Radium came to my attention when it was part of the MacBasket Mini-Bundle. I decided to try it out because there are some stations that I couldn’t seem to access with Radio Gaga or Snowtape. Specifically, I was looking for Windsor/Detroit’s 89X. I wasn’t able to get it with the previous programs but Radium brought it to me in all its glory.
If you’re looking for a program chock full of functionality, this isn’t the one for you. It plays Internet radio. Period. But, hey, I like that. My array of hard drives suggests that I don’t need to keep building my iTunes library. I had been listening to several web-based radio stations but was frustrated that most seem to use Flash to stream the programs and my experience with Flash has been less than optimal. Radium appealed to me because it allowed me to continue listening in a way that seems much more OS X friendly. Radium has not caused any system instability that I’ve come to expect while listening to Flash players.
When launched, Radium installs itself in the menu bar. There is no app clogging up your dock. You select radio stations from the menu bar and access preferences from there.
Once launched, you’re ready to find a station. There are many stations included. You can also drag stations from iTunes or use URLs to link to the station. In the case of 89X, I couldn’t make that work. I tried to do a search but got impatient after a minute or two. I sent an e-mail to their support address and got a response within the hour. It seems I just hadn’t waited long enough. So, if you’re looking for a complaint, this is the only one: their search mechanism is a bit slow. After they suggested I do the search again, I tried to be more patient. Within 4-5 minutes, I had my station. TIP: If you want to save that station you found via search, just click the little heart to the left and it’s saved.
If you want to add a station via the URL, you get this window:
My results have been hit or miss with this option. I appreciate that it’s there and when it works, it’s great. My recommendation is that you first try the search option and be prepared to wait a few minutes. You can also request stations through support. Given how responsive they have been to me, that is a good option.
An unexpected bonus with Radium is that, like Snowtape, it can stream to Airport Express devices.
If you’re looking for it, Radium also provides an equalizer with 23 different settings. You can also create custom settings and save them.
As a quick glimpse, here are the preference options:
And…drum roll… If you have a subscription service, Radium may also be able to access that service:
The subscription that is missing from the screenshot is DI.fm + SKY.fm.
In a very, very unscientific comparison, I used the Activity Monitor to have a look system load generated by Radium, Radio Gaga, and Snowtape. I ran each program for an hour or two, checking the CPU load every 10-15 minutes. The results surprised me; I didn’t expect Snowtape to be the biggest hog:
|Radium||1.1 – 2.2 %|
|Snowtape (not recording)||3.5 – 5.0 %|
|Snowtape (recording)||8.0 – 10.0 %|
|Radio Gaga (not recording)||1.5 – 2.5 %|
|Radio Gaga (recording)||3.5 – 4.5 %|
Overall, the sound quality is good. The impact on system resources seems quite low. If you’re looking for a way to access your subscription service, or just a resource friendly way to listen to Internet radio, Radium is an excellent alternative.
You can find Radium here: