gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Tangent Quattro MK2 Review

I’ve been playing with the Tangent Quattro MK2 for the past few days and absolutely love it. It’s small, packs a serious sonic punch for its size and has classic good looks to boot.

The one thing I don’t love is the FM Radio. It’s just a little bit too old school for me, and DAB would have been a much preferred inclusion. Aside from this the only thing I would change in this little beauty is the dials and buttons. Machined aluminium puh-lease! No self respecting audiophile product should be caught with plastic volume and tuning dials, no matter how good they might feel.

Looks and traditional radio aside, let us get to what the Tangent Quattro MK2 is really about: Internet Radio.

The little box that is the Tangent Quattro MK2 is incredibly deceptive, and nobody would know from looking at it that it incorporates wireless or wired networking functionality, enabling it to stream anything from internet radio to podcasts from the internet and even shared music from your desktop PC.

But it does. And it not only does it easily and incredibly well but blasts out your favourite station with a jaw dropping amount of power for such a tiny, single speaker device.

Perhaps one of my most loved features in the Tangent Quattro MK2 is additionally the most simple. I can turn it on and, within seconds, have my favourite internet radio station (SLAY Radio, for the record) blasting out in the kitchen without having to press anything but the power button. The last-played memory of the Quattro goes far beyond this, however, I’ve turned it off at the mains and still it will turn on and resume playing the last listened station – obviously after I turn it back on at the mains, it’s not magical or anything. It’s clear that the Reciva internet radio gateway has something to do with this.

If you’re registered at Reciva you can also create a “My Stations” shortlist that eases the browsing of internet radio stations, although I found that dialing up a name to search for stations such as SLAY and Chill is actually quite quick and easy once you get the hang of it.

In addition to FM Radio, Internet Radio and Podcasts you can stream music from UPNP servers and Windows File Shares. I had a little trouble getting the Quattro to see any Windows Vista machines and eventually ended up using Vista’s build-in UPNP music sharing server which seemed to work fine. With the Quattro you can browse through your music selection and add tracks to a play list, then use the buttons on the front to skip tracks.

A remote would have come in handy here, and so would a slightly larger LCD display. It’s quite fiddly to browse music, but this is a problem that seems to plague most of the networked radios I’ve been looking at.

Although it lacks an iPod dock, the Quattro MK2 boasts a line-input and a ridiculous length of 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack endowed cable that will let you hook any audio source you like to it in a jiffy. In Aux-in mode you wont be able to charge your portable device, but you will still have that wonderful, bass ported, room filling speaker at your disposal.

The speaker is so good, in fact, that I have found it to be suitable for use as a monitor when working with the odd tune in Reason 4. For me to be torn away from my Roland RH-300 headphones or a pair of studio monitors takes some serious oomph and I would never have thought it could be found in something as humble as the Quattro. Okay, so you’re not going to put a concert on with it, but rest absolutely assured that any room in your house will be effortlessly filled with audio by this beauty.

This beautifully packaged, superb audio quality comes at a price, however, with the Tangent Quattro MK2 floating between £160 and £200 depending on the finish. If the classic walnut veneer isn’t your cup of tea then there are a range of, dare I say Apple-esque, high-gloss colours available that will attract finger-smears like a lamp does moths.

Overall it’s a fantastic product and you certainly get what you pay for in this respect. A stylish, incredibly high performance yet compact radio that could be at home in any room of your house.

You can buy the Tangent Quattro MK II in a variety of colours for £170.95 delivered.

Prices and colours


Monday, November 3rd, 2008, Home Entertainment, Personal Audio.