i2i Stream


TestFreaks Data












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iPod and other types of music docks are popular products, but the ones that I think are the best are the wireless ones, the kind that allow you to plug in your iPod, Zune or whatever into the dock and send you music elsewhere. One problem with these docks is that they’re usually big and not very portable and a lot of them are device specific, so you’re stuck with using them with only one of your devices no matter how many others you have.

A company called Aerielle has come up with a very useful product called the i2i Stream. The device allows you to stream virtually any audio source you have, as long as it has a 3.5mm jack on it, then again you can just get an adapter and you can stream everything really. You must have two of the i2i devices for it too work, one to send and one to receive, but you can add other i2i devices to the setup to stream to many destinations from only one source. The range  on these is decent, they get the rated 30 feet with no problem and they’re very easy to use.


First up check out the unboxing video, and I was wrong in it, upon closer inspection all of the cables are included as in the video I mention that a couple cables are missing.. oops

Specifications:

i2i Stream

i2i Stream -Two Pack

Wireless HD Audio 2 Everything

Introducing the new i2i Stream. Now you can stream HD-quality audio wirelessly. Create wireless headphones and listen to your favorite movie wirelessly. Make your computer a wireless jukebox by streaming to your home stereo. Your iPod/MP3 player becomes your wireless music remote control when broadcasting to your home entertainment system. However you enjoy your movies or music, the i2i Stream has your combination. The possibilities are endless.

HD-quality audio
Amazing quality that puts Bluetooth to shame.

Universally compatible
Works with any device with an audio source.

Ultra-compact
Sleek, compact size; designed to go wherever you go.

Wireless
No messy wires. Wireless range is 30+ feet.

7 Channels
Broadcast from 7 colored channels.

Price: $119.95

FREE SPEAKERS!
For a limited time, get a free pair of portable speakers with purchase. Offer expires 12/31/08.

Specs:

# 2.4 GHz Wireless Transceiver
# HD Quality Audio (Uncompressed)
# Wireless Range: 30+ Feet
# Rechargeable Battery (Charge via USB Cable)
# Battery Life: 5-7 Hours
# Frequency Response: 10Hz-24kHz
# Bit Rate: 48KHz / 16-bit Stereo
# Audio Latency: < 20ms
# SNR: > 75dB
# THD: 0.007%
# Stereo Separation: > 75dB

Charging time is a bit long, about 6 hours, during charging the LED will light up and then turn off when it’s finished

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There are three main buttons on the front of the i2i, the top is send or broadcast, the bottom is receive and the middle is the channel button. The channel button will change colors depending on the channel you are on, there are seven colors to correspond to the seven channels.

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There’s also a button on the side that doubles as power when you push it in and volume when you slide or jog it back and forth.

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To use them to stream audio from one place to another you simply plug your audio source into the bottom of one of the i2i units and then the destination into the top headphone jack of the other i2i unit.  You can stream to anything that has a 3.5mm audio jack, or you can use an RCA to 3.5mm adapter if need be.

One of the great functions of the i2i is the ability to essentially make a set of wired headphones wireless, this is what I did with my Zune and Atrio M5 earphones for the testing:

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To test the range I left the first i2i hooked to my Zune sitting in my living room on the first floor of my house, then I proceeded to walk around the house, and eventually went to the third floor, or the attic. I had a perfect single everywhere I went in the house, except when I got to the attic, then it started skipping or losing the signal, and that was only when I went into one of the rooms near the back of the house, my living room is in the front of the house, so I would say I got the 30+ feet of range that they claim it has, and that was going through walls etc. My Wi-Fi didn’t seem to interfere with it at all either.

The sound quality is very good, except when you get out of range, then that’s expected. Using the i2i with my Zune and Atrio M5 earphones, it sounded very good overall, the sound quality you’ll get greatly depends on the earphones you’re using, but in general the quality was very good, and there were no drop outs unless I got out of range.

They’re very easy to use, you just push the send or broadcast button on the i2i unit that is hooked up to the audio source, then you just push the receive button on the second i2i unit and you’re ready to go wireless. If you’ve got another i2i unit you can also broadcast to that one as well, and you can virtually broadcast to an unlimited number of other i2i units, but there are limitations.

I grabbed this from the FAQ on the i2i site about the number of receivers/transmitters:

How many i2i’s can be within range of each other?

An unlimited number of i2i streams can receive within 30-100 feet of each other. However, only 5 transmitters may operate within 30-100 feet of each other, and only if they are transmitting on different channels. If the units are near a WI-FI hotspot or other strong wireless network(s), it is possible that only 4 or 3 transmitters can simultaneously operate within the 30-100 feet.


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Conclusion:
The i2i Stream is a great little gadget, it’s basically a universal dock or stream device for your audio player, and any other audio source. The i2i allows you to stream music from pretty much any source to a distance of over 30 feet, it’s also very easy to use.

The fact that you can connect several i2i Stream units together is a rather cool feature, you could feasibly have you own little private radio station with your friends, or even large crowds of people who also have the i2i units.

Pros:
Long range
Works with most any device for streaming audio
Easy to use

Cons:
Long charging time
A bit expensive

Grades:  
Overall score-9-10
Design score-9-10
Performance score-9-10
  • Pingback: i2i shares music wirelessly - in theory ends back seat music player squabbles | Gear Diary()

  • Paul Hurt

    Hmm. So, I bought a few of these hoping to use them in a professional situation, to free musicians from headphone cables. For casual listening they’re fine. But for any kind of critical listening they’re not really up to the job. Why? Because there’s clearly some kind of limiter/AGC circuit in the transmitter that hammers all the dynamics of your music. It basically attempts to level out the input signal, so that whatever level you send to the transmitter, it boosts it if it’s too low, or reduces it if it’s too high. This introduces pumping – kick drums lose their impact and cause the rest of the track to dip in volume on each beat.

    You can’t really get around the problem by reducing the output of the device that’s feeding the transmitter unfortunately – the AGC simply cranks the volume up and cancels out your efforts to reduce the level (although a low-level input produces better results that overdriving the transmitter).

    It would have been great if there was the option to disable the AGC. Just provide a simple LED to indicate when the input level is too high (hey, I don’t know, maybe flash the transmit LED? No redesign required). You could then optimise the sound quality by adjusting the output of the transmitting device until the LED didn’t quite flash. If Arielle gave us that feature I suspect the sound quality of the i2i would be dramatically better. Pro audio people would take up this device in droves… because apart from the AGC problems, it works really well. 16-bit 48kHz uncompressed is perfectly capable of results that sound almost indistinguishable from a wired connection. That’s not the case right now. The “limiting factor”, if you like, is the limiter! Shame.

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