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Audials Radio - a radio app done right
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Internet radio is a huge deal. We have a swath of amazing content to choose from including Pandora, iHeartRadio, and even Google Play Music and Spotify have radio options. There’s another name, though, that doesn’t get thrown around a lot called Audials Radio and we’re going to take a quick look to see what this app can do and check out why it’s a great option for radio fans.
What is Audials Radio?
Audials Radio is actually a pretty simple radio app. Its catalog contains over 90,000 radio stations from dozens of countries around the world. Included is talk radio, music radio from a ton of genres, and all of your old favorites from the FM and AM days.
When you listen to radio stations, it’ll set up a pre-buffer and then it essentially just streams whatever is playing on the radio directly to your device. You can use this on just your device speakers or connect it to other speakers using the headphone jack or Bluetooth to get a really authentic radio experience.
How does it work?
Audials Radio is very easy to use. You can simply open the app and get started if you want to although you do have the option to create an account as well. The app works perfectly fine with or without an account but it should be noted that creating an account allows you to use the sync feature between the mobile and desktop versions of Audials Radio.
Once you’re in the application, all you have to do is browse all the various stations and pick the one you want to listen to. You can also search for stations using keywords or station call letters. If you want, you can even add stations if the app doesn’t have your favorite one.
After that, you’ll wait a few moments for the pre-buffer and then it’ll start streaming the audio. It really is as simple as that and it takes only a few moments to get in and listen to the radio.
The peripheral features are where things really get interesting. There is a feature called Zap that takes a look at what you’re listening to and then suggests radio stations that plays similar types of audio. Just hit the Zap button and you’ll be connected to another radio station that plays the same kind of stuff you were just listening to and that makes discovering new stations really very simple.
It also comes with an alarm clock and a sleep timer. Both are very simple to set up. Just set a time and the alarm will go off with whatever radio station you want. Do note that you’ll have to actually be on the station listening to it before you can set it as an alarm. The sleep timer is even more simple, just set a time limit and the app will keep running until the limit runs out.
Also embedded in this app is a light and dark theme switcher, an equalizer so you can change the sound based on the station quickly, and the app is one of the few in this space that comes with both AirPlay and Chromecast support.
The last feature I want to mention is the record feature. Using this, you can actually record songs you hear on the radio for playback later. This reminds me of when I was a kid and I used to use the cassette tape recorder on my stereo to make mix tapes from the songs I liked on the radio. It’s stored on your device and you can rename it and move it as you please. These files are also recognized by other music players. Audials Radio can also read your music in case you want to listen to your own stuff for a little while.
Here’s what we liked about Audials Radio:
- The interface seems a bit cluttered at first but once you make your way around, it’s actually very easy to use. You can move around quickly and find stuff pretty easily.
- Every radio station has a wealth of stuff that you can do. You can record any radio station, view similar radio stations, use the Zap feature, and there is even a news tab that shows the station’s Twitter and Facebook feed if it has them.
- It has a good list of peripheral features. The alarm clock and sleep timers both work well and are easy to use. We appreciated the equalizer even if if it’s only 5-band. As usual, Chromecast and AirPlay support are always good features to have.
- Audials Radio actually works pretty well. Of course, I was testing using a rock solid, super fast Internet connection so that’s to be expected. There weren’t any hissing sounds or drop outs although if you do experience those, the app has settings that lets you change how it works to avoid that from happening.
- I actually really like that you can access your own stored music and videos. The players aren’t as powerful as a dedicated music app or video app, but it’s nice if you have a song you want to listen to really quick.
- The Zap feature is kind of fun to use. Your radio station hits a commercial, you can quickly Zap over to another one that plays the same kind of stuff that isn’t playing a commercial. That’s a win.
- Some smaller stuff is fun as well. Being able to add your own stations is useful if they don’t have your favorite. Recording songs on the radio worked well although it is hard to get the start and finish just right sometimes. We also liked the themes and the opportunity to stream in different bitrates on stations that have that option.
And here’s what we didn’t like so much:
- A couple of things about the app can be finicky sometimes. Logging in via Facebook took a couple of tries and adding a radio station took me a couple of tries as well. It’s only a few extra seconds and it does inevitably work, but be prepared to try again a couple of times.
- The equalizer is there and it does work, but it is only a 5-band which somewhat limits the changes you can make.
- The design is really nice and we liked the tile set-up of the front page but we would’ve liked to have seen a little more info on the front page. It looks great in landscape mode but portrait mode is a little empty and there’s a lot of stuff the developers could put there.
Overall, Audials Radio is a very solid and capable radio app. It organizes its content extremely well considering how many radio stations it supports and it makes it simple to add more. The peripheral features like Chromecast and AirPlay support, alarm clock, sleep timer, equalizer, and the Zap feature make the app feel full featured and rounded out without making it feel bloated or heavy.
The issues are few and far between and include mostly minor nitpicks with regards to the design and minor issues with the features. Audials Radio is a truly solid radio experience and one of the better ways to enjoy FM and AM radio in the digital age. If you want to give it a shot, it’s totally free to use with no in-app purchases and you can get to it by clicking the button below.