Grace Digital GDI-IRMS300 Internet Micro Hi-Fi Stereo System
Although for many FM/AM still rules the airwaves more and more each year people seem to get the concept of the vast choice afforded by an internet radio the Grace Digital GDI-IRMS300 Internet Micro Hi-Fi Stereo System is one of the more well specified mid range compact internet radio hifis available right now so we thought we’d put one on test.
Now when Grace Digital say compact boy do they mean it, the GDI-IRMS300 is very small. So much so that pretty much all the controls excepting the LCD display have been moved to the top of the unit (So no putting anything on top of the GDI-IRMS300 then). The overall look is compact and efficient in fact perhaps too much so. It to some degree looks a bit like apiece of ham radio receiver equipment rather than consumer level hifi gear. Having said that the build quality is very good, the casing feels seriously solid and the buttons and dials have a decent feel and responsiveness. The remote is fine in terms of operation but is a little bit of a let-down in the looks & feel department being a fairly cheap plastic & rubber unit.
So on to basic features. You can tell from the outset that the GDI-IRMS300 is designed primarily with the at least moderately tech savvy and internet literate user in mind. Thought you can use services like pandora and also stream from your locally network attached storage (stream songs from your PC using windows media player) it is definitely primarily oriented towards internet radio use. The reason I say that the GDI-IRMS300 seems to be designed for the more tech savvy user is because in al honesty the initial setup and configuration of the unit is a bit of a rigmarole. There are several not insignificant gocthas and the menu diving required to get things exactly how you want them may make some throw their arms up in despair. Im not exaclty a newcomer to this kind of configuration and even I found it too significantly longer than similar units by other vendors to configure. Perhaps part of the problem is that there are just so many things you can choose to do with the GDI-IRMS300, it has more options available than many other vendors offerings. Personally I think that if Grace want the GDI-IRMS300 and its followups to be more successful then they seriously have to improve auto configuration options and the GUI in general, also perhaps the manual could do wit a bit of a “clear English” brush up.
Ok so once the pain of initial setup and configuration has been dealt with how does the GDI-IRMS300 sound? Well to be honest a lot better than I was expecting at this price point. The amp is rated at 32 watts per channel and so isn’t going to be breaking any anti noise laws but is perfectly capable of driving the supplied speakers to a decent small room volume. It will be perfectly fine in a kitchen bedroom or small living room but isn’t really suitable for a larger open plan room. The base end is a tiny bit flabby to my ears and at higher volumes could perhaps be perceived as baffling the other audio ranges. The mid range is quite flat and easy on the ears (as it should be). Finally the top end is moderately well balanced but I found with occasional sibilant notes noticeable again at high volumes. This will be perfectly suitable for talk radio or rock and pop music listening at normal volumes, though I would not recommend it for those who enjoy a lot of jazz, acoustic or classical music or those who like to belt out their music a high volumes. All in all though a decent enough unit with a great feature set at a very reasonable price.
Bookshelf Internet radio with Pandora, Live365, iheartradio, Sirius and over 16,000 internet radio stations
Built in 32 watt high powered class D digital amplifier with 2 wood speakers to provide warm deep base, mellow mid range, and crisp highs
4-line display with 30 micro backlight adjustments to view artist name and song or set one of the 5 alarms
Built in 802.11n for superior wireless range, audio quality and WPS for easy network connectivity
Play your music direct from the internet without a computer or music files direct from your PC or Mac
Connects To Pc/Mac Music Library
High Performance Class D Digital Amplifier
Internet Radio Stereo Shelf System With Integrated Pandora Remote
Listen To Over 50,000 Radio Stations and On Demand Content
Plays Pandora and Live365.Com
RRP: $249.99 (Check Amazon For Current Pricing)