If you previously read our review on the Aperion Intimus 4T Hybrid SD surround sound system, then you’ll know Aperion Audio is a small company dedicated to creating quality products, at affordable prices, and backed by a customer service team that’s second to none. Understanding though that how people listen and consume music is quickly changing thanks to advances in digital technology, they have now released a new Home Audio Link System, affectionately known as HAL.
Designed to stream music from any music source to your main home stereo, we had the chance to test drive the system ahead of its consumer release, and walked away thoroughly impressed. Read on for our full review of the system, and check out the contest detail post to find out how you can win one of your very own, courtesy of Aperion Audio and Gear Patrol.
“Overall, for the price, this small system offers a flexibility found in no other home audio streaming products our gear head minds can think of. Throw in free shipping, a one year warranty, and the ability to purchase separate additional receiver units and the Aperion Home Audio Link is unquestionably a great product for those in search of a simple solution to a wire free life.”
The system ships with two wireless USB dongles clearly labeled “Send” and “Receive”. Along with the actual transmitters, two USB power adapters were also thrown in for connecting the audio link dongles to a power outlet should the need arise, as well as a set of mini plug to RCA cables and a dual ended mini-plug cable. Note that it’s not necessary to use all of the included wires to operate the system, but we did appreciate Aperion’s nice touch of providing everything for every possible setup just in case.
Speaking of setup, you’ll be hard pressed to find something less straight forward to “install”. Before we get into that though, we should make it clear that the Home Audio Link system is designed to be flexible and is capable of transmitting audio in a variety of scenarios plainly stated below.
- 1. Sending Music from Your Computer to an Audio Receiver
- 2. Streaming from a Portable Media Player or Phone to Another Audio Playback Source
- 3. Wirelessly Connecting Your Home Theater Subwoofer to the Rest of Your Home Audio Setup
Taking on the most obvious need first, we initially connected the HAL to transmit music from a MacBook Pro over to our lab home theater receiver for playback. To do that, we simply attached the HAL’s send unit via USB to the MacBook, and then quickly adjusted our computer’s system preferences to output audio via the HAL. If you have a P.C. though, that extra step is unnecessary.
Next we connected the included USB plug adapter to power the “receiving” HAL dongle from a wall outlet near our receiver. Then we attached the mini plug to the HAL unit and connected the RCA stereo cable to our home theater receiver. All that was left at that point was to press the link button on both the send and receiving devices until both of their integrated LED blue lights stopped blinking and we were done.
Incredibly the whole process took less than 5 minutes and after playing a few MP3 tunes and telling Eric he could not sample Lady GaGa, we couldn’t have been happier with the results. Music sounded clear with no audible pops or obvious quality degradation markers. Not that this is anything particularly ground breaking for MP3 streaming, but it is something to note for those of you curious about the 2.4 GHz bands transmission performance.
What is worth noting is that the streaming quality remained top notch even as we played an uncompressed CD through iTunes, making it clear that Aperion hasn’t forgotten the demands of their audiophile core audience. Similar results were also obtained streaming music from our iPhone to the same home theater system. However admittedly of the HAL’s uses we felt this made the least amount of sense from a practical application standpoint, considering most could probably get the same result just connecting their computer instead.
Getting our Bravus 8D sub to function wirelessly though was a boon of using the HAL system we weren’t even aware was possible until we opened the box. To try this functionality out, first we moved the sub to the far opposite corner of the room, near an outlet where we could connect the “receive” HAL unit’s USB power plug adapter into the wall. Next the stereo mini cable was used to connect to the sub’s input via RCA. If we were truly diligent, we could have then easily secured the HAL box to our sub with the included Velcro strips, but opted not to for the sake of time.
On the receiver side, the HAL “send” unit was then attached to the subwoofer-out line using one half of the RCA cables provided. Syncing the two devices went just as it had previously and again we were up and running with wireless bass in around the same 5 minute time period.
Qualitywise, all but the pickiest of audiophiles should be quite satisfied with the bass response provided through the wireless connection. The intense plasma blasts of District 9’s final show down did not lack for gravitas, nor was there obvious delay or lag apparent from the absence of a hard connection. In truth this feature alone makes the HAL a very attractive product to those who can’t afford to squeeze a sub in near proximity to the rest of their home audio gear. According to the documentation, the system can stream from up to 100ft away, and Aperion reps also hinted that a new line of subs would soon be released which included USB ports, making the HAL even easier to setup with one less wire.
Overall, for the price, this small system offers a flexibility found in no other home audio streaming products our gear head minds can think of. Throw in free shipping, a one year warranty, and the ability to purchase separate additional receiver units and the Aperion Home Audio Link is unquestionably a great product for those in search of a simple solution to a wire free life.