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In the age of rocking out from the comfort of your own couch, many an armchair rocker have been hindered by their pesky cord stopping them from doing a wicked awesome power slide on the final note of their favorite song. Along comes the wireless controller. Fans Rejoice. Power slides are now performed in mass quantity. But trouble looms on the horizon. The functionality of many of the wireless controllers is questioned. Why is there no notch on the yellow button, and why do the buttons feel so different? Why does it feel so much smaller? Why do I have to keep replacing batteries? Why does it feel like the noted I used to be able to hit suddenly miss? NYKO seemed to have been listening to the cries of the masses, and have responded by introducing the next generation of wireless axe: The FrontMan Wireless Guitar.

Immediately I was impressed by the size and weight of this guitar. It looked and felt very similar to the PS2 guitar that I was so used to. I popped I the batteries and fired up Guitar Hero II to test it out. Syncing the guitar to the controller port counterpart is a breeze; just a quick button press on each and it is good to go. After playing a few songs I was impressed by the responsiveness of the unit, it seemed to be as on time as the wired version, a flaw I have noticed in a few of the other aftermarket guitars out there. The strumming feels good, the whammy bar works just like it should, and the buttons feel just like the factory unit. The best part was being able to orient my hand with the notch on the yellow button. The other wireless guitar I have has no such notch, and I constantly find myself a note off and playing terribly.

With playability checked out, I took a look at the functionality of the guitar. One of the best features of the whole guitar and what may make it a buying point over any other guitar is the fact that the guitar can recharge batteries when plugged into the USB port. One set of batteries can now last as long as the guitar does. The USB cord even powers the guitar if you run out of batteries, which is a very nice plus if you find yourself out of juice.

For aftermarket guitars, it simply does not get better than the NYKO. The capacity to recharge batteries, 2.4 GHz range, excellent playability, and a very competitive price all make up for one sweet guitar. So shred away, ye rockers of yon living room, shred away.

Second Opinion
by: Erich Becker

I agree with everything John has stated in his review. The wireless controller has long been the desire, and scourge of the armchair rocker because if a first party company doesn’t release it, the third parties have never been able to get it exactly right. There’s usually some short coming that holds back a great product from being truly perfect. The FrontMan does have a few problems in my eyes, I found the buttons to be a bit stiffer than the guitar packaged in the original Guitar Hero for the PlayStation2. And for some reason the strum button didn’t feel quite right moving over from the RedOctane guitar, but after getting used to it, and rocking out for hours on end, the NYKO guitar feels natural in your hands.


In an age where the living room is fast becoming an all digital hub and music and movies are more apt to be released via direct distribution rather than physical media consumers have only a few choices when attempting to bring these formats into the living room. Previously you had the ability to create a “media PC” capable of viewing and recording TV shows, playing streaming music, and watching DVDs, but this is both a costly endeavor and can be bulky if not constructed and cooled correctly. But there is hope in the form of Slim Devices Squeezebox V3, an audio-dedicated streaming device that brings all your audio files into the living room is a small, sleek package.

The device, slightly smaller than a DVD case on its side and about three times a thick comes in two varieties, wired LAN and wireless, and two colors black and white, and is the easiest and cheapest way to play your iTunes or favorite internet radio station throughout the house. Featuring standard outputs for composite audio, digital coax, digital optical, and headphones, the ultra portable device is easy to carry from room to room, or add to your burgeoning media center.

Initial setup of the provided software went well the first time, but not perfect. After downloading the server software and installing it, it simply wouldn’t start up. One stop to the support forums indicated that this is a problem on some initial installations and a simple reinstall booted up the web-based server (compatible with both IE and Firefox) and the wireless connection to my Squeezebox. The server software has the ability to read your entire iTunes library (sans DRM-protected files) including cover art and playlists, this is an added bonus as files never hard to find.

While not large by any means, the server software does take up about 60MB of memory while running, which doesn’t put a damper in any system running 1GB or more of RAM, or dedicated to only streaming your music. On the CPU cycle side, while running and streaming music the program only used between 02-05% which is comparable, if not slightly lower than Apple’s iTunes or Nullsoft’s Winamp.

The Squeezebox itself was easy to install, even on my protected wireless network. Through half-a-dozen set up steps you’ll enter the type of encryption, the key needed, and the IP address of the computer running the server software. Auto-detection of the Squeezebox on the server side then allows you to begin constructing a custom playlist, using one you’ve already created, or choose from a vast selection of internet radio stations. Even if your favorite station isn’t included, you need to only enter the URL or IP of the stream and the software begins playing almost immediately.

Offering a favorites option gives you one touch access (from the Squeezebox via the provided remote) to build a list of your favorite tunes. Finding music to add to that list is easy as well allowing you to search via artist, album, year, or even cover art.

The styling of the product is in line with the new wave of slick, silver devices focusing on creating a versatile conversation piece. While playing, music information is displayed via a two row display, with the bottom row about twice the height of the top. The background works as a graphic equalizer display and can be customized from a number of different options, as can the display allowing you to choose the tags on the music file (such as artist, track number, etc.) that you want to see.

Adding to an already complete package is the remote which allows all of us to embrace our American heritage of sitting on the couch and manipulating things with one finger. The remote provides access to nearly all the Squeezebox’s functions without having to get up and bother with the server software. Even the little things like alarm clock settings which wake you up to a specified song bring a smile to your face when you think of the possibilities.

There’s such a plethora of options associated with the Squeezebox it’s nearly impossible to go through them all in a timely, entertaining manner. Let it be know that those looking to bring their digital music collection into the living room without the budget or technical know how of building a media PC, the Squeezebox offers a user-friendly, beautiful looking alternative that is a must purchase for anyone looking to stay on top of the technological curve.

This little streaming box that could is a definite recommendation for anyone.