Short Version: This good-looking, small internet radio receiver has the potential to fit right in with your home audio equipment. But those looking for a portable streaming audio device will want to look elsewhere, as the Myine Ira Wi-Fi Internet Radio is tied to its remote control and doesn’t feature built-in speakers.
The Myine Ira Wi-Fi Internet Radio marches to the beat of a different drummer when it comes to the crowded field of streaming audio hardware. And that’s generally a good thing — you need something to differentiate your product from all the others. Whether Myine’s done the right thing in producing a button-less receiver and audio output solely from RCA jacks at a $150 price point will ultimately be up to consumers to decide.
By forgoing on-device controls and built-in speakers, the Ira (internet radio adapter) is able to reside inside a 5.5- by 3.5-inch smooth black plastic housing. It’s a very nice looking unit, although it’s a wonder the company didn’t make the 1.75- by 2.75-inch white-on-blue screen larger since you’d likely be using this thing from across the room as it sits inside your audio cabinet. Small, non-color screen aside, though, the Ira is a looker.
The unit’s aesthetic appeal might be able to attract consumers interested in an internet radio solution for higher-end audio systems willing to pay a little extra for an attractive component but beyond the outward appearance of the device, there’s not much else to ensure the Ira a spot amongst other home audio gear.
Two things, in particular, hold it back: RCA-only output and a small, cheapie plastic remote. A gadget that looks this nice at first glance ought to have optical audio outputs and a headphone jack, and it certainly should come with a nice, sturdy remote seeing that it’s the only way to control everything.
Those gripes aside, everything else fares pretty well. Setup is Geico-like in its simplicity, audio quality is pretty good (though it’ll depend largely on your speakers), the wireless chip has an above-average range while maintaining a strong signal, and there are plenty of available stations — over 11,00 in all.
There’s also a podcast directory, which contains a near-endless selection of programs. And small though the remote may be, it’s really easy to use. There’s a nice “star” button right in the middle; hold it down and the station that’s currently streaming will be added to your list of favorite stations.
The Ira’s ultimate downfall may be that it finds itself enmeshed in an identity crisis of sorts. Having no speakers and requiring the remote for everything places the device out of the reach of casual consumers while the lack of high-quality audio connections, reliance on a cheap remote, and a tiny, non-color screen may turn off audiophiles looking for a handsome internet streamer to add to their cabinets.
The end result is that the Ira falls somewhere in the middle of the casual audio consumer and the mid- to high-end music lover. Whether there’s an actual market in that space remains to be seen. As with many gadgets, the details may lurk in how the Ira is priced. At $150, it feels too expensive. At half that price, though, it starts looking like a much better deal for, say, your desk at work or a lower-end audio system setup.
Ira Wi-Fi Internet Radio [Myine.com]