PRODUCT REVIEW

Wireless Headphone System Lets Lots of Listeners Hear the Tune

The i2i Stream digital music broadcaster is the latest wireless music delivery innovation from Aerielle. It enables users to stream audio wirelessly from any device, including iPods, MP3 players, computers and home entertainment systems.

The concept of wireless voice and music transmission over short distances from player device to listener is nothing new. Wireless FM modulators and wireless headsets predate Bluetooth devices and had a strong following among music listeners who don’t like to deal with wire tangles.

Aerielle, however, taps into the hot craze for personal music storage and delivery on demand. i2i Stream targets the teen-through-30s market, but this device is ideal for any age group that wants to share favorite music with a nearby circle of friends or coworkers.

The Digital Music Broadcaster is a 2.4 Ghz wireless digital audio device that allows you to broadcast your music to anyone in a 30-foot range sporting the same device. It serves a dual function as both music transmitter and receiver. All it takes is the push of a button to switch functions.

User Tip: The device comes boxed with two tiny units. Use the first one to transmit your favorite music. Plug a portable stereo speaker set into the second unit. You can entertain an audience of friends and family members who do not have an i2i Stream device of their own.

Product Highlights

i2i Stream can send or receive CD-quality sound up to 30 feet wirelessly. The device works with any MP3 player, including music-capable cell phones. Use the included cable to plug the playing device into one end of the i2i Stream. Plug in almost any model earphone or headset into theother end. Then select one of seven color-coded channels to start broadcasting.

The wireless device works with all MP3 players that have a standard-sized headphone jack. Some of the newer cell phone models have the smaller 2.5mm earphone plug, but the i2i Stream uses the more common 3.5mm plug size found in most MP3 players. Converter plugs can sometimes be found at places like Radio Shack.

An unlimited number of i2i Stream units can receive the signal if placed within 30 feet of the broadcasting unit. However, only 3 transmitters may operate within 30 feet of each other,and only if they are transmitting on different channels. If the units are near a WiFi hotspot or other strong wireless network, it is possible that only 2 transmitters can simultaneously operate within the 30 feet.

Accessories Included

The package contains two i2i Stream units. Also bundled are two 12-inch and two 28-inch cables to connect the units to audio players. Two USB (Universal Serial Bus) charging cables provide a way to charge the devices from any computer’s USB port. An optional AC power cable is available.

The devices are easily carried around the neck with two included lanyards or on the belt with the two included clips.

No ear phones are included. The fully charged device plays from five to seven hours.

Setup Easy

Each i2i Stream is about the size of a palm-sized MP3 player. After charging both units, I powered them on by pressing the combination volume/mute/power button in the upper side corner.

It took all of 10 seconds to connect the first i2i Stream to an MP3 player and plug the earphones into the second i2i Stream unit. Each unit’s icon in the center of the dial glowed red.

Next, I pressed the Send button on the upper half of the center control dial and the Receive button on the lower half of the control dial on the second unit. My favorite songs played in my ears as I walked around the room. The sending unit was at the far side of the room.

Performance Factor

Normally, I test products based on how well they perform compared to similar devices. In this case, I tested the i2i Stream in isolation.

To compensate, I considered this product’s performance out of the box. Did it perform as promised? In a word, yes.

I easily changed both units to send and receive on each of the seven channels. Each press of the center button changed the color. As long as both units glowed the same color, the frequency matched and the music continued to play wirelessly.

I expected to have difficulties sending tunes from my laptop’s hard drive to my headset. But this configuration also worked flawlessly. The i2i Stream cable plugged into the computer’s earphone socket, and the wireless device sent the music as effortlessly as it did from the MP3 player.

Cost Factor

The sound quality from the i2i Stream was not noticeably different than the sound directly from the MP3 player. Since the earphones where the same, the simple conclusion is that the wireless transmission did not degrade the musical enjoyment.

The only drawback is the price. Selling for US$119.95, the dual i2i Stream is a bit pricey.

But if you want the convenience of short-range wireless broadcasting, the simple design and solid performance make the Aerielle-enabled Digital Music Broadcaster an ideal solution.

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