What’s your relationship with your Bluetooth device? Healthy? Mine stirs a morass of emotions that runs the full spectrum from bliss to pissed. Despite being replete with numerous break-ups and make-ups, I seem to keep coming back to Mistress Bluetooth. Is there an alternative worthy of my affection? Often when our connection seems strongest and unimpaired, something gets between us and we fail to reconnect. Yet there is no replacement for what she does. I’ve thought about dropping her–severing our ties and running off with one of those older radio frequency floosies.
Unlike the Skullcandy Crusher Wireless headphones, earlier Bluetooth devices are dated, temperamental, and suffer from attention-deficit disorder. Virtually any other frequency or noise will sway their attention and extinguish the fire that is my wireless connection. No that won’t work. I need to be “Numero Uno” the main squeeze. I need my wireless connections to focus on me and me alone. So I guess I’m stuck with Miss B forever, for better or worse. Or, compare this with the similar HIFIMAN HM-101 USB DAC review.
Enter the NU Force and their Air DAC uWireless System. NU Force is one of many companies crafting new wireless audio solutions, which make use of the SKAA HPX codec. This is something gaining popularity, as many of the top headphones for music production are being developed with higher quality.
SKAA is a new wireless audio technology standard that streams uninterrupted CD-quality audio from a portable audio source, without the need for pairing, routers, or hotspots. The tech was developed specifically for mobile devices. Using this new audio standard, the NU Force Air DAC uWireless System is a young sultry temptress that takes aim at the flaws in other wireless solutions. And like most sugar daddies; you will be expected to pay big, for everything.
The Air DAC Wireless System enjoys a diminished and Spartan form factor. The package includes an AC charging adapter, the uTX USB transmitter, and Air DAC Receiver. NU Force also offers an apple-flavored “i” version of the transmitter, which specifically supports iOS devices such as iPods, iPhones, and iPads. Either transmitter will work with a single receiver. So once you’ve bought one version of the system and receiver you can later purchase a separate transmitter.
Visibly clumsy in the matter of the heart, the package does not include the required left and right RCA audio cables necessary to establish your new relationship and get connected with the Air DAC Wireless System. This was a bit of a surprise, and not a good one. I own several sets of these cables, but they are either connecting TVs and DVDs to set-top boxes or facilitating the link between something and my home theater system. I eventually procured a set. So after plugging the USB transmitter (uTX) into a laptop, I used the RCA cables to connect the receiver to the transmitter. Completing the exhaustive 3-minute setup (that’s sarcasm for ya), I then gave it power via the included power cord and a wall outlet.
If you want to avoid wires altogether for audio devices, then check out our review of the Logitech UE 9000 wireless headphones.
Click the single Air DAC button on the receiver and it all works as purported–CD-quality audio achieved! This is true for movies, music, and games. I was thoroughly impressed with the continual uninterrupted audio loveliness. Playing music from my Bluetooth-enabled laptop to my Bluetooth speakers is great, but it yields interference. The connection is lost randomly and for inexplicable reasons. Not the case for the Air DAC! The system uses a 2.4Ghz radio band for stronger signal strength at a max of 30ft with zero latency. Moreover, the audio quality on most Bluetooth devices cannot compete with true CD-quality audio.
Yet NU Force continues to impress. You can place up to four different receivers in your home or office, thereby creating a wireless audio network. As you move from room to room, the audio signal will automatically follow you and transmit your music and audio to whichever receiver is nearest to the transmitter. Each transmitter can chuck audio at four receivers. Each receiver can play catch to four transmitters. I for one, welcome the versatility of this new wireless audio standard and the Nu Force Air DAC uWireless System makes near-flawless use of it. Nearly…
Clearly, the stronger selling point for the Air DAC line is the iTX transmitter. I have more portable iOS music-playing devices than I do portable USB devices. I feel this will largely be the case for most users. If you have a USB-enabled MP3 player, then you’re golden. Also, USB ports on phones and tablets will work but are not as prevalent and pervasive in homes as iOS devices. Unsurprisingly, the iOS version will not be available until the end of the month and it costs $199 to the USB version’s $179. Boo…hiss!
However, if you have the money to spend and are wise enough to wait for the iWireless version, then there is really little else to gripe about. The NU Force Air DAC uWireless System walks the walk. You can expect uninterrupted CD-quality audio with no latency. There are no software installs, no pairing, and no need for routers or hotspots. Just remember to have a set of RCA audio cables ready to tether down your new wireless mistress. She’s expecting you to be the breadwinner and she definitely doesn’t believe in going Dutch! In exchange, she will remotely sing with euphonious enthusiasm.
Bottom Line: The Air DAC uWireless System utilizes a formidable technology, albeit a bit wasted on the USB transmitter. I’m also not thrilled about the exclusion of needed parts. Still, the unit does what it advertises. Save your couch change and pick the unit that best suits your needs and you will be pleasantly surprised with the performance of the Air DAC Wireless System.
You can buy the NU Force Air DAC uWireless System at Amazon for $179!