Review: Grace GDI-IR2000 Wi-Fi radio packs extra features, but won't please audiophiles

CNET reviews the Grace GDI-IR2000 Wi-Fi radio, which adds a remote and auxiliary input to an already robust feature set but doesn't sound as good as its predecessor.

When we reviewed the Grace ITC-IR1000B Wi-Fi radio last year, we were almost uniformly impressed, except for two criticisms in the features department; the unit lacks a remote and an auxiliary input for connecting an iPod. So when Grace announced its new lineup of Wi-Fi radios for 2009, we were particularly excited by the GDI-IR2000, which looked nearly identical to last year's model but added a remote and auxiliary input.

We put the new Grace GDI-IR2000 head-to-head with last year's ITC-IR1000B.
We put the new Grace GDI-IR2000 head-to-head with last year's ITC-IR1000B.

So then how did the GDI-IR2000 receive a lower score than last year's model? Sound quality. We put the GDI-IR2000 head-to-head with the ITC-IR1000B, and the new model just couldn't keep up with the ITC-IR1000B's sweet sound. The GDI-IR2000 sounded tinnier and a little muffled on just about everything we listened to from jazz, to rock and classical. It's certainly not unlistenable, and casual listeners may not even notice, but our picky ears were disappointed with the drop off in sound quality compared with last year's model.

If you're not picky about sound quality, the GDI-IR2000 is an outstanding value and improves on all the major shortcomings of its predecessor. If sound quality is important to you, try to hunt down an ITC-IR1000B before they're discontinued or consider stepping up to the excellent (but more expensive) Squeezebox Boom .

Read the full Grace GDI-IR2000 review

 

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