Pinnacle SoundBridge HomeMusic 

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Poor manuals make reviewing difficult, however when far better manuals – for other products – are on the same CD it makes you fume.

This is a device to play music either though headphones or your hi-fi. It is circular at 6cm and 25cm long. It comes with a small cradle to sit it on. The rear has Line Out, Headphones, DC input and an SD/MMC card slot. The front has a 6x1.5cm two line display and that apart from the remote control is it.

It is designed to work as a wireless device (either WEP or no security) via your router. It has two sides showing you how to connect leads. There is a CD that has software to enable connection to three different music services and this also has various PDF files in sub directories. These turn out to be for three products, two of the manuals are quite helpful the third is not. The third is the one for this product.

Everything needs to be done via the 28 key remote control, not in itself a problem but working out how you change menus is, and, more than once I felt like abandoning the struggle but I tend to not like being beaten.

The choice of WEP or no security is not my idea of heaven as I prefer better choices. However after removing most items from my network leaving just a PC connected via Ethernet and the SoundBridge. I set up a new network with the inferior WEP encryption and I can assure you entering the password in the device was not easy, it was very slow and fiddly. However once achieved it was stored in the SoundBridge so future logons were far simpler.

Having recently reviewed the excellent Bush Internet Radio (17/1/07) I knew there were thousands of Internet stations available. So why could I find only 14? The manual - such as it is - was little help in fact the manuals for the other two products gave me more clues and trial an (much) error got me to the screen that allowed Genre changing and after that things became - a little - easier.

If you have favourite tracks in MP3 format you can put them on an SD or MMC card and once you locate the correct menu these can be played through the unit either output through your hi-fi or your headphones/earbuds.

In the same way any MP3 files on your PC can be output through the SoundBridge for this action to work the PC needs - of course - to be switched on. I am finding this a very hard review to write as I am not sure if I have found all the features and functions of this unit.

As an Internet radio there are many better out there. As for playing tracks from SD card a number of DAB radios can do this. Finally playing media stored on a PC then why not play it on the PC?

Okay - trying to be fair - being wireless means that a connection to a hi-fi or a set of headphones in another room is nice. I am far less happy about only having WEP encryption and at least one of the other units described in the various PDF files allows connection by Ethernet and therefore the security problem is all but negated.

I shall not be giving this device any smiley ratings as I am unsure if I managed to use it correctly. With the documentation supplied both written and in PDF a novice would have no chance and would probably give up and return the device. I only persevered as I do not like being beaten. It was not a pleasant review to conduct. It someone like myself with more than twenty years of experience struggles what chance a novice?

Doing my Internet searches found the Pinnacle SoundBridge Home Music at a best price of £87.70 including delivery from the first link below.

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