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Tangent Quattro Tabletop Internet Radio

More Than 16,000 Internet Radio Stations Worldwide

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Tangent Quattro Tabletop Internet Radio
I first saw them from a distance while attending a trade show presentation of some new stereo loudspeakers and I couldn't take my eyes off them. I'm referring to the Tangent series of tabletop radios. Their small size, cool styling and attractive colors made me take a closer look.

Tangent Radios

There are five Tangent radios, each with different features and front panel styling and all with a high quality look and feel. One model, the Duo has an analog clock with an AM/FM tuner and an AUX input and is ideal for a bedside alarm clock. Another version, the Cinque features a built-in CD player, AM/FM tuner and a remote control. The model I chose to review is the Tangent Quattro, a wireless Internet radio with an FM tuner, PC music streaming capability and an auxiliary input for an MP3 player or other portable music player. Two additional models, the Uno, Uno 2go (portable) complete the lineup.

Internet Radio

Internet Radio is a fascinating medium, which is why I chose to review the Tangent Quattro. It's the next generation of radio media that spans every conceivable radio genre - music, talk, opinion and sports from around the world. Internet Radio also gives a voice to the common man. In a way, Internet Radio is to listeners what blogging is to readers – a way to get out your message to those who want to hear it. There are literally thousands of Internet Radio stations from every country on the planet and they can be accessed on your computer or on an Internet Radio enabled component such as the Tangent Quattro. Even the big guys are on Internet Radio; Fox, CNN, ABC, etc. Internet Radio is a kind of podcast without the iPod.

In addition to thousands of listening choices, another advantage of Internet Radio is noise-free reception unlike terrestrial radio broadcasts, especially AM radio. Unless your Internet connection fails, sound quality is excellent, sounding somewhere between FM radio and CD quality sound.

Media Player Audio Streaming from a PC

The Quattro also permits streaming audio content stored on a PC using Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Unfortunately, the Quattro is not compatible with Mac computers, unless the Mac is Windows capable, which mine is not. Regardless, you can stream your entire collection of music stored on a PC to the Quattro, organized by artist, album and playlist. See the list of compatible file formats in the Specifications section at the end of this review.

Update

After posting my review of the Tangent Quattro, I learned that when used with the right application, a Mac computer can act as a UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) media server. After downloading a 30-day trial version of TwonkyMedia, a media server application, and some assistance from Tangent I was able to stream my entire music library from my Mac to the Quattro. It took a bit of head scratching and some patience, but in just minutes I was listening to my favorite tunes. In fact, as soon as I activated the sharing function, the Quattro recognized the Mac as a UPnP server. I was able to select and play my stored music organized by artist, genre, title, etc.

TwonkyMedia is one of several media server applications and an Internet search will reveal other applications. Some are free and others have a one-time charge or require a monthly subscription.

Features & Setup

The Quattro requires a wired or wireless broadband connection. For a wired connection, connect a router to the Ethernet jack on the back panel. For wireless operation, enter the network name and password. This is where I ran into trouble – because I forgot my network ID name and password. If I were better organized this wouldn't have happened.

After locating my network ID and password the Quattro was online and I was offered a choice of 16,345 Internet radio stations! From Kandahar to Keokuk I could select music, talk, news, sports, opinion, even police scanners from various cities, air traffic control, railroad dispatchers and lots more. Stations are organized by location (country or city) and genre, so you can select a station from Armenia or a station from Cleveland and choose news, talk, music, etc. from anywhere in the world. One could spend many hours perusing the fascinating variety of programs. Every time thereafter additional stations were added to the list – the count is now up to 16,464 and growing.

The Media Player streaming feature was a bit more difficult to setup, mostly because PC networking is more difficult to setup than a Mac. Nonetheless, after a little finagling I was able to stream the contents of my PC to the Quattro with good sound quality.

There is a stereo headphone jack for private listening, a stereo LINE OUT jack to connect the Quattro to a home audio system and an stereo AUX IN jack for an MP3 player. That's it – setup is simple (if you have your router ID and password).

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