Mark shares his preliminary C.Crane CC WiFi-3 notes

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark, who recently shared his notes about the new CC Wifi 3 that only recently started shipping:

Howdy Thomas,

I received the CCWiFi3 [last week]. I was surprised at the small box compared to my CCWiFi2. After opening I found the inner box tightly fitted to the outer shipping container. The radio box is quite nice with graphics and I will keep it for later use if needed.

When I took the radio out of the box it seemed lighter so I weighed it. The CCWiFi3 weighs 1 lbs compared to the CCWiFi2 that weighs 1 lbs 2.8 oz (excluding power adapters and antenna). I’ll be waiting to hear what the tech people will find inside the new radio.

Within five minutes I had the radio plugged in, the SSID found and the password entered without issues.

[…]For the first attempt at receiving an internet broadcast I searched for the FCC assigned call sign WFLF as it appears on my old CCWiFi2 and Reciva database; the search found nothing. Surprised, I went to the Skytune Internet Radio aggregator and did another search; again, nothing was found. On a whim I searched for the ‘vanity’ call sign WFLA and received five hits. Arbitrarily, I entered one for Orlando and the station WFLF was heard.

The next attempt was to get a general idea of the audio quality so I did a simple search for ‘deep’ for Soma FM – Deep Space One (ambient music). Search results were immediately returned and after a bit of scrolling I found Deep Space One. Comparing the audio with that of the CCWiFi2 my first impression was that the audio quality was similar. I tried different EQ settings and thought that ‘Flat’ was preferred; at least for the time being.

With my Firefox browser I went to the ‘Radio Preset Page’ and attempted to enter a URL of a stream; I was particularly interested in this aspect of the CCWiFi3. The URL with a .pls file extension for Still Stream (another ambient music stream) was entered and after a brief buffering the broadcast was heard. I then used an alternative URL with an .asx file extension for the same stream and it also worked. While remaining on the preset page I went ahead and made it a preset without any real difficulties though the software was a bit clunky and slow. It would have been nice to be able to copy & paste the URL into the preset page but I wasn’t able to do that.

[The next day] l I again powdered up the radio. I wanted to understand the 10 remote selectable presets and 100+ sequence list capabilities. Surprisingly and completely unanticipated, when I turned on the radio it automatically went into an update mode. If I had known I would have deferred the update until I could put the radio on a UPS in case there was a power failure. Often in the morning the power company makes switches to the grid with a subsequent momentary loss of power. I held my breath and the update was performed flawlessly. As expected, there was a momentary loss of power during a switch later today at 1:00pm.

[…]Using the ‘Radio Preset Page’ and the remote I began to fill the first 10 presets; while I was at it, I randomly changed the channel numbers or ‘ID’ of the selections using the ‘move’ option to get a better feel of the software capabilities; as noted before it is clunky and slow.

After 10 presents I added four more for a total of 14, in other words, 10 presets and 4, or 14 on the sequence list—if that sounds right. I think this will become a point of controversy. I suspect many will expect 100 presets selectable with the remote as with the older radio but in actuality they will only have 10 selectable on the remote (a disappointment to me). That difference wasn’t really explained in the advertisement or reviews. The other channels besides/including the first 10 presets and 100+ will be selected by scrolling using the preset list on the radio’s display or by using the ‘Radio Preset Page’.

Using the radio’s display is not really a problem but using it will require it being placed or viewed closely at eye level to properly view it and scroll using the radio’s dial or, preferably, with the remote (the dial had been an issue with the older radios due to a possible weak mechanical design although I never had a problem with it). In each case the person will have to stand in front of the radio while making a selection beyond the first 10 presets.

However, the ‘Radio Preset Page’ can be used in conjunction with a smartphone, tablet, or computer. That will entail scrolling through page by page (if the page is unknown) containing only 10 channels or ID’s each to find the desired one; while using clunky and slow software…

[…]C.Crane considers the [preset] page to be reserved for the advanced user; however, it will probably become the main method of channel selection!

I really wish that the remote could retrieve all presets remotely instead of having to stand in front of the radio or use additional electronic devices to make a selection. It seems the remote has little value beyond selecting the first 10 presets or turning the radio on and off; if that’s the case the remote is really not needed; use the front panel buttons.

[…]The display of the CCWiFi3 bothers me; I wonder if something can be done with software to change the font, display brightness, timing, whatever… It just unsettles me.

