on 10 October 2012
I've been after a wireless speaker for my kitchen/sunroom for a while and this system fits the bill perfectly. I listen to almost all of my music using spotify on my my asus eee pad or my android phone and the wireless set up for the speaker is simplicity itself. I downloaded an equaliser app which improves the sound quality and the volume is excellent. This means i can be cooking or sitting outside with a beer and still control the speaker. As for the fm radio it seems clear enough but again i prefer using internet radio using tune in radio and its great for netflix and watching online footy. The speakers are compact and unobtrusive but provide great sound . All in all versatile speakers that do exactly what I wanted at a reasonable price.
on 5 January 2013
I purchased this unit from another retailer so can not comment on delivery or customer services.
I ordered the unit as i liked the idea of having both a wireless connection and docking connection for my music library with the addition of an alarm clock so i could use it next to my bed. The red led was also an attraction as most of these types of units seem to light up the whole room and prevent me from sleeping. The sound is excellent via iPod connected, is ok via Bluetooth but volume is very low via Bluetooth?
BUT as i needed this as an alarm clock this is where is is flawed. if you have an iPod docked on the unit and set the alarm to make use of the in built buzzer the alarm will not work. Remove the iPod and the buzzer on the alarm will function, however you can not adjust the volume of the buzzer even though the manual says you can. Gear4 state that the units most be faulty but two have two units with the same faults leads me to believe this is an inherent fault that they are not owning up to.
if you want this unit for just playing music then i would give it top marks but if you need the alarm function as well then look else where.
7/1/2013 update..... after being told by gear4 that my units must be faulty and returned them both i have received a phone call and been advised that the above issues are known by their development team and are not faults. Even though the unit operates differently from what the manual states!!!!.....a flaw I'm sure even their customer services described it as a fault. Gear4 you need to issue a firmware update to address these flaws. Thus i have had to remove another star for selling a product that you actually know is flawed and doing nothing about it, shame on you.
The HouseParty Rise2 Wireless succeeds as a wireless app enhanced clock radio, with the features of a 12/24 hour clock with alarm, sleep countdown timer, dimmable LED display, 2 programmable alarms, FM radio with pre-sets, volume and snooze control dial, charges an ipod touch,iphone, ipad, with line-in-port for use with other music players, and a facility to charge a second device via the USB port. Importantly , it has a Blutooth facility.
It has the dual location function as both bedroom and also a home speaker dock. It looks attractive enough to be placed in either of those locations.
I have tried and tested all the features and found all of them to function adequately. It is simplicity itself to set up, with refreshingly, a clear user manual supplied with the product. There is no doubt, it is aimed principally at the Apple market, but candidly, that is where the market is positioned. It is worth pointing out though that it is perfectly compatible with Android or Blackberry smart phones and tablets.
The alarm function with the sleep/snooze option is easy and accessible to programme and set.
The brightness of certain features contained within the display may be increased or decreased when I made a swipe movement on the clock display. So, again it was simply achieved which, if sited in a bedroom, is a distinct advantage.
You may wirelessly stream your own music or podcasts from your ipod touch, iphone and ipad, which I completed quickly with the minimum of fuss.
My one quibble is that the radio itself is FM and not digital, but I managed to effortlessly access all the main stations and saved them onto the pre-sets.
In terms of sound quality, the speakers are adequate but when considering comparables in the market and of course price, it performs sufficiently well.
I have used the HouseParty Rise 2, and found it to be reliable, without issues in it's use and meets the key areas of functionality, adaptability, price, and performance.
on 3 January 2014
Was looking for just a speaker/radio system for the kitchen and this works well. Good sound (most important criteria having previously bought another one which was bad), looks great and overall very pleased. Not giving it the 5* as I would also like AM radio (not just FM) but would recommend for the price.
on 12 April 2014
11/04/14 received the gear4 street party 2 no problem but and it's a big but, the smartlink wireless app does not work. On connecting via Bluetooth or docking your hardware to the speaker, a pop up should appear to download the smart link wireless app, it doesn't!!! Ok, maybe a bug I thought so I downloaded the app from the App Store and try to run it but all it does is show the settings menu for registration. After filling this out and pressing send then finish the app just stays on the settings page, then you get a return email telling you the gear4 email you sent has been returned by gear4.
Reading of similar problems online it seems gear4 are no longer supporting this app and there's no way of contacting them except by their online email service where it is seen that they are not responding to anyone. Gear4 are from or at least trading out of Hong Kong, says it all really!
The actual hardware, street party 2 still will connect to my ipad2 via Bluetooth and plays music through this medium fine but the non app control they are using as their selling point renders this unit a glorified Bluetooth speaker docking station, non of the extras they promise via the app are usable.
The sound is what you'd expect of a wireless speaker in this price range but I'm sure you can get better, cheaper. Another annoying thing about this product is when you have an ipad docked it covers half of the digital time display, whoever designed this must have only tested it on an iPhone or iPod though it is promoted for iPad as well.
