Product Review (August 2009)
Cobra - CIR 2000 A Internet Radio

By Rita Nakano


Cobra CIR 2000 A Internet RadioCobra is well known for its radar detectors and CB radios. However, the company has recently entered the market with a new Internet Radio called the CIR 2000 A, designed to stream audio from stations over the internet as well as play music from CDs and memory sticks. According to Cobra, the unit has access to over 10,000 radio stations worldwide. Of course, we could not verify this, but we did try many of the available stations. The unit also includes a clock, alarm, and sleep timer. The CIR 2000 A has a piano gloss finish and sports a pair of fancy looking modular speakers with dual drivers powered by 20 Watt x 2 (peak) of amplification. We say dual drivers because even though there are three drivers on each of the speakers, the small center driver is just there for looks and serves no sonic benefit to the system's performance. The unit support WEP, WPA and WPA2 security protocols and includes a Wi-Fi USB stick that plugs into the back of the unit. The main unit measures 7" W x 6" H x 9" D.

Cobra CIR2000 A Internet RadioRear Panel
The back of the CIR 2000 A has connections for power, speakers, aux input, antenna, USB, and a LAN. There is also a power switch for controlling the 12V, 4A power input from the AC adapter. A large heatsink, which is likely used for the power amplifier, occupies about a third of the back panel. Build quality is good with a solid feel. We plugged in the supplied Wi-Fi adapter into the USB slot on the back of the unit and quickly had music streaming over our secured wireless link. The wireless setup was surprisingly easy to get up and running. While the CIR 2000 A has a wired ethernet connection which we often prefer, the wireless option gives users more flexibility with placement of the unit.

CobraWireless Network
The unit has built-in 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi with WEP, WPA and WPA2 security protocols. Available SSID signals detected by the Internet Radio is displayed along with the corresponding signal strength. Once connected to the network, the unit performs a Time Sync that sets the proper time based on your time zone. When the unit is off, the date and time are displayed on the front panel along with the alarm status. The front panel has no tactile buttons, but instead has touch sensitive controls that I found to be somewhat difficult to use. I have always preferred tactile buttons with physical feedback. However, the smooth surface and blue backlit buttons look sleek and contemporary.

CobraRemote
A full featured IR remote is provided with the unit and is the preferred method for controlling the various features. The remote is almost 7-inches long, making it easy to handle. Full navigation buttons are provided along with dedicated buttons for all the inputs. Additional buttons for CD playback include A-B loop, Random, and Repeat. There is also a button to open and close the CD tray.

The CD player recognizes the inserted disc and displays the information provided by Gracenote Music recognition service (CDDB). This is a nice feature that provides users with artist, album, and track names. The top clearance on the CD tray was tight and many discs barey cleared the tray opening. Flexible playback and recording options are available from the USB port and SD card slots provided. Outboard MP3 players or external audio sources can also be connected through the 3.5 mm auxiliary input jack. There are presets for the built-in FM radio and internet radio stations. A 3.5 mm headphone jack is provided, which can also be used as a connection to a more powerful stereo system.

Conclusion
The Cobra CIR 2000 A Internet Radio ($270 street) is a full-featured audio player that would make a great office accessory, especially for those interested in having the ability to stream music stations from around the world. Wi-Fi compatibility makes it easy to place the unit where wired ethernet is just not an option. Sound quality varies depending on the source material with CD and MP3 sounding the best. Low bitrate audio streams have audible limitations and may be objectionable to those expecting higher quality audio. The speakers could have sounded better and they do exhibit a sharp roll-off at high frequencies when listened to (vertically) off-axis.

The automatic CDDB (CD database) was a great feature that will enhance the playback of CDs. The Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) capability allowed us to access our home media server full of thousands of songs. Aside from the limitations mentioned, Cobra has come out with a powerful audio product with impressive features.

- Rita Nakano




OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player




Review at a glance


Cobra - CIR 2000 A Internet Radio


Features

  • Wi-Fi internet radio with access to over 10,000 radio stations worldwide
  • CD player with Gracenote music recognition service (CDDB)
  • USB port and SD card slot provide flexible playback and recording options
  • Wirelessly stream your music collection from your PC or Mac (UPNP)
  • Stereo speakers (20W x 2 peak) produce crisp and dynamic sound quality

Package Contents

  • Internet Radio
  • 2 Speakers
  • Owner’s Manual
  • Warranty Insert Sheet
  • Wi-Fi USB thumb drive
  • FM Antenna
  • Remote Control with 2 AAA batteries

SKU: CIR 2000 A
Source: Manufacture Supplied
MSRP: $289.95

Cobra - CIR 2000 A Internet Radio Product Manual

Company Information
Cobra Electronics Corporation
6500 West Cortland Street
Chicago, IL 60707
Email: productinfo@cobra.com
Website: www.cobra.com
Phone: 773-889-8870


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