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Chef's Choice

Chef's Choice

I enjoy all forms of media and have for as long as I can remember. Music, film, sports and social discourse will eventually occupy any screen or speaker I control during the course of a day. From the thousands of songs in the iTunes library, to the hundreds of channels on the satellite radio in the car, to the apparently infinite sonic explorations possible with streaming Pandora and Spotify, I’ve found that the convenience of access as delivered by advancing technology has sparked an insatiable appetite for content. I’m not unique in this respect, if industry facts and figures are to be trusted. Netflix is expected to double its international subscriber base in the next year alone. Apple claimed more than 250,000 unique podcasts in more than 100 languages worldwide as its starting point for 2014. And Pandora enjoyed a 28% increase in listener hours, to nearly 1.8 billion, in the past year. Clearly we all like, and demand, choice in entertainment.

Imagine my disappointment then, when I added an otherwise superb Bose Wave Radio II to my kitchen’s entertainment arsenal back in 2012 when Hulu only had 3 million paying subscribers (it’s at 6 million now). In addition to loving media, I’m also pretty fond of creative cuisine (try this recipe for Atomic Buffalo Turds) and well-built cocktails (ABTs taste even better when paired with a classic highball). I like to listen while I’m cooking, and frankly the FM radio just doesn’t satisfy like it once did. I need more. And I need it to sound better. While the Wave radio masterfully delivered the latter, it kind of skimped on the former with its single 3.5mm line input as the only real connection to the world at large. Still, it was a step up from listening to Pandora via the refrigerator.

Then, during a particularly blustery weekend earlier this year, my need for quality kitchen tunes came to a peak. It turned out that a 3 meter audio cable strung across the kitchen counter from my tablet to the afore-mentioned radio was completely incompatible with a Santoku knife and I severed the cord literally. I knew there had to be a better way, and I found it right there on the C2G web site! We call it 41321 (catchy, eh?)

The Bluetooth Audio Receiver with NFC (which stands for ‘near field communication’ and is a technical system that allows portable devices to talk to other gizmos thru a simplified pairing procedure). The BAR (I thinks that’s a better name… some of my favorite places are called a bar) is about as simple as a piece of gear can be. There’s a spot for the wall-wart power supply, a TOSLink optical audio output, and a 3.5mm line level audio output. Installation took less than five minutes and the connection range with every tablet and smartphone I’ve tried easily exceeds twenty-feet. The sound quality is superb. There is no increase in background noise and no loss of quality. Music and podcasts played through the Wave radio via a wireless connection to the Bluetooth Audio Receiver sounds identical to a direct copper connection to the radio to my ears.

I will admit that I have an obsessive personality. I was so taken with the convenience and quality of this little device that I just had to look for more places where it could let me connect. The Tivoli table radio on the office desk, an antique Sony STR 6800 stereo receiver in the den, and an NAD 3020 integrated amp in the garage are all now outfitted with a 21st Century wireless pathway courtesy of 41321. While it’s true that Bose paid attention to its customers and now ships their new Wave Radio III with integrated Bluetooth, for the hundreds of thousands of folks like us who already own fine sounding, perfectly functional and wonderfully idiosyncratic audio gear built anytime over the last six decades, there is good news. Integrating your portables doesn’t require that you start again and spend a fortune. Classics are classics for a reason. Sometimes all it takes to rediscover and enjoy what you’ve already got is to connect to it wirelessly!
-Joe Cornwall

photo credit: masarucollection via photopin cc