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Crutchfield

NuForce Air DAC uWireless System

Wireless USB digital-to-analog converter

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  • NuForce Air DAC uWireless System™

    Front

  • NuForce Air DAC uWireless System™

    DAC/receiver (Back)

  • NuForce Air DAC uWireless System™

    DAC/receiver (Top)

  • NuForce Air DAC uWireless System™

    DAC/receiver and USB transmitter dongle in product package

  • NuForce Air DAC uWireless System™

    DAC/receiver with included power cord attached

  • NuForce Air DAC uWireless System™

    Shown with USB transmitter connected to laptop computer

  • NuForce Air DAC uWireless System™

    USB transmitter dongle

Item #: 773AIRDACU
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the NuForce Air DAC uWireless System™

by Dave Bar
Nuforce

Turn 1s and 0s into sweet sounding music

Why buy a separate DAC? These devices are all about getting true high-fidelity sound from digital sources like computers, streaming music players, smartphones, and more. While these kinds of sources usually have their own digital-to-analog converters built in, you can expect a separate DAC to give you much better accuracy and finer detail.

Stream computer audio through your sound system — wirelessly

Wouldn't it be great if there was an easy way to take all of the music that you enjoy on your computer — from CDs and MP3s to streaming Internet radio — and send it to your sound system? And have it sound fantastic? Now there is. NuForce's Air DAC uWireless System offers a simple solution that turns your computer into a high-quality audio source. Anything that you can listen to on your PC or Mac® can be digitally transmitted to your existing home theater, stereo, or even a pair of powered speakers. This two-piece system features interference-free, point-to-point wireless technology that delivers full-bandwidth audio from your desktop or laptop to your home system to give you exceptional sound quality. And because it's a closed wireless system, you don't even need a Wi-Fi® network to use it.


transmitter_connected_to_PC

The Air DAC uWireless Sytem's two-piece design makes it easy to enjoy computer-based music on your home audio system.

Simple to set up, easy to use.

RCA output

Simple RCA connections plug into your stereo system or a pair of powered speakers.

Right from the box, the Air DAC uWireless System is ready to play in just moments. Simply plug the included wireless transmitter dongle into a USB port on your computer, and the Air DAC takes over for your PC's sound card. The transmitter bypasses the analog circuitry in your PC and transmits a digital audio signal directly to the receiver module that's connected to your hi-fi system. The digital signal then gets converted by a high-quality DAC in the receiver and sent as an analog signal to your stereo amplifier for playback. Each Air DAC transmitter can send audio to as many as four independent receivers (sold separately), so you can play your tunes through multiple audio components.


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Highlights:

  • wireless USB transmitter dongle plugs into your computer
  • wireless receiver/DAC features RCA audio outputs for connection to a stereo, powered speakers, or home theater system
  • Wi-Fi network not required — uses point-to-point 2.4GHz wireless technology for uncompressed, full-audio-bandwidth transmission
  • each transmitter can send audio to as many as four receivers (additional receivers sold separately)
  • each DAC/receiver can connect to as many as four transmitters (additional transmitters sold separately)
  • simple control, no software, setup, or pairing required
  • transmission range: 49-98 feet
  • supports audio sample rates up to 48kHz/16-bit
  • compatible with files up to 24-bit/192kHz (downconverts high-res files to 16-bit resolution for playback)
  • frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • THD + Noise: 0.03%
  • signal-to-noise ratio: greater than 91 dB
  • external power supply with cord included for DAC receiver
  • 3-3/16"W x 1"H x 4-1/8"D (DAC receiver)
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Wireless DAC
  • AC power adapter (with attached 58" DC cord)
  • USB transmitter for Air DAC (with USB type-A connector)
  • Instruction Booklet

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Overview: The NuForce Air DAC is a combination 2.4GHz wireless receiver and a premium quality digital-to-analog converter that uses SKAA & HPX technology. The NuForce Air DAC lets you stream music from your computer USB port, using the included uTX USB wireless transmitter, to your home entertainment system with CD-quality sound and minimal latency or interference. An optional NuForce iTX iPod transmitter (773ITX, sold separately) lets you stream audio from your Apple iPod, iPhone, or iPad. With SKAA & HPX technology you no longer have to choose between the convenience of a wireless audio system and the Hi-Fi CD-quality sound of a wired system; now you get both.

Discrete Wireless Connection: The NuForce Air DAC wireless DAC/receiver and included uTX USB wireless transmitter combine to form a wireless audio network; no WiFi "hotspot" needed for reception. A single transmitter can send audio to four receivers (773AIRDAC), while a single receiver can connect to as many as four transmitters (773UTX).

