Audioengine W3 Wireless Audio Adapter Kit
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- Receiver & Transmitter Included
- CD-quality stereo sound
- Broadcast to multiple Receivers
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Audioengine W3 (W3) Premium Wireless Audio Adapter
Audioengine W3 Premium Wireless Audio Adapter - Play all your music wirelessly from your computer or any audio device to powered speakers, stereo receiver, or powered subwoofer. W3 provides CD-quality stereo sound with the ability to broadcast to multiple Receivers with no reduction in audio quality.
The Audioengine W3 is designed to connect your audio components wirelessly. The W3 handles USB audio up to 16 bits/48KHz with no compression, as well as analog audio via a 3.5mm minijack. Think of the W3 as a wireless 16-bit USB DAC as well as a wireless audio link.
The W3 consists of 2 parts, the "Sender" and "Receiver". The Sender transmits audio from your computer through USB audio or from any product with 3.5mm mini-jack or RCA audio outputs. The other side of W3, the Receiver, delivers audio to any product with mini-jack or RCA audio connectors.
Power for the Sender and Receiver is provided from either a USB computer port, from the included power adapter, or from any other USB charger (such as an iPod charger, for example). Another power source is the Audioengine 5+ powered speakers, which are equipped with a USB power port on the rear panel.
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I've discovered a ground-loop noise coming from all of my speakers and I isolated the problem to being the transmitter end of the W3. I have it plugged into the USB port of the AT&T U-verse for power, and this is causing a ground-loop buzz. I will have to move the transmitter and plug it in somewhere else, and I'll update this review afterwards. Still gets 5-stars, as the problem is something that I've caused.
I installed the sender & receiver about 50 feet apart (line of sight . . . no walls). It worked ok, but was had a "tinny" radio type fidelity. Every once in a while if I walked between the two units, the signal would cut out (note: when I plug an iPod directly into the same system that the receiver was connected to, the sound is great. It's this device, not my speaker system that is the problem).
I'd love to find something similar that was able to maintain the fidelity (frequency range) of the transmission.
In doing an A/B of the W3 vs. output direct to my receiver, I found a noticable "centering" of stereo sound and thus effective loss of stereo separation. It isn't something you might notice if you don't critically listen to imaging, soundstaging, and spatial cues. To me it was particularly noticable on Vangelis's Blade Runner soundtrack which has a lot of airy reverberation. With the W3, much of it seemed to collapse to a mono signal. This may be due to inherent resolution and bandwidth limitations leading to the higher resolution information getting lost.
That said, it was perfectly okay for casual listening, although it did have a couple connection problems with a gritty thin sound only coming through. Due to these reasons I returned it. I imagine the much more expensive Audioengine D2 Premium 24-bit Wireless DAC would be more in "audiophile" territory, but I'm not willing to fork out that amount of cash for convenience yet. Hopefully in a year or two 24-bit DACs and wireless devices will be more commonplace and prices across the board will come down by a factor of 2-4 which is more where they belong.