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Hardware Review: BoomzBox HD AM/FM Radio

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  • Hardware Review: BoomzBox HD AM/FM Radio


    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
    mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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  • #2
    Price?

    Just my 2 cents here... but that price point sounds a bit excessive for radio. I'm sure there are many people like me on this forum, but almost $200 (cost + shipping) for radio is a no go. I was very interested after watch bugbyte's video to maybe install one of these but now my dreams have been crushed. Guess I'll stick to just streaming all my radio content for now

    Comment


    • #3
      i argree with you prodigalsun
      i was very interested in the product
      and by the looks of it i tought it would be somewhere close to 50$

      dissappointing :\
      HeadUnit : Car-Pc | Processor : JBL MS-8 | Front Stage : Woofer - Mpyre 65M , Mid - Dayton RS100-4 , Tweeter - Tang-Band Ceramic 25-1719S | Subwoofer : Hertz HX250D | Amps : A/D/S PQ10 , Hifonics Olympus XI , SPL AB03445 | Wiring : Sommer , Neutrik

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by prodigalsun View Post
        Just my 2 cents here... but that price point sounds a bit excessive for radio. I'm sure there are many people like me on this forum, but almost $200 (cost + shipping) for radio is a no go. I was very interested after watch bugbyte's video to maybe install one of these but now my dreams have been crushed. Guess I'll stick to just streaming all my radio content for now
        Well you have to look at the price of an equivalent unit. The Visteon HDZ300 was $150, and I'm sure the Directed was around the same price when it first came out. An extra $30 for USB audio and control I don't think is unreasonable.


        Edit: Wait 3 years, and I'm sure you'll be able to get one used for $50... which is how much you can get a 2-3 year old used Visteon or Directed unit for. I mean.. is that what you're comparing the price to?
        "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
        RevFE
        My Shop

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by prodigalsun View Post
          Just my 2 cents here... but that price point sounds a bit excessive for radio. I'm sure there are many people like me on this forum, but almost $200 (cost + shipping) for radio is a no go. I was very interested after watch bugbyte's video to maybe install one of these but now my dreams have been crushed. Guess I'll stick to just streaming all my radio content for now
          A note on retail price - This product has been certified by HD Radio and mp3Car licenses the HD technology. This product may not be for every hobbyist, but for those that would like a robust radio solution, mp3Car and Mitch have delivered a solid product at a fair price.
          Suggestions or Comments on the forums? Post here.

          mp3Car store order questions or products that you would like to sell on the store? Email store @ mp3car.com

          Feel free to pm me if you:
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          Comment


          • #6
            yeh thats what i was comparing to
            because for most people radio isn't necassary its an extra feature
            if the price tag lets say was 70$ i think alot more people would have bought the unit..

            i live in israel , we only got fm/am radio ( using mostly fm )
            the 20$ usb dongles just don't get the job done
            so i tought of buying a used visteon/directed for 50$ + 25$ for mitch's cable
            but then i saw the boomzbox review and it looked like a promising , little , cheap , light-weight ( for shipping ) thing

            i see no reason to pay 180$ not including shipping for something i don't must use , you understand?

            im sure mp3car have thier own economic tought , but it seems unreasable alot of people will buy a 200$ radio unit ( even if they can use hd )
            HeadUnit : Car-Pc | Processor : JBL MS-8 | Front Stage : Woofer - Mpyre 65M , Mid - Dayton RS100-4 , Tweeter - Tang-Band Ceramic 25-1719S | Subwoofer : Hertz HX250D | Amps : A/D/S PQ10 , Hifonics Olympus XI , SPL AB03445 | Wiring : Sommer , Neutrik

            Comment


            • #7
              Will this easily integrate into Centrafuse?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by FantaXP7 View Post
                Will this easily integrate into Centrafuse?
                this is CF3 ready thanks to mitchjs updating there hdradio files.
                mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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                Comment


                • #9
                  Mac anyone?

                  Originally posted by prodigalsun View Post
                  Just my 2 cents here... but that price point sounds a bit excessive for radio. I'm sure there are many people like me on this forum, but almost $200 (cost + shipping) for radio is a no go. I was very interested after watch bugbyte's video to maybe install one of these but now my dreams have been crushed. Guess I'll stick to just streaming all my radio content for now



                  I am a huge fan of mini mac installs.... I agree that 200 bux is way outta range ESPECIALLY since there is no MAC support.

                  They come with mac support and drivers then i'm in for the $200

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I connected the unit to my Mac Mini and tried to run it under Windows using VMWare but kept getting a communications error. The radio showed up in the device manager and also in the USB section but for some reason, I could not get it to work.

                    I had a similar problem with the XM radio that uses a similar interface device. I was able to use FTDI drivers to communicate if I used a Kensington serial to USB port and cable but was unable to get it to work with the USB interface.

                    Any suggestions are welcome and I'm happy to try them out if you have any.
                    Originally posted by ghettocruzer
                    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
                    Want to:
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                    • #11
                      I loved this item until I saw the price tag. I was hoping for a sub $100 (or around that) price tag. Being with a company that wouldve potentially purchased 200+ units next year Im going to have to say fail. I think people really need a good inexpensive AM/FM option and I was crossing my fingers that this was it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        whoa....this is awesome...i want one....yay... $179.00 is a good price..I wanna get the first one off the assembly line....
                        CarPc
                        Project "Driver"

                        Planning [99.9%]

                        Parts Collected [98.5%]

                        Installation & Fabrication [98%]

                        Total Completion Level [96.9 %]

                        http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...ct-driver.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          non-hd

                          I am assuming this tuner also works with non-hd stations. Is this correct or is this tuner HD only?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rjfehr View Post
                            I am assuming this tuner also works with non-hd stations. Is this correct or is this tuner HD only?
                            It will tune both.

                            HD radios will tune analog first, then bump up to HD if available.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm not going to continue raining on the price parade, I understand why it is priced the way it is, but I too was dreaming of a cheaper final price. Dreams rarely meet reality. I was hoping it would perhaps exceed the quality of the older visteon and directed equipment.

                              Comment

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