SKAA Wireless Technology: The NuForce Air DAC wireless DAC/receiver and uTX USB wireless transmitter are based on a new wireless technology known as SKAA. SKAA technology provides seamless operation and a consistent user interface across different SKAA devices, via 2.4GHZ wireless point-to-point transmission. Unlike similar wireless devices, the Air DAC and uTX USB transmitter do not experience the typical loss in sound quality or interference capability of cell phones and other wireless devices. Rather, they offer CD-quality sound, virtually no latency, a 49-98' range, and a spread-spectrum technology that detects and chooses from among available frequency spectrums in order to avoid interference. Visit www.skaa.com for more detailed information.

HPX Audio Codec: SKAA wireless Technology uses the HPX audio codec from Eleven Engineering Incorporated. The HPX audio codec has several advantages resulting in uncompressed, full-audio bandwidth (20-20k), CD-quality (16bit/48kHz) sound. With HPX audio compression technology, you will be unable to tell the difference between an uncompressed, wired audio source and the NuForce Air DAC system sending CD-quality sound across the SKAA (2.4GHZ) wireless link.

Windows/Mac Compatibility: The NuForce uTX USB transmitter is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers with a USB (type-A) port, so there's no need to install drivers. The uTX transmitter features a male USB (type-A) connector which plugs into your computer's female USB (type-A) port.

Analog RCA Outputs: The NuForce Air DAC wireless DAC/receiver is fitted with a set of stereo RCA analog audio outputs to connect to your home entertainment system (audio cables not included).

External Power Supply: The NuForce Air DAC operates off of standard household AC current using its included external power supply.

  • Input: 100-240V ~ 0.3A, 50-60Hz
  • Output: 6.5V - 0.6A

Specifications:

  • 16-bit/48kHz x 2 channels
  • SNR > 90dB A-weighted
  • Operates @ 2.4GHz
  • Latency < 13.8 ms
  • 49-98' wireless range
 

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Quick impressions from the Lab

Comment by Ralph Graves Staff Writer - Creative,

Simple and effective

Written by Ralph Graves, Staff Writer - Creative, on 4/17/2012 10:14:00 AM

I like simple solutions. I like the NuForce Air DAC.

I just plugged the wireless transmitter into the base of my iPod® classic, started playing music, and dialed up the volume on the speakers connected to the Air DAC. Nothing pleases like instant gratification.

The manual recommends setting your portable's volume to maximum, and using the volume control of the playback system to make adjustments. I think that's helpful for most situations.

As I moved through various rooms in the Lab, trying out reception in each, I found that keeping my iPod at half volume (and turning up the speakers accordingly) was a good solution when moving around. I could adjust the volume remotely on my player as necessary. That would be the equivalent of turning up the volume on my iPod as I stood in the kitchen to better hear the music coming through the speakers in the living room.

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NuForce Air DAC uWireless System™ Reviews

Average Customer Review:

11 people say:

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Filter by rating:
5 out of 5

excellent

Written By jim s., birmingham,al on Monday, July 07, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
does exactly what is says it will do
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4 out of 5

Very nice sound

Written By Steve907, Kansas City on Sunday, February 16, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I have a pre-digital, but high quality, audio system in the living room. How to play Pandora? I have old laptops available. This is just the right solution.
Pros:
- Excellent sound quality - Very simple setup - USB connection is very convenient
Cons:
- Does not the maintain the connection between sessions. It requires that I power down the device every time I turn on the music. An annoyance. One star off for this.
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3 out of 5

Decent product with a major flaw

Written By W.M., Santa Fe, NM on Saturday, December 28, 2013
 
Easy installation. Excellent low-level sound quality through our house speaker system. Seems to get through walls at thirty feet, but will be blocked by a person standing between TX and Rx. Pandora stream drops out periodically. Unknown reason. BIG FLAW: It takes over your computer and installs itself as the default sound system! When you exit from your music source you must go into Windows Control Panel and reset your computer's default sound device in order to get sound back through the computer's desktop system. Otherwise, after shutting down Air Dac, your computer will have no audio. Since it installs itself as your computer's default audio system, when it's on, you will hear all the computer's system sounds over top of any streaming music (ie. "You've Got Mail!" in the case of my wife's machine). Of course, you will not have this issue if you use the small add-on Tx in your iPhone or other device, But then, you have issues with having to keep your devices charged, and it renders your phone unusable while it's streaming. The Air Dac's power supply is only a wall brick. If you want to shut off the power in between uses you will have to either unplug it each time or run it through some sort of switchable device.
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Great Product

Written By TwoCrows, Potomac MD on Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
My wifw has started listening to Pandora through old computer speakers. I considered going with Audio Engine and a Dragonfly DAC, but realized if we could connect to the now little used stereo system in the office wirelessly that would solve her problem and provide better sound than a desktop alternative.

