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The Maximum MR-2000 will give your existing Hi-Fi system a technology boost thanks to its digital radio, Internet radio, and audio streaming capabilities. It is easy to install, quick to set-up, and will give you access to thousands of songs instantly.

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The MR-2000 sports a black brushed aluminium finish and comes with a stand and wall mount. This will allow users to put the tuner on the wall or on top of a table. Maximum has also included an audio and coaxial cable, making it compatible with any system with an audio input. An Ethernet port is available, but also has Wi-Fi built in for wireless connectivity. A USB port is found on the right side of the tuner, which can be used for playing music from an external drive.

Setting the tuner up is straightforward: connect it to any system and turn it on. The Internet Wizard (found on the main menu) was able to find our wireless network and we were able to put our password using the remote. The Wi-Fi supports WEP, WPA and WPA2. The system settings can also change the time/date and language, perform a software update, or do a factory reset.

The MR-2000 will automatically scan for digital radio stations the first time it is turned on. Despite only having a string antenna, the unit was able to find all the stations and had a strong signal throughout our test. Signal strength may vary depending on location, so it could have been better if they used a telescopic antenna. The unit lists the available stations alphabetically and displays the artist and song title. Those who do not want to listen to digital radio can use the FM function, although audio quality is not as good and is very prone to static.

 
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The Internet Radio can connect to local Australian Internet stations, international stations, and Podcasts. The MR-2000 loads the chosen station in seconds, displays information on what the station or podcast is about, and also the bit rate it is streaming. We rarely had problems connecting to stations, but encountered stations that streamed at a very low bitrate. The MR-2000 can store nine Internet, DAB, and FM station presets.

In addition to all these features, users can play music off their flash drive or external hard drive via USB. The unit can also connect to shared media devices or folders on the network, which allows a user to enjoy music on their system. The MR-2000 displays audio files stored on a computer by Artist, Composers, Albums, Rating, Genre, and even show favourite Playlists. The MR-2000 can play MP3, M4A and WMA files but cannot play Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC), WMA CD, and AAC files.

The included remote is well-labelled and browsing through the menu is simple, thanks to its four way navigation key. A user only needs to press the left button in order to go back to the previous menu or press the right button to go to the next menu. Other buttons found on the remote include source, menu, power, scan, information, volume up/down, next/previous, play/pause, stop, and 1 – 9.

The Maximum MR-2000 is a great device that will give you a taste of new technology without having to spend a lot on new hi-fi gear. It is available now for $499 at Music Saved My Life (www.msml.com.au) as well as through specialist Hi-Fi retailers.

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