We were asked an excellent question following our Audio Pro WF100 wireless transmitter review: what about Maplin's A24GU which appears to do the same thing at a fraction of the cost? On paper it seems a no brainer, so can paying £40 instead of £150 really get you the same end result?
In short the answer is: yes and, of course, no. The basics look good. The A24GU's reason d'être is to transmit the audio from your computer to your HiFi or dock wirelessly. It does this using its own wireless frequency and supports lossless to keep audiophiles happy.
Furthermore setup couldn't be easier. A USB transmitter dongle connects to a PC or Mac and performs a driverless install. Plug the receiver into a wall socket near your speaker system of choice and there is the option to connect the receiver to it via a 3.5mm cable or left and right RCA outputs. Pairing between the transmitter and receiver simply requires the press of a button on each. The receiver also has useful volume up or down buttons, though in practice volume control is more likely to be done using the PC, dock or HiFi.
Better still, to coin a phrase, it just works. You can be up and running in just a few minutes and if you've ever wanted to easily transmit your PC audio to a better speaker system without cable spaghetti then you'll be happy... with caveats.
The biggest of these is range. Take the A24GU even just a few rooms away and audio will start to break-up. Maplin claims you should be able to receive audio at up to 50 metres, but this would be both in a complete open space and not with lossless/CD bitrate audio. In a more realistic home environment involving electronic interference and standing walls we found 10/15m to be the limit of this setup and using lossless you were constrained to the next room. For those with visions of home-wide audio blaring out this will be a deal breaker. A shame since, when close, there is ample bandwidth and a digital signal means audio quality is as good as the source and the speaker.
On the flip side pairing is automatic so for those happy to keep their PC and speakers in relative proximity you can switch off or restart your computer and playback will resume immediately post boot. When I say immediately that isn't an exaggeration. Press play and within microseconds you'll hear it booming through your speaker. The elimination of lag is particularly pleasant when looking to pause or skip tracks. Yes you will have to re-pair the A24GU if you switch the receiver off at the wall, but that isn't an unfair expectation and it is likely to remain on for heavy users.