Low price, easy installation, sound that is limited by Pandora bandwidth.
Pros:
Easy installation Good Sound Inexpensive solution
Cons:
None yet
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Air-Dac Purchase

Written By MO, Lake Head, CA on Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I store my music on USB thumb drives and play it on my laptop. I used to stretch a 20' cord across the living room, from the stereo amp to my laptop on the table to play music. ...and of course when I was done, I would have to unplug it and drag the cord back to the amp and drape it across the stereo setup where it lives. The cable was inconvenient, not to mention that it would be a very expensive accident if someone tripped over that cable and ripped the laptop off of the table. As a side note, my heart races at the thought of breaking a $20 bill, so I was very nervous about this purchase... The Air-Dac ain't cheap (for me anyway) so months of research went into it, and where to buy it. The price seemed about the same everywhere I looked, and there were no used ones to be had anywhere. At any rate I'm very happy with the Air-Dac, and it was worth it. (I justified the purchase by buying it for myself as an early birthday gift.) No more cord dragging, and also the music really is much better sounding than when I was using the long cord plugged into the earphone jack of the laptop.
Pros:
Great sound, and no pauses or other interference in the music. Also it was easy set-up and easy to use, and the SKAA technology doesn't interfere with my MIFI or printer or other stuff I have going on here.
Cons:
The dongle transmitter is annoying because it sticks out of the side of the laptop. I worry about banging it. I will get a USB extension cord with a hub on the end to solve that problem, plus I can plug the music USB flash drives into it too. The price seems a little high.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great wireless DAC

Written By Music Buff, Blue Point, N.Y. on Monday, June 17, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
The device worked as intended. Very good sound, and easy to hook up. The only problem is the instruction manual, which doesn't match what the unit does.
Pros:
Great device for the price, easy to set up, found my transmitter right away. Sounds great, and so far it doesn't interfere with my wireless router.
Cons:
This isn't the device's fault, but it would be nice for an app so it can link up and transmit from a android tablet.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

It works!

Written By Nizo, Ohio on Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Plugged it in, turned on my stereo, Logged on to YT and listened to every Pink Floyd album. Holy cow this thing sounds great. I did not know computer audio could sound so Hifi until discovering the Air DAC . This $140 piece of equipment is contending with my $2000 turntable.
Pros:
Beats the (*&$%) out of anything Apple has ever made.
Cons:
Nothing.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Just what it says it will do

Written By RossMcK, Chapel Hill, NC on Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This review reflects the fact this system is easy to install - plug in the receiver, plug in the USB transmitter, then listen. And it does what it says - convey the data from I-tunes or Spotify (or whatever) to the DAC for conversion to analog sound the receiver can use. The differences between sound fed from my computer playing a CD and sending it via the Nuforce, versus a Phillips CD player hooked in directly, are very subtle. There are differences, no doubt, but it requires really careful listening. On the other hand, the transmission is sufficiently clear that you can tell the downsides of I-tunes compression algorithms. I did not compare this to Sonos or other wireless DACs, nor to Apple Airport and the DAC in my receiver - those would have been other options. But I'm entirely happy. It probably helps my room isn't big, and there are no major sources of interference. But for the purpose of hooking up a computer to a stereo, the Nuforce wireless system works well and is incredibly easy to use.
Pros:
Amazingly simple to hook up; Good sound quality; Reasonable DAC performance
Cons:
None, thus far (about two weeks of use and casual testing)
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

When it works....

Written By CPJC, Portland, OR on Friday, September 21, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
When it works - it's great. I had trouble getting it to "connect" but now it seems to be pretty automatic. The single button interface is a little confusing - IMHO. I think the USB driver can be a bit buggy. If I'm streaming ITUNES, the music will on occasion mysteriously stop and ITUNES appears to be running through all the songs in my playlist in a rapid fashion. It's happened a couple of times so 'm thinking of returning it. The sound is great - I'm no audiophile and I can tell that the DAC makes my music sound better. I miss my old ROKU Soundbridge.
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Quality Audio with Reliabilty

Written By Brock, Seattle, WA on Monday, August 27, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
It was tough to find many reviews on this product when I was looking at it so I want to help out. I have been using this to play music from my computer (Rhapsody, iTunes, and Pandora) to my Audioengine speakers. The quality really amazed me (I wasn't sure I'd be able to hear a difference over the standard headphone cable out of the computer but I did) and the unit was truly plug and play. It was extremely easy to hook up the system and when I pushed play on Rhapsody everything just worked. I haven't experienced any negative aspects to this product.
Pros:
Great quality audio, nice construction, easy to set up, just works (no configuring), No Cords!,
Cons:
Nothing
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

A Real Gem

Written By Steve G., Kingwood, TX on Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Best piece of equipment I've bought from Crutchfield. Sound quality is amazing and well worth the purchase price. Surprisingly, I don't use it for listening to music files located on the computer. I use it for real time editing of digitized classical music. Have archived hundreds of albums and tapes over the last 2 years. Quality of sound is so good it cut my editing time in half. Should have bought it sooner. Playback of audio files saved at 48k sample rate sound better than the burned CD's at 44k!
Pros:
Ease of use.
Cons:
None
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 

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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the NuForce Air DAC uWireless System™, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_773AIRDACU/NuForce-Air-DAC-uWireless-System.html ).