Written by: Adam Christianson
Categories: Cool Stuff
For a while now I have been a big fan of Audioengine, audioengineusa.com. I think I first ran across their speaker products at the first or second New Media Expo. They make great stuff and have always managed to deliver great sounding high quality audio products at a reasonable price. Recently they branched out of their core business of producing speakers and introduced a wireless audio adapter called the Audioengine W1 (I did a review on this Maccast in case you missed it. The AW1s consisted of two little audio “adapters” (basically little fobs with an 1/8″ mini jack on one end and a USB connector on the other). With the AW1s you could take any device with a headphone or audio out connector and wirelessly transmit the sound to any receiver, boombox, set of powered speakers, what have you. Pretty cool. At the time I thought it was great for most applications where you didn’t want to run speaker wire through your house. It worked well if you had a transmitting device that you didn’t move around (like a computer, stereo, or a docked iPod), but the solution kinda fell apart when you wanted to connect a non-docked iPod maintaining the ability to move around. The AW1 sender would connect to the iPod via the headphone jack, so it still needed power. That meant being wired to a power adapter which defeats the idea of wireless, at least for iPods.
Now Audioengine is back with the Audioengine W2s. Specifically designed for iPods, this time the “sender” unit connects directly to the dock connector and can draw power directly from it’s host. That means you are free to roam around the house controlling the music directly from the device. If you have multiple speakers in different rooms you can get extra AW2 receivers and “hop” from one room to the next. The only downsides to “hopping” at the moment seem to be that you can only send to one receiver at a time and I don’t see a way on the Audioengine site to just buy more receivers. At USD$169.00 for the transmitter and receiver pair it’s not a bad deal, but setting up extra rooms might get pricey. Still, Audioengine claims the system offers CD quality skip free wireless audio and based on my past experiences I am apt to believe them. Hopefully I will be able to get a review unit and when I do expect a full hands on review. Until then if you need to send audio from an iPod to a speaker system without the hassle of wires, the AW2s are certainly worth a look.
iSkin’s Cerulean is the same kind of device and has been around for over a year. However, I see that the Cerulean is bluetooth. W2 uses something else that is reportedly better.
Thanks for the informative post, Adam! Audioengine does make great products at great prices and AW1 was no different. Now with the AW2 making up for the drawbacks of the AW1, the audio experience of the user can only get better.
$169 for a transmitter-receiver sounds reasonable, especially when you think of hassle free wireless audio.
Good unit here agrees with the price and performance.
Woah, That is pretty cool I was trying to set up some kind of wireless system in my home for awhile without spending a ton of money. Looks like this could be it. Now I dont’ need to deal with a bunch of wires and a million docking stations all over the house :) Sharon
I agree, Audioengine makes a few great speaker products. The quality is absolutely premium. I got the A5W Bookshelf Speakers in caramel colour recently and I am impressed. I was sceptical of the price but all the reviews I came across enlightened me. Its too bad Audioengine doesnt make headphones. The sound Audioengine W2s idea is a good one. I have heard and read good things about this adaptor.