Pros Inexpensive, streams any audio
Cons Tech support needed for setup, poor connectivity to WiFi
Summary I bought the Music Bridge after reading all the reviews, positive and negative. Since I'm a technical guy I figured I would get it to work - and I did, eventually.
Here are the basics on this unit:
- It's a "virtual sound card". The sound card in your PC plays music through its speakers; this Bridge uses your WiFi network to "project" your soundcard wirelessly to a remote location.
- The first step is to connect it (using an ethernet cable) to your PC so that you can set it up (it needs to learn about your WiFi network) and plug in the power. Using the install CD to try to setup the unit seems useless; in reading the reviews it seems that the standard install process works for only 1 in 10, and I wasn't that one. The workaround is simple: look on the bottom of the unit. The IP address of the unit is listed there. Type it into your browser (I used IE) (type http://192.168.1.210 ). You'll be prompted for a username (leave it blank) and a password ("admin"). Bam! You're into the setup screen. If you've gotten this far you can probably figure out the setup steps (Change the Bridge's name to something that means to you. Change the Bridge's IP address and click "apply" which restarts the unit. I changed mine to 192.168.0.210 since my D-Link router's using the "0". Also setup SSID and WEP if you use it). To do this you don't absolutely have to have connectivity to the wireless router but if you do you can click "search" to make sure they're talking.
- Once you've setup your Bridge you can disconnect the ethernet cable and move the unit to the stereo. Turn the stereo on and make sure the red and white RCA cables are plugged into whatever input you tune your stereo to (sounds silly, but make sure).
- The rest of the work is done back on your PC by installing the "utility", the software that turns this contraption into the virtual sound card. If you used my workaround above you'll need to go back to the Autoplay of the CD and at the bottom in smaller letters it says "Install Utility". Once you've got the Utility up, click "scan for bridge" and hopefully (if your Bridge is close enough to your WiFi router) the bridge's name will appear. Give it 15-60 seconds after scanning. If it doesn't appear, unplug the bridge from the stereo and put the bridge next to router (eliminate the range issue) and try scanning again.
- Once you get the bridge listed in the table, select it and click "Connect" in the Utility and click "yes" in the popup. This should send sound to the Bridge. If the bridge is in another room and you don't want to crank up the volume, just open a media player on your PC after connecting and see if sound comes out of the PC - silence is good because the sound is being sent to the Bridge.
- You CAN toggle back and forth between the Bridge and your PC's sound card. Simply always open whatever media player you're using AFTER making your choice in the Utility. I.e.: click "Connect" (to the bridge), then open Media Player 10 which will cause MP10 to pick up the Bridge as the virtual sound card. If you want to come back to the PC sound card, CLOSE MP10 then click "Connect to PC's Speaker" then reopen MP10 - sound will now come from your PC's speakers.
- I found that with 40 ft and a couple walls between the router and the Bridge there was intermittent cutouts. Moving the router closer helped but still didn't make the signal perfect; in my non-technical opinion is that the radio in the Bridge is pretty weak.
Summary: My conclusion is that this approach to getting music from the PC to the stereo has too many points of failure - PC, WiFi, Bridge, Stereo - and if any one has an issue then you get no sound. I don't know what the alternative is for me yet, but I'm returning my device even though I got it tow work. It seems to me that for a single person with a PC, Router and Stereo close to each other - like in the same room but where running a wire isn't practical - this Bridge is a great, affordable solution with some minor issues related to setup. However, for a family living in a 2000+ sq.ft. home and with components scattered around the house on multiple floors, this Bridge may not be ideal.
"Effortless setup"on by rancarl
Pros Works perfectly with XP and Linksys WRT54G router. Price is right.
Cons Included documentation very incomplete. Wish it had an upgradable antenna.
Summary I read all the negative reviews here and elsewhere about the WMB54G, but I bought it anyway. I had difficulty believing that Linksys would put its reputation on the line with a defective product.
I was also confident because I have a Linksys WRT54G router running under XP, optimal for avoiding compatibility problems. People who co-mingle D-Link, Netgear and Linksys hardware are brave souls.
I wish a had an adventure to share. I just slammed in the setup disk and followed the directions. When the bridge (wired directly to the PC) was found, I rebooted, connected the bridge to my receiver, and hit "connect." Led Zeppelin!
