Published on December 12th, 2013 | by Greg0
NuForce Air DAC: Add Some SKAA To Your Life!
Wireless audio typically comes in three forms- Bluetooth, AirPlay, and everything else proprietary. There are a few others that are fairly popular- Sonos has their own ecosystem that is pretty great- but for audiophiles who are looking for a simple, low-latency system, it’s a bit more difficult. If you’ve ever tried watching movies on your computer while connected to a wireless speaker, then you know what we’re talking about, and gaming is even worse.
But where there is a problem, there is bound to be a solution eventually! And luckily, SKAA stepped in and filled the void. It’s not quite a popular protocol yet, but is growing fast, and today we’re looking at the tiny-but-fierce NuForce Air DAC which lets you stream high-quality music (equivalent to CDs) to your existing speaker system. One huge advantage is that it won’t interfere with any other wireless sytems, and doesn’t need a router or other wireless gear to work, plus you can use your existing speakers. Unlike Bluetooth or Airplay, though, you do need a transmitter piece, or dongle. Also, there is currently no Android support.
We’ve also been testing the NuForce iTX, which is the other piece we mentioned, an adapter specifically for 30-pin iOS devices. Simply plug and play- seriously, pairing is super simple and one-time. Plus, unlike Bluetooth, you can transmit from one dongle to up to four receivers, allowing you an instant multi-room or multi-speaker setup, and you don’t need line of sight for it to work well. A downside versus AirPlay or Sonos, though, is that you are limited in range quite a bit with no way to extend or boost signal strength. In practice, we’ve found you can go through a couple of thin walls, perhaps a floor up or down directly, but not go too far if you don’t have line of sight.
NuForce also offers a USB ‘baton’ for use with your desktop or laptop computer, the uTX, and bundles that should serve your needs for a combination package. Either way, audio quality is excellent- we use the system in a retail environment to great effect, per our review of one of the only other SKAA-compatible consumer electronics, the Korus system that we checked out earlier this year. With the Air DAC, you’ll want to connect a decent set of bookshelf speakers to show off your gear, and it’s best to use ones that connect via standard RCA cables as that is the output. It might have been nice to have an alternate output option or included adapters for other types, but the price is certainly right. At under $150 for the combo, it’s a solid deal and a really great way to add wireless to your existing audio system.