If you are looking to ‘cut’ the wires and listen to music wirelessly while not sacrificing audio quality, then have a look at the Audioengine AW1. This product seemingly is a simple out-of-the-box solution that is easy to setup up while maintaining the high sound standards of the Audioengine brand name.
Whether you have powered speakers or a receiver, you probably already know that the sounds or music you play through them are bounded by wires. For example, you may have a desktop computer connected to multimedia speakers or your latest Playstation 3 connected to speakers. What if we could just connected them wirelessly?
Today we will be having a look at the Audioengine AW1. It is a wireless solution that allows you to overcome this. Why would you want to do this? Maybe you want to be able to play music to some speakers across the room…or maybe you want to place your speakers in a more optimal position in the room.
A Closer Look at the AW1
The AW1 is really a simple product. The product came with two USB devices, two 3.5mm audio cables, RCA adapter ‘Y’ cable, and an AC adapter with a USB port. The actual transmitter and receiver are very simple in nature. They are solid black in color and look glossy. It is simply a rectangular shaped device about the size of a flash memory stick. At the side is a 3.5mm jack where you can plug in a 3.5mm cable. The USB device is also as light as a flash memory stick so I didn’t have any issues with the size or weight of the drive.
I chose to test this product with the Audioengine 2 speakers. I did not choose to test them with the Audioengine 5 speakers because they have a built in USB port. It is not common for speakers to have a built-in USB board, so I chose the Audioengine 2 speakers. They are simply powered speakers, therefore, setting up the AW1 with the Audioengine 2 speakers will be no different than any other desktop multimedia speakers.
Before setting things up, you will need to identify the ‘sender’ and the ‘receiver’. The product is conveniently labeled in the back identify which USB device is the ‘sender’ and ‘receiver’. I decided to test the Audioengine 2 speakers with a desktop computer. I first plugged in the transmitter to the USB port in the back of my desktop computer. Then I plugged one end of a 3.5mm cable into the transmitter and the other end to the back of my sound card. I have already completed half of the installation. For the speakers, I plugged in the provided AC adapter into a nearby outlet. Then I plugged in the receiving USB device into that AC adapter to provider power. Then I took a second 3.5mm cable and plugged one end into the device and the other end into the speakers. That’s it, you are all set. Windows Vista detected the device, but be sure to set your default playback audio settings to your soundcard and NOT the AW1.
The first thing I did was play an MP3 on my computer. I was at first skeptical the product would work, but I was wrong! Music was able to play from my desktop computer wireless to my speakers without any problems. The music was crystal clear even considering that my computer and speakers were next to a bunch of tangled cables and stuff near my computer. When I turned the volume louder on the speakers, there was no distortion of any kind. The next thing I did was play a DVD movie on my computer. I loaded up an old DVD of the Matrix with the scene where the humans are in these robots shooting at the flying machines breaking through a hole in the ceiling. The sound was room filling and pretty much sounded just as if they were connected through cables. While what I did is just one type of configuration that you can use. The following shows the many kinds of configurations that you can use. Let me stress that you do NOT need to own Audioengine speakers in order to use this product. This wireless product can be used with any powered speakers.
The AW1 retails for $149 at AudioEngineUSA.com. Some may think it is pricey at first glance, but if you think about the versatility in being able to use this product in multiple situations, you will find that it is worth it. If you are just itching to put your speakers farther away than your wires can, or just want to eliminate some cluttered wires, this is the product for you. I really could not find any fault with this product except it could have come with an extra AC adapter since it could have been useful, but I think you can probably find a generic USB AC adapter on ebay for cheap.