I have never returned an item to Amazon but for the sheer audacity to keep promoting and selling this product as though the app works I am breaking tradition and returning it immediately.
Amazon, you should read peoples reviews and either stop selling items that clearly no longer work or chase the company to find out why your customers are giving the item such poor reviews.
I strongly urge anyone thinking of buying this to think again and look elsewhere.
on 19 September 2012
Wouldn't use this as my primary music source but it is excellent in the bedroom.
I don't have an ipod or an iphone as hate Apple's digital rights management when it comes to music and books but inherited ipad.
The not so good:
- Nice looking at first impressions but the Apple dock on the front looks
- If you are using an iPad it obscures the time display and you really
worry about the fragility of the dock and whether your iPad is going
to plummet to the floor.
- Instructions could be a little clearer on the need to swap modes when
you are moving between the different devices you are using to manage the
- The battery keeps coming out of the battery cover - well it does for me.
- Tuning the radio stations you want is a little fiddly unless you know
the station settings of your favourite stations.
+ Can charge the ipad on the front and the android phone on the back
+ The device is fm and the quality is what you'd expect from fm. Some
people complain about the fact this device is FM but the quality
of digital when streaming via iPlayer or any of the radio channels you
can get online is truly excellent.
+ Nice big display so don't need to squint at phone to check time in middle
of the night.
+ Huge big button on the top to stop the alarm and the ability to set the
repeat alarm at decent intervals.
Update a month later - there is a new downside .... the ipad acts like a remote control and there you are having a nice listen in when 'he who must be in control' decides to change the station ... bummer
If you are an iPod, iPhone or iPad user and want a dock for the bedroom that will work seamlessly as an alarm clock then this may well be what you are looking for. It is solidly made with quality speaker units that provide a decent volume and looks the part if it is to your taste. Personally, although it is nice and shiny black I think this collects fingerprints and dust and the whole thing looks rather strange with the large round dial on the top and positively wrong if you try docking an iPad on the front. Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder and I don't find this attractive.
If, however, you don't use an Apple device then you might find a few other deal breaking limitations in addition to the (bad) aesthetics and prefer to look elsewhere. This unit is 'designed for' Apple products which means that although you can plug other things in to the Aux socket, or connect with BT, you will be stuck with the non-removable and rather ugly, redundant dock on the front of the speaker unit. Personally I can't see why Gear4 couldn't have made the dock removable or fold-away though to their credit they did include a USB charging socket for non-Apple products.
The other major omission from this speaker unit is DAB radio. Personally I think this is a must and it would certainly put me off from spending decent money on the product.
As a bluetooth speaker the unit works very well with aptX BT and app-enhanced technology. You can stream music wirelessly from your device, whether iOS or not, with advance audio coding, and (if you are using the Apple App) seamlessly control every feature of the speaker from anywhere in the room.
The outstanding feature, however, is the Alarm function of the speaker unit. If you are looking for a dock with a traditional style Alarm for your bedside then this is very good. It has a very readable, rather Retro, LCD display which has adjustable brightness so that it won't keep you awake at night. It also has a 12/24 hour alarm clock with a classic buzzer sound, FM radio or music from your iPod to wake you up. The rotary volume dial gives you full touch, snooze control and also gives you the additional functionality of controlling the speaker from the unit rather than having to use your iPod as a remote.
This bluetooth speaker set - radio - alarm clock is in its element when connected to an Apple product, as there's a specially-designed app ('Smartlink Wireless') that lets you control the unit remotely and get the weather forecast if you can't be bothered to look out of the window. It requires iOS 3.1.3 or later, and if your I-thing isn't of the 3rd or 4th generation you won't be able to use it.
Design-wise it looks nice: the front of the speakers is covered by a tightly-stretched piece of black nylon, and the rest is nice shiny black plastic, and a one-inch high dot matrix display can tell you the time in either 24- or 12-hour mode, with four levels of brightness. The snooze button to stop the alarm is unmissable - a big round silver thing sticking out of the top. Twist it, and it becomes the volume control. The rest of the control buttons are inset on the top, too. It feels light and plasticky to hold, and the buttons are very 'clicky'. The lightness does make it portable, though.
Alarm clock - you can program two separate alarms that will buzz (actually it beeps 3 times repeatedly even though they describe it as a 'buzz', play the radio or your I-pod at a pre-set volume of your choosing. This is fairly easy to program (but may well take a few goes until you get used to it), and can be set for weekends, weekdays or both.
Radio - the delights of FM. It's got one of those aerials that looks like thin headphone cable sticking out of the back. You're supposed to pin it up on the wall, I think. Mine doesn't pick up any stations, though (and when the digital signal takes over in a couple of years, that isn't going to improve any) - there's five pre-set options, which isn't very many given the proliferation of stations out there. If you're in anything other than a good reception area, I wouldn't expect too much from it.
