Hands-On Review:Phonic W5 Wireless System for Speakers

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Eliminate speaker cables for a fast, clean setup


Phonic released the WM series of UHF wireless transmitters and  receivers back in 2005, and almost immediately they took off. The  original WM series receivers were compatible only with our Performer  Series speakers, but to meet customer demand for this technology, we  released a universal receiver in early 2006. These systems were a hit  with professional users and novices alike, but Phonic engineers saw  areas for improvement and ways to incorporate new technology, so they  began developing the new Phonic W5 Wireless Speaker System.


Developing the W5


First and foremost, we didn't want to revisit old ground. That being  the case, digital methods of wireless transmission were employed and the  Phonic engineeers devised a couple of digital input and output methods  for the W5.  They included USB input on the transmitter and optical S/PDIF output on  the receiver. Through the USB port, users can connect to their computer  and select the W5 as their default audio output device, allowing  wireless streaming of audio directly from the computer. The S/PDIF  output on the receiver allows for the units to be connected to many  modern home speaker systems.


Friendly features


We also wanted to create a wireless system that was more user  friendly than before. Being that a good number of our customers were  novices, they didn't want to deal with picking channels and checking for  interference in frequencies. The 2.4GHz digital transmission took care  of the interference, and the one-button connection method eliminated a  complicated setup process.


The RCA connectors were something that customers thought were a good  compromise between pro and consumer audio. All modern mixers have RCA  two-track output, and you can find RCA inputs on just about every home  stereo system, so it was an easy choice. The RCA connections were a  particular request from many DJs who could set their gear up more  quickly if they didn't need to run cables between their booth and amps  and/or speakers.


Including a rechargeable battery to the receiver unit was just  natural since many speaker systems include battery power themselves. The  battery allows you to play audio from inside a house, hall, venue, or  wherever, with a CD player, computer, or MP3 player and direct the  signal outdoors to an area where no power is available. With the ability  to support up to five receivers with a single transmitter unit, it is  easy to have multispeaker setups, including surround sound.


Possible applications


  • Clubs/DJs—RCA connectors make the unit ideal for band and mobile DJs
  • Outdoor parties/BBQs—Play music inside through your computer, MP3 player, and receive the signal outside
  • Household audio system—For people who like to play music through  their computer: connect the transmitter to the computer, and place  receivers in different rooms of the house
  • Connecting to a remote mixer—Send the signal from a mini-mixer in  one area of a venue to the main board through the RCA 2T (two-track)  inputs

Features & Specs

  • Wireless audio system
  • Easy, one-button setup
  • One transmitter and 2 receivers
  • 2.4GHz PCM transmissions
  • RCA I/O on transmitter and receiver units
  • USB 2.0 transmitter input
  • Optical S/PDIF receiver output
  • 1100mAH Li-ion battery embedded into receiver with a life up to 4 hours
  • Support one to 5 receivers with one transmitter
  • Audio transmission up to 100 meters
  • 16-bit audio with selectable 32, 44.1, and 48kHz sampling rates