Turn your Ipod into a Wireless Music Server/Remote

I have not posted on Audiogon for several years since I have been very satisfied with my current system (Pass Labs, Gamut, Wadia, Martin Logan)

I recently discovered the Audioengine W2. This is an amazing component where a small wireless transmitter plugs into your Ipod dock and will stream music wirelessly from your Ipod to a receiver connected to your music system. It supports lossless quality music.

I amazingly purchased this item on Ebay for $70 however it sells retail for $169. I was skeptical when I hooked this up to my high end system. The only upgraded component that I used for hookup was a inexpensive monster miniplug to rca Y connector.

I was blown away! This thing reproduced music with huge dynamics, a big soundstage and clarity with absolutely no dropouts or degradation of sound quality. I am using an 80gb Ipod classic which has a warmer sound than my 5th generation 30gb Ipod video and sounds amazing. I rip cd's to my Ipod using AIFF lossless files via Itunes (IMO - the only way to go). These files are very large, but I can easily hear the difference through this setup!

Right now, I listen to music totally using my Ipod when listening to my system. Of course my Wadia cd player sounds better but not by much and this setup is soooo much more convenient.

So now I have 80 gbs of music at my fingertips at any time without having to get up and change single cd's.

Google Audioengine W2 for more info on this breakthough product!

Other amazing Ipod gadgets that I've been using for the music lover ....

- IQube Headphone Amp with Sennheiser headphones. The best out there for jazz, female vocals and classical. Expensive but worth it.

- Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones by Monster. These headphones have a built in amp and will blow your ears out(in a good way) with thumping high quality bass that's tight and never boomy. They also block out outside noise. Rock and Hip Hop music sounds amazing. Great for airplane travel and blows away the Bose Quiet Comfort headphones. Also expensive but worth it for certain music.

if you are amazed by that, then buy and AppleTV, not much more than the iPod, and hook it up to a DAC (does your Wadia allow external sources to use it's DAC), that will really blow you away, and you can use it wirelessly.
IMHO, the best solution today is to hook up a Mac Mini to an external DAC (I use Benchmark DAC-1 USB) and remote controlled by iPhone or iPod touch. The Mac Mini can serve as a CD/DVD transport as well as music/video server. The whole setup with two 1T USB hard drives costs less than $2,000, and it gives you better usability and more flexibility than other solutions.
Ernie. Is the sound playing through the Audio Engine transmitter the same as if you were to plug the ipod directly into the Y cable from the headphone jack? I would assume not, since I have tried plugging an Ipod directly into my stereo and the results are totally unacceptable. I don't understand how this works. Is the Audio Engine transmitter also a DAC that is decoding the digital from the Ipod?
That Apple TV idea is extremely cool too, but more expensive and requires a TV.

I just wanted to share with other Audiogoners a use for your ipod that is inexpensive, works great and is an alternative to a $2000 music server. As I said, it will not sound as good as a high end Wadia cd player or running it through an external DAC, but is very adequate for non critical listening. I have plenty of more expensive toys for my critical listening!


I also hooked up my Ipod using a y connector from the headphone jack of my Ipod to the back of my preamp. This was before I purchased the W2. I was so unimpressed with the sound that I never used it again.

The imaging was really hazy with no dynamics and too low of gain.

The Audioengine W2 transmitter plugs into the Ipod using the lineout(dock connection)rather then the headphone input.
The receiver plugs into the wall outlet and a Y connector goes from the receiver to the preamp. After hooking up the W2, it had a totally different sound compared to the hookup from the ipod directly to the preamp. Sorry, I can't really explain why the sound was that much better, but I know it doesn't use a separate DAC. I don't know, maybe it is a synergy thing with my system. Everything seemed to click in perfectly.

I experienced a similar effect when I switched to a line out dock connector from my Ipod to my IQube headphone amp
from a plain mini plug connector that plugged into the Ipod headphone jack.

Ernie .. glad you posted your impressions of this technology. I've had a similar experience using the original interation (AW1).

About 8 months ago I was searching for an alternative wireless solution for my pc audio because I don't have or want a home network and came across Audioengine's web site. After reading as many reviews as I could find I decided to take a chance on the AW1. Like you, I was blown away with the sound. It comes very close to my Njoe Tjoeb cdp .. surprisingly.

Most of my listening is casual so the ever so slight loss in fidelity is more than an acceptable trade off for the convenience. I couldn't be happier.

BTW the dac is built in to these gizmos.
Ernie, the apple tv can be controlled via an itouch/ iPhone without the need for a monitor. Software updates can be done over the pc. I set mine up with a tv- then brought it into my listening room and it hasent seen a video display since- almost a year.

Not to say what you are doing isn't great- but ATV is spectacular.
JM, can you go into a little more detail on the nature of the loss of fidelity? I'm thinking of using AW1 in a number of situations. For my main audio system, I'd like to place my subwoofer in a portion of the room where running a cable to it would be awkward. Do you hear any loss of bass in the AW1? Does it roll highs? Sound grainy? or is the difference very slight?
Thank you.
Artmaltman .. in my system I hear no difference in bass. The loss of fidelity I detect is a bit of congestion in the mids and highs. It doesn't seem quite as refined. Soundstage is just a bit off as well .. although as I've stated, most acceptable for casual listening. My friends actually hear no difference (they were blown away) however, they would not consider themselves audiophiles. One of the reasons I took a chance on this product was because of the 30 day return policy .. and obviously it was a keeper for me.