Internet radios used to be ugly square boxes on which finding a station worth tuning into was a matter of luck and the output anything but refined. The Monitor Audio Airstream 10, however, is a thoroughbred network music streamer that also offers DAB radio and plays iTunes music and podcasts.
While video streaming still has its limitations, streaming music around the home can be done using even a basic Wi-Fi network. You don't need to worry about the latest wireless standards or confusing acronyms denoting that your new hardware will 'talk' to the items in your home entertainment setup.
As well as being vastly less complicated than media streamers that push video around, music streamers such as the Monitor Audio Airstream 10 are more reliable than their cleverer cousins and, often, easier on the eye.
See also: DAB/Internet radio reviews
It's a versatile device too: with DAB and FM it has regular radio covered, and there is a mode called "Pure Lounge" which is a collection of internet-based audio. There's a set of internet radio stations from around the world, and a large collection of podcasts; there's Listen Again, which has a collection of radio shows available for a second listen (mainly BBC iPlayer shows); finally there's a large collection of ambient mood sounds (bird tweets, rainforest, dogs barking, and so on). You can also hook to either a PC or Mac for media streaming, and navigating
So it is with the Monitor Audio Airstream 10, a beautiful wooden-clad Wi-Fi and DAB radio that's a triumph of ease to set up. The stepped back design is a talking point in itself, whlle the quirky curves demand the Airstream be admired from every angle. The sound quality lives up to the promising looks too. A noticeably deeper, more bass-laden output results from that heavy duty solid wood and chunky metal construction. Other DAB Wi-Fi devices lose out by being encased in plastic.
Monitor Audio is a speaker manufacturer of some repute, so it's no surprise to find the 7 Watt speaker produces some great results.
Setting up the Monitor Audio Airstream 10 couldn't be simpler. It's a mains-powered player with its own wireless module which means it can be placed anywhere you wish and doesn't need to be physically connected to the network by ethernet. The device may be limited to mains use, but the excellent build means it's too heavy to lug further than the garden anyway.
A solid aerial extends from the left, while six hardware buttons allow direct access to the DAB and internet radio station presets.
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