It was so easy, I was a little disappointed. I never had to go into expert mode. I've moved the thing all over the house without a hiccup.
The WRT54G has some limitations, like lack of remote and display, but what do you expect for 80 bucks? Users who complain about hearing bings and boings through their speakers should go to the control panel and turn them off. A beauty of the WMB54G is that it will reliably play any sound your computer is capable of making.
Pros Hardware works fine via HTTP
Cons Utility program is a major hack
Summary I have been waiting for a device that can be added to my wireless network where I can SIMPLY "push" music from any PC to one or more music bridges on my wireless network(attached to speaker systems throughout my home). The oh so typical marketing hype on the Linksys box makes it seem like it was actually done correctly (one PC, multiple devices, separate playlists for each bridge, etc.) but no way! It doesn't even work reliably for a single music bridge, let alone support multiple bridges from one PC (dropouts, lost connections, even though I am a few feet away from the AP). I can ping it or HTTP to the device and log in, but now the utilty cannot "find" it on my network!!!! Go figure. The utility is a real hack job and no one even took five minutes to make sure the "English" prompts were correct! There really should be a law against releasing stuff like this too early and causing hours of frustration on that part of poor suckers like me who believed the glowing hype on the box!
I'll return it and go try the Apple Airport.
I am running Windows XP on a P4 at 3 GHz and a 2-wire AP/router.
Pros Installation, software and performance are excellent
Cons None. But to be picky it could use a display and remote.
Summary It is rare to be totally satisfied with a purchase. This is one. The WMB54G Music Bridge is excellent. The software installation was a five minute process. I now have the software installed on 3 machines: a destop and two laptops. Plays Itunes protected and Yahoo Music without a hiccup. The sound quality from the optical out to 2 triamplified Meridian digital speakers is spectacular. Distance to the router is 30 feet - and through a concrete wall. Going to retire my Meridian CD player. This is the future: subscription, digital organization and wireless. If it had a display and perhaps its own remote it would deserve a 10. It is that good.Updated
Turning off WPA and WEP will boost the throughput of your network by 50%. Especially if you do not live in proximity to anyone. Turn off file sharing. Turn off SSID. Enable MAC address filtering : address for the music bridge is 00:16:B6:59:61:A0 Ethernet and 00:16:B6:59:61:A1 802.11G. Advanced features can be accessed by addressing the music bridge through your browser at 192.168.1.210 - however you might want to move this to a static address like 192.168.2.10. You can also adjust the transmission rate, fragmentation threshold and request to send threshold. By right clicking on the tray icon you can also adjust the buffer size for movies, games and music. You can use your computer's sound card and the wireless bridge soundcard simultaneously for different programs. If you open a program on your computer it will use the computer's sound card until closed. Simultaneously you can open the wireless bridge sound card (C-Media Wi-Sonic Wireless Audio) for another application - like Yahoo Music. A+++ Funny how these reviews are all 9's (Spectacular) or 3's.(Poor).Updated
Not that all the reviewers who gave this a 3 or less are intellectually challenged but...what a dichotomy between them and those who gave it a 9!
I find the product flawless. I play it 8-10 hours a day.
Some suggestions: Experiment locally using the Ethernet port and your computer speakers with an adapter from RCA to Mini Din. Then try wireless with the music bridge sitting on your desk next to the router. Try turning off WPA and WEP which will boost the throughput of your network by 50%. You can keep this setting if you do not live in proximity to anyone - especially anyone evil. Turn off SSID. Enable MAC address filtering : address for the music bridge is 00:16:B6:59:61:A0 Ethernet and 00:16:B6:59:61:A1 802.11G. Advanced features can be accessed by addressing the music bridge through your browser at 192.168.1.210 - however you might want to move this to a static address like 192.168.2.10. You can also adjust the transmission rate, fragmentation threshold and request to send threshold. By right clicking on the tray icon you can also adjust the buffer size for movies, games and music. You can use your computer's sound card and the wireless bridge soundcard simultaneously for different programs. If you open a program on your computer it will use the computer's sound card until closed. Simultaneously you can open the wireless bridge sound card for another application - like Yahoo Music. A++++
Pros Easy to install.
Cons None that I could see.
Summary The product was easy to install. Just follow the directions. The sound quality is great, and the user interface is easy. I had no problem switching from PC speakers to WMB54G speakers. I was up and running in under 5 minutes. This product rocks...