15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2014
Before purchasing I have already understood the PROs and CONs of streaming audio between this device for Airplay use and Bluetooth. Airplay outperforms bluetooth audio since it is lossless. The reasons for my purchase are a) High quality audio, b) Airplay, c) Ease of use in my FIAT Abarth, and d) a unit that turns on and off with my vehicle [no internal battery] - I have achieved all these.
Here's a summary of my experience (yours may vary)
Connectivity needs: USB for Power and 3.5 mm for stereo audio (you need to supply the audio cable or adapter which varies by application)
Sound Quality: 5 of 5 stars
Technical Difficulty in setting it up: 5 of 5 (for me) - 3 out of 5 stars possible for a non tech-savvy person*
Functionality: 5 of 5 stars.
*This device requires "some setting up" that a non-savvy person may find challenging, if not frustrating. Fortunately, Amazon provided instructions for it which can be found at the bottom of the product page. The product I received required a firmware upgrade which can be found here: [...]
After which, I was able to set my own SSID and apply security settings so no one connects to it without my knowledge.
Bottom Line: I am very happy
Side Note: I would like to thank all the friendly folks here who provided their useful input.
After following the instructions to update the firmware and using it for a few days, I started experiencing these symptoms under the following versions. Your experience may vary but here's mine unfortunately.
v.2.0.4 - Hi-Fidelity audio, frequent audio drops
v.2.0.5 - No Audio drop but discernible lower quality audio (not good)
Action: I have contacted support today. Stay tuned.
Review Quality: I felt the need to dock some points off based on my experience with the device. I hope this improves.
Response from the manufacturer: Upgrade to v2.0.5 which I already had at this time.
After 9 days of use, I'm just about warming up with the product. Solid connection, no drops, superb clarity but lacking in the lows (Bass). I was also able to change the SSID instead of the default.
Manufacturer response: 9 Days later - I got an e-mail saying that additional bug fixes are included in the next firmware release. Though late, I'm kind of glad I did not hit a brick wall.
Review Quality: Bumped to 4 stars
Unit randomly stopped working. I couldn't see it through Airplay on my iPhone. I went and reflashed with v2.0.5 firmware to no avail. I reset by depressing the button inside the paperclip hole. I put my SSID back in and enabled encryption - it worked but audio became very choppy. I turned it off and on to no avail.
I decided to reset the device again but this time, I left the SSID at its default state with no encryption. It worked. I should have just left it be from moment I bought this. All the frustration and waiting spent wasn't worth it.
Conclusion: I don't their their development team focuses on all aspects of this device. Even customer service is sub-par. I just had the patience to tinker around with it. It works as advertised but it does require a fair amount of patience.
Why did I stick with this? There are very few Airplay capable devices out there that are suitable for cars without breaking the bank. Airplay provides for clearer audio than Bluetooth, plain and simple.
-Your mileage may vary. Best of luck!
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2014
I was going to give it a 1 star rating due to the difficulty to use it with an Android device. As Android OS itself lacks the native support for AirPlay and DLNA, the user has to get media player App with AirPlay and/or DLNA support from Google Play. While there are free AirPlay /DNLA player Apps, majority of those free Apps require the In-App Purchase in order to AirPlay or/and DLNA feature and some of them require the device been rooted. None of those details is mentioned in the product description and it is far from "Plug and Play - No configuration or computer needed. Setup AirPlay in your car in less than 3 minutes!" (Maybe, this statement is true in case of iOS device, but it is not the case if one want to use it with an Android device)
Then, one would ask why a 3 stars rating. Here is the why: this device is actually a WiFi router with AirPlay/DLNA capability. Few reviewers have complained earlier that once one connected his/her iOS or Android device to the Sabrent WiFi Audio Receiver, he/she will loss the access to other AirPlay/DLNA devices on his/her home network (WiFi or Wired). By connecting Sabrent WiFi Audio Receiver to your WiFi network, you will regain full access to other AirPlay/DLNA devices on your home network and streaming from cloud sources w/o using your cellular data network.
