Audioengine was kind enough to send me their newest product: the AW1. My experience to date has been fantastic. Read on for more details, but be sure to watch my first ever video review. I know, I know, it’s not the most polished of video reviews, but it’s my first one so take it easy on me.
What are the AW1s ?
The AW1s are what Audioengine calls a ‘premium wireless audio adapter’. I prefer to call them a wireless stereo solution. In essence, they allow you to stream audio to your speakers or stereo system wirelessly from any audio source that has a headphone ‘out’.
How do they work?
Well, technically they work over the 802.11 frequency. Yes, the same one that your WiFi operates over. Don’t worry, though, I tested them and they won’t interfere with your WiFi. Range is spec’d at 100 feet. I was able to wirelessly transmit music without any problems at 40 feet and through walls.
Ok, I meant how do they function?
To see a quick setup check out the video review. There’s a sender ‘dongle’ that plugs into an audio source and sends a signal to the ‘receiver dongle’. The ‘receiver dongle’, which is powered by the included AC adapter, outputs through an included headphone jack, which subsequently connects to your stereo or speakers. The ‘sender dongle’ can work two ways:
1) you can plug it into your computer’s USB port, and as long as you set your ‘audio out’ to the ‘AW1′ it will stream wirelessly to the ‘receiver dongle’
2) you can power it from your computer’s USB port (or use the iPhone’s AC adapter) and plug your device (iPod, Mp3 player, etc) into the headphone jack out using the included headphone cord. Note that the headphone jack on the ‘sender dongle’ will override your computer’s USB audio out.
Ok, I get it, but how do they sound?
They sound freakin’ awesome. In my testing the receiver source sounded a little bit more tinny then than the original source, but nothing to bat an eye lash at.
Are they easy to use?
Super easy to use. Your grandma could set these things up. I was literally wirelessly streaming music within 2 minutes of opening the box. The only complicated part is deciding how you wanna set them up (i.e. what you want to plug them into).
So they sound awesome, but there has to be some draw backs?
Too true. A few things to note. First off they are on the expensive side, $150, but they do exactly what they’re supposed to and sound great. The other notable draw back, is that you’ll need powered speakers or a stereo system to make these things work. So don’t think you can setup any pair of speakers and have wireless music. Furthermore, the included AC adapter for the ‘receiver dongle’ is just a plug, so you’ll need to insure that you have a lengthy headphone cord or extension cord in case your speakers aren’t close to an outlet. If you already own a pair of Audioengine’s A5 speakers then you’ll be able to power the ‘receiver dongle’ from its USB port. Lastly, you can’t buy the ‘receiver dongles’ separately (just yet) and the ‘sender dongle’ isn’t compatible with the iPod’s or iPhone’s proprietary serial port (fingers crossed).
Do I need any special hardware, or a computer for that matter?
Nope. You can use the AW1 computer free, but an optimal setup (in my opinion) is a laptop or desktop with USB ports to stream audio. Works great with iTunes!
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