Sadly, the WHT-6024 was a short-lived product. But AR has a new kit called the ARW51 that includes the original system's best part -- a 2.4-Ghz transmitter-and-receiver system that takes the place of speaker wire.
The receivers constantly monitor for interference and periodically hop to different frequencies to avoid it. The idea here is to add these components to an existing system. The ARW51's price of $700 won't be a whole lot cheaper than the $900 original product, which also included five speakers and a subwoofer. So it's not exactly a money-saving option. But if you love the speakers you already have (i.e. they are expensive suckers), this is a way to make them wireless.
We haven't had a chance to play with the new product yet. But we just learned that the Consumer Electronics Association has made it an "honoree" (whatever that means) for their 2009 CEA Innovations Award competition.
What if you are old-school and have a stereo instead of a new-fangled 5.1 system? The folks at AR say there will be more options in the future, such as buying the transmitter and just a pair of the receivers (each sporting a 50-watt Class D amplifier). They hinted that they might also sell extra receivers to power a second set of speakers in another room. There's no word yet on prices for these options.
And no details on availability yet, other than the vague promise of "2009." Given AR's tendency to announce things way before they come out, you probably have some time to save up for this item.
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Looks nice and sleek. Very cool design.
However, I don't see any antennas nor power cords. Are they run by batteries? Seems like the antennas are hidden somewhere inside the casing of the speaker?
The wireless concept is great as the speakers could be situated in different nooks and cranies inside the house or even in top shelves of bookcases or wherever. Hopefully, the interference part could be dealt with by the system. Anyways, it's all about frequency so... it should be ok as long as the system changes it everytime there is interference as claimed by the article.
Gratz everyone for developing this.
I assume too its built-in antennas, and the frequency fluctuation will help prevent any disruptions. The downside I foresee is, as Chipper said, is power. If it is battery operated, then I assume it will cost a bunch for people who enjoy their music often. If its power cord, then comes the inconvenience of looking for a plug and hiding the transformer.
Jeez Louise! for years and years audiophiles have been told we need Monster Cables or gold plated silver speaker cables (yes I had a pair of $3000 speaker cables) now we're being told to dump the cables and go wireless? I've tried a number of wireless systems and found none to be acceptable, never mind excellent. There's just too much spurious radiation in the air, however I will say that a 2.4 Ghz system is a definite improvement on the old 900 Mhz boxes, although I prefer infrared as the proper medium, limited pretty much to line-of-site.
Now, regarding the above statements; manufacturer's never show AC transformers or anything other than the actual unit itself in any advertising media I've ever seen, even the front of box the units come in do not show anything but the actual unit itself, this is done so as not to confuse anyone and to give the appearance of a really sleek product. Got it? I seriously doubt big time that those amplifiers would be battery powered, that would require more apparatus for charging and re-charging the amps. However, since AR is using a Class D 'switching' amplifier, which, for all intensive purposes is more efficient than other amps, it is conceivable, albeit improbable regarding battery power.
Anyway, there you have it: my opinion. Until I've had a chance to actually try and hear these suckers in a real world application I'll reserve passing judgment at this time, but of course reserve the right to amend and wiggle my way out of preconceived notions re: this product.