1. Using the web browser on a device connected to the Sabrent WiFi Audio Receiver and type in the IP address of Sabrent WiFi Audio Receiver: 192.168.168.1
2. Select your Home WiFi network SSID and enter your WiFi network password
3. If the connection is successful, you will see something like "WLAN: your_home_WiFi_SSID connected" and then you are all set
WARNING: By default, the Sabrent WiFi Audio Receiver has its wireless security disabled. If you connect it to your home WiFi network, it is wise to enable the wireless security of the Sabrent WiFi Audio Receiver. Otherwise, anyone close by to your Sabrent WiFi Audio Receiver may gain access to your home WiFi network by connecting to your Sabrent WiFi Audio Receiver.
With newly released 2.01 firmware, Sabrent WiFi Audio Receiver will show up as an AirPlay device on your home network once you connect it to your home WiFi. I upgraded my rating for this product to a 4 star from the previous 3 star rating. Keep up the good work, Sabrent! Please update the manual for this product and also provide a change log for any new release of the firmware.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2014
A steal for $30! For the intents and purposes of this review, my comments and experiences are based on my aftermarket car stereo setup, iPhone 6, sabrent Wi-Fi receiver with firmware 207 and my Acura ILX factory Bluetooth (as a basis of comparison).
I was in the market to move from Bluetooth/factory stereo to Airplay/aftermarket stereo and considered this among an apple airport express and the tplink. Being the cheapest of the options I was skeptical of this device but have been completely impressed by it since I got it and updated the firmware to the 207 release. This is important as I understand that the older versions of the firmware had inferior sound quality and left a lot to be desired in the low frequency spectrum. I had no idea how bad my Bluetooth streaming quality was until I heard the difference with this device since bt had been my default option for so many years. I did a test before my car stereo install with the airplay going into the factory stereo and switched between that and Bluetooth just to get a baseline and I am so glad I made the switch.
The device boots and is ready to join within around 33 seconds which is faster than airport express but still I was worried that was going to be too long. It’s not. Pretty much as soon as I turn on my car and put on my seat belt and grab my phone to pick out some music, it’s ready to go. For reference though, this is about 20 seconds longer that my bt connection took to auto pair and auto play my music. The disadvantage of Airplay is that it will not autoplay your music. You will have to choose the sabrent manually as your output stream each time you connect it since this is a limitation of Apple’s implementation of Airplay. This is not a show stopper but wanted to point it out.
One other thing to mention is that if you are in your driveway while the sabrent boots, and are still on your home Wi-Fi, it will not automatically switch it over to sabrent. You will have to manually change it. However once you are driving if you stop at a store, when you get back in your car it will auto join back to sabrent as that was the last Wi-Fi connection it had established. I have read that there is a program you can run on your computer to assign Wi-Fi priorities for iPhone that you then load onto your phone through iTunes but have not tried this yet. If I did, I would make the sabrent priority 1 and my home 2 so that when I am getting ready to drive and stream my music, it would cut out the manual step of me having to switch over from my home Wi-Fi to sabrent. Again this is NOT a limitation of the sabrent device. It is iPhone wifi, airplay specific.
To keep my install discrete, I have it hard wired (as opposed to using the cigarette lighter adapter or factory usb port) into the car through a 12v to 5v usb circuit I bought on amazon for around $10 and it’s connected to my ACC power through the fuse box so it only goes on when the car is in accessory power or the car is running. The audio is running into an eclipse eq1000 that is essentially the "head unit" for my set up. The eq drives my amps and then the speakers so I am totally separated from the factory head unit and amplifier. When I was testing the sound quality between the airplay and a direct aux cable to my iPhone 6, the sensitivity was much better with sabrent meaning it has a decent op amp output in it. The signal sounds nice and clean and I have not had any issues with it freezing or needing a reboot or anything but I did wire in a kill switch to the power in case I do ever have to restart it without turning off the car. I had to give my iPhone a static ip and subnet in the Wi-Fi settings so that I could browse the internet and stream music to my phone on the go while connected to the sabrent's Wi-Fi network. There is plenty of information about how to do this online if you need it.
