Eos Wireless speaker system for iPods or other devices (June 17th, 2009)
Product Manufacturer: IntelliTouch
- Simple setup
- Attractive design
- Long range
- Relatively inexpensive
- Detachable AC adapters
- Lacks equalizer adjustment
- Cannot turn of SRS Wow
- Audio quality degrades at higher volumes
The Eos Wireless speaker system features a central base station with an iPod dock and auxiliary input for other devices. Using 2.4GHz wireless technology, the base station transmits the audio to any of the remote speakers. The company claims a range of 150 feet, even through typical building structures, with obstruction-free range up to 300 feet. Users can control the wireless connection, extra signal amplification and volume from the base station, while the satellite speakers offer a knob for power and volume.
The base station provides two neodymium tweeters and a single down-firing ported subwoofer. A variety of dock connectors are supplied for a tight fit with different iPods, while the included auxiliary cable connects to the rear of the device. Blue LEDs indicate the established connections to each satellite speaker and the status of the base transmitter. The controls are simple and effective, although the iPod interface or included infrared remote must be used to pause playback or navigate between tracks.
The company claims setting up the system is easy and straightforward, which turned out to be true. Each satellite speaker is instantly recognized after turning the power on. If neighbors happen to have an Eos system, a 'link' function provides an easy remedy for interference. The satellite speakers are turned off before pressing the link button, and then each speaker is turned back on to pair with the base station.
While testing four satellite speakers and the base station, the audio did not include any interference or static. Each speaker was moved around each room in a home and outdoors without problems, although putting the base station outdoors on the lower level and communicating with a speaker on the opposite corner caused occasional interruptions to the audio feed. Turning on the Range Extender switch quickly fixed the issue, although the extra amplification was unnecessary while the base station was kept indoors.
Each satellite speaker measures approximately six inches wide by nine inches tall, with a depth of four inches. The AC adapter locks into the back, enabling the speaker to be held directly into an outlet. Leaving the AC adapter in the device provides an attractive placement option, rather running a cord from the outlet to the speaker, while rubber tabs protect the wall from marring by vibrating plastic. If the outlets are placed behind furniture, or upside-down in the case of the test home, the adapter and cord are easily removed from the housing.
The Eos system is claimed to offer CD-quality sound, which appeared to be true across the typical range. When a speaker was placed out of the effective range, the audio feed is interrupted instead of the quality degrading. While this sounds like it could be frustrating, it provides a clear way to check the speaker placement. Considering the nature of the wireless technology, many of the connection issues can be solved by simply moving the speaker a few feet or to a different side of the room.
If the speakers are too close to the base station, it is possible to hear a slight delay in the audio. The delay is more noticeable when the Range Extender is turned on. Any of the perceived delay is easily eliminated by repositioning the speakers.
Although signal quality is top notch, the speakers do not provide deep bass at high volumes. The volume levels are best kept at low to moderate levels, as the quality clearly degrades at higher volumes. The effects are more noticeable when playing bass-heavy music such as electronic tracks. The volume can be raised higher when playing lighter music such as acoustic, blues or classical. Although the tweeters are placed side-by-side on the remote speakers, SRS Wow technology helps to replicate a wider stereo image. The SRS processing cannot be turned off, however.
The system includes a remote control, although it is only effective in the same room as the base station due to infrared. A RF remote would be nice, but the costs would be higher and the system is designed to be affordable. iPod touch or iPhone owners can download Apple's Remote app, which can work from around the house to control iTunes or Apple TV playback on devices connected through the auxiliary input.
Overall, the Eos system is perfect for users looking for a relatively inexpensive way to play audio throughout a home or outside on a deck or patio, without custom installations or complex configuration processes. Although the volume is limited, the satellite speakers are still great for entertaining guests without drowning conversations. Stepping up to a larger system, either wired or wireless, likely would bring the price well beyond the $250 retail price for the Eos base station and a single satellite speaker. Additional speakers carry retail prices of $130 each, while customers can purchase the systems in white or black colors to match interior color schemes.