Logitech, which has been showing off some rather progressive products of late, ventures into the realm of the connected home with their Wireless DJ Music System. Technically classified as a wireless bridge, the Wireless DJ will stream music from your PC to a receiver plugged into your stereo system or anything with RCA audio inputs. What separates the Wireless DJ from other audio streamers is an affordable price of $250 US coupled with its ability to play music from either your iTunes or Windows Media Player library – including DRM protected music. But just how does it do that? Read our review to find out.
Features and Design
Among first inspection, there is no doubt that the team responsible for the Wireless DJ Music System relied on the success of the Harmony remotes product line. The Wireless DJ remote is very stylish with its sleek lines, metallic body and blue LED display. The remote control has a hefty feel to it that resonates an impression of quality.
There are three sections of controls on the Wireless DJ remote. The top section features the skip backwards, play/pause and skip forward buttons, the middle section includes a jog dial and select button for scrolling through your playlist and songs in addition to four navigational controls which include back, home, and two playlist buttons. The third section of the remote is dedicated to the volume settings. Powering the remote control is an integrated lithium-ion battery which charges when the remote is plugged into the receiver base.
The Wireless DJ Music System uses the 2.4GHz frequency band to wirelessly transmit the audio signal from your PC and the included transmitter, to the base station receiver (which also doubles as the charger to remote control). You can install more than one receiver, in different rooms for example, and then label that room using the Streampoint software. The music system can then stream music to the desired room simply by selecting the zone you want with the remote control. Unfortunately you cannot stream music to different rooms/zones at the same time like you can with the Sonos Music System; you can only listen to one zone at a time. Additional wireless receivers cost a spendy $80 each, nearly 1/3rd of the systems total cost.
When it comes to music formats, the Wireless DJ definitely has its pros and cons. While the Wireless DJ can stream music from your iTunes, Music Match Jukebox 9.0 and Windows Media Player 9 (or higher) library, including DRM protected songs, it is limited to the audio formats that iTunes and WMP support such as WMA, AAC, and MP3. The good news is that if you have a plug-in for your music player to support other formats such as FLAC or Ogg Vorbis, then the Wireless DJ will play those as well; as long as you are in PC control mode. Remember, the Wireless DJ Music System is an audio bridge, not a media streamer. This means it is not controlling the music directly per say, rather it is relaying what your music player (such as iTunes) is already playing, only it’s outputting it through the Wireless DJ rather than your PCs sound card.
The Wireless DJ Music System is only compatible with Windows XP based PCs, and Logitech recommends that you have at least 1GB of memory in that system. There is no current support for Apple based operating systems.
Image Courtesy of Logitech
Setup and Use
Installing the Wireless DJ Music System is a rather easy process. Just install the software, plug in the transmitter to your PC via a USB connection, plug the receiver and remote control into your home theater receiver or music system and you are ready to roll. Just make sure that your receiver is within range of the transmitter. The remote control has a little icon, similar to what you would see on a cell phone that will tell you the signal strength of the receiver.
We found the range of the Wireless DJ to be somewhat limiting, only about 90ft through a single wall. Now because it does not piggy-back on your homes WiFi network, you can experience possible interference from other electronics in the home such as a microwave or cordless phone. Even with a weak signal though, we experienced few-if-any dropouts when streaming music. Sound quality is dependant on the song quality more than anything.
The StreamPoint Software works, but is not very kind to your PC. When running in the background we found that it used a good portion of our test systems memory when it searches our music library for new songs. We recommend turning the automatic search off, and then manually running it when you can. This will keep its crippling effects to a minimum.
Logitech StreamPoint Software
If you enjoy listening to podcasts and playlist, you must first add them to your Windows Media Player or iTunes software before you can play them back through the Wireless DJ. This includes internet radio stations which can actually be a chore to add to WMP for example. They Wireless DJ feels like it was designed specifically for WMP rather than Music Match Jukebox or iTunes, although it does work – it’s just not as intuitive.
Another way that you can play music or any audio file for that matter, through the Wireless DJ is by switching the software into PC control mode. This essentially lets you control the music using the software installed on your PC versus using the remote control. By doing this, the Wireless DJ will output any sound that is being played on your PC, as long as its played with your music player. This includes audio from your movies or even some of your games.
One of the biggest caveats to an audio bridge device is that it requires your PC be turned on at all times in order to operate. Systems like the Roku SoundBridge or Slim Devices Squeezebox can actually operate independently with limited functionality, when your PC is turned off, and the Wireless DJ cannot. This includes for the most part streaming radio stations or podcasts. All media streamers without internal storage will require that your PC stay on in order to access your music library.
There are a plethora of music streamers on the market, so you really have a lot of options to choose from. If you do not have a wireless network in your home, and would rather not spend a lot of money on a system, then the Wireless DJ is a match made in heaven. And while it’s not without its faults, the Wireless DJ is an all around good performer that looks good and sounds great. If you do have a wireless network, then you might want to check out the Slim Devices Squeezebox which has better wireless range, and more features, although it cannot stream to other rooms; you would have to buy multiple units for that.
– Sexy and stylish
– Good audio quality
– Compatible with iTunes, Music Match and WMP
– Plays DRM and subscription based music
– Extra receivers are expensive
– Limited operating range
– Cannot stream music to more than one room at a time
– Not compatible with Apple systems