Two other really cool things I discovered:
1. My phone still connects to my factory car stereo through bt so I can still change tracks with the factory controls and steering wheel, see the song title on the screen - even though the iPhone is sending the music stream through airplay to the sabrent! I did not know this was going to happen but it’s a really nice feature of the configuration because now I can control my music with the convenience of the factory controls with the superior sound of airplay through my eq and aftermarket amps and speakers. It may be specific to my iPhone and car though.
2. As with any airplay receiver, anyone on the network can stream to it so when I drive around with my friends, they can all take turns dj’ing without the typical struggles related to multi-user Bluetooth configurations (the person streaming turns off their bt, next guy turns on to sync with the receiver, etc).
All in all I am very pleased with this product’s quick boot up time, superior audio quality, stability and reliability so far. Highly recommended!
Hope this helps some of you thinking about aftermarket high quality audio using airplay and some ideas on how to make it happen. Good luck!
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This is an interesting device in that it is like a Bluetooth receiver for playing audio but instead it uses WiFi and DLNA and AirPlay.
You power it via a USB power source (like a power bank, PC USB port, or USB charger) and it creates a wireless WiFi network that you then connect your device to. You can then send audio to it through DLNA or AirPlay. It's quite small and lightweight, and has no built-in rechargeable battery. The USB power cable on the device is only a little over 3 inches and when not plugged into power the cable can be kept plugged into a port on the receiver itself, which is handy for storage and when it's not in use.
The big "pro" is that the quality is better because it is not compressed like Bluetooth. It sounds great with my Sony professional headphones (the same jack that you plug the headphones into is also a 3.5mm line out jack). The downside is that it's a bit more hassle to disconnect from your normal WiFi network and connect to the device's WiFi network (which took awhile to show up on my iPad mini)... and when you do this you'll lose your WiFi Internet connection (but see the UPDATE below) so you won't be able to stream from the Internet if you rely on WiFi to do so.
So it does what it says and quality is impressive and so is the size and portability of the device. If the "hassles and limitations" WiFi connection method works well for you then I think you will be quite happy with the device. If you don't need the best sound quality then you may be better off with a simpler Bluetooth receiver (I would recommend one with aptX).
By the way, there are two small LEDs on the device - a blue one labeled "Audio" and a red one labeled "WiFi".
UPDATE 2014-07-09: I found out that you can connect this device to the Internet by connecting to its own WiFi network and then using a browser to go to the IP address on the bottom of the unit (mine was 192.168.168.1) and connecting to a wireless network. When you then connect to the Sabrent's WiFi network you will have Internet access. Unfortunately AirPlay doesn't seem to work on Internet connected WiFi network - you still have to connect to the Sabrent's own WiFi network... but the receiver does remember the network if you unplug it then plug it back in.
NOTE: I was sent a free product sample for review.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2014
I had high hopes for this product. I've been using an Airport Express to stream via Airplay to the speakers downstairs in my house, and wanted to add another set for upstairs using this product. The update instructions on the website are fairly clear and not terribly difficult to understand. I've been able to stream music to this product only a handful of times. Most of the time it drops off the network and I have to manually log on to the device, reset it, and then reconnect to my network.
It's a good idea in theory, but until the reconnection bugs are worked out...hopefully with a software update...this product does not meet my expectations.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2014
Worked for a week and then would not connect to wireless network. Upgrading the firmware is cryptic and confusing. Some features work on one release and not on others. After upgrading the firmware my device would not show the wifi networks to connect to. However remaining on the old firmware caused reduced audio quality and the inability to rename the devices. Overall this product was not as expected and very disappointing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I received this at no cost in exchange for writing a review. After trying it I gave it to a friend. Here's why.
1. A bluetooth pairing is effortless to set up. This requires much more effort. I like things as simple as possible.
2. I use a wireless bluetooth receiver connected to the AUX port in my car. That receiver has an internal battery that will last about 12 hours, so I don't have to keep it connected to a USB port. No USB power source is required (except when I need to recharge it), as is true of this product. One less piece of equipment.
