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Wiim’s new amplified streamer mimics the Sonos Amp, for $299

Wiim Amp in space grey.
Wiim Amp in space grey. Wiim

Wiim’s newest product, the Wiim Amp, is an amplified wireless network music player that bears a strong resemblance to the Sonos Amp, both in function and form. However, in typical Wiim fashion, it costs far less than Sonos’ amplified player. At just $299, and available in silver and space grey colors, it’s less than half the price of the Sonos Amp. You can buy the Wiim Amp on Amazon starting November 22.

The Wiim Amp joins the Wiim Mini, Wiim Pro, and Wiim Pro Plus network music streamers. Each can be used on its own or as part of a multiroom audio system via the Wiim app, which also features many of the same functions as Sonos’ software. Unlike Wiim’s previous products, the Wiim Amp can serve as a standalone device. With its built-in amplifier, it can power two or four passive speakers.

Wiim’s design includes a large volume dial, integrated multifunction button, and volume LED indicators. The Sonos Amp lets you control the same functions using its touch controls, but they aren’t as satisfying to use as physical controls. The Wiim Amp seems to be designed to take a very front-and-center role in your home audio setup, an idea that’s reinforced with the inclusion of an Amazon Alexa-powered voice remote.

Wiim Amp in silver.
Wiim Amp in silver. Wiim

Inside the Wiim Amp is a class D amplifier controlled by a TI 3255 amplifier chip. This supplies either 120 watts at 4 ohms or 60 watts per channel at 8 ohms. The four speaker terminals can be used with bare wire or banana plugs.

Digital-to-analog conversion is handled by the ESS ES9018K2M, a DAC that is 10 years old, but remains a favorite with audiophiles. It can process up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM, with no resampling on sources up to 24-bit/192kHz. This gives it the ability to handle just about any lossless, hi-res audio content, and it’s MQA compatible for folks who prefer to stream that format from sources like Tidal Hi-Fi (while it lasts.) The only thing missing for die-hard audiophiles is DSD compatibility — a curious omission given that the ES9018K2M DAC can handle DSD up to 11.2 MHz.

Much like the Sonos Amp, the Wiim Amp is both an analog stereo input for devices including turntables, and an HDMI ARC port so you can use the Wiim Amp as a soundbar alternative. There’s also a subwoofer output. But the Wiim Amp also features two extra ports — an optical input and a USB mass storage port — which expands the number of sources that can be used. Like Wiim’s other media players, you can connect to the Wiim Amp via Bluetooth as well.

Wiim Amp rear panel.
Wiim

The Wiim app provides various EQ and parametric EQ options including 24 preset EQ settings, a 10-brand graphic EQ adjustable to every audio source (Line-in, Bluetooth, or network), and a four-band parametric EQ that allows more fine granular adjustments.

The player works with Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, Alexa Music Cast, Deezer, Qobuz, Pandora, DLNA, Spotify Connect, and Tidal HiFi/HiFi+, and it’s compatible with Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. In fact, with the included voice remote, you get direct access to Alexa. Wiim says it expects the Wiim Amp to earn Roon certification in the near future.

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Simon Cohen
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