For those without spare USB port, the Eos Portable Stereo lets you con (March 14th, 2011)
The Eos Portable Stereo lets you connect up to 3 speakers easily, not including the base unit. Wireless works through walls, floors, and ceiling and delivers good sound across a wide area. The base unit fits any iPhone or docking iPod, include legacy models.
Product Manufacturer: IntelliTouch
Price: $249.95 US Base Unit
- Wireless works across long distances.
- No degradation of sound quality in remote units further away.
- Good reception in all rooms.
- Each speaker has its own volume.
- Good bass reproduction.
- Instructions unclear, not well organized.
- Wireless speaker power adapter difficult to remove.
- Wireless speaker power cord short.
- No power off button on base transmitter unit.
US-based IntelliTouch specializes in wireless sound solutions. None of them require software or Wi-Fi; Eos uses it own GigaWave wireless technology. MacNN decided to test the one that does not make use of our already overburdened USB ports, and test the model with a built-in iPod and iPhone dock.
The compact Eos Portable Stereo Wireless Speaker/Receiver lets you add high fidelity 2.1 stereo audio listening throughout your abode, without the mess of running wires everywhere. It incorporates an iPod or iPhone dock and an auxiliary input port so that you can listen to music stored on your computer, Apple TV, or another MP3 player.
DesignThe base system contains one combination transmitter and speaker unit and one remote wireless speaker. The transmitter includes a recessed dock and space, which has ample room for any iPod or iPhone.
Each base station supports up to 4 wireless remote speakers that can be placed throughout your living space or an office. You can add up to three additional remote wireless speakers. Multiple systems can co-reside in the same location.
The base station transmitter and wireless remote speakers contain two small full range drivers and a subwoofer. In the base station, which sits on half-inch tall rubber feet, the subwoofer output is ported out through the bottom of the unit. In the wireless remote speaker enclosure, the sound is ported out the back. Eos has incorporated "SRS WOW" into its speakers. SRS (Sound Retrieval System) is a 3D audio processing technology with origins in the 1980s. In theory, it adds depth and richness to two speaker systems. A button on the top of each speaker controls volume in each room.
The base station broadcasts to the remote wireless speakers using digital spread spectrum technology. It operates in and around the 2.4 MHz range. Although this is the same frequency as microwaves and 802.11b/g devices, it hops around various sub-frequencies avoiding interference. EOS claims a range of 150 feet inside a structure and 300 feet outside. The speakers include blue LEDs that glow to show when they're liked with the base station.
In The BoxThe Eos Core System bundle includes the base transmitter unit, its power adapter, a remote wireless speaker with attached power supply, and an IR Remote Control. Also included are Universal Docking Adapters for legacy iPod models, a stereo mini-cable, an Owner's Manual and a Quick Start Guide. You can use newer iPods and iPhones with Apple's dock adapters, or just plug the devices in directly.
SetupThe installation of the core transmitter/docking station is straightforward. Plug in the core base station unit and power adapter, install the appropriate dock adapter for your iPod model and you're done. IntelliTouch provides 5 dock inserts for legacy iPods, or you can use the one that comes with your newer model iPhone or iPod. If you want to connect your computer or another MP3 player, you can use the rear auxiliary port with the provided stereo mini cable. The base unit is ready to rock and roll.
The base station powers up immediately - there is no power button for this core unit itself. There is a power button on the base unit, but that is to turn on or off the wireless broadcast to the remote speakers.
Setting up the wireless speaker is a bit more daunting. The securely locked power adapter rests in the back of the wireless unit. In order to free it, you must open up a small swivel panel below the power adapter, push the power adapter down with great force, then pull it back and then out. This is not intuitive. You should be prepared to spend a few minutes to figure this out. If you are not careful, you may crack the panel hinges. While IntelliTouch addresses this in the owner's manual, it doesn't appear until after the manual shows you how to plug in and operate the remote speaker.
Storing the power adapter with the wireless speaker is a good idea, but making it so hard to get out is not. One possible reason could be that the designers thought it helpful to give you the choice to hang the speaker directly on a wall outlet. Home users may not want to use this option, especially because outlets tend to be hidden behind furniture or in other inaccessible locations, but this is a good solution for a small office.
The 32-inch length of the remote wireless speaker power adapter can present problems if you want to put the speaker on a bookshelf, table, or desktop. The power cord is not long enough to stretch across a room, if needed. You can place the wireless speaker any room in the house. Once turned on, it syncs automatically with the base unit and can fill the room with music. You can use up to 4 remote units with the base unit.
OperationThe base station of the Eos Portable Stereo Wireless Speaker/Receiver is easy to control. If you have trouble linking up the remote speakers, there is a Range Extender (Range EX) switch on the back of the transmitter. A button on the front panel allows you to choose between your iPod or computer/auxiliary input. You control volume and mute from either the front panel or the provided remote, plus each speaker has a volume knob. The remote also controls your iPod, and moves backwards and forward in your play lists and pauses. The excellent range of the remote is effective at distances of 25 feet, greater than the length of most rooms. The angle of sensitivity is a bit disappointing - you can only be at an angle of about 20 degrees on either side of perpendicular before the base station can't communicate with the remote.
One annoying, but minor problem is that the auxiliary jack is a bit temperamental. I found I had to play with the plug in the stereo mini-cable, i.e. jiggle it a little. Otherwise you either experience crosstalk or no input signal.
Sound QualityEOS is does not list the wireless speakers' audio response range. In testing it against specific audio tones I found the response to be 80Hz to 20 kHz, in line with that of an adult individual, and that range was confirmed with the developer of the Eos system.
Sound Quality - Qualitative PerformanceWhile, evaluation of audio quality is highly subjective, this system delivers good listening sound. I tested the Eos Portable Stereo Wireless Speaker/Receiver across a full range of music - classical, heavy metal, classic rock and modern pop. In general, bass response is excellent, mid-range is good, and treble seemed uneven. Music response varied with the different bands or orchestras. For example, the Beach Boys and Bee Gees vocals lacked resonance in the higher octaves, but Black Sabbath, a personal favorite of mine, sounds good across the whole range. Ilene also tested the speakers with a variety of music, and notes that this is not a system for those who like loud, booming bass. She thinks it reproduces sound best with music ripped at higher bit rates, so a heavily compressed MP3 file may lack sound depth, but AAC, Apple Lossless, and AIFF files sound fine. It delivers a warm sound without altering the original sound balance across the ranges, like many bass-enhanced systems.
Volume and RangeAlthough Eos doesn't provide specific information on output, the core and remote wireless units each filled a 12' x 25' room with more than enough sound volume to satisfy most listeners, without distortion. The speakers are not meant to deliver floor pounding bass, but the two 1" tweeters and 3" woofer built in to each unit, delivers ample sound.
The wireless transmission works well. I could not verify the claim of 150-foot range, but the system works well at a distance of 50 feet between two floors. It also transmits well through walls, floors, and ceilings.
ConclusionIntelliTouch has accomplished their goal to provide an affordable way to enjoy music without wires, throughout your house or office. You can stream music from your iPod, computer, or other device to up to 5 rooms. It does so with good, but not exceptional, sound quality. At the same time, if you factor in the cost and inconvenience of wiring your whole house, the Eos iPod Docking Station Bundle does offer you a solid value worth considering. The $249.95 base unit ships with the wireless adapter and one speaker. You can add up to 3 more wireless speakers for $129.95 each or take advantage of bundle pricing.
Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor