Once connected to your network, via the process I just described for Wi-Fi or via a broadband Ethernet RJ-45 connector, you can download all of these stations with the press of a button. In fact, you will quickly become good friends with the Tangent Quattro’s Tuner knob and the Select button. To pick a station, you cycle through all of the countries, listed alphabetically, using the Tuner knob, then hit Select. The Quattro’s easily read front display window will ask if you want to load all the country’s stations or you can move the Tuner Knob to hit the next option: Genre. If you choose Genre, then you use the Tuner knob to cycle through the Genres: 70s, 80s, Alternative, Classic Rock, or Discussion (for example). Once you settle on the single station you want to tune in, you guessed it, hit Select again and the station will load.
That’s all you have to do if you just want quick-and-dirty access to Internet radio and don’t want to fuss with setup anymore after that. However, for those who love techie ways to organize your listening pleasure, there’s more. You can go to reciva.com (Reciva’s Web site)and set up your own profile and “my stations” filters keyed to your radio’s unique ID number. You can mix and match among 15,473 live Internet radio stations, Podcasts, or 21,242 on-demand streams and download, again with a press of a button, just those stations you’ve customized under your profile. (These numbers, already sky high, grow day by day as Reciva adds stations based on user recommendations).
I can entertain myself for hours cycling through those 200+ countries. Some of them (Andorra, Comorros Guernsey, and Mayotte, for example) I’ve never even heard of. And the number of radio stations available per country varies widely from smaller countries with 1, to a country like Russia with 300+, to the U.K., the U.S., and Germany, each with several thousand. But just as with Olympic teams, large numbers of stations don’t mean you can’t find fun in tiny Angola, for example, with its single station. A former colony of Portugal, Angola combines the foot-shuffling excitement of African rhythms and the romantic melodies of Portugal (and a chance to practice your Portuguese). No matter how foul a mood I’m in, when I tune in Angola’s Radio Tarracha, I’m bouncing in my chair with “uma sonrisa na minha cara” (a smile on my face).
The Quattro allowed me to discover favorite stations in Greece, Argentina, Guatemala, and Finland. And if you’re a linguaphile, as I am, you’ll have ample opportunity to brush up on your language of choice with a twist of the Tuner knob and a press of the Select button. It couldn’t be simpler.
Though the Quattro’s 3-inch full-range speaker won’t blow you away with wide sound stages or palpable 3D imagery, its bass is pleasantly rich and its overall dynamics are quite decent for a small table-top radio.
The Tangent Quattro has a “ka-CHING” list price of $349, which might seem a bit steep for a table-top radio. But considering its options for both a broadband Ethernet connection or skipping the wires with Wi-Fi 892.11b/g (my choice) and the convenience of Reciva’s Internet site as a gateway to more than 15,000 broadcasts from around the world, this radio might just be the bargain of the year, even in these tough economic times. After all, a “don’t worry, be happy” approach to life gets more doable with the Quattro. If you don’t believe me, tune in Angola’s Radio Tarracha. You’ll consider your three-and-a-half Franklins very well spent.