Would you be tempted to buy a home theater system if only you could find a way to hook up the rear surround speakers without stringing wires around the room? Would you consider putting a second set of speakers in a nearby room, if only that didn’t entail pulling wires through the wall? What would you say to an iPod-based music system that offered great sound, let you use the speakers of your choice, and didn’t need any speaker wires? Just pipe dreams? Not any more. KEF’s Universal Wireless System stands ready to make your wireless fantasies come true.
The system consists of three compact modules: a 2.4GHz transmitter that connects to your audio source (A/V receiver, MP3 player, and so on) and two receiver/amplifiers—one for each speaker. The modules are mounted on stands with non-skid rubber bottoms and include external power supplies that must be plugged into nearby outlets.
With flexibility in mind, KEF supplies three cables: one with a mini-jack connector for portables, one with RCA jacks for standard preamp outputs, and one with bare-wire ends for tapping into the speaker outputs of an A/V receiver or amplifier.
Here’s how the system works: Connect any source to the transmitter and it broadcasts two-channel signals to the receiver/amp modules, which drive the speakers via built-in 25-watt Class D amplifiers. Typically, you would perch a receiver/amp on top of each speaker and run a short speaker cable (not included) to the speaker’s binding posts. You don’t have to worry about mixing up channels because the bottom of each receiver is clearly labeled (Left or Right).
Setup is simple and intuitive—even for technophobes. I connected the KEF wireless system with a pair of B&W DM602 S3 bookshelf speakers to create a remote music system in a bedroom located about 35 feet from my main listening area. Within minutes wireless music poured forth. It’s tempting to view the light, small KEF modules as “toys,” but in fact this is a seriously good system. Differences in sound quality between MP3s (good), CDs (better), and SACDs (best) were easy to hear, and the system enabled rock-solid bass, well-detailed middle frequencies, and highs that were smooth—never edgy or overly bright.