In the past year I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing Audioengine’s Wireless Audio Solutions. Unfortunately, there claims of ‘wireless’ were slightly inhibited by a necessary AC adapter. Enter the i2i Stream from Aerielle.
Included in the package are two wireless audio devices that can both send and receive audio, 2 headphone to headphones cords in 2 lengths, 2 headphone to 2.5mm jack cords in two lengths and a standard 4-pin to 6-pin USB cord for charging. I should mention that i2i failed to provide an audio RCA to headphone cord, which might prove bothersome to those looking to hook up the system to their home’s stereo system. Also worth noting is the lack of compatibility of the included headphone cords with the Gen 1 iPhone (they’re just a bit too fat, but with some force fit).
So what makes i2i’s offering different from Audioengines? First off, inputs and output are predicated on the trustee headphone cord, which means you can use the Stream with any device sporting a headphone jack. Output is via a 3.5mm jack, where as input is courtesy of a 2.5mm jack. Audioengine’s offering on the other hands uses either a USB out (W1s) or iPod dock connector (W2s). Much like Audioengine’s wireless offering, audio is transmitted over a tweaked 802.11 spectrum. Additionally, the i2i Stream can be charged and are in fact designed to operate via a built-in battery!
Setting up the i2i Stream just requires plugging them in to a USB port and charging the built-in battery. Unfortunately, they only included one USB cord, so unless you have a spare one kicking around, charging will be increased a two fold, which equates to about 4 hours. Once charged it’s just as simple as plugging your iPod (or any MP3 player with a headphone out) into one of the i2i Streams and plugging the other into a pair of powered speakers or stereo system. After that, you’ll just need to power on, assign the devices as a sender or receiver (the buttons are a bit cryptic for this) and select a matching color (channel). I should mention that the i2i Stream features a total of 7 channels meaning you can have a whole army of these things distributed around your house and switch audio in a room according to color (purple, green, yellow, orange, etc). To increase each send/receiver’s volume you’ll just need to flick the power button up or down.
Now the biggy: performance Although I didn’t think the i2i’s sounded quiet as good as Audioengine’s W2 or W1, the true wireless offering (i.e. no AC plug necessary) makes the i2i the real deal wireless audio solution for any device. i2i specs the i2i Stream at about 7 hours per charge, and based on my testing I received something in that neighborhood. Connection wise the i2i Stream exhibited no tendencies towards static or drop out, even from one room to the next. The ‘channel select’ button is large and easy to push, which is great, but may lead to inadvertent channel changing if you are to carry the Stream around in your pocket, something that might slightly hinder the overall wireless experience.
Although the built-in batteries do liberate you from the corded experience, those who want to permanently affix these in a room may find Audioengine’s solution a bit more accommodating. With that said, i2i’s Stream might be the perfect resolve for those traveling or on vacation, where as Audioengine’s is better suited for the at home experience. There’s simply no reason why you can’t own both.
- Battery powered, so true cord free wireless audio
- Small size
- Easy to use
- Multi channel
- Each Stream can be either a sender or receiver
- Works with any device that has a headphone jack
- No AC plug for fixed home experience
- Send/receive buttons cryptic
- 2.5mm input jack isn’t a widely used format for audio
- One USB cord provide in packaging
- Headphone cords aren’t Gen 1 iPhone compatible