Axiim Link HD Brings WiSA's Wireless Surround to Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs

I've been a big fan of the WiSA (Wireless Speaker & Audio) open standard for wireless multichannel audio since its inception. In fact, years (and years) ago, I reviewed the first semi-official multi-channel speaker system using WiSA technology. It was from Aperion; and, while the speakers and the wireless performance were exceptional, the early hardware and remote control for the WiSA transmitter were a little clunky. Since then, WiSA's had an up-and-down ride—not because the technology doesn't work, but because the folks at the WiSA Association frankly weren't up to the task of encouraging more AV equipment manufacturers (TVs, electronics, and speakers—you know, essentially everything in the signal chain) to put the phenomenal wireless technology into their products. It was the classic chicken-and-egg situation. TV companies didn't want to put WiSA transmitters in their TVs if there weren't any loudspeaker systems on the market to use with the TVs—and likewise for the speaker manufacturers. The new team of folks I met at CES 2018 seem pretty focused on getting both WiSA chickens and WiSA eggs on store shelves and webpages ASAP.

Three of the companies that have had WiSA-certified gear on the market for a while now are Bang & Olufsen, Enclave Audio, and Axiim. In the WiSA suite, Axiim demonstrated the company's newest WiSA-certified device, the Axiim Link HD wireless speaker system. In addition to the fact that the new system adds to the growing the universe of WiSA-certified products, the Axiim Link HD is exceptionally noteworthy for being "the first wireless home theater solution designed for Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs." According to Axiim, "The Link transmitter is a compact, multi-channel wireless home theater device that connects to an Xbox One or Windows 10 PC through a USB cable to deliver up to 7.1 wireless audio channels. The Link system instantly amplifies the stunning graphics of the Xbox One with an immersive wireless surround sound experience and takes only minutes to set up."

The Axiim Link creates a more powerful home entertainment platform for Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, giving users an experience of surround sound audio as it was intended by game developers, musicians and storytellers. It brings to life 4K video and HD audio content of games, streaming services, and Blu-ray discs without the need for an audio/video receiver or running speaker wires. Additionally, it is the first and only Wireless Speaker & Audio Association (WiSA) compliant multi-channel wireless audio solution for Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. The designation guarantees a reliable, uncompressed audio transmission between the Link and the wireless speakers. The elegant solution eliminates the jumