Almost two years ago, Google discontinued its Chromecast Audio dongle. You can still get one on eBay at inflated prices, but I’d been looking at more privacy-friendly alternatives for a while. The Argon Audio Stream 3M is considerably more expensive than the Chromecast, but it’s got a few extra features to justify the difference.
- Bluetooth with AptX and AAC
- Internet Radio
- Spotify Connect
- DAB+ and FM Radio
- DLNA (play files from the local network)
- A remote control
- A color display
- Analog and optical outputs
The Stream 3M is very easy to hook up and install. Simply connect the power supply and hook one of the outputs to your existing stereo.
You’ll be prompted to select your wifi network when it first starts. Entering the password can be cumbersome using the remote control, but once that is done, using the 3M is very straightforward.
I’m mainly using the internet radio function, and found it easy to find my favorite stations among the 20.000+ on offer. Once you’ve created some presets, you can switch channels from the remote control.
I also tried Spotify Connect, and that worked as expected too. Simply select the Stream 3M as the output device and play your favorite tunes.
Sound quality seems excellent, so nothing to complain about there either.
My only gripe is that the display is very small (2.4″). You’ll not be able to read the station/track info from across the room, and I found myself standing in front of the device whenever I needed to navigate its menus.
DAB+ and FM Radio
A simple antenna is included in the box, but reception was very poor in my building. This was completely expected, and I was surprised to find that DAB+ actually worked. At least as long as I didn’t stand in that one spot in the room where I blocked the signal.
FM did worse, but again, that was expected. I’m using the Argon Audio on the ground floor of an five story building, and it’s not near the window. Perhaps a better antenna would work, but I’m not sure I’ll try.
If you’re getting this hoping to use DAB+, I’d check whether there’s a good signal before pressing the “buy” button.
Like very many other similar devices, the Stream 3M is based on a chip by Frontier Silicon. If you look at other DAB and streaming radios, the display (and feature set) will often look very similar. They’re basically different boxes around the same chip, with slightly customized firmwares. But that’s not a bad thing.
For one thing, all these devices can be used with the UNDOK app on your phone, and I found it to be quite usable. It makes little sense for all DAB+ radio manufacturers to create their own mediocre apps.
I noticed there’s also a web configuration page. Simpy point your browser to the device’s IP address, and you’ll be able to check for firmware updates and such.
The chip may be rather generic, Argon Audio has put a nice box around it, and given the Stream 3M a high quality feel.
You know what I actually enjoy most about the Stream 3M? The remote control. It’s incredibly convenient to be able to mute the music when a video call comes in. Without having to fiddle with your phone.
If you’re looking for a nice-looking, full-featured audio streamer, this is certainly a nice option.