February 19, 2014 by Grant Clauser
When the day arrives that all music comes from the internet, the devices that deliver it will probably look something like this. Grace Digital’s new Encore wireless music player (GDI-IRC7500) is a an online-music replacement for the old AM/FM that’s still in your den.
This isn’t the first digital radio (can we still call them radios?) or even the first one from Grace Digital, but the Encore has all the signs of being a complete mature music player for the online music ecosystem.
For starters, unlike most wireless speakers these days, it’s completely independent, self-contained. You don’t need AirPlay or Bluetooth to get your music. The Encore connects to your W-Fi network (or wired Ethernet) and has a number of popular music services already built in, including iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, Rhapsody, and Live365. You can also access about 50,000 traditional internet radio stations. There’s no app, so no smart phone is required at all—this makes it perfect for the older Luddite in the family (as long as that Luddite has Wi-Fi).
The Encore gives you buttons for presets to save your favorite stations or channels. You can also plug in a USB drive to play saved music.
The Encore has a traditional tabletop radio design with a black painted wood veneer and a large volume dial. A color LCD screen is for navigating the music options and displaying the Now Playing album art. Unfortunately the LCD display is not a touchscreen. Buttons on the top of the player or the small remote are used for navigation and selection.
The Encore can’t be part of a whole-house internet music system. For that look to Sonos, Nuvo, BlueSound, Pure Audio or other similar systems.
The Grace Digital Encore includes two front stereo drivers and a built-in ported subwoofer. It sells for $250.
Samsung Launches Sonos-like Wireless Music System
Wireless Audio System Basics
What You Need to Know About Wireless Networks
Review: Control4 Wireless Music Bridge
New Bluesound System Includes Wireless Amp and Music Vault
Follow Electronic House
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.
Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.