Our options for high quality wireless audio are getting better every day. Bluetooth has been around for a while now and the audio quality finally sounds decent, but it remains a buggy technology and requires Bluetooth-specific devices. Apple’s AirPlay sounds pretty good but its compatibility is limited iOS devices, iTunes, and pricey AirPlay speakers and A/V receivers. Neither option is flexible enough for those seeking a high quality wireless surround speaker solution or an option flexible enough to be used with a computer or any other stand-alone audio source.
Aperion Audio’s Zona Wireless Speaker System makes for a pretty flexible option and it sounds great as well (our review is forthcoming) but the speakers themselves are part and parcel of the deal. What we’ve been missing is a wireless system that will power any passive speaker –speakers we already own, for instance– from nearly any audio source and sound really great doing it.
Atlantic Technology and Outlaw audio have both recently announced just such a system. Atlantic Technology’s version is comprised of the previously existing WA-50-r wireless transmitter and its new WA-5030-r wireless receiver/amplifier (opens as .pdf). Outlaw Audio’s is comprised of the existing OAW3 wireless audio system and its new OAWA3 Amplified Wireless Audio system. They are essentially the same product, which makes sense as the companies are closely related and under the direction of mutual CEO, Peter Tribeman.
Both systems provide wireless transmission of a CD quality audio signal from either analog RCA inputs or digital USB input up to 300 feet. The receivers pack 20 watts per channel of power in stereo mode or 30 watts of power to one speaker. Both systems also feature the same remote control and multi-zone capability.
The only difference we can discern between the two is the price. Atlantic Technology’s system, which doesn’t appear to be available at online retailers yet, will reportedly retail for $399 while Outlaw Audio’s version is priced on its website for $319 and is available now.
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