Monday, August 27, 2012

Xeo - the wi-fi solution

Everything is going wireless these days and to keep with the trend, renowned Danish speaker manufacturer Dynaudio has launched the world's first high-end wireless stereo system.

Called Xeo, the speakers come in two models - standmount (Xeo 3) and floorstanders (Xeo 5). Both are active with built-in DACs and digital amplifiers.

They communicate with a processor, a small box that accepts digital and analogue signals from sources as diverse as turntables and iPhones. Inputs include USB, Toslink, coax and analogue RCA.
The signals are transmitted digitally on the 2.4 MHz bandwidth to the speakers.
The maximum resolution is 24bit 48KHz and higher resolution files will be downsampled.

Dynaudio's CEO Wilfried Ehrenholz

Dynaudio's CEO Wilfried Ehrenholz, who was at CMY's showroom at Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, last week, says it is the same bandwidth as wi-fi routers, but there is no interference.

So far there has been one case in Dusseldorf, Germany and one in Russia where the owners experienced drop-out issues.

"We still don't know why it happened. The drop-outs result in a clicking sound," he said.

When Dynaudio launched the Xeo system at the CES in Las Vegas, Wilfried said he found there were 240 wi-fi networks in the area, but the Xeo played without any issues.


The Xeo system can handle three sources simultaneously. That means you can have three sources playing at the same time - for e.g. a CD player connected via Toslink, an iPod on a dock connected via coax and a laptop connected via USB and the songs can be streamed wirelessly to three sets of speakers, for e.g. one set in the living room, one set in the upstairs bedroom and one set in the kitchen.

Wilfried showing how small the transmitter box is.
Playing with the Wadia iPod dock.

Xeo 3 (left) and Xeo 5.


The operational range depends on the location. Outdoors, the range is 300 metres while indoors, the signals can go through two or three walls.

Wilfried says the Xeo speakers are surprisingly not fussy about the type of room they are placed in.

"They sound good in all sorts of rooms and I am not sure why," he says.

Dynaudio's CEO Wilfried Ehrenholz and CMY's John Yew.

The wireless Xeo system is Dynaudio's answer to how to capture the young market where 95 per cent of youths listen to music on smartphones and headphones.

These days youths listen to mostly MP3 downloads, Internet radio and music files in computers.

Judging by how successful Dynaudio's solution is, the Xeo looks set to be the route for young music lovers to migrate from iPods to high-end stereo.

CMY's John Yew said the Xeo 3 costs RM9,120 (list) while the Xeo 5 is priced at RM17,360 (list).



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