Audioengine’s W3 Wireless Audio Adapter: The End to Spaghetti?

By Andy Mossack,

W3-wireless-audio

Not sure about you, but I have a drawer stuffed full with wires and leads – the detritus of a former life when everything electrical had to be connected. It’s made worse of course because not being a tidy person, there’s no order to it, just a tangled mass of USB, phono and scarts that were once needed but now lay dormant but are there just in case I need them.

Of course that won’t happen anymore because I am fully wireless and proud of it. There may be a time in the future when a study shows all these radio waves flying about are bad for us, but until then, I live a life of wire sobriety.

So given the fact wired connectivity is most definitely on life support, there’s a journey of discovery to be made with each new wireless product while we wait for the transition to fully integrated wireless on every device. Will this new one be better for my home system than the one I already have?

W3-reciever

Audioengine’s W3  Premium Wireless Audio Adapter will certainly a raise an eyebrow or two. This could well be the Swiss army knife for wireless audio, given it can turn any audio system with USB or 3.5mm mini-jack or RCA audio outputs into a wireless device via a sender and receiver with a range of over 30 metres (100 feet) with, it is promised, no drop outs or interference. A particularly bold claim considering most homes are full of noisy devices from cordless phones to microwaves. The 16-bit USB DAC handles audio up to 16 bits/48KHz with no compression, as well as analogue audio via a 3.5mm minijack so this device could be a very effective way of making your subwoofer or your surround-sound speakers wire free.

You can use W3 as a wireless USB DAC to send music from your computer to any stereo system or add W3 to your home cinema as a wireless link to your subwoofer or powered rear speakers. Setup is fast and you can add extra W3 wireless receivers, which are available separately.

Audioengine director, Brady Bargenquast

The sender and receiver units are powered via your computer’s USB port, the AC power adapter which is included in the package, or from any other USB power source such as an iPhone charger which is a perfect example.

At £125, the W3 Premium wireless audio adapter is a decent value investment for wireless wi fi and with the sender device capable of broadcasting to up to three receivers simultaneously, you can add additional receivers for £75 each and have a pretty comprehensive multi room system.

When you look at alternatives available at the moment, you might want to think about  Apple’s Airport Express system which connects your iphone music to the audio-in socket of each speaker via individual modules, one for each speaker. As they transmit at both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies they’ll automatically connect to the best available band for the fastest possible performance. Then again, if you don’t have any speakers, you could invest in Jawbone’s Jambox wireless speakers which belt out some powerful Bluetooth enabled sonics and are portable enough to use on the go too.

  • twar

    At £125 quite expensive. And the in-built DAC probably is not a very good one. Better off getting an AirPort and a good DAC – not much more but you get the convenience of AirPlay and much better sound.

    Or sell your old gear and buy purposefully designed kick-ass wireless speakers! The Dynaudio Xeo are neat. And the Mini Aero look absolutely sensational based on the lastgadgets writeup (http://www.latestgadgets.co.uk/audio-video/8528-moos-audio-mini-aero). Nay cheap but seriously sweet IMO!