Grace Internet Radio (Review)

Discussion in 'TSS Radio Hardware Reviews' started by DAB, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    I recently received the Grace Internet Radio from TSS-Radio. I want to thank Taylor for allowing me to check out the Grace Internet Radio and doing this review.

    The Grace Internet Radio with iPod Dock and remote control, the description says over 16,000 radio stations from around the world.

    How does it work? The Grace Internet Radio uses a wireless access point (WAP) or Ethernet Cable for internet access to a multitude of online music services. (Works with 802.11 B / G / N routers and 128 WEP, WPA and WPA 2 security, supports HTTP protocol) You can stream internet radio to any room in your home or office and you do not need to use a PC or Mac, though you do need one of those to initially setup the service. You need to go to there you will create an account and if you have existing account with Pandora, Sirius, Live 365 you’ll be able to enter that information so that your Grace Internet Radio will have instant access to your already established accounts. Just a note that you can enter your Sirius info directly on the Grace Radio; going to the web site is much easier and quicker to enter the information.

    For example if you already have a Pandora or Sirius account, you’ll gain access to whatever level of your service. If you have a Pandora One account, you’ll get 192kb streaming, you have Sirius’s Premium Internet, and then you’ll stream at 128kb. One thing to note is that this does not work with XM’s Online Internet Radio. I currently do not have a Sirius account, but was able to use a family member’s online account to test out the service.

    Initial setup is very simply, though it may seem a bit confusing when you first take the Grace out of the box. I was really not sure what to do, but once I plugged it in and powered it up. It immediately searched for a network; once it found my WAP it asked me to internet my login. This basically requires using the scroll wheel to go through letters, numbers or symbols to and push in on the wheel to select. Once you’ve completed the entry of your password, you scroll to Enter and the Grace will login.

    Now you can scroll through to Pandora, Sirius, Live 365 or thousands of over online stations. If you have an account with Real Network for Rhapsody that works as well; though it seems it uses the UK version and not the US version.

    Pandora; you can create a new station, go to your existing stations, it will take it a few seconds to load your station list and then you can just select that station. It will buffer and begin playing you can then thumb up or down along with bookmarking certain songs/artist. Sirius; basically works the same way with the exception of being able to create a station, but you select a station and once it buffers it will begin to play. Podcast need to be setup on the web site, but you’ll have full access to those as well as many other stations. I will say that even after 2 weeks I’ve only scratched the surface on the available content via the Grace Internet Radio.

    Streaming; one of the cool features of the Grace is the ability to stream music from your PC or Mac directly to the device, this also allows you to create playlist (add/remove song). This is one area that I didn’t do a lot of testing, but using Win 7 and Windows Media Player I was able to get the Grace to stream music directly from my library. Though I mainly use iTunes I did move a few dozen songs just for testing only. How cool is it to be in your bedroom and stream the music for your home server or PC/MAC in your living room. I did find you must be on the same network within the same subnet.

    Display; shows 4 lines of text and you can dim or brighten the screen based on if the Grace is active, inactive or in standby. This is very nice because it will allow you to use it in various locations including a bedroom where you’d want the display to be very dim; you can also adjust the contrast to the best level. The display is used to use all the features and settings on the Grace using the scroll wheel and buttons. I really like the fact that the display shows the song/artist information on many of the stations/channels that support this. This works well on Pandora, Sirius and many of the other stations I’ve tried out.

    Sound; 2 speakers rated at 5 watts, this is probably the weakest aspect of the Grace Internet Radio. I have to say sound wise I was very disappointed. The bright spot is that there is a RCA audio out jack on the back of the Grace which will allow you to connect to a high quality sound system. Don’t get me wrong the SQ is acceptable with the built in speakers, but there is very little bass which works fine for use in a bedroom. If you need more bunch you can add a base speaker or as stated above just connect it to a high end sound system.

    WIFI; the description states that the range for WIFI is 300 feet range; in my testing I found this to be very close to reality. I tried it in many various locations and we very pleased with the reception, you can also check the signal strength by going to a menu on the Grace Radio.

    LAN (Ethernet); if you have cable rather than wireless you can still make use of the grace as it works the same way on a cable as it does via wireless. The only difference is that you do not need to internet any login information. I tried the Ethernet connectivity just for testing and of course the drawback to this is that you can’t just move the Grace around, though most will likely use this in a set location.

