- Easy setup
- Platform neutral
- Lossless audio quality
- Breathes new life into expensive legacy equipment
- Fairly expensive
- Supplied audio cables are short
- Airplay/Kleer easier for new systems
Review Price £150.00
Manufacturer: Audio Pro
Wires, we hate them. Not only are they visibly unappealing they are physically restrictive. Most manufacturers recognise the demand for wireless equipment and yet in the audio sector the lack of a common standard has held back what in 2011 should be basic functionality. Audio Pro doesn't have a solution to this problem, but it does offer an extremely elegant work around.
The 'WF100' is a wireless, lossless streaming solution which can stream audio from almost any source to any output. It works using a simple dongle system. The 'TX100' transmitter dongle plugs into the USB port of a source and the 'RX100' receiver USB dongle plugs into the destination.
Should USB ports not be available at either end (likely at the destination) then each dongle can be powered from a wall socket and they both feature 3.5mm audio jacks to connect to devices via a simple stereo cable or RCA Y-adaptor. Audio Pro supplies two 3.5mm cables and a Y-adaptor as well as one AC adaptor to power one of the dongles. This should be enough for most setups, but an additional AC adaptor can be purchased separately (it works with any AC adaptor) and third party cables can used with each dongle's 3.5mm jack.
The WF100 is PC and Mac compatible, the whole solution is driverless and pairing between the dongles is automatic making for a vast array of potential streaming combinations (some of which are visible here – PDF link). Audio Pro also has another trick up its sleeve: each dongle can transmit in three different network frequencies, which it calls 'housecodes'. These can be adjusted on the dongles by simply sliding a switch between positions 1, 2 and 3. What this opens up is the ability to have either multiple WF100 streaming setups which don't interfere with one another or a single TX100 transmitter streaming audio to either multiple outputs on the same housecode or being able to change where it streams from a simple flick of the switch. Additional TX100 and RX100 dongles cost £85 each.
This is all very clever in theory, so how does it work in practice? The good news is flawlessly.
Streaming audio from a Windows PC or Mac is just a case of plugging in the TX100, selecting the 'USB Headset' audio source, connecting the RX100 to the AC adaptor and running a 3.5mm cable or Y-adaptor to your output of choice. Music streaming is almost instantaneous (just a 20ms delay) and being lossless it has no detrimental effect on audio quality. Meanwhile range is no better and no worse than WiFi (which is all you can ask for).
Things get a little more complicated if you want to stream from an MP3 player or smartphone since the TX100 will need to be powered separately meaning you'll most likely need an AC adaptor at both ends. In addition your mobile device will be tethered by a 3.5mm cable, but it is useful if – for example - you want to keep your phone accessible on a desk rather than plugged directly into a dock or HiFi system.