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GE Spacemaker CD Stereo

GE Spacemaker CD Stereo

Home Music Near the Range

by Jim Bray

There's nothing like a few nice tunes if you're slaving over a hot oven, getting dinner ready for the wife and kids.

Unfortunately, most radios meant for kitchen use are tinny at best and don't offer you the extra flexibility of having a CD player built in - unless you're going to spend hundreds of dollars.

Hence GE's 7-4290 "Spacemaker" Stereo CD Player, a cute little unit that you mount so it hangs below your kitchen (or whatever room you want, actually) cupboards.

I've had a Spacemaker radio in my kitchen for years and love the convenience - even though we never got around to hanging it from a cupboard after we moved into our current domicile some seven years ago. Instead, we've perched it on a wall unit shelf, where it sits quite happily.

As if it would know the difference...

The 7-4290 is proof, however, that technology marches onward and that our little spacemaker is ready for the scrap heap - if only because it doesn't have a CD player and now that I'm used to having one in the kitchen I don't want to go without one again.

The Spacemaker is easy to install if you're at all handy, though you'll have to drill a couple of holes in your cupboard if you decide to hang it. GE includes a little cardboard template that shows you where to drill, so the operation is relatively painless. You also get adjustable spacers so the Spacemaker can fit under various configurations of cabinets.

Besides the CD player, the spacemaker includes a digital alarm clock with an easy to read red LED display and easily accessible buttons for setting it. You can use the clock as another timer, complete with alarm, for those times when you're trying to keep track of more than one dish at a time.

Another kitchen convenience is the little light on the unit's bottom, which is a nice touch. If your kitchen's like ours, you can never have too much illumination for your cooking and/or preparation surfaces.

The power cord also wraps nicely in the unit to keep excess length from dangling where you're trying to work.

The radio is of the AM/FM persuasion, which is no big deal, and it performs okay for the job it's designed to do. It has two built in antennae and a "slide rule" dial scale - which means it's a manual analog tuner as opposed to the much more convenient and efficient digital type. There are no memory presets either, unfortunately.

The sound comes from two 2.5 inch speakers and considering their size the audio quality isn't bad. There's also a little subwoofer to give you the low frequencies. I found the bass a touch boomy in our test installation, but not unpleasantly so.

The Spacemaker hardly qualifies as a Hi-Fi component, but it isn't meant to. It's meant to be a convenient and thoughtful little kitchen player, and as such it does a good job.

All for about $130US, which makes it a pretty good deal in the grand scheme of things.

Jim Bray's technology columns are distributed by the TechnoFILE and Mochila Syndicates. Copyright Jim Bray.

 

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Updated May 13, 2006