Author Topic: New Mondo Plus  (Read 1245 times)

Solo2

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New Mondo Plus
« on: 15:33:40 | 17 July, 2017 »
Thanks to Greg Fadul and the good people at Grace Digital, I received a gray Mondo Plus today.  The exterior, as far as I can tell, is identical to the past Mondo.  In the box were the familiar Grace remote and an RCA-to-3.5mm jack “Y” cable.  I may order the optional battery later if I decide to use this Mondo as a clock radio, as a precaution against oversleeping due to power outages.

I plug the Mondo Plus into the wall and pressed the “power” button.  It sprang to life and asked whether I wanted a wired or a wireless connection and I selected “wireless.”  Then it asked whether I wanted to scan for a network or to enter it manually and I did a scan.  It found my network and asked for my password.  On the first attempt it said “network not found” but it worked on the second try.

The scrolling on the Mondo Plus is a bit odd.  After selecting a number or letter, it resets to “A” each time rather than remaining on the selected letter.  This might make entering a long password annoying but I was fine with it.  Another criticism is that it is hard to see the black scroll bar against the dark blue background screen, but I managed that.  Once my Mondo Plus accessed the network it wanted to update its firmware.  The update took about 5 minutes.  The firmware version the radio loaded is 142.36.  The radio then came to life.

The main screen gives the following menu: internet radio, music services, media player, radio settings, aux in and equalization.  Under internet radio the menu choices are: search for local stations, history, my stuff (my streams, my podcasts and my stations), search for station by name, search for station by genre and search for station by location.  The music services available are Sirius XM, iHeartRadio, NPR and Public Radio, BBC, CBS and Podcasts by Audiosear.ch.

I decided to test the ability to add a station, Jazz24, to my streams using the portal to the radio which is at myradiosplus.gracedigital.com. One just goes to “my streams” clicks on “add new” then pastes the streaming url in a box.  The site also asks for the url for station art, which I didn’t know.  The stations played on the radio from “my streams” without any problems.

I then decided to cast to the radio from my phone using Chromecast built-in.   I went to the Google Home app and the Mondo Plus showed up as a Chromecast device.  From my Pocketcasts app I clicked on the Chromecast icon and the Mondo Plus appeared in the “cast to” list.  It was then simple to cast the podcast from the Pocketcast app to the radio.

I also used the “media player” function.  The radio asked for “UPnP” or “USB.”  I selected UPnP
and it found the music stored on my NAS without any delay or fuss.

I will continue to play with this and may edit this further if I see anything remarkable.  So far, I can say I’m very impressed with Mondo Plus.
Radios:   Grace GDI-IRA500, 2 GDI-IRDT200s, GDI-IRMS300, Grace IRC6000W, Grace GDI-WHA6001, Grace and Reciva iradio apps

zeewier

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Re: New Mondo Plus
« Reply #1 on: 05:44:34 | 18 July, 2017 »
Thanks for that. I will consider this radio when my Reciva radios have died and a European version of the Mondo Plus can be bought.

Solo2

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Re: New Mondo Plus
« Reply #2 on: 06:25:09 | 18 July, 2017 »
Thanks for that. I will consider this radio when my Reciva radios have died and a European version of the Mondo Plus can be bought.

It's a work-in-progress.  You might find the music services and the stations offered to be too USA-oriented at the moment.  It should be less so when they add Spotify Connect, which they say should happen in a month or so.
Radios:   Grace GDI-IRA500, 2 GDI-IRDT200s, GDI-IRMS300, Grace IRC6000W, Grace GDI-WHA6001, Grace and Reciva iradio apps

castalla

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Re: New Mondo Plus
« Reply #3 on: 10:13:50 | 19 July, 2017 »
Thanks for that. I will consider this radio when my Reciva radios have died and a European version of the Mondo Plus can be bought.

It's a work-in-progress.  You might find the music services and the stations offered to be too USA-oriented at the moment.  It should be less so when they add Spotify Connect, which they say should happen in a month or so.

I'm just trying Spotify.  The connect feature is pretty useful.  I can play to Echos. Sonos, Fire TV, and there's a plugin for Squeezebox.   Very flexible.

Overall, the only limitation I've found is that some local music files won't play (eg. If This Goodbye by Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris).

Should be a useful addition.
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Solo2

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Re: New Mondo Plus
« Reply #4 on: 06:29:04 | 22 July, 2017 »
Grace just came out with a firmware update for the Mondo Plus and I copied and pasted what it does below.  One thing that I think is interesting is that Grace is going to do a one-time-only sync of its station database with Reciva's.  Apparently the integration with Spotify Connect is several months down the road as is getting RSS feeds to work so that podcasts can be added to "my podcasts."



Below is the list of changes in today’s software build version #146.39 (to be available late Friday night July 21). On your radio home menu select ‘radio settings’ then ‘update firmware’).  In the future, please go to https://support.gracedigital.com/hc/en-us  and look at the ‘Mondo+ what’s in the latest software update’ folder for the current and past update information.

 

The fixes/changes that are in today’s build are:

 

·         Changed the font color on the date and alarm clock icon on the standby screen for backlight setting 1. We also made everything a tad darker.

·         Deleted the Year on the standby screen and instead added the Day of the week

·         Inactivity timer is now 35 seconds

·         Fixed a few metadata bugs

·         Added an optional Now Playing screen (you can now display the large clock and date instead of album artwork as a default inactivity screen)

·         Added variable buffer capability (in settings menu)– for those people who have significant amount of audio buffering because of network congestion, distance from your radio, or just if a radio stations streaming server is slow or congested. You can now set the amount of buffer that the radio saves at the beginning of a session.   The only reason NOT to add more buffer time is if you want a quick start time for playing music. Since adding more buffer time is done when you select a station it will delay the playback time by 2-5 seconds depending on how much buffer you add.

·         Updated networking software to fix a few fringe networking issues.

·         Bluetooth – we deleted the time bar for Bluetooth because there is a known bug where it does not sync with the actual song progression. The time bar will be added back later when that bug is fixed.

·         Fixed bug for when you were on the now playing screen and pressed the now playing button a second time that it added additional duplicate information on the core Now playing screen

·         Added more stations to our database.

·         None new bug: the softkeys have a grey small bar across the top of each softkey. This will be fixed in the next update.

 

 

Upcoming stuff for the server side of things (myradios.gracedigital.com) in the middle of August

·         We will merge the old database with our new database so we will have the best of both worlds for the Mondo+ (finally got approval to do so). This will add about 3,000 stations to our database.  Note that this is a one-time merge.  Grace will continue to add and update stations our new Mondo+ database and Qualcomm will continue to update their database. We do not have the rights to make universal changes to both databases.

·         Ability to customize folder names in the My stuff folder

·         Ability to save RSS feeds used for podcast and shows in the podcast folder

 

Regards,

 

Greg
Radios:   Grace GDI-IRA500, 2 GDI-IRDT200s, GDI-IRMS300, Grace IRC6000W, Grace GDI-WHA6001, Grace and Reciva iradio apps

zeewier

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Re: New Mondo Plus
« Reply #5 on: 08:53:16 | 22 July, 2017 »
I just discovered that Grace Digital don't ship the Mondo+ to the UK, but amazon.com does: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071L8XYGD/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

castalla

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Re: New Mondo Plus
« Reply #6 on: 16:04:57 | 22 July, 2017 »
225 USD !!!

Really?
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zeewier

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Re: New Mondo Plus
« Reply #7 on: 02:24:26 | 23 July, 2017 »
Yes this is the price (or £180.57 in sterling) with AmazonGlobal Standard shipping (which includes import fees and clearing customs so there are no additional costs) to a UK address. No doubt the price will drop if and when amazon uk or orther retailers start selling this radio.

bob12564

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Re: New Mondo Plus
« Reply #8 on: 07:01:15 | 23 July, 2017 »
I've been a fan of Grace Digital radios for years.  I own 3 different models.  I was originally intrigued by the Mondo + but I was concerned by the seeming reliance on Chromecast to do the future "heavy lifting".  The Reciva models had great flexibility but Reciva support is virtually dead.  Many podcasts are now encrypted and lost to the Reciva radios.  Radio streaming services like Radionomy have pulled their stations in favor of proprietary apps for Android or Iphones.  The 3rd party music services like Spotify and Pandora are available to the Mondo +, but only via Chromecast.  As discussed in other threads, are internet radios on the way out and is the future Chromecast and cell phone apps?

I decided to wait on the Mondo +.  I think maybe there's another Grace Digital solution that works well and is cheaper than the Mondo +: the CastDock speaker.  It's $89 US from Amazon and just needs a Chromesast to drive it.  They're cheap and often on sale.  The Cbromecast is inserted into the top of the speaker and is hidden by a snap-on cover.  You just need some basic apps like TuneIn and the apps from all your favorite music services, and you can control the speaker via a tablet or smartphone.  Google updates the Chromecast and the app providers maintain their software, which would eliminate the obsolescence problems we've had with the Reciva chips.  The Mondo + radio functions still rely on a 3rd party chip and future support could go the way of Reciva.  I think that's why Chromecast is a big part of the new design.
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Solo2

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Re: New Mondo Plus
« Reply #9 on: 07:31:45 | 23 July, 2017 »
I've been a fan of Grace Digital radios for years.  I own 3 different models.  I was originally intrigued by the Mondo + but I was concerned by the seeming reliance on Chromecast to do the future "heavy lifting".  The Reciva models had great flexibility but Reciva support is virtually dead.  Many podcasts are now encrypted and lost to the Reciva radios.  Radio streaming services like Radionomy have pulled their stations in favor of proprietary apps for Android or Iphones.  The 3rd party music services like Spotify and Pandora are available to the Mondo +, but only via Chromecast.  As discussed in other threads, are internet radios on the way out and is the future Chromecast and cell phone apps?

I decided to wait on the Mondo +.  I think maybe there's another Grace Digital solution that works well and is cheaper than the Mondo +: the CastDock speaker.  It's $89 US from Amazon and just needs a Chromesast to drive it.  They're cheap and often on sale.  The Cbromecast is inserted into the top of the speaker and is hidden by a snap-on cover.  You just need some basic apps like TuneIn and the apps from all your favorite music services, and you can control the speaker via a tablet or smartphone.  Google updates the Chromecast and the app providers maintain their software, which would eliminate the obsolescence problems we've had with the Reciva chips.  The Mondo + radio functions still rely on a 3rd party chip and future support could go the way of Reciva.  I think that's why Chromecast is a big part of the new design.

If cheap's what you want, you could just buy a $35 Chromecast Audio (sometimes even cheaper when on sale) and plug it into the "aux in" jack of your current radio.  I don't think that there is much chance that the chip Grace has in the Mondo Plus, which they developed, becomng obsolete anytime soon. Grace is developing its own radio station database to avoid being dependant on a 3d party provider, like Reciva, that might go away and leave the radio high and dry.  Spotify Connect is coming to the Mondo Plus.  A big absence is Pandora that apparently only wants to be accessed by Chromecast so as to avoid snafus such as the repeated failure of Denon receivers to keep up with Pandora updates.


Radios:   Grace GDI-IRA500, 2 GDI-IRDT200s, GDI-IRMS300, Grace IRC6000W, Grace GDI-WHA6001, Grace and Reciva iradio apps

Greg

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Re: New Mondo Plus
« Reply #10 on: 16:34:16 | 24 July, 2017 »
Hi Bob, in response of this:
Google updates the Chromecast and the app providers maintain their software, which would eliminate the obsolescence problems we've had with the Reciva chips.  The Mondo + radio functions still rely on a 3rd party chip and future support could go the way of Reciva.  I think that's why Chromecast is a big part of the new design.

1) It wasn't the reciva chpi that went away that caused Grace to not be able to build radios, it was a general purpose Samsung MCU.  This required Grace to develop a brand new platform which ias based on an Arm cortex by TI.  All chips have finite lifespan. The Samsung MCU lasted for 10 years ... I anticipate the TI ARM to last 8-10 years as well.
2) So yes, the Mondo+ relies on a 3rd party chip but every device relies on 3rd party chips. Heck even the iPhone relies on Qualcomm and Samsung chips.
3) You are right that we made Chromecast a big part of the design , but not because of the chip, but because of their software.  Having the ability to support 100's of audio apps was the key reason.  As time progresses we will add more onboard apps ...

Cheers!

Alan E Hill

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Re: New Mondo Plus
« Reply #11 on: 06:47:39 | 02 August, 2017 »
Okay, I'm seriously considering this.

Chromecast is good. But no mention of Pandora? Or have I missed something?

Of course, I can "cast" Pandora or use Bluetooth/Alexa, I assume. Or can I?

I'm sort of stuck with Pandora because it was the first to link with reciva, it works well in my car and Alexa.

So moving on is possible, but I have this kind of inertia.
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Solo2

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Re: New Mondo Plus
« Reply #12 on: 07:01:41 | 02 August, 2017 »
Pandora's not available on-board.  You have to cast from the Pandora app on your phone to the radio using Chromecast built-in.  Grace says there's a slim chance that they might be able to add it later.
Radios:   Grace GDI-IRA500, 2 GDI-IRDT200s, GDI-IRMS300, Grace IRC6000W, Grace GDI-WHA6001, Grace and Reciva iradio apps