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Turtle Beach AudioTron Review

Highs

  • Many options for customizing and sorting your music

Rating

Our Score 9
User Score 10

Lows

  • Not as easy to setup as advertised
For the music enthusiast, the Audiotron is a MUST; do not deny yourself of its pleasures.

Summary

The Audiotron is a music enthusiast’s dream. The Audiotron organizes and plays up to 10,000 digital audio files stored on a PC. The sound quality is good and I like the idea of adding multiple units on your network allowing you to listen to music throughout the home. I think a great idea would be if they made this unit in different sizes. While the component width looks great in the home theater rack, a unit this wide would look funny in the bedroom next to your mini system. The Audiotron is now one of my favorite toys. I love all the options available in this unit. One touch firmware upgrades and computer integration is great ensuring future compatibility and updated features. The Audiotron costs less than the Dell RIO player and goes for $300. For the music enthusiast, the Audiotron is a MUST; do not deny yourself of its pleasures. Ahh…the sound of digital, advertisement free music.

Pros:
• Many options for customizing and sorting your music.
• Easily upgraded through firmware updates
• Digital quality sounds through the Digital Optical out
• Extend your PC into other rooms of the house

Cons:
• Not as easy to setup as advertised
• The manual should be longer and more detailed, people want this and it would not hurt by doing this
• Difficult streaming of internet music from sources like Shoutcast. The instructions are not clear on other sources
• Very bright LED’s and display

Introduction

Many of us stream internet music through our computers while at home or at work. We use clients like Real Player, Sonique, Winamp, and Windows Media player. The sound quality at 128Kbps is astounding with quality rivaling your cd player to the average ear. I have often longed for a means to stream internet music into my home theater but most players on the market are lacking in both features and design.

What perked my interested in the Audiotron was that not only could it stream MP3’s and music from your computer and the internet but was the fact that it was component width which meant that it fit right in with your other home theater components. Units from Sonicblue, HP and other manufacturers are made with a very unpleasing shape, which means it looks terrible next to your home theater receiver.

Looks and first impressions

The design of the Audiotron is fantastic with a heavy metal casing and a plastic control panel, this unit will fit in perfectly with your home theater. It even boasts gold looking legs. The buttons on the front of the Audiotron are adequate. I would have preferred hard plastic versus the hard rubber but the buttons do their job without any apparent “sticking”. I found the glowing led’s on the front of the Audiotron to be a bit annoying, especially in a dark room. It would have been fantastic if there was a dimming option. The remote control serves its purpose quite well but is lacking in the looks department. It actually reminds me of the CD player remote control I have for my Yamaha CD player, very bland in styling but well laid out as far as button placement goes.

Setup

The Audiotron looks incredibly easy to setup when reading through the manual and the back of the box, simply plug this unit into your home stereo and plug your Ethernet or Home PNA 2.0 into the back of this unit and you are ready to go. Looks can be deceiving and this is the case. Albert Einstein once said “Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler”. This should apply to the Audiotron. The Audiotron is not a simple product and should not be advertised as such. This unit boasts incredible features and abilities that should be marketed accordingly.

 Upon hooking the Audiotron up to my home theater receiver via digital optical out and then plugging it into my home network through Ethernet, I was ready to go, or so I thought. I immediately could not get a link to my Linksys router. The Audiotron is a true network client, allowing you to have multiple units installed onto a network and all working independently of each other. The Audiotron is compatible with Windows 98/Me/NT/2000/XP, Mac OS and Linux. My router is setup as a DHCP server so I figured this would be a breeze. My initial attempts to scanning the network were cut short when I figured out it would be a little more difficult.

 If you have a Linksys router, go to the Turtle Beach website to figure out the correct settings. Basically you will need to find out your routers IP address (usually 192.168.1.1), plug that into the Audiotron Gateway settings. Then you need to assign the Audiotron an IP address for your network like 192.168.1.3. After plugging in the network settings, I was allowed to view the MP3’s on all the systems on our network. The Audiotron recognized all the systems without a hitch and very quickly browsed the shared network folders. I would recommend making the shares read-only to prevent hackers from entering your network.

Setup Continued…

So now I had MP3’s streaming through my home theater, but where was the internet music and why wasn’t it working? Well you have to go into the Audiotron’s configuration settings using your web browser by typing in the IP address of the unit. By default the internet radio option is disabled, very silly if you ask me. You need to register on http://www.turtleradio.com/. After you are finished registering and setting up your play lists and station preferences through the browser, you are given an ID. Go back into the Audiotron web menu and enter your ID. Now the Audiotron knows which Genre and which stations you would like to listen to. It is a very neat concept for the power user but there should be an option where you just automatically browse through the internet stations on the Audiotron itself, I don’t see the need for so much customization.

You can add music stations to groups and categorize by “Genre”, “Artist”, “Title” and so forth. This is great for the power user but should be made easier for the average consumer, especially since you are advertising your product as an easy to use product.

Summary

The Audiotron is a music enthusiast’s dream. The Audiotron organizes and plays up to 10,000 digital audio files stored on a PC. The sound quality is good and I like the idea of adding multiple units on your network allowing you to listen to music throughout the home. I think a great idea would be if they made this unit in different sizes. While the component width looks great in the home theater rack, a unit this wide would look funny in the bedroom next to your mini system. The Audiotron is now one of my favorite toys. I love all the options available in this unit. One touch firmware upgrades and computer integration is great ensuring future compatibility and updated features. The Audiotron costs less than the Dell RIO player and goes for $300. For the music enthusiast, the Audiotron is a MUST; do not deny yourself of its pleasures. Ahh…the sound of digital, advertisement free music.

Pros:
• Many options for customizing and sorting your music.
• Easily upgraded through firmware updates
• Digital quality sounds through the Digital Optical out
• Extend your PC into other rooms of the house


Cons:
• Not as easy to setup as advertised
• The manual should be longer and more detailed, people want this and it would not hurt by doing this
• Difficult streaming of internet music from sources like Shoutcast. The instructions are not clear on other sources
• Very bright LED’s and display

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