The Pinnacle SoundBridge is a device that connects to an external set of powered speakers, or a hi-fi system, and allows you to stream content from you computer wirelessly. With so many products moving this one step further by adding the inclusion of video streaming, audio only products are left with two choices. Either compete on quality, or price has to be what I would almost term as an impulse buy... more on that later.
This package consists of the unit itself, which sports a nice 16x2 line LED display. Around the back is the power adapter input, line-out for connecting to speakers or hi-fi, earphone jack to save you annoying the neighbours, and a SD/MMC memory card slot, a nice addition if you have an MP3 player that uses these and you want the SoundBridge to play back from a card.
There is also a rubber stand, to sit the cylindrical shape unit on, this seems a little cheap, but it does the job OK. To finish off the package you get the power adapter and stereo audio cable. The CD containing the SoundBridge software makes no attempt at hiding the origin of this product, which has been licensed from Roku.
Of note is the supplied remote control. More often than not this is a last minute thought, but the Pinnacle supplied remote has some useful buttons, a nice feel to it, and a nice layout, so well done Pinnacle !
Connecting up is really easy, and once you have installed the software, registered the unit with your wireless network (802.11b support) you are more or less ready to go. The SoundBridge will work with Windows Media Connect, Windows Media Player 10, Rhapsody and the fave of mine iTunes, which is of course supported on both Mac and PC platforms.
Supported formats include WMA, AAC, MP3, AIFF and WAV music files. My system is solely MP3 files, which when streamed to the SoundBridge and output to my AV receiver, the quality was pretty darn good. I was impressed with the crispness of the audio, with no dropouts, and the easy of navigation was also impressive.
Now, I started this review by saying that this sort of product has to either compete on quality or price. Well, on the quality front, the SoundBridge has more than acceptable audio performance, a nice remote and seems well built. The only negative is the cheap stand. The price however is amazing, you can pick this unit up at Curry's or Amazon for just £99.99. This is almost an impulse buy for many users, if it were £20 cheaper it would be a no-brainer, but for the sub-£100 asking price I think it represents great value for money.
Product: Pinnacle SoundBridge
Supplied by: Pinnacle Systems UK
Contact: +44 207 294 0140