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Logitech Wireless DJ Music System review:

Logitech Wireless DJ Music System

Finally, you set up the receiver base station in a nearby room. The minuscule unit sports two analog line outputs (red and white RCA jacks and a 1/8-inch minijack), so it can connect to any stereo, A/V receiver, boom box, or powered speaker system that offers an auxiliary line input. The receiver also doubles as a recharging station for the handheld remote, which stands upright at a gentle angle when cradled. If you'd like to expand the system, you can purchase as many as three additional receiver/rechargers for $80 apiece, and place them in other nearby rooms--but you can stream to only one receiver at a time.

For the most part, using the Wireless DJ is a pleasure. We were able to access our favorite Internet radio stations and all of our iTunes songs--including purchased songs--with a few easy spins of the remote's scrollwheel. Music can be accessed by artist, album, song, or genre, irrespective of whether the individual song is "native" to iTunes, Windows Media, or Musicmatch. Songs from any PlaysForSure-compatible service should be able to stream as well, so long as they're in one of the highlighted directories. Moreover, in addition to playlists that you've already created in those programs, you can create new playlists on the fly--just navigate to the song, and click the the DJ Add button. Likewise, you can shuffle play through the DJ list or your entire music collection. (We keep saying music, but you have access to the full gamut of your audio files, including podcasts, so long as it's a supported file type--MP3, WMA, or AAC.)

There's a final option on the Wireless DJ that's a great catch-all: PC control mode. Essentially, it just dumps whatever sound you can hear on the PC straight to the Wireless DJ's outputs. You lose the ability to navigate your music (until you return to the PC and exit the mode, you're stuck controlling only volume and--sometimes--track up/down), but you get to hear a full range of PC or Web-based audio away from your computer. That includes Web-based streaming services from Last.FM and Pandora, as well as online versions of Sirius, XM, Major League Baseball--whatever you could pull down to your PC. Similarly, the PC control mode lets you stream additional file formats--Ogg, Real Audio, wav, and so forth--so long as you're running a compatible player on the PC.

While our overall experience with the Wireless DJ Music System was positive, it does have its share of caveats and issues. First and foremost, the wireless range was less than the 150 feet (from transmitter to recharger/base station) that Logitech claims. Testing in an office and home environment, we got to a distance of about 50 to 60 feet--albeit with walls and ceilings in the way--before things started crackling. Moreover, while the lack of wireless networking makes for quick and easy setup, it also restricts the Wireless DJ's placement options--by contrast, network-based systems offer greater flexibility because the receivers can go anywhere within the range of the Wi-Fi or Ethernet home network. Moreover, most network digital audio receivers (such as the Roku SoundBridge or Slim Devices Squeezebox) can stream Internet radio, even when your PC is powered off, if you have a broadband router. The Wireless DJ requires the PC to stay on to function at all, and anything beyond light Web surfing or office applications may adversely affect the streaming performance--playing Doom 3 and streaming iTunes simultaneously isn't recommended. Finally, while the scrollwheel is definitely a great way to navigate file lists, it's not as responsive as the iPod's, and there's currently no way to adjust its sensitivity.

It's also worth mentioning that the Wireless DJ may be overkill if your musical life revolves around your iPod. Dedicated 'Podheads will probably be better off opting for the Belkin TuneStage or the Logitech Wireless Music System for iPod, both of which stream music straight from the iPod to a nearby stereo. Alternately, if you're on a tight budget--or you don't mind leaving having the iPod tethered to the stereo--you can simply run a patch cable from the player's headphone jack or recharging dock.

For a large number of digital audio fans, though, the Logitech Wireless DJ Music System is going to be an ideal solution. The iPod solutions, for instance, don't you give you access to streaming Web radio services that you can get on the Wireless DJ. And as good as the aforementioned SoundBridge and Squeezebox products are, the Wireless DJ's handheld form factor and lack of DRM restrictions make it a compelling rival. After all, why squint at a miniature LCD readout across the room when you can have one no further than an arm's length away?

Editors' note: We are continuing to test the wireless range and battery life of the Wireless DJ and will update this review with any relevant information in the near future, if and when events warrant.

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