An annoyance is the ‘soft-start’ of the audio after the channel is selected. I feel as if my head is in a ball of cotton that is slowly taken off.

I thought I would never, ever say it but I will miss the little credit card remote with the older radio. Initially, I hated it and tried to find a replacement. After a month or so of use I found it very convenient to use and using the radio at night I could feel the buttons and make a selection while it sat flat on a table; I guess I can do the same with the new remote. I had hoped the credit card remote would be compatible with the CCWiFi3 but no, it is not.

I have mentioned the confusion with regard to the Skytune database concerning the FCC assigned and non-assigned or ‘vanity’ broadcast call signs; perhaps the Skytune database can make corrections or allowances. I suspect the issue I experienced will reappear with other users as the database achieves greater use.

Additionally, I think the Skytune database should include the streaming protocols including bitrates in the same manner as they were supplied by Reciva. Although some do provide it, it would be nice to also identify the AM or FM broadcast stream and operating frequency. I suspect they can only display what they have been provided with in the suggestions list. Perhaps Skytune can establish a strict uniform reporting standard.

[I]n all honesty, both CCWiFi radios sounded nearly identical. I will say a very critical comparison will reveal a difference but not to any significance. During the three-hour comparison I would select one radio then another while I would take care of tasks; reading and note taking. There was more than one instance that I forgot which radio was playing–I had to double check! I would suggest it is more of a ‘feeling’ dependent on a particular musical composition than anything else. It reminds me of the days when I was in B&W photography, I would agonize over one print compared to another based on a very slight difference in contrast; both prints were good but they had a slight and barely perceptible difference in ‘feeling’– I would be making a judgment on a feeling… […]What is consistently amazing to me is the quality of the audio from such small speakers; I don’t have any complaints.

Additionally, I compared the audio levels of all receivers and to my surprise I found they were nearly the same and provided ample sound across the room while tuned to WSHU.

During an extended conversation some months ago with the C.Crane people I mentioned that it sure would be nice if the next radio, CCWiFi4, will have the option of using Bluetooth stereo speakers. I also suggested they could offer a suitable selection of speakers. I was told it was the trend in internet radios and it just might happen…

Overall, I am pleased with the CCWiFi3. I would like to think there will be upgrades to make it even better.

Thanks for sharing your notes, Mark! I’ve been enjoying my CC Wifi 3 nearly every morning since I first tested it–so far, I’ve been very pleased. It has become a great office radio.

Spread the radio love

5 thoughts on “Mark shares his preliminary C.Crane CC WiFi-3 notes

  1. Steve Sybesma

    I found that Skytune-enabled radios, while they may make very little use of IPv6 or any at all, still require IPv6 to be enabled on your home network. If it detects IPv6 disabled (as on mine where all network devices that have that option are disabled), it either goes into deep sleep (CC Wifi 3) or else goes into a boot loop (Ocean Digital radio that has Skytune). I experienced this three times in a row and no other device on my 60-device home network (including 4 previous non-Skytune radios) ever behaved that way.

    Skytune doesn’t come up on a wikipedia search so I thought I would share what I found about it since it seems a little mysterious, unlike Reciva who was pretty open about who they were.

    Information about who is behind Skytune.net:

    https://www.whois.com/whois/skytune.net

    Points to tedkong@aldtech.com

    http://aldtech.com/

    Advanced Linux Design is a Hong Kong-based company.

    Reply
  2. Michael Isherwood

    I miss Pandora! Too bad ! Maybe the new provider will eventually carry it. They should have designed it to Bluetooth with good speakers. Instead of making it the Bluetooth receiver!

    Reply
  3. TheZ

    The speaker of the CC WIFI-3 does ok for the radio size. The audio from the headphone jack is high quality! On the weight of the radio, I would prefer that they add some ballast weight to the interior to keep the radio from sliding around on a desktop, or add stickier rubber feet

    Reply
  4. Dave500

    I also received my CC WiFi-3 last week. I found setup to be very intuitive, and had over 40 OTR stations in the presets within 15 minutes. I’ve used it every night for 10 hours, and have had no difficulties. It loads allot faster than the CC WiFi-2. Once I learned where the buttons were, I found it easy to search my presets in the dark. The display brightness adjustment is excellent for nighttime use. For listening to old time radio, this is excellent. BTW, I also own a Sangean & several Grace WiFi radios, but like the C Crane the best by far. I own allot of C Crane radios, and am a big fan of the company.

    Reply

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