3. Bluetooth works on a wide variety of devices while Airplay is proprietary to Apple. I have my share of Apple devices--iPhone, iPad, Macbook and Apple TV so I am very familiar with it. One of the main "selling points" of Airplay is lossless audio. Without getting into the technical differences between Airplay and Bluetooth, let me say that unless you're talking about something like a home theatre system, as a practical matter I don't think there's a perceptible difference in the sound. One review says that bluetooth is "tinny"--but not on my car stereo system or on a host of wireless bluetooth speakers that I use.
Bottom line: This works, but for me is not any better than a bluetooth receiver, which is a lot simpler and easier to use, and also works effortlessly on non Apple devices without having to download any extra apps.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2015
This product is amazing. I've bought two of them. One of them is connected to my home wifi and provides AirPlay to my older stereo system. The second one is in my car and is configured to allow me to stream music while still using my LTE connection. I am very happy that this very cheap device has enabled me to AirPlayify my house and car.
It turns out the device is also very reliable. One of my devices has lived in my car in the frigid cold of winter and sweltering heat of summer of the midwest for about 6 months.
My only complaint is that it isn't very user friendly. Configuring for your car v.s. configuring for a home network could be simpler. Thankfully, there are instructions on the Amazon page.
Examples of user-unfriendliness:
Configuring for Your Car:
You have to disable the default gateway in network settings. This setting could have been provided by the DHCP server that the device has builtin, thereby making it work with your car and your home out of the box.
After installing the firmware, you're supposed to hold down the reset button for 30 seconds. If you don't, the web interface for configuring the device looks broken. The device could have been built to reset itself after a firmware upgrade.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2015
Couple things to note, I have plenty of bluetooth receivers, and I'm running a couple hi-def systems. I wanted to find the best possible way to stream my digital content wirelessly for the times I'm not listening to direct content. I have a personal cloud repo where all my music is ripped in lossless format, and being able to stream them via wifi using Airplay is as good as you're probably going to get for streamed content - bluetooth is convenient, but there's heavy compression going on there.
You connect your playing device (laptop, tablet, phone...etc) to the Sabrent using your wifi connection, so if you're streaming content saved to your device, it's not a problem. My issue is that I'd like to connect to my cloud repo, then stream it via wifi to the audio system. The Sabrent unit does let you connect to your home network, but here's the issue - it only connects to scannable networks, so if you unpublish your SSID, you can't connect to it. I've asked support if they support being able to manually connect to a network, they said it may in the future, but not now. So FYI. I'll try and publish my SSID, connect the Sabrent, then unpublish the SSID to see if it retains the connection - but this is a pain, you should be able to manually connect a network.
Update: per my note above, tried broadcasting my home network SSID, connecting the Sabrent unit, and then turning off the SSID broadcast. No go... once the SSID stops broadcasting, the unit disconnects from the network. I'm hoping Sabrent puts out a firmware update to allow for manual network input - this should be a given option.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2014
As usual I received this item for free in exchange for a review but also as usual I'll be absolutely candid about it.
* Setup was counter-intuitive but not because of the device. The device works flawlessly but the concept it represents seems backwards and foreign to me. Once I realized what it was asking for it was ludicrously easy to setup.
* Instructions are sufficient and get you where you need to go quickly and easily.
* Unit is compact and works beautifully
* The only thing that confuses me is the use case for this item in the first place. So the device emits a wifi network signal. You connect your iPhone to that network and you can use Apple's AirPlay to transmit audio. Great! The only problem for me is that all my audio is streamed from the net. Which I just had to disconnect from in order to connect to the wifi provided by the speaker. So the receiver works perfectly but I've lost everything that I wanted to listen to. It's possible that I'm missing some key step here but if that step exists it's not in the instructions.
In summary, the product does what it says it's supposed to but personally I just don't see why I'd ever want it to do that.