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Hardware Review: BoomzBox HD AM/FM Radio

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by , 12-04-2009 at 11:15 AM (5330 Views)

The BoomzBox HD is a USB-controlled AM/FM HD-capable radio tuner.

The Verdict:

The BoomzBox HD is just what we’ve asked for in an AM/FM radio. With sound quality that rivals factory head units and an easy straight forward installation procedure, the BoomzBox HD should be your first choice for radio.

Just released: Price will be $179 on the mp3Car Store soon. Release date still to be determined.



What’s in the box?



The BoomzBox HD comes with the tuner box, driver CD, a USB-driven controller box, an 8-pin DIN connector, USB cable, and two power adapters for ease of installation.

Description:

The BoomzBox HD is a fully RoHS compliant HD radio tuner built from the ground-up for car PC use. The tuner box is a bit smaller than similar devices on the market. It’s built with a solid aluminum casing to withstand automotive applications. The tuner box has just 3 connections, an antenna input port, a pass-through antenna output port, and the 8-pin interface connector.


The companion device in the BoomzBox HD package is the converter box. This box converts the signal from the tuner box via the din cable, thus allowing audio to come straight from the USB cable. Competing devices require both a serial/USB connection and an audio output to be sent to the PC. The ease of installation is the highlight of the BoomzBox HD. Connect the DIN cable to the converter box, connect the USB to a PC, and connect power to the green power connector, and the BoomzBox is ready for software. The creators even went a step further by including 2 power options, a brick plug, and a bare connector ready for your unregulated 12v and ground wires.

The driver CD includes drivers for windows XP/VISTA/7. It also includes a test application to put the BoomBox to use. The BoomzBox is fully compatible with the most popular front-ends like Centrafuse and RideRunner.

The most important quality in a FM/AM tuner is the audio quality, and the BoomzBox matches the sound quality of units from Directed and Visteon. The HD channels sound as crisp and clear as you could ever want from radio. That being said, the BoomzBox has the issue of HD signals clipping in and out that most all HD radios have. If you can deal with that small issue, the BoomzBox HD is the standard for which future car PC radios will be judged.

The Positive:

• High-quality sound in standard and HD modes
• Easiest HD radio to install on your computer
• Audio over USB leaves your line-in open
• Built specifically for car PC use

The Negative:

• HD signal clipping is still present
• Missing the optional Head and remote other HD radios have

The Verdict:

The BoomzBox HD is just what we’ve asked for in an AM/FM radio. With sound quality that rivals factory head units and an easy straight forward installation procedure, the BoomzBox HD should be your first choice for radio.

Specifications:

Dimensions (Tuner): 12cm x 7.8cm x 3cm
Dimensions (Converter): 6.5cm x 6.5cm x 3cm
Inputs: Motorola Style antenna input
Outputs: 1 x USB, 1 x antenna output
Power Supply: Accepts 12v Unregulated

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information about car stereo installation
I'm kinda of torn here between the price and USB audio and stable performance ..
Will this tune to frequencies like 100.6 or 104.2 ?
when i read about it i said "its a $120 msrp product" so mp3car.com tacking on another $50 is right in line with everything else they sell... so im not surprised. im not saying the 'mp3car.com tax' is wrong or anything though, i would do it too if i ran this site. if i could afford to spend a few extra bucks, i would buy everything from the mp3car store because i know they only sell products that should be sold for carpc's. they have good support too, obviously. basically, youre paying a little extra for convenience and insurance, and for many thats well worth it.

im glad i found a directed unit for $50 shipped though. i already have a hu, and i like having that. i couldnt imagine paying $200 just to add HDradio and nothing else... this unit sounds a nice for people that dont run hu's though.