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Logitech Wireless DJ Music System review: Logitech Wireless DJ Music System

Logitech Wireless DJ Music System

John Falcone Senior Editorial Director, Shopping
John P. Falcone is the senior director of commerce content at CNET, where he coordinates coverage of the site's buying recommendations alongside the CNET Advice team (where he previously headed the consumer electronics reviews section). He's been a CNET editor since 2003.
Expertise Over 20 years experience in electronics and gadget reviews and analysis, and consumer shopping advice Credentials
  • Self-taught tinkerer, informal IT and gadget consultant to friends and family (with several self-built gaming PCs under his belt)
John Falcone
6 min read

Editors' Note: As of February 2008, this product has been replaced by the Logitech Squeezebox Duet. The rating has been lowered accordingly.


Logitech Wireless DJ Music System

The Good

The Logitech Wireless DJ Music System streams audio--including copy-protected DRM music and Internet radio--from your PC to your home stereo. The system is controlled from a handheld remote with a built-in display and an iPod-like scrollwheel that lets you view and navigate your music collection. The system utilizes a USB transmitter that hooks to your PC, along with a receiver, which doubles as a recharging station for the remote, so it doesn't need a wireless network.

The Bad

The scrollwheel isn't quite as responsive the iPod's, and the wireless range--while decent--is less than advertised. The PC Control mode allows for maximum file compatibility but disables the remote's ability to browse when activated.

The Bottom Line

The Logitech Wireless DJ Music System lets you access your PC's digital music collection from the palm of your hand.

Building on the success of its innovative, user-friendly Harmony remote controls, Logitech is applying the same expertise elsewhere in its accessories empire. Case in point is the Logitech Wireless DJ Music System: The $250 system is anchored by a wireless remote control with a built-in LCD readout that allows you to access and navigate digital music files on your PC or the Internet and hear them on your home stereo.

Unlike competing audio devices that stream PC audio over a home network, the Logitech Wireless DJ broadcasts music from a wireless transmitter that plugs into your PC's USB port. The audio is sent to a small receiver that can be placed elsewhere in your home and plugged into any stereo system with a free auxiliary input. The receiver doubles as a charger/cradle for the Wireless DJ's third and most important component, the wireless remote control.

The remote's slick design and superior ergonomics are obvious descendants of its predecessors in the Harmony lineup. The silver-and-black wand is 8.25 inches long by 2.25 wide and nearly flat, and it includes a removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery housed in its bottom quarter. Its streamlined controls are comprised of just seven keys clustered around a central iPod-like scrollwheel which has a clickable Enter button in the middle. There are three standard transport buttons (previous track, play/pause, next track), Home and Back keys, and two DJ buttons for building and accessing playlists on the fly. Volume controls, including mute, round things out. The remote sits perfectly in your hand, with all of the buttons and the scrollwheel within reach of your thumb, making one-handed control a breeze. The top half of the remote houses the 2-inch-diagonal square LCD readout. The menus on the bright blue monochrome display--My Music, Internet Radio, Now Playing, DJ List, Settings, and Rooms--again take a page out of the iPod book, each having its own contextual submenu.

The Wireless DJ Music System is essentially a step-up product from Logitech's previous streaming solution, the Wireless Music System for PC. But while the addition of the informative visual interface on the Wireless DJ's remote marks a significant step forward, the DJ also retains two of the big advantages of last year's version: no network setup hassles and no DRM (digital rights management) restrictions. Installing Logitech's new StreamPoint software enables the Wireless DJ System to control a variety of leading audio software, including iTunes, Windows Media Player, and Musicmatch. You can stream paid subscription content from any of these services just as easily as home-ripped music.

Setup is fairly straightforward. First you install Logitech's StreamPoint software, which guides you through the configuration wizard; we used a release candidate beta version but didn't encounter any stability problems. The software looks for iTunes, Musicmatch Jukebox, and Windows Media Player libraries already on your PC, and lets you add any other music-rich folders of your choosing. It needs to index these folders and settings periodically so it can stay up to date with your newly ripped or downloaded music, but you can set it to do so automatically at custom intervals.

Next you plug in the wireless transmitter to a free USB port on your PC when the software's onscreen instructions request it. The software verifies that it's working, and then you basically forget about it; just make sure it's placed far enough away from the PC to generate an unfettered signal.

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.


Logitech Wireless DJ Music System

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 7