Isn't it time you got started with Computer Audio?
With a W3 you can start listening to digital files with your headphones or send music from your computer to your powered speakers for $149.
The greatest thing about computer audio is enormous bang for the buck. Plug in a couple components, turn it all on, doodle a couple settings, and enjoy fabulous Hi-Fi music by playing high resolution files -- without physical media or any players. There is no more cost-effective way to fast-track into superb Hi-Fi sound. Connect a DAC (digital to analog converter) and a set of excellent-sounding powered speakers to your computer with USB 2.0 or 3.0 and you get pure instant gratification.
A DAC is needed to bridge between your computer (which has the high quality digital file output) and an amplifier which is an analog device that drives a set of speakers.
If you're on a budget, all it takes to get started in computer audio is the new Audioengine D3 24-bit Portable USB DAC ($189 from iHi-Fi) and a set of high quality headphones. The D3 includes a powerful, built-in headphone amplifier yet it's no larger than USB "thumb drives." Plug it in, set your computer to use the D3 instead of lower quality built-in sound circuitry, and rock out with superb sound in privacy. Instructions are included. This is all you need to stream HD music from the web or play high definition files stored on your computer, on SD memory cards, on a network drive, or wherever you keep them.
The D3 DAC can also drive powered speakers or an amplifier plus passive speakers. So when you're not using headphones you can listen throughout the room with either kind.
To listen to your computer throughout a room, connect USB directly to a set of Audioengine's new A2+ Powered Speakers ($249 from iHi-Fi,) which have an excellent quality 24-bit DAC and a monolithic stereo power amplifier built in. Even so, they are small and light enough to qualify as portable speakers. It's instant gratification and the perfect gateway to a whole world of fabulous music. The A2+ Powered Speakers are considered the best-sounding "computer speakers" ever made and they also have enough power to drive a good-sized room.
From there, add upgrades and enhancements to take your audio pleasure to ever-ascending heights of musical enjoyment. You can still listen to all the music you have already collected with the new gear because connectivity is excellent and everything you need is included.
If computer music sounds too "digital" for you, iHi-Fi offers the Bravo Audio Ocean Headphone Amplifier / Tube Buffer for $129. The 12AU7 vacuum tube will buffer, warm, and sweeten the sound. Then any listener would be hard-pressed to tell it comes from a digital source. When you listen with headphones, plug in to the Ocean directly. Or with powered speakers, plug them to the Ocean directly. If your speakers are passive, plug the Ocean's output into your amplifier or preamp to drive the speakers.
Either the A2+ Speakers' built-in DAC or the D3 Portable DAC work out fine on a desk beside your computer where you can use a short USB cable to connect. However, these speakers have plenty of range. If you want to get back farther from the speakers and use your computer away from the desk, there are good ways to connect without running a USB cable to the speakers. USB cable is limited to 16 feet and a long one may not sound very good. You need a wireless link.
Audioengine offers two that have no loss in fidelity. The W3 16-bit Wireless Audio Adapter ($149 from iHi-Fi) accepts USB digital input into the Sender's DAC. It enables your powered speakers to be located on one side of the room (say, flanking a monitor on your desk) while you laze in bed or relax in an easy chair with your laptop. If you prefer to hear the A2+ Speakers wirelessly with 24-bit music quality, Audioengine's 24-bit Wireless D2 DAC ($499 from iHi-Fi) is a perfect choice and it allows even higher resolution files, up to 24-bit/192 Khz.
Either the W3 or the D2 will resolve your distance issue without running wires across the room. These devices set up their own Wi-Fi-ish wireless peer networks without using a Wi-Fi router. So they don't depend on any Wi-Fi network to operate. That means the W3 and D2 are far better choices for wireless speakers than Bluetooth, which was designed for voice on phones, and is lossy and compressed, sacrificing music quality to achieve smaller file sizes. The W3 and D2 make any powered speakers wireless. Or they liberate your computer from needing to be near your audio system without running wires.
When you have learned how great computer audio can sound and you're ready to graduate to even better quality music, the Audioengine A5+ Powered Speakers (from $399 at iHi-Fi.com) is the preferred choice for whole-room audio. Audioengine's A5+ fills the room with even stronger bass, greater articulation, better soundstage, and more power -- enough to drive even a larger room without distortion.
Audioengine speakers are famous for excellent bass response. However, studio-monitor speaker designs don't deliver sound below about 40 to 50 Hz. When you're ready to fill in the lower bass range, The Audioengine S8 Powered Subwoofer ($349 from iHi-Fi) is ready to plug and play. It matches with the other components mentioned and delivers strong, tight bass down to about 27Hz. With 3 user controls to shape it's behavior, it nestles right into an existing audio setup with enough power to shake your house. It even has an LFE input for your A/V setup.
Would you like to expand your sound system into other areas of your home or office? You can easily add several audio zones using either the wireless 16-bit W3s, or 24-bit D2s, or a mix of both. Select up to 2 senders with up to 3 receivers on each, for a total of 6 audio zones per wireless system. These devices outdistance Bluetooth, which only covers a few feet. The W3 and D2 transmit music very reliably, through walls and floors, at distances up to 100 feet, without gaps, noise, or dropouts. They provide wireless that really works.
Please be aware all gear offered on iHi-Fi.com provides industry-standard connectivity. It all plays well together and also connects to any audio gear that uses either RCA or 3.5 mm Mini-jack interconnects. That means you can connect a computer and DAC directly to your existing stereo or to an A/V processor's inputs.
For example, you can connect computer audio to a Bose Wave Radio or a Logitech Boom, a multichannel A/V system, or to any system with standard connections. Incidentally, the W3 is the Swiss Army Knife of wireless DACs because it will connect any music source with a standard output (Line Out) to anything that plays music and has a standard input.
You can get a Line Out connector for an iPhone or iPod and it becomes wireless to powered speakers with a W3. If you get Bluetooth Speakers and they disappoint you, if they have a Line In capability, you can recover by connecting them using an iHi-Fi wireless DACs.
You can take advantage of the way iHi-Fi's Audioengine powered speakers add more power and higher fidelity to any music source. Since any device that has standard audio Line Out connections can drive them, you don't have to abandon your beloved vinyl LP, SACD, or CD collections. CD players and turntables will connect to any Audioengine speakers or the Bravo Audio Ocean.
You can integrate computer audio into an existing audio system as it if were any media player. The iHi-Fi powered speakers all have dual inputs which means you can connect an existing preamp or player and a DAC at the same time. Both inputs are active so whatever you play will be heard.
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Free Expert Consultation -- Contact iHi-Fi directly by email to receive free expert consultation on how to achieve the computer audio system you want. Shopping iHi-Fi.com is like visiting a high-end audio store, only better. You don't have to leave the comfort of your home to check things out. You can audition anything iHi-Fi offers in your home. With all these advantages --
- Free shipping in the lower 48 States
- No Sales Tax Collected
- Manufacturers' Warranties
- 30-day audition in-home
- Money-back satisfaction guarantee
What's not to like? There's even a lot of free stuff on the iHi-Fi.com web site --
- Free intro and how-to computer audio guides
- Free high resolution music download links
- Free individualized expert consultations
- Expert content on the iHi-Fi blog
So what are you waiting for? A discount? OK -- during the Holidays there's even a discount on selected items.