Supremely cheap, yet it doesn't sound half bad.
Noisy amp, can't control iPod from satellite speakers, not impervious to interference from microwave ovens.
It’s usually a bad sign when the first feature a manufacturer mentions about their new product is its low price tag. The EOS Wireless Multi-Room Audio System starter system includes the base unit with an iPod dock and speakers, a remote control, and one satellite speaker. The price? Just $250, and you can add up to three more satellites for $130 each. It must sound like crap, right? Well, it’s definitely not high fidelity, but neither is it rubbish.
Plug your iPod into the base station’s dock (or plug any other stereo source into its auxiliary input) and you can listen to your music on the built-in speakers and stream it to any other room in your house. The manufacturer claims the device has a range of 150 feet, and they sent us four additional satellite speakers so we could set up a full system. The fact that you can buy a whole-house audio system—including speakers—for just $770 and set it up in less than 20 minutes is nothing short of remarkable.
We had no problems reaching any room inside the house and on a screened patio but experienced occasional dropouts when we moved one satellite into the garage, which was about 85 feet from the base station (with the signal passing through four insulated walls (the first of which is partially covered with masonry and the last of which is a double-thick firewall). Flipping the range extender switch on the base station solved the problem with the garage, but this increases the delay from 20 milliseconds to 64ms and causes an echo effect with speakers closer to the base station (an effect you won’t notice unless the satellites are within ear shot of the base).
The system operates on the 2.4GHz frequency band using digital spread-spectrum technology, but its automatic frequency-hopping capability didn’t render it immune to the perils of a microwave oven. When powered on, the oven disrupted the signal to any satellite speaker operating in the same room; it also caused the speaker in the garage to drop out.
The system comes with a limited-function, credit-card-sized remote that will control the base-station’s amplifier volume (including mute) and the iPod’s play/pause and track-forward/track-back buttons. The remote doesn’t control the volume of the amps in the satellite speakers, and unlike Soundcast’s superior-sounding (albeit much pricier) SpeakerCast and OutCast products, there’s no way to control a docked iPod from the satellite speakers, either. In fact, the combo volume-control/power switch is the only control mechanism to be found on the satellites.