Wireless Speaker Transmitters

Ever get a tune in your head and wish you could hear the real thing? Now wireless technology delivers music from your Mac to just about anywhere in your house. You can listen to MP3s off your computer through your stereo in the living room, without running a Y-cable from your Mac to your stereo through the walls.

Akoo's Kima KS-110 Wireless Audio System and RF-Link's Cam Pro work much like cordless telephones: a transmitter attached to your Mac's headphone jack sends audio to a receiver connected to your stereo's RCA input jack. The transmitter and receiver are about the same size as average computer speakers. Both the Cam Pro and the KS-110 have small power adapters; the KS-110 can run on four AAA batteries as well. The newer Mac G4s that lack an audio-out port and support only USB speakers are out of luck unless the speakers themselves have a headphone jack.

The Kima KS-110 Wireless Audio System comes with cables to attach the transmitter to your Mac and the receiver to your stereo. A pass-through jack to computer speakers is also included, allowing music to be played simultaneously through your Mac and stereo system speakers. Because the Cam Pro is designed primarily to transmit audio and video from a camcorder to a television, only audio-video cables for connecting to these devices are included. A Y-cable must be purchased separately to connect the Cam Pro's RCA jacks to a Mac's headphone jack; the audio-video cable connects the receiver to a stereo (the yellow video cable remains unplugged when setting the Cam Pro up for audio-only use).

In our testing, both devices performed well, though sound quality fell significantly when distance and the number of barriers increased between the transmitter and receiver. The KS-110 claims to transmit over a 1,000-foot radius; the Cam Pro claims to transmit over a distance of 300 feet. During our testing, transmission was good to about 150 feet for the KS-110 and a bit less for the Cam Pro, but transmission distance depends on a number of variables: the type of walls you have, the number of floors in your house, and so on. The Cam Pro dropped off volume over distance, and despite its directional antennae and 2.4GHz, it didn't match up to the 900MHz KS-110, which provided better quality and higher volumes over longer distances. Though we didn't experience significant problems, both the KS-110 and the Cam Pro are susceptible to interference from other devices in the 900MHz and 2.4GHz bands.

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