Sunday, August 29, 2010

Domino D3

I have always been a fan of internet radios because of their capability to bring to your acoustic sensors (your flat ears, I mean) radio stations from all over the world. From places and tongues you neither saw nor heard, never ever...

I have owned a couple of such devices in the past... only problem was, they could only receive stations from the internet. There are of course many different sources for sound and music available: traditional FM radio (ok, also AM for old romantics), DAB radio, dedicated MP3 players, Aux-in for other (external) sources, UPnP shared Media via Wifi LANs, and that's about everything there is. The sound quality you get from such devices is typically of the same level among the sources they support, and typically sounds outstanding to my ears (for middle aged someone's hearing standards). All is fine except FM, because this, as well as DAB, depends on areal reception and if that is poor (as in my own FM case) then piss it! No good!

Anyways, my old radio, a combined FM and iPod/iPhone (player and charger) had lousy FM reception that drove Rita, my spouse, up the walls... so one day I gave up on her whining and started looking for something better. Window-shopping at the Apple store, my eye fell upon this Revo Domino D3 model shown here... I was surprised to find out that it supported all what I mentioned above and even last.fm for subscription holders. But the single factor that convinced me (over and above user reviews) was the fact that its display was a wee-tiny but nevertheless ├╝ber cool monochrome OLED panel! Wow! Never had a device with an OLED panel before, so I wanted to buy the Domino just to own one! What's that as a selection criterion for buying a radio, you might wonder! Well, unless you've been aware of my geekness you won't be able to grasp it! Gottahav'it kinda guy...

Thank God, the rest of the Revo proved even better than the manual described and the user reviews. The rest of the family said the sound (enhanced with a small bass-reflex and a digital equalizer) was crystal clear, and that's what counts for them (see, mine are normal people... I'm the weirdo at home... I was still more excited about the OLED...).

In the meantime, I connected the sound output of an iPad docking station (that I use for battery charging) to Domino's aux-in, and this way I could use the iPad as one of its sound sources as well. Rita uses her iPhone mount on top of the box (see shot above) for charging and music playing. But that's not all by far.

Over time I have accumulated music file gigabytes upon gigabytes on my server computer up, in the loft, (a 27 inch i7 Quad 2T iMac) and even more music on the 2T disk of a Time-Capsule that I'm using in my house wifi LAN. Via UPnP media sharing, the Domino is now capable of playing my server music (from the iMac's iTunes library) with, relatively speaking, 'outstanding' quality (to my ears that is...).

BTW, via an Internet setup, called Frontier Silicon Radio Portal, Revo authorizes you to create a selection of internet radio stations, and then select them directly on the Internet part of the radio itself. Those stations that you favor and would like to have easily selected without much fuss and searching, you subsequently store on memory via the remote control's shortcut key buttons, 1 to 10. And finally, for those of you with plenty of dough to waste, Revo can access your Last.fm account. Only problem, subscription to Last.fm comes with a price for Domino to use it.

Access to all the radio sources occurs if you press the Mode key. Needless to say, Rita is plain happy with just four national stations that I stored for her on the DAB source. The remaining goodies are only for geeks like me, when I'm home alone or when others visit us and I wanna show off, in other words, a geek's favorite passtime.

Right now, as I'm writing this, Domino is playing off the server a supercool "Riding with the King" with Clapton and legendary B.B.King! I am a sucker for blues, you see...

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