AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Stereo Streaming Adapter

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AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter

AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter - Box
Photo of the AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter Box. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Things sure have changed in home audio the past couple of years. The increasing emphasis on the playing of digital-based music files and internet streaming has put older stereo and home theater receivers at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing all of the abundant content that is now available without the need for physical disc playback via connected disc or tape player.

However, if you have a compatible iOS or Android smartphone, tablet, or networked PC that runs Windows 7 or higher or MAX OS X or higher, you can control, access, and stream music content stored on your phone, your PC/MAC, or streamed from the internet and send it through the AWOX StriimLINK (pronounced "Stream-Link") WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter for enjoyment on your stereo or home theater system.

For all the details, as well as my perspective, on the setup and use of the StriimLINK, proceed through the next several pages....

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AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter - Package Contents

AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter - Package Contents
Photo of AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter Package Contents. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown on this page is a look at everything that comes with the AWOX StriimLINK package.

Starting on the left side is a short User Guide, analog stereo mini-plug adapter, and a mini-plug to RCA adapter.

In the center is the AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter and a CD-ROM with the full user's guide (plus some additional software).

On the right side is an international electrical safety brochure, along with a provided external power supply, as well as slip-on U.S. and international power plugs.

The features of the AWOX StriimLINK module include:

1. Plugs into any stereo or home theater receiver via either 3.5mm/RCA jack/cable (included) or digital optical cable (purchased separately.

2. Connects to a home network router via either Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

3. The StriimLINK can be controlled by compatible iOS or Android Smartphone (I used an HTC One m8 provided by Sprint), or by a PC (Windows 7 or above) or MAC (OS X and above) - free control software downloads.

4. StriimLINK module hardware:

Main Chip: Ralink/Mediatek RT3050
RAM: 32 MB
FLASH Memory: 32MB
DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter): Wolfson micro WM8711

5. DLNA 1.5 Certified: DMR and DMS functionality.

6. Internet radio Support: vTuner

7. Music Streaming-on-demand Support: Deezer

8. Audio Codec Support:

MP3 - Up to 48kHz, CBR & VBR
AAC - Up to 48kHz, 8-320 kbps
WMA - Up to 48 kHz, CBR & VBR
2-Channel LPCM - Up to 48 kHz, up to 1.42 Mb/s
WAV - Up to 48 kHz, up to 1.42 Mb/s

9. 5V/2A DC power supply - 100-240v compatible.

10. Dimensions (L,W,H) 4.9 x 3.7 x 1 inches.

11. Weight: 5.3 ounces.

For a closer look at the connections and onboard controls of the StriimLINK module, proceed to the next photo...

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AWOX StriimLINK - Front, Rear, and Side Views

AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter - Front, Rear, and Side Views
Photo of AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter Front, Rear, and Side Views. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown above is a close-up look at the controls and connections featured on the StriimLINK module, presented in a 4-way composite view.

On top is a photo front of the unit - which has a rounded curve with the official AWOX StriimLINK logo emblazoned on the top.

Moving down to the next photo is a look at the rear of the module. Starting on the left is the receptacle for the 4 volt DC adapter. Just to the right of the power adapter receptacle is a USB 2.0 port (for access music stored on USB flash drives or other compatible USB storage devices), a Digital Optical audio output, and an Ethernet (LAN) Port (for connecting the module to your home network router). It is also important to note that module also incorporates built-in Wifi (WLAN) if you prefer that connection option to your network.

The bottom left photo shows one of the side panels, which feature a WPS set button to aid in network connection when using the WLAN option, and the Power (Lights Red/Blue), LAN (Lights Red) and WLAN (Lights Red) LED indicators. Also, to right of the WLAN LED indicator are vertical ventilation holes.

The bottom right photo shows the other side of the module, starting with the vertical ventilation holes, the L/R (analog stereo) connection jack, Volume - and + controls, the Mute button, and a system Reset button.

For a look at two ways, you can connect the StriimLINK module to your audio system, proceed to the next photo....

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AWOX StriimLINK Home Stereo Streaming Adapter - Connection Examples

AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter - Connection Examples
Photo of AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter Connection Options. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown on this page are two ways you can connect the audio output from the module to your stereo or home theater receiver. In both illustrations, the power adapter and Ethernet cables are connected - but the difference is that in the top photo the analog audio cable is connected and on the bottom, the digital optical connection is being used.

Either connection option will work fine, depending on what connections you have available on your stereo or home theater receiver. Most stereo receivers do not have a digital optical connection, so in that case, you would use the analog audio output option.

However, if you have a home theater receiver, you most likely have an available digital optical audio input option, so, in that case, you have the option of using the digital optical connection from the StriimLINK module to your home theater receiver.

When using the digital connection option, the DACs in your audio system or receiver will perform the digital-to-analog conversion task, whereas if you opt to use the analog stereo output option, the StriimLINK's Wofson DACs take care of the digital-to-analog conversion, bypassing the audio system's or receiver's own DACs.

