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Sleek Audio W1 Wireless Headphone Adapter review

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8

Wireless headphones have been around for quite a while but they've invariably suffered from a multitude of problems. First and foremost is the simple fact that if they run out of battery power they're unusable, which limits their appeal for long travel. Secondly, they can be large and unwieldy or, like the Sennheiser MXW1's, look frankly ridiculous. Then there's the simple fact they can just sound rubbish. However, Sleek Audio could finally have solved all of the above problems with its W1 wireless headphone adapter.

It's designed to be used with Sleek Audio's own impressive SA6 customisable headphones and can be bought separately or bundled with said headphones, which will save you £10 off the total cost. This isn't exactly a game changing discount but "it's better than a kick in the teeth with a wet fish", as my old man says.

What really sets this adapter, or the bundle, apart from the competition, though, is that the customisable nature of the headphones means you can remove the driver unit/ear piece from the wireless adapter and plug them onto the normal SA6 cable, solving our battery problem outright. And while it may sound like extra effort to constantly carry around a spare cable, just in case you do run out, the 10 hour battery life rating means you shouldn't actually need to have it with you on most occasions.

The adapter itself consists of two parts (not including the earphone units themselves); a transmitter and a receiver, which communicate using a 2.4GHz radio link developed by Kleer. This has enough bandwidth to transmit lossless CD quality audio and up to four receivers (from multiple brands) can be used with each transmitter.

Range is quoted at about 60 feet, which we found to be accurate in an open air environment but through a brick wall or even through thick clothing, this quickly dropped to sub 20 feet. Still, it's enough that it gives you all the freedom you should need. Just don't expect to be able to plug the transmitter into your hi-fi downstairs and listen in your bed on the third floor.

The transmitter is a large black lozenge with a 3.5mm headphone jack poking out of one side. This plugs into the headphone socket of your Portable Media Player (PMP) and the volume is controlled using you player, rather than a separate inline control on the adapter. The position of the jack plug means the lozenge sits flush with your mp3 player so it looks neat and tidy. However, this does mean it won't fit on players that have any sort of case as these will push the headphone plug out of its socket.

Hamish Campbell

December 17, 2008, 8:12 pm

So the receiver must get a signal and then amp it up right? Which means you are relying on the amp of the receiver.


Does this mean if you have forked out for an MP3 player with superior sound (or are cheap and nerdy like me and use a penguinamp) then that is wasted and you are really getting the sound interpretation of the sleek receiver?

Ed

December 17, 2008, 8:46 pm

Yeah, as you would with any wireless headphone set.

Shaun @ HiFi Headphones)

December 19, 2008, 4:29 pm

Yes, indeed the W-1 neck pendant has an amp built in, so you are not driving the SA6 directly with the MP3 player.





My understanding from reading Head-fi forum posts from Jason at Sleek Audio is that the amp has been tuned on the W-1 pendant to improve the bass punch of the SA6 a little. The SA6 is a 50 Ohm earphone, so needs a little more driving than some other earphones.

TheHand

December 28, 2008, 12:04 am

This product looks useful to me while recording guitar to a digital 8-track. I know that you have said that it will work with any audio equipment but would like your opinion on whether there would be any problems with mt preferred use for the device.


Thanks.

Shaun @ HiFi Headphones)

January 2, 2009, 4:11 am

If the 8-track has a standard headphone output socket then the Sleek Audio earphones would work fine. If the device doesn't have a headphone output, but does have a line level output then you could drive headphones with a dedicated headphone amplifier.

chris

January 23, 2013, 12:02 pm

where can I buy these?

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