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Today’s Show:

Dayton Audio XRA25 Wireless Rear Channel Amplifier

Since the beginning of this podcast we have been on the lookout for a product that will wirelessly transmit audio from your receiver to the surround speakers. To date there have been a few that sort of got the job done. To be fair, a lot depends on where your live. In areas that do not have a lot of interference you have a much better chance of success with most products. In areas where home are right on top of each other, or have a lot of wireless devices you may be better off running cable.

About six months ago I (Ara) went through the process of finding a product that would get me a 5.1 system in my master bedroom via wireless surround speakers. I tried three products all of which failed miserably. Again, it may have been because the environment has a lot of interference but the bottom line was no joy on the wireless solution. I had resolved myself to running cable to my speakers. Because of the layout of my bedroom I would need about 100 feet of speaker wire and speaker hiding channels (Wiremold C110 White Cordmate Kit) to run cables along the baseboards. The actual surround speakers are only about 15 feet away from the receiver but require a path along the baseboard that pretty much run the entire perimeter of the bedroom. Since I had to move all the furniture to snake the cable I had put off the project instead enjoying a 3.1 system. Then I found the Dayton Audio XRA25 Wireless Amplifier (Buy Now $99) and decided to give it one more shot.

Features:

  • Subwoofer channel for placement of a powered subwoofer at the rear of the room
  • 25 watts per channel output power at 4 ohms, 12.5 watts at 8 ohms
  • 2.4 GHz transmission band with 34 transmitting channels
  • Transmitting range up to 100 ft.
  • Adjustable output level for achieving proper volume balance

Setup:

Connect the transmitter to the receiver surround speaker outputs with either RCA or speaker cable. The receiver we used did not have pre-outs so we used speaker wire. On the receiver side you connect the speakers via speaker wire. If you made the subwoofer connection then you connect the subwoofer out to the subwoofer via RCA cable. Power on both units and you are good to go! To pair the devices you simultaneously press and hold the “M” button on both the receiver and transmitter. The LED on the front of the units will blink green and blue. When they are both blue they have found an open frequency on the 2.4 GHz spectrum.

Performance:

Or lack or performance as it were. The issues I had started right out of the gate. I could not get the units to sync. The receiver would show a solid blue LED but the transmitter never would. The manual says to make sure there is a signal so I put a test tone on the surround channels. I even disconnected the speaker cable running from the AVR to the wireless transmitter and connected directly into a speaker to make sure there was a tone.

Next, thinking that there could be interference, I turned off my wifi and cordless phone and tried again. Still nothing! The next morning I called customer support and verified that I did everything as I should. In the end I decided to send the unit back.

Apartment dwellers would be ideal candidates for a product like this, but that environment is even noisier than living in a tract home. I have one last hope but its expensive. I am going to use a couple of devices from Audioengine and see if I can get this to work.

The system will consist of an Audioengine W3 Wireless Audio Adapter (Buy Now $149) which is primarily for sending music from your PC to some powered speakers but can definitely work for this application. On the speaker side I will use the Audioengine N22 desktop amplifier (Buy Now $199) to bring the speakers to life. The N22 has a USB port so it can power the receiver side of the W3 without need of a power adapter. Like I said its on the expensive side but I know it will work because we reviewed the W3 with great success a couple of years ago.

Download Episode #674


Posted by The HT Guys, February 13, 2015 12:57 AM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.