Listening to www.wclv.com away from Your Computer
Comments by Robert Conrad, Radio Seaway's President; and WCLV's former CFO Richard Marschner
|WCLV'S FORMER EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CFO, RICHARD MARSCHNER, HAS INSTALLED A RADIO/INTERNET SYSTEM IN HIS HOME THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST TO OTHER WCLV LISTENERS
For those listeners who can
afford to throw caution (and
their checkbooks) to the wind,
consider the product line from
Sonos, Inc., based in Santa
Barbara, CA. This may be the
ultimate way to listen to radio –
or any type of streaming audio, for that matter.
There are similar competing products, but Sonos is well-established, having sold more than a quarter-million systems worldwide since it was founded in 2002. You can expect to spend about $1,000 on a small system that includes a hand-held controller about the size of an iPhone, a router to connect to you computer (PC or Mac) and two “ZonePlayers.” This setup creates high-quality wirelessly transmitted sound in two different places in your home, each of which may be from the same source – say, both WCLV – or from any number of hundreds and potentially thousands of sources, all accessed through the neat little controller. So you can have WCLV on in the kitchen while you cook, while your mate listens to “Radio Classique” from Paris in the den. Very cool.
The sound quality delivered by Sonos’ hardware and software is first-rate. Most of the music streams from radio stations and other sources – which come from throughout the U.S., Europe and elsewhere – seem to be from captured digital sources. In the case of WCLV, that means you’re listening to the station’s best-sounding output – the one delivered to its digital transmitter in Avon.
The system is available in Cleveland at AudioCraft and other dealers.
Here's another Internet radio to try..the Grace Radio
On Wednesday evening, April 28, 2010, I was sitting on the balcony of my place in Bonita Springs, Florida, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and enjoying a confluence of art, nature and technology. While watching a spectacular sunset on the Gulf, I was listening to WCLV’s live broadcast of the Cavani String Quartet’s performance of the Beethoven Razumosky String Quartets Nos. 7 and 8. It was a time of serenity.
The technology, of course, was WCLV’s world-wide feed to the Internet via an Internet radio removed from our computer. As indicated below, I have been doing this with a Roku Soundbridge radio for sometime. But recently I acquired a Grace Internet radio and was putting it through its paces during the Cavani broadcast.
As was the case with the Soundbridge, the Grace instruction booklet is more confusing than helpful, There are lots of techy initials – WEP, WPA, WPA 2, ESSD, MAC address etc. And, although I tried, I wasn’t able to get the radio to connect to my wireless router. Fortunately, our daughter Susan and family were visiting recently, and son-in-law Doug, who is computer savy, got the Grace radio up and running in about 15 minutes.
The Grace is smaller than the Soundbridge and less expensive - $169.00. The Grace
comes with a listing of thousands of stations in numerous formats. And through the
illuminated screen you can select them by location or genre (format), The pre-set
function is relatively easy. You can preset up to ten stations, although currently, I only
have four pre-sets – WCLV, WFMT, WQXR and WCRB. And if there is a station not
listed on the index, you add can it to your own playlist. I did this for WKCC,
the public station in my home town of Kankakee, Illinois, for whom I have recorded
a series of announcements and have done some fundraising. You can also access
SiriusXM if you have a subscription, as well as Pandora, or put in your own media files.
Unlike the Soundbridge, the radio itself is not stereo, but there is a jack at the back of the
radio to connect to stereo headphones or to feed a set of stereo speakers. The sound
from the speaker in the radio is brighter that the Soundbridge, which is somewhat muffled.
And you have to be careful not to overdrive the volume or it will distort. So I took an
old pair of computer speakers from a long gone Gateway computer and connected them
to the Grace. The resulting stereo sound is quite acceptable. Someday I may get another
Bose to connect to the Grace, I use Bose radios as speakers for my computers at
WCLV, at home and here in Florida.
A couple of deficiencies: The lighted screen that shows the tuning options is pretty dim,
even when there is no light. It’s hard to read the display. And the Grace radio takes longer
to connect than does the Soundbridge. The Soundbridge is almost instantaneous.
The Grace URL is www.GraceDigitalAudio.com.
THE ROKU INTERNET RADIO
People who spend some of the winter away from Cleveland in Florida, Arizona, or elsewhere and don’t want to leave WCLV, The Cleveland Orchestra, Weekend Radio and the rest of WCLV's programming behind, can continue to enjoy the station through the magic of the Internet. Likewise, those listeners in the immediate northeast Ohio area where reception of WCLV may be a problem, including in office buildings, are able to tune in to WCLV’s classical music via their computer. But they may want to be able to hear WCLV in locations other than just at the computer, such as in the kitchen or in the bedroom.
For a number of years I have been spending time during the winter at my condo in Florida, where, not only I can keep in contact with WCLV and do much station work via the computer, but also listen to WCLV and other stations on the Internet through a broadband connection to the local cable company.
For the Florida listening to Internet audio I feed the signal from the computer into a Bose Wave Radio. The quality is excellent. Incidentally, I also use a Bose Wave Radio for listening to Internet audio and CDs in my office at WCLV.
But I also want to hear WCLV in other parts of the condo, such as on ther balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. My initial method was using a jerry-rigged system splitting the feed to the Bose with an Emerson Wireless Speaker System, which transmits the signal to two remote speakers. The problem is that the speakers are set up for stereo, so that if you put the speakers in two separate locations, you get only a right or left feed. Also, the audio quality of the Emerson speakers and the reception are not wonderful. So I started looking for an alternate system.
A friend in the industry suggested the Roku SoundBridge, which is a self-contained Wi-Fi player for Internet Radio and other music content from your computer, plus AM and FM. It is somewhat expensive, $299.00 plus shipping. But its ease and quality of operation is worth it. If your computer is not Wi-Fi equipped, you need to get a Wi-Fi router, which runs around $75.00. On the recommendation of my computer guru here in Florida, I bought the Intellinet Broadband (Model 523431) unit.
Because the Intellinet Wi-Fi router is installed between the cable box and the computer, I can listen to one station or audio source on the Bose and a separate audio source or station on the SoundBridge.
One caveat: unless you are really conversant with the workings of a computer and the Internet, you should let a professional install the Intellinet and set up the SoundBridge. I tried to do it myself and almost immediately lost the Internet and e mail connections. Neither the Intellinet nor the Roku manuals are easy to follow and comprehend. So I finally had the computer guru come in and do the work. It took him an hour. But the results were well worth the cost and time.
NOTE: The provider for WCLV's Windows feed uses the following for WCLV's preset on the SoundBridge. It is . http://ic2.nwrnetwork.com/wclv-fm.m3u. Simply copy this, and paste it in the preset slot for WCLV.
While the audio quality of the SoundBridge is not up to the Bose, it is quite acceptable. However, I can listen to Jackie on First Program as we have breakfast on the balcony while the dolphins cavort in the Gulf and enjoy a glass of wine with WCLV’s Dinner Classics in the background as the sun sets over the Gulf.
You can order the Roku SoundBridge Wi-Fi Music System on the Internet at www.rokulabs.com/products_soundbridge.php. This is not a paid commercial.
An Internet listeners from Atlanta, Sara Frooman, has another suggestion:
As a Macbook user who loves Internet radio, I find Apple's airport wireless is an easy and
an inexpensive way to send sound to a fair distance. All it takes is the airport card in the
computer and an airport connector to the speakers. It's cheaper on eBay, too, and
hardly any extra gear.
Here is information about another WiFi radio receiver, which we have not tested.
Logitech has announced that the Logitech® Squeezebox™ and Transporter™ network music players will support Slacker Inc.’s new Slacker Personal Radio service in the United States. Slacker Personal Radio enables listeners to create, edit and share Internet radio stations or personalize more than 100 professionally programmed stations. By integrating Slacker into Logitech’s unique, Internet-based music service (SqueezeNetwork™), Squeezebox and Transporter owners can listen to Slacker’s free personalized Internet radio stations in any room of their home – even when their computer is turned off.
“Fans of Internet radio want to enjoy their favorite music at any time without the hassle of turning on a computer,” said Robin Selden, vice president of the Logitech Streaming Media business unit. “Until recently, however, Internet radio has been stuck on people’s computers. The Slacker Personal Radio service enables music lovers to create deeper, more diverse radio stations than ever before. And by offering Slacker support, anyone with a Squeezebox or Transporter can easily access their personalized Internet radio anywhere in their home.”
The Logitech Squeezebox and Transporter Network Music Players can also play music from your local collection with support of a wide variety of digital music files, including uncompressed and lossless formats across a true 802.11g wireless or Ethernet network connection. And now, with support for the new Slacker Personal Radio service, music fans in the United States have the ability to create and customize their own Internet radio stations. The extensive Slacker music library is organized into over 100 professionally programmed genre and sub-genre categories and more than 10,000 stations are based on specific artists.
Click here: http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/172/3992.