Every audiophile music geek dreams of taking a giant hard drive full of high bit-rate music and streaming it to every room in the house. But making it a reality is expensive and complicated.
Short of shelling out $1,000 or more for systems like Sonos that place receivers in multiple rooms, there's no great way to get the job done. Setups like the Squeezebox Duet cost $400 for one room, while the $99 Apple AirportExpress ties you to iTunes — not an audiophile's favorite piece of software.
Audioengine released a simple solution — two USB-thumb drive style gadgets called the AW1 — which serves as a wireless transmitter and receiver, bringing sound from any audio source (a PC, Mp3 player, even a television with 3.5 mm mini outputs or RCA connectors), to any receiver or powered speaker setup up to 100 feet away.
At $149, the system seems to be a good compromise between flexibility and affordability and doesn't require any new software on your PC.
Audioengine claims "CD quality" sound over the airwaves due to
delivering uncompressed music over the 2.4GHz wireless spectrum, a
technique that avoids frequencies claimed by other wireless products
such as cordless phones and baby monitors, and a wireless streaming
spec designed for audio not data.
We see this device as a great party tool: Get the same perfect playlist pumping in every room. —Rachel Rosmarin