    Alarms; up to 5 alarms can be setup on the Grace Internet Radio using the iPod or Internet Streaming. There is also a sleep timer, which allows you to go to sleep listening and then wake up to something totally different.

    iPod Dock; works with older and new iPod’s (including iPod Touch 1st and 2nd gen) and this includes the iPhone (1st gen, 3G, 3GS). The dock uses USB to charge so this means all the newer devices can be charged. The iPhone will give a warning that the device isn’t support and ask if you want to use Airplane mode, but I found you can ignore this as I found no real impact to the Grace from the iPhone. I was thinking there might be a problem where you'd get cellular feedback, but I didn't detect any.

    The Grace Internet Radio has a small foot print, measuring 9.75 (L) x 5.25 (D) x 5.75 (H) in and weight a meager 4.59lbs. This will work easy on an office desk and or bed stand. On the rear of the unit you have the LAN connector (Ethernet) Power Plug, Head Jack and 2 RCA Audio Out Jacks. The front has the speakers covered with black grills and the scrolling selector knob. The top includes the buttons for standby, power, and alarm features.

    This shows you the basic wireless setup (very easy to work with)

    Front shot of the Grace Internet Radio (You can see the buttons, ipod dock etc)

    This shot shows it with an iPod Touch docked.

    Now the rear of the Grace (see the LAN connector, R&L RCA outputs, headphone jack and Power)

    In summary the Grace Internet Radio provides a great deal of content most of which is free, though there are commercials on many of these free channels. The ability to also use it for subscription services such as Siriux XM, Rhapsody, Live365 is really a great add on. The SQ isn't that great, but when connected to a stereo system or even a bass tube it sounds great. If you are looking for a really cool alarm clock with lots of extra features this would certainly fit the bill.

    This item is available for immediately shipping from your favorite online retailer listed below

    Sirius Rich likes this.
  2. xan_user

    xan_user Banned

    Nice to see a LAN jack, the grace radio I saw was wifi only.

    still no aux input? :(
  3. Grüpsaar

    Grüpsaar DRC Forum Bum

    Not great sound quality? Hmm, that'd disappointing.
  4. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    Just remember sound quality is very subjective, what I may think is poor others may find okay. I am use to listening to Bose and iKicker systems which are very expensive and high quality systems.

    If used as a bed side radio or office radio the Grace would probably be totally acceptable. Just don't expect any booming/thumping bass. Maybe I should have been more clear on that, but hopefully this response will do that.
  5. IdRatherBeSkiing

    IdRatherBeSkiing Sherbert is not and never will be ice cream

    This sounds interesting. I am looking for a way to wake up to satrad in a way that will free my Tao for my son who has become as big a satrad addict as his dad. My current alarm clock won't wake up to aux in (SL2) so I need to use FM. With this as an alarm clock this may solve my issue.

    I notice a price was not included in the review (or I missed it). I will check out TSS and see. Of course, most of the internet radio stuff is mute up here in the Great White North but the ability to hook up to Sirius would be sufficient (if not too pricy).

    Just curious, does it work with Slacker? I don't see any mention of it in your review so my assumption is not. I assume if it did it would be mentioned.

    Good review.
  6. IdRatherBeSkiing

    IdRatherBeSkiing Sherbert is not and never will be ice cream

    $249.99. Yikes. Maybe a bit overkill. But it would be a nice toy ...
  7. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    Yeah that price is a little shocking. It really is a nice setup though and one thing for sure you'd never not have something to listen too. The possibilities are unlimited really as they are constantly adding stations. No Slacker, but I read on one of their forums that it was coming. Not sure why it wasn't already on there.
  8. Grüpsaar

    Grüpsaar DRC Forum Bum

    I like this radio, or the idea of it. In the last 4 months, I have been researching internet radios with Sirius, and I think it will be my next big buy. Even one that just receives SIR would be okay with me.
  9. Grüpsaar

    Grüpsaar DRC Forum Bum

    I see, well, I think I should be able to cope with that sort of quality. I am not expecting high end quality here. If it's anything in the area of the boomboxes I have for my Sirius radios or how the sats sound on my surround, I can survive. I am an audiophile, But I've grown used to the sound issues with Sirius.

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