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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Home Audio Review!
Atlantic Technology WA-5030
Wireless Audio Amp System

Wireless Speaker Amplifier

Price: $399
Likes: clean wireless delivery
Dislikes: only 16-bit
Info: AT WA-5030

 by Tom Jung

  When Everything Audio asked me if I wanted to review a wireless amplifier system I questioned whether I should get into this type of audio device — figuring that wireless delivery would surely have quality issues.
  But then my curiosity got the best of me, and after checking out the online specs, I decided to give the Atlantic Technology WA-5030 a try. Guess what? I was pleasantly surprised that not only was the digital wireless connection audibly transparent, but the the little 30-watt amp on the receiving end is quite good as well. I quickly changed my skeptical tune and embraced this wireless audio delivery system.

  The WA-5030 is designed to wirelessly transmit a stereo audio source up to about 150 feet (and up to 300 feet line of sight) to a small power amplifier that is capable of driving most any 4-8 ohm speaker. The transmitter broadcasts an uncompressed 16-bit digital audio (48 kHz sampling) to the receiver over a dedicated 2.4 GHz frequency.
  The receiver, D to A converter and the power amp live in a little nicely built 5” X 5” X 1.5” chassis powered by an external 24v power supply that looks much like a laptop computer PSU. The WA-5030 system complete with transmitter, receiver/power amp, remote and cables sells for $399 retail. Atlantic Technology also offers the WA-50 line-level to line-level system (without power amp) for $199. 
  One end of the amp/receiver chassis contains two pair of gold plated 5-way speaker binding posts. The other end has an 1/8-inch Infrared input for the included IR receiver, which lets you keep the amplifier tucked away out of sight hopefully close to the speakers. A small remote control is used for set up as well as On/Off, Mute and Volume Up or Down.

The transmitted sound quality of the WA-5030 was much better than I expected. Nice solid sound stage, wide frequency response and very quiet. In fact, in fact it sounds much like wire and a good amplifier.

  Multiple WA-5030-r receiver/amplifiers can be linked to a single WA-50-t transmitter and both are equipped to operate with three different “zone” settings. Each zone is unique so components linked to one zone will not interfere with other WA components operating on a different zone. According to Atlantic, Wi-Fi or other devices operating on the 2.4 GHz band will not interfere with any WA components.
  The WA-5030 wireless system is flexible in its source connections. The WA-50t transmitter it can take a line level analog signal via a 1/8” stereo mini plug or can connect to a computer, tablet or smart phone via USB 2.0, allowing all sorts of computer programs to relay audio wirelessly (ITunes, etc.) No drivers are needed to connect to either PC or Mac operating systems.
  I found the setup and linking to be pretty straight forward using the supplied remote control and getting linking conformation codes via red and blue LED’s. Time delay through the system or latency is said to be 10 milliseconds max, which is a pretty good spec.

 The audition 
  The transmitted sound quality of the WA-5030 was much better than I expected. Nice solid sound stage, wide frequency response and very quiet. In fact, in fact it sounds much like wire and a good amplifier. And just as impressive, during my testing, I did not hear any dropouts or interference from any other devices.
  This wireless system could be used in lots of audio applications: sending computer audio, or routing a home cinema’s rear channels and or a subwoofer where you can’t hide those ugly wires. Or perhaps transmitting audio to an upstairs room, or out to your speakers on a deck or near a swimming pool for a party. Anywhere you can run a wire, you easily use the WA-5030 and get the same results without string feet of copper strands.

 The verdict
  Whether setting up another zone, connecting surround speakers or placing a subwoofer where interconnect cables are just not practical the Atlantic Technology WA wireless systems are a practical solution to get high quality audio from one area to another. The system shows that hi-fi and wireless are totally compatible. You throw in an under $400 list price for a two channels, and you got yourself a bargain. The WA-5030 also deserves an Everything Audio Network Stellar Sound Award.

  A professional audio engineer for almost 50 years (Sound 80, DMP Records), Tom Jung reviews home theater, audiophile and high-end recording gear for the Everything Audio Network. He reviews products from his home studio in North Carolina. He can be reached via his EA email address at

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