Bose Wave/PC Interactive Music System Page 2

Setting up the hardware took me less than 10 minutes. I inserted a tiny battery in the remote and the 9-volt battery in the Wave/PC, attached and strung the antenna, and connected the cable to my computer. The unit's beige exterior (it's also available in charcoal) matched my PC to a T. You'll need about 200 megabytes (MB) of hard-disk space to accommodate the Wave/PC software, which includes a classical-music sampler compressed in the MP3 format at a classy 192 kilobits per second (kbps) - 128 kbps is the de facto standard.

After you install the Bose software on your hard drive, it automatically scans for MP3 and WAV files for inclusion in a general playlist. It found 129 MP3 tracks on my PC but ignored music files encoded in other formats, like Windows Media Audio. The software also installs a list of your local radio stations from a national database on the CD-ROM and scans the airwaves to gauge signal strength. Seeing all the stations' frequencies and call letters in my area listed on the PC screen, including icons indicating strong reception, made the setup process a snap. Click on a frequency, and the Wave/PC tunes it in. And the clock is automatically set by the computer.

The ease of using the Wave/PC became even more apparent when I set the system's presets. As on the original Wave radio, a sextet of buttons atop the Wave/PC can instantly call up six AM and six FM stations, but now you can assign them by dragging the call letters from the station list to the soft buttons onscreen. The Wave/PC also lets you assign each of the presets to an individual song or whole playlist of songs on your computer's hard drive as well as to a Web radio station. And with the infrared remote, you can use the presets from up to 20 feet away, toggling seamlessly between traditional radio, Web radio, and stored music by tapping buttons.