Bose Wave/PC Interactive Music System

When Dr. Amar Bose visited the magazine where I worked in the early 1990s, he teased staffers by hiding under a cloth the source of the luxurious-sounding music filling the room. Moments later he revealed that it was actually emanating from an unassuming clock radio. Since then, the Bose Wave radio has landed on countless tabletops and nightstands. Now, Bose has introduced a new version of the popular radio, called the Wave/PC ($449).

In terms of appearance, the only difference seems to be a connector on the back to link the radio to the serial port and audio jack of a PC running Windows 98 or higher. The supplied cable is 15 feet long, so you don't have to put the Wave/PC right next to the computer. On closer inspection, however, you realize that the computer link and the software Bose supplies on a CD-ROM expand the capabilities of the Wave/ PC far beyond those of its stand-alone forerunner. (An accessory is expected in October that will let you use your computer's USB port either just for controlling the Wave/PC or for bypassing your computer's sound card entirely. Its price hadn't been announced as we went to press.)

The Wave/PC is meant to provide quick, easy access to all the MP3 and WAV music files on your computer's hard drive, to music on a CD, and to a multitude of Internet radio stations without your having to sit in front of the computer. And when the computer is turned off, you can still use the Wave/PC as an AM/FM radio or its speakers to play an external audio source. Like its predecessor, it has two wakeup times and a snooze button, and it comes with an antenna, a 9-volt battery for clock/alarm backup, and a neat credit-card-size remote control.