June 26, 2017

Review: Grace Audio Mondo Internet Radio GDI-IRC6000


I liked my other Grace radio so much, but unfortunately for me so did my wife. She took it to her office and that’s the last I’ve seen of it. So I bought a new one for me. I choose the Mondo because my local PBS television station offered a discount on the radio and I took the bait.

Please allow me to get my gripe about this radio out right away. The sound quality is mediocre at best. There I’ve said it. If it were not for the so-so sound quality I would rate this radio a solid 5. But unfortunately it does not have great sound. It barely has OK sound. I agonized at the rating I should give this radio as a result. I settled on a 3 for the following reasons. You may not agree, but let me explain…

The Mondo is quite attractive in my opinion. I got the Black in color model. The display and controls are excellent. The Home Screen is well laid out and all the options for the radio are easily chosen using the front facing rotary knob. The number of Internet radio stations available is staggering. There are hundreds upon hundreds of stations available in all genres. You will be challenged to find your favorites since there are so many available. Just the Electronica genre alone has 604 stations.

Initial setup was easy as can be, I plugged the radio in, it displayed all the available networks on the gorgeous 3.5″ screen. I chose my network by scrolling to it and then clicked on it all with the front rotary knob. Next I entered my WPA network key. The radio connected to the Internet and immediately offered me the option to upgrade my firmware. Once I did that the radio restarted, connected to the network again and that was it. I then perused the various Internet Radio choices and added a few favorites to the programmable buttons. It is possible to store 10 favorites.

I also went through the Settings, made a few adjustments such as choosing my Time Zone and tweaked the Equalizer.

If you subscribe to SiriusXM, you can login to your account and then have access to all SiriusXM has to offer. Otherwise you are “stuck” with the thousands of worldwide Internet Rado stations, Pandora, iHeartRadio and other goodies the radio has to offer. I really like the Weather Bug choice off the home screen that displays a quick summary of weather for my city. I wasn’t expecting that little feature.

The radio has an aux-in which enable you to hook up another audio source such as an MP3 player. Actually, since the sound quality of the radio isn’t that hot, I instead utilize the RCA Component Audio outputs to feed the signal to either my Bose SoundLink radio or my mini-stereo that I have on my desk. The Mondo is capable of really great quality audio, just not through its own internal speaker. But when hooked up to another amplified speaker, now we’re talking!

The Mondo includes a remote powered by 2-AA batteries. Here’s a tip, if you have an iPhone or Android device, download the Grace app because it works via Wi-Fi and you can control your radio from the app. It gives you the ability to add stations to your favorites, set alarms and do just about everything you can do from the radio itself.

The radio has an alarm clock built-in as well as a sleep timer to play music for a set amount of time then shut off. The alarms work well. You can change the alarm sounds andset up to 5 separate alarm times. The snooze button on the radio works well.

When the radio is in standby mode, the display shows the time. The brightness of the display can be adjusted while in standby mode or completely turned off if you don’t want to see the clock or think it is too bright even in the dimmest mode.

Grace also sells an optional battery pack for the radio that will give you over 8 hours of use when you don’t have AC Power available but are still within a Wi-Fi coverage area. That really makes this a versatile radio.

There is so mcuh to like about the Mondo. If only the internal speaker sounded better.

In spite of the lackluster sound, I still love this radio. The convenience, the iPhone app, the incredible selection of stations, built-in weather forecast, aux in, audio out, USB drive music playing capability, all add up to make this one heck of an Internet Radio.

Comments

  1. Don Kobes says:

    Love the Grace Mondo, too, but for my use it’s not quite ready for prime time. Because it’s a radio, we expect it to perform like a radio — switch on, and off and choose the playback mode almost instantly.

    In my case, I play music from my computer hard drive, and for the first few months, the unit performed flawlessly. Now, every time I turn it on it can’t find the appropriate PnP server and the unit must be totally reset before it will again play the music on my computer hard drive.

    I spoke to Grace and they said it needed “factory” reset. Been there and done that. Alas, it’s not a permanent fix, I must reset with each on-off cycle. Help!

    TY

    Don Kobes, The Villages, Florida
    donkobes@embarqmail.com

  2. Michael R Erb says:

    Don, well it’s not quite a “Radio,” it’s an “Internet Radio.” So that opens it up to all the idiosyncrasies that wireless networks add to the equation.

    I do understand your frustration though and would agree that it is not as dead simple as turning it on and listening to it like a conventional radio.

    My computers, both laptops and notebooks, my iPhone and my iPod Touch periodically need to be rebooted to get working properly again too. I just chalk it up to that’s the way it is. Maybe I’m too lenient in that regard.

    I do wonder if you have a hardware issue since you claim it worked just fine for months and suddenly has started misbehaving?

    I’m going to assume that you have the latest firmware, but if you don’t you should ensure that you do just to see if that might be the cause of the problem.

    Wish I could give you a fix but that’s about all I can come up with. I don’t use mine like you use yours. I use mine strictly for listening to Internet Radio Stations. I’ve had to do a reset of my radio maybe twice since I’ve had it (just a couple months) but overall it’s performed well other than my criticism of the sound quality. But for casual background listening while I work, it’s great.