In the final analysis, the choice is yours as to which audio connection option you would be preferred, if both are available to you. Choose what is most convenient and/or sounds best to you.

For this review, I tried both options and did not find an audible quality difference, except that the signal output level from the StriimLINK module was lower using the analog option than the digital optical option. Of course, this outcome may be different, depending on what audio system components are being used in addition to the StriimLINK in a specific setup.

For a look the StriimLINK control and content navigation menus, as they appear on a smartphone, as well as my review summary, proceed through the next two photos...

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AWOX StriimLINK - Control App Screens - Start, Playlist, and Play Control

AWOX StriimLINK - Control App Screens - Start, Playlist, and Play Control
Photo of AWOX StriimLINK Start, Playlist, and Play Control App Menus. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown above is a look (from left to right) at the StiimLINK Start-Up, Local Music, and Playback menu as they appear on a smartphone - in this case, an HTC One M8 provided by Sprint.

The Local Music menu in the middle photo refers to music that is stored on the phone. The menu can also access music files stored on a compatible PC, connected USB drive, or Internet Radio.

For a closer look, click on the image to see the full view.

Proceed to the next page for an additional photo, as well as my Review Summary of the AWOX StriimLINK.

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AWOX StriimLINK - Control App Screens - Internet Radio Control Menus

AWOX StriimLINK - Control App Screens - Internet Radio Control Menus
Photo of AWOX StriimLINK Internet Radio Control Menus App Menus. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

On this final photo example of the features and operation of the AWOX StriimLINK, is a look at the Internet Radio and USB storage access screen (on the left), as well as the Internet Radio main access and Local Stations (in this case, local stations for San Diego, CA) menus. For a larger view, check on the image.

Review Summary

I definitely enjoyed using the AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter.

Used in conjunction with a compatible smartphone, tablet, or PC/MAC, the StriimLINK provided easy access to, and playback of, content from several sources (in my case Phone, USB, and PC).

For those not familiar with smartphones and tablets, there is a short learning curve as you get used to screen taping sensitivity of those devices - sometimes found myself navigating to the wrong step, but fortunately, it is easy to backtrack to the proper navigation steps.

Also, if you elect to control the StriimLINK using a PC or MAC, instead of an iOS or Android-based phone or tablet, make sure your PC has a compatible operating system - for example, I found that Windows XP is not compatible with the control software. On the other hand, content stored on Windows XP PCs can be streamed to the StriimLINK if the PC is DLNA compatible (also works with TwonkyServer and AWOX's own StriimSERVER).

Setup between your control device and the StriimLink is easy if connecting the module to your router via Ethernet cable - however, I did find it a little tricking using the built-in Wi-Fi connect option. I had to try a couple of times to get the Wi-Fi to lock-on, and did run into a situation once where the Wi-Fi network link between the HTC One M8 and the StriimLINK module was interrupted.

My suggestion is to try the Wi-Fi option, and if you find it works well, there there may be no need to use the Ethernet option. On the other hand, if you do find that the Wi-Fi option is kind of spotty, you might have to surrender to a long Ethernet cable between the StriimLINK module and your network router.

As far menu navigation and content access goes, overall is it easy to scroll through the options and select sources, tracks or internet radio stations, but I did find that using a smartphone as a controller can be a little tricky sometimes as I found myself not always tapping on the correct icon and either going to a part of the menu I did want to go to or selecting the wrong track or station by mistake.

The setup I used for listening to the USB and streamed music sources via the StriimLINK consisted of an Onkyo TX-SR705 7.1 Channel receiver (used in two and 5.1 channel modes) and the Monoprice 10565 and EMP TEK Impression Series 5.1 channel speaker systems.

Playback quality varies depending on the source and/or file format (refer to previous listing), but overall, I found the result satisfying, with good channel separation and clear detail.

I am a really physical-disc fan (both vinyl and CD) and prefer those content options, but with all the music content that is out there, I don't have the time, money, or physical storage for all those records or discs, so being able to add access to a large library of digital-based content from internet radio stations from around the World, as well as streaming-music-on-demand via Deezer, really expands the stereo home theater listening experience. 

However, it must be noted that StriimLINK, as of the date this review was posted, does not offer access to some popular music streaming services, such as Pandora, Spotify, or Rhapsody. However, in addition to Internet Radio and Deezer, any music in compatible file formats that you have downloaded and saved on your smartphone, PC/MAC, or USB flash drive and be sent through the StriimLINK to you stereo or home theater audio system.

Taking all into consideration, if you are looking for a way to access basic music streaming and your digitally stored music files and play them on your older stereo or home theater audio gear, the AWOX StriimLINK WiFi Home Stereo Streaming Adapter may be just the right add-on for you, as it enables more content access and listening flexibility without a more costly investment in a new streaming-capable stereo or home theater receiver.