Logitech Wireless DJ

Logitech Wireless DJ

Logitech_DJ.jpgThe Logitech Wireless DJ corrects nearly every deficiency we identified with Logitech’s Wireless Music System for PC (reviewed July 2006), thanks to much-improved software and a slick remote control. It’s easier to use than Slim Devices’ Squeezebox and costs hundreds less than a Sonos ZP-80; unfortunately, it doesn’t sound nearly as sublime as either.

On the other hand, the Wireless DJ’s audio quality is good enough with high bit-rate audio—we tested it with everything from 320Kb/s MP3s ripped from CDs to WMA Lossless tracks purchased from MusicGiants—that you might not notice what you’re missing.

The system consists of a wireless remote control with a big, blue LCD; a USB-powered Bluetooth transmitter; and an AC-powered Bluetooth receiver that doubles as a charging cradle for the remote. The system is a breeze to set up, and the Bluetooth device pairing occurs almost automatically. As with other Logitech streaming products, you can pair the transmitter with more than one receiver (this model limits you to four), but you can stream to only one receiver at a time. This is another area in which the Squeezebox and Sonos systems are superior—both allow you to stream different music to multiple zones.

Logitech’s website and manual claims its StreamPoint software allows you to play music through your PC speakers while simultaneously streaming the same material to another room—resolving one of the other complaints we voiced about its earlier MusicAnywhere program—but audio on the PC side sounded garbled when we tried it. That’s when we discovered an insert to the manual informing us that this feature “is not in the current release, but should be included in a future update.” Call us crotchety, but if your product can’t do something out of the box, don’t claim otherwise.

The software automatically populates its music library by vacuuming artist, album, track, and genre information from your ID3 tags, plus any installations of Windows Media Player, iTunes, and MusicMatch Jukebox. It picks up playlists, podcasts, and your favorite Internet radio stations from these same sources, and you can manually point the software to any other volumes or folders in which you’ve stashed music.

The Wireless DJ’s remote control is fabulous for a product in this price range. The LCD screen, backlit buttons, and the intuitive scroll wheel with its center selection button render navigation of the onscreen menus a cinch, even in the dark. And because it also uses Bluetooth technology, there’s no line-of-sight requirement.

The Wireless DJ gets around DRM restrictions by using the controlling media player (iTunes for protected AAC tracks, or Windows Media Player for protected WMA) and your PC’s soundcard or onboard audio to play the music in analog format. It then intercepts the audio, converts it to digital, and routes it through a USB port to the transmitter. The transmitter streams the data to the receiver, where it’s converted back to analog and sent to your A/V receiver or powered speakers. Audio quality definitely suffers from these repeated conversions; but as we said, you might not notice it. We detected another minor flaw, however, in the form of a high-pitched noise pulsing in the background. We had to crank our A/V receiver way up to detect it—much louder than we could comfortably listen to music—but that doesn’t make it any less of an imperfection.

Audio purists will happily trade the Wireless DJ’s fancy remote and an extra $50 for a better-sounding wireless Squeezebox; well-heeled audio purists will want to step up to Sonos’ system to get the best of both worlds. But we found plenty of reasons to like Logitech’s Wireless DJ—it delivers a lot of bang for the buck.

Month Reviewed: December 2006
+ STREAMING MUSIC: Slick remote control; supremely easy to use; streams protected tracks.
- STREAMING OBSCENITIES: Audio quality is inferior to other streaming products we’ve tested.
Verdict: 8
URL: www.logitech.com

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