CD-R, CD-RW/MP3/WMA
  • Bluetooth with aptX & AAC
  • High performance FM Tuner
  • DAB+ (International version only) – DAB+ upgrade and VAT is included in shipping cost
  • NFC Android Bluetooth connection
  • DLNA WIFI Music player allowing easy navigation and playback through a USB or network-shared library of music files including AAC+, MP3, WMA, WAV, and FLAC
  • Ethernet connection
  • High-Res inputs: 2 analog, 1 optical
  • Dual alarm clock functionality
  • Snooze function
  • Sleep Timer
  • 2 X 30 watt RMS amplifier, <1% THD
  • 2 X 3″ woofer with four layer voice coil
  • 2 X 3/4″ dome tweeter
  • Independent Remote Control
  • Universal Switching Power Supply 110-240V
  • Dimensions: 405 mm W x 143 mm H x 165.5mm D (including antenna)
  • Weight: 9.3 lbs, 4.21 kg

I still have (quite literally) hundreds of CDs. While many have been converted to AAC and MP3 formats, there’s still something to be said for CD audio fidelity and enjoying a proper album format.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a Como Audio device, you might consider the new Amico and Musica via Como’s Kickstarter campaign.

Grace Digital Mondo+ Kickstarter

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tom Ally, who writes:

I remember that article you wrote about Wi-fi radios and just saw this Kickstarter on Facebook that may interest you:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1209003580/mondo

[T]hey are saying it is supposed to ship out sometime next month. [S]ome of the things it has –over the old Mondo–is Bluetooth 4.1 and Chromecast built in.

Thank you, Tom! Here’s the product description from Kickstarter:

The home audio market is evolving, and Grace Digital is leading the way. We combined the latest Wi-Fi audio streaming technologies from Google, added Bluetooth audio streaming, and over 30,000 AM/FM/HD radio stations from around the corner to across the globe. The Grace Mondo+ can even be controlled by the Google Assistant on devices like Google Home, the front panel controls, free smartphone apps, or the included remote control. We wrapped the technology in a beautifully crafted cabinet, and drive the audio with custom made speaker drivers and high performance class D digital amplification, ensuring the best possible listening experience in a perfectly compact design. We hope you love the Mondo+ as much as we do!

This is an “all or nothing” campaign, meaning it’ll have to be fully funded for the production run to become reality.

As a Kickstarter supporter, the pricing is in line with the Grace Digital Mondo (we reviewed last year).

I am still quite happy with my Como Audio Solo, so will not plan to back the Mondo+ at this time. If I was interested, I would splurge for the $174 Early Bird package which includes a Lithium Ion battery pack. Shipping could be as early as April 2017.

Check out full details and a video on Kickstarter.

Thanks, Tom, for the tip! I would certainly welcome a review of the Mondo+ from any Kickstarter backers!

Raspberry Pi WiFi Radio with touch screen

For those of us who like to tinker with the Raspberry Pi, this looks like a fun weekend project.

It’s multi-step, but I believe this project could be completed by almost anyone–you wouldn’t have to be a Raspberry Pi or Python guru (code snippets can be downloaded, for example).

Here’s a short video demonstration of the finished Raspberry Pi Touchscreen WiFi Radio:

Click here to view on YouTube.

The whole project is documented on the superb AdaFruit website. 

Guest Post: Richard builds a WiFi radio with the Raspberry Pi

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Schreiber (KE7KRF), who shares the following guest post:


Yet Another Internet Radio!

by Richard Schreiber (KE7KRF)

After deciding that an internet radio could be an important source of entertainment in our household, we formulated a few general guidelines:

  • We opted not to use an aggregator but would pick and choose stations we enjoyed and discover the URL’s ourselves. Also would be satisfied with a couple of dozen stations. Based on a recent decision to pare down the number of TV channels we were paying for, having access to hundreds of stations seemed impractical and unnecessary.
  • The price had to be affordable, thus eliminating many stand-alone, commercially available internet radios.
  • We already owned a quality portable speaker (Bose SoundLink Mini) so the internet radio didn’t need to duplicate that component.
  • Didn’t want to tie up nor be tethered to a laptop, tablet, or netbook. We predicted that would eventually lead to less and less use of the radio.

After some research, coupled with the fact I already had some experience with Raspberry Pi computers, that small device appeared to be our best choice. I had recently purchased the newer 2 B model, which has plenty of computing power, and had installed Ubuntu Linaro as the OS. (As an aside, this OS has not to my knowledge been upgraded for the latest Raspberry Pi 3). There are several other operating systems that will work just as well including the official Raspbian OS available through the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

I installed the MPD music player daemon and its client MPC, which is used to add to and delete station URL’s from the playlist, control volume, etc. An important find was the iPhone app called MPod which provides remote wireless access to the features of MPC. At the moment it is a free app for the iPhone (in my case the iPod Touch).

For portability, my Raspberry Pi is being used “headless”, meaning it is not connected to a monitor, keyboard or mouse. If maintenance is required you can use PuTTY, a SSH and telnet client, wirelessly from a Windows (or MAC?) PC, using a command-line interface. Mainly this is needed to shut down the Raspberry Pi properly before turning off the power, but it boots completely on its own when powered up. The MPod app will then load the playlist of stations and let you start playing the radio without direct access to the Raspberry Pi.

The sound output of my Raspberry Pi is connected to the auxiliary port of our Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker. But instead of trying to implement Bluetooth on the Raspberry Pi, I took the easy way out and use a direct connection. The sound reproduction from this setup is very good, though audiophiles might be somewhat more critical.

The above represents a minimal investment if you already have a good speaker on hand. It does require some on-line research and learning at least enough to install the OS and software. The good news is that there are many websites and forums providing step-by-step instructions and helpful hobbyists willing to explain some of the more cryptic aspects. A few of the websites that I found to be helpful:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Raspberry-Pi-Internet

http://cagewebdev.com/raspberry-pi-playing-internet-radio

https://learn.adafruit.com/raspberry-pi-radio-player-with-touchscreen

A couple of these also explain how to add a display to your Raspberry Pi internet radio.

Our Raspberry Pi radio is on each evening and has been trouble free. It is worth mentioning that this is a very portable setup, and can even be powered by a battery pack (the kind used for recharging tablets and cell phones) for a few hours. Of course you need to be near a wifi hotspot.


Thank you, Richard! What a great way to use the inexpensive Raspberry Pi. I have a spare Pi2 and an amplified speaker here at the house. Though I don’t need another WiFi radio, it would be fun putting this little system together. 

Radio Garden: An addictive way to scan online radio stations

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors David and Monti who share a link to Radio Garden, a new web-based interface for exploring online radio stations across the globe.

[…]Radio Garden, which launched today, is a similar concept—a way to know humanity through its sounds, through its music. It’s an interactive map that lets you tune into any one of thousands of radio stations all over the world in real time. Exploring the site is both immersive and a bit disorienting—it offers the sense of lurking near Earth as an outsider. In an instant, you can click to any dot on the map and hear what’s playing on the radio there, from Miami to Lahore to Berlin to Sulaymaniyah and beyond.

The project, created for the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision by the interactive design firms Studio Puckey and Moniker, was built using an open-source WebGL globe that draws from thousands of radio stations—terrestrial and online-only streams—overlaid with Bing satellite imagery.

The result is the best kind of internet rabbit hole: Engrossing, perspective shifting, provocative, and delightful. […]

Read the full article at The Atlantic.

Click here to use Radio Garden.