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Sound Blaster Wireless System for iTunes and Receiver review:

Sound Blaster Wireless System for iTunes and Receiver

The Sound Blaster Wireless System for iTunes and Receiver works fine right out of the box, but you'll need to install the included software to take advantage of some of the additional features the system offers. Unfortunately for Mac users, most of these features will only work on PCs--including the ability to control tracks with iTunes. If you're using a Mac, the only software you'll be able to use is an Audio Console tab in System Preferences where you can manage your broadcasting options.

If you use the system with a PC, the software will unlock iTunes compatibility in addition to the company's X-Fi audio EQ drivers (like the X-Fi Crystalizer) so that you can mold the music to your preference. While the system does work well with a Mac, you're only getting a streaming experience, nothing more. And since none of this information is disclosed on the packaging, let this serve as your warning.

Unfortunately, you'll only be able to use the control functionality on the remote with a PC. Volume and mute control will work regardless.

The X-Fi audio EQ performance is a mixed bag. While some songs benefit from the Crystalizer, others have no change. Die hard audiophiliacs may just want to leave the setting off all together.

There was one more hiccup during our testing with the Creative system. Since streaming is done over the ubiquitous 2.4GHz frequency, you may get some interference from your wireless router. We recommend (if you can) placing the receiver as far away from your router as possible because you will hear static if they are too close together. We also experienced numerous Internet drops while streaming music. If this can't be resolved, try manually setting your router and Creative streamer to different channels on the frequency.

Overall, we enjoyed the wireless streaming audio experience the Sound Blaster Wireless System for iTunes and Receiver was able to provide. While it's priced around $150, it's definitely a bit more than what we'd like to pay. Also, we're a bit disappointed that while the product has the "iTunes" name, its features are limited with the operating system that natively supports iTunes.

As we mentioned earlier, there aren't too many other ways of accomplishing wireless audio streaming . You could use an Airport Express Base Station for iTunes streaming, but you'd essentially be buying a high-end product for a low-end feature. Eos will be releasing a similar device (without a remote control) called Converge in September 2009 that performs most of the same functionality, so if you're on the fence about the Creative, we'd recommend sticking around for our review of it later in August.

If you'd like to really get a complete package, Creative offers a speaker set, the GigaWorks T20 Series II that can receive wireless audio sent from the USB dongle reviewed here.

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