Prompt and eager are the mantras for new players in the electronic market. Yes, we received an AW1 unit from Audioengine within three days of its launch. At first glance it looked like a normal USB dongle, which we normally wouldn’t have spent too much time on. On scrutiny, however, we felt this merits a close look after all....
Design and Features
The package has two dongle-shaped adapters, which are actually a sender and receiver for wireless transmission. Each unit has a USB jack at one end and an EP (3.5mm) port at the other. For the sender, this acts as line-in – the sound from your player has to go into the unit, to be sent out wirelessly, and vice versa for the receiver. Both have a glossy black finish, and the size of about 10 x 3 cm makes them a little larger than your usual USB dongle.
The sender has a small clipart-type print of a rocket, while the receiver has a planet illustration on its top face. So the rocket takes off and lands on the planet, carrying all the audio information with it, through, well, Byzantine intergalactic airwaves.
Coming back to Planet Earth, the range is 100 ft, which is good. The protocol is Wi-Fi. I’m assuming 802.11n, which is one of the newer flavors (the specs state 340 Mbps, which is quite high). The frequency of transmission – the familiar 2.4 GHz – should become as significant as the golden mean before long!
How it Works
Included with the two units is a USB power adapter that's required to power the receiver/sender. If you're connecting your PC to the AE5 speakers this plug won’t be necessary, as there is a USB charge port on the AE5. Thus it’s optimal for Audioengine speaker usage, though interconnection between any two components is possible: iPod to powered speakers, AV receiver to surround speakers, subwoofer connections and more.
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