MP3 Speaker - The audio quality produced by the speakers sounds light and flat - it's not an audiophile experience by any stretch of the imagination. For this type of device I'd say it's what you'd expect - functional, and nothing more than that - but then none of these type of gadgets have great sound; the most you can say is that it's loud and doesn't distort. It's debatable whether you'd expect good quality, or indeed need it most of the time. A common design flaw for this type of product is stubbornly continued here: the auxiliary input for other MP3 players etc. is situated on the rear - why do they never put it on the front? This makes it inconvenient plug in and take out, and the necessary cable is not supplied (3.5mm Stereo Jack Plug to 3.5mm Stereo Jack Plug 1.2M [Electronics]). If your cable is much shorter than this, you won't be able to place the player in front of the speakers.
Bluetooth - The saving grace, for me. However, even this isn't perfect; it enables you to stream music from anywhere in the room using 'Advance Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)', which apparently does it at a much higher level of quality than otherwise, although as the speakers aren't very good, I doubt it makes much (if any) noticeable difference. It's easy to link up to your computer or I-thing, and it can then be used as a remote speaker unit. If you're going to use the bluetooth function for watching films it can be a bit irritating as there is a very slight delay in the sound getting to them.
ONLINE - At time of writing, it's impossible to register it with Gear4, as there is no drop-down option for 'HouseParty Rise 2'; judging by the remarks on the Apple page, some users are finding the app difficult to figure out, too.
Other functions - your I-thing charges when docked, and the option to charge a second unit is available via a USB port in the back (again!)
In summary - the limitations of this device are similar to most of it's kind; you're not going to get brilliant sound, but it's good enough for the job it does, and for most people it'll do fine. The poor aerial is a potential weak spot for those who won't be getting the radio from their MP3/Apple device. Like others of its kind, it's too Apple-centric; other players and phones are widely available (although looking at this you wouldn't know it). The saving grace is the bluetooth, although that's not great for film viewing.
If you really want an alarm clock that can charge your i-phone and double as a speaker set, this does the job and looks nice, but it's fairly uninspiring and nothing more than adequate considering that it's not cheap. I've yet to find a similar device at this price range that sounds good and feels solid, so this is actually one of the better ones.
If you aren't going to use the bluetooth function, the GEAR4 PG534 HouseParty Rise Alarm Clock with FM Radio for iPod and iPhone has a remote control instead of bluetooth, but is otherwise identical and a lot cheaper at time of writing.
on 24 January 2013
I bought this product for my girlfriend for Xmas 2012. Even on first use we both agreed, and were surprised, that the sound quality to be great for such a small unit. Whilst listening to Ipod Mp3 tracks of all sorts of genres of music from Metal, Classical, Blues and Pop, etc we encountered new instrumental sounds within many tracks that we had not previously heard on other devices, so the depth and range of sound from mp3, even at that format it has been extremely good so far. The radio is very easy to use and tune.
Overall it is extremely easy to use with simple controls and its functionality gets top marks from me. The small remote bundled with the device works well. I havent tried to use the SmartLink app as yet with other Apple devices.
So far i have used it successfully to stream tracks from my home PC's music library, (using the Audiogalaxy software) to great effect and with no problems at all.
I appreciate good music and I have numerous music players as i listen to music a lot and I would say that this device has everything required for use in a bedroom or as a handy general stereo anywhere in the house. I have used a few other Ipod/Iphone wireless speakers and this is the best i have ever came across so far for ease of use and sound quality. Simple to use, great sound and not too expensive. I would definitely recommend this product for the money.
on 24 April 2014
I'm not sure where all these good reviews are coming from. I have had two of these and both have been returned to Amazon. I don't expect super duper hifi for less than 50 quid but I do expect better than this. All seems quite good when you take it out of the box and tune it in to fm radio, but the sound quality, and higher frequencies in particular, are lacking somewhat. No matter, you may think, install the accompanying app on your iPhone/iPad, as you are prompted to do upon first docking your device, and it will improve since you can alter the eq in the app. So choose a suitable eq setting and the high frequencies do indeed improve but sadly the lower frequencies do not, resulting in an underlying crackling type of distortion - speech, ie on the radio, particularly bad, as is piano or any low to mid frequency (the eq setting also applies when listening to fm). Bizarrely, connecting to the device from your iphone via the Bluetooth connection the sound quality is not too bad, but its when you dock your phone, or listen to fm radio, the problems occur. And the whole idea, for me anyway, was to charge the phone/pad and listen to music/internet radio at the same time. I cannot recommend this product even at Amazon's current price of £49.10. Interestingly, or not depending on your point of view, the Gear4 website shows the Houseparty Rise 2 at £129 but out of stock. Also if you try to register your purchase on that website you get a 404 page not found. Something not right there?