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Inno XM Radio Receiver


smiller

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So I picked up a Pioneer Inno XM radio receiver this weekend just to play around with it and... this thing's pretty neat. If you're not familiar with the Inno it is a small (iPod-sized) XM receiver that has its own internal battery and antenna so will operate completely portable and standalone. The portability is a nice feature but the best part is the ability to record (on-the-fly or scheduled) up to 50 hours of any XM program material (you can also transfer your own MP3 tracks to the player and mix them with the XM content.)

 

What this creates is essentially an XM Tivo, allowing you to play (and fast-forward through) content at will. I find this extremely useful as the main reason I'm attracted to satellite radio is the exposure it provides to new artists and songs... but the main reason I gave up and cancelled my last subscription is that to find the new material I found that I had to wade through a lot of crap that I didn't want to listen to while waiting for a few gems to appear, and that was so time-consuming and frustrating that it just wasn't worth the effort. With the Inno you can simply set it to a channel you like, let it record overnight, and then go through the tracks just as with a typical MP3 player, saving the tracks you like and deleting the rest. In this way you can go through tons of content quickly and easily mine out the good stuff (whatever the 'good stuff' might be to you) from the background noise, and in a practical amount of time. It works great. Also, like the Old Time Radio or comedy channels but hate the commercials? Just let it record overnight or all day and just pick out the shows you want... then skip past the commercials during playback à la Tivo.

 

Reception is pretty good with the inetrnal antenna, subject to all of the natural limitations one would expect such as dropouts while walking around if you block the unit from a view of the sky. The unit even works inside my house to a degree... not while walking around, but I can usually position it so that it receives a signal when I am stationary. A home kit (dock with power supply and home antenna) is included with the unit and a car kit is optional. I think you would need the car kit on a bike as you would probably want the superior reception of an external antenna and the 5-hour (receiving XM) or 12-hour (playing back songs) battery life wouldn't cut it for a full day's ride. The UI isn't ideal for a motorcycle but I can function the touchpad on the unit OK while wearing gloves so hopefully it will work out (haven't tried it yet while in motion.)

 

In an attempt to satisy the RIAA recorded XM content cannot be transferred off of the device (but of course since it's impossible to satisy the RIAA they sued XM anyway -- even though XM is now the single largest payer of royalties in the industry -- these guys are amazing.) But the Inno is very seamlessly bundled with Napster software (similar to iTunes) so it's very easy to purchase any content that you may want to use on other devices. I don't find this to be a limitation at all since satellite radio audio quality is pretty dreadful and I would be seeking a higher-quality copy of tracks I like from another source anyway. The main purpose of XM for me is to find the tracks and to listen to stuff while on the bike, purposes for which the audio quality is sufficient... barely.

 

This thing actually makes satellite radio more useful than annoying... pretty cool.

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The Li-Ion battery recharges anytime the device is in a cradle (home or auto) and is user-replaceable so one could carry an extra if desired. No program material is lost when the battery is exhaused.

 

I haven't tried the Inno out on the bike yet, will probably do so later this week.

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I've had the thing for a couple of months and love it! The "car kit" is an extra 75 bucks on top of the $350 for the base Inno kit so I rigged up the home dock with an inverter, some double sided tape and rubber bands to mount it on the bike. I used the supplied earbuds inside my helmet and was surprised that they blocked out enough wind noise to only need the volume at 1/2, even at 80mph. Not shown is the optional ziplock baggie rain cover. grin.gif

 

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The price of the car kit is a ripoff considering you can buy and entire Delphi radio for $60. I don't care to spend the money for multiple XM subscriptions so I do alot of installing/uninstalling of that base kit. All I need is a 12v adaptor and another antenna, Pioneer!

 

The like the ability to record songs. The local terrestrial antenna is off line at the moment so I am currently listening to stored content. I am only at 8% usage, out of 50 hours that the unit will store.

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I have the Pioneer Airwave. It was $120 shipped from http://www.myradiostore.us/

 

The customer service there is great.

 

The airwave is the older version - a little bigger too. But for the low price of a portable unit, I couldn't resist.

 

Its great hearing tunes on the bike.

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so I rigged up the home dock with an inverter
Both the car kit and home kit run on 5 volts DC so a simple 12-to-5 volt DC converter from Radio Shack would probably be smaller and more efficient than using the AC power supply and the inverter. Just a suggestion. Plus the home kit antenna is a high-gain unit that works pretty well indoors, but it's kind of large for use on a bike. The car kit antenna is much smaller. The car kits are about $65 now and I think that's personally how I'd go. BTW the cost of the Inno has dropped quite a bit too, Internet price is now around $220-$250.
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Both the car kit and home kit run on 5 volts DC so a simple 12-to-5 volt DC converter from Radio Shack would probably be smaller and more efficient than using the AC power supply and the inverter. Just a suggestion.

 

I thought the same thing and bought the IGo cigarette lighter adapter from Radio Shack, it fit the travel charger that I had brought along to match up but didn't fit the dock. Go figure!?! I tried exchanging the tip for another one (this time taking the dock along), but they had nothing that worked. So I had to go the round about way, installing a cigarette lighter socket, plugging a pocket sized invertor to it and then the a/c adaptor. After all of that trouble I am REALLY not going to cough up $75 for the car kit that I can easily and cleanly plug in and use. wink.gif

Plus the home kit antenna is a high-gain unit that works pretty well indoors, but it's kind of large for use on a bike. The car kit antenna is much smaller.

It is on the trunk in the second pic, you tell me. Anyways, I removed it and put it on the roof of my Jeep for a trip to Moab, it will remain there until my next big m/c journey.

 

The car kits are about $65 now and I think that's personally how I'd go. BTW the cost of the Inno has dropped quite a bit too, Internet price is now around $220-$250.

Dang, thanks for sharing that. bncry.gif

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BTW the cost of the Inno has dropped quite a bit too, Internet price is now around $220-$250.
I was referring to the pre-rebate price, but yes there is a rebate on through the end of the year that provides $50 back if you subscribe to XM for six months after purchase (new subs only), so if you are in that group you can subtract $50 from whatever price you find.
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Regarding the Inno, I have used mine for about 5.5 months and find it to be a pretty good unit. My only real complaint is that the controls and menu are so small that I won't dink with them unless I'm completely stopped. Adjusting the volume and turning the unit on and off are ok on the run.

 

I was initially disappointed with the battery life because if you left the unit off the charger, even in the off mode, the battery was dead by the next day. I received a software update alert from XM indicated a fix was available for the problem and, sure enough, the patch worked. So, be sure to download the latest software from XM.

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I have the MyFi which can record 5 hours of music. I usually just listen to live stations but when the reception is bad I just hit the button and go to the recorded music. This way I always have music in the mountains and hills.

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Dang, thanks for sharing that.
Sorry, wasn't trying to rub it in... just letting others know as a general fyi...

Don't worry, I have no regrets. The meteoric price decline is expected for consumer electronics anyways. That XM radio has gotten a lot more music in my life! I was listing to music ~5 hours a week before, now it is more like 50. The variety is welcome, when I get tired of listening to one genre I try another, it is great to finally know the artist and titles of every song. I am very happy with the sound quality on the music channels but then I am no audiophile. The talk channels are another story, it is like a cell phone that is about to drop a call but the only one I ever listen to is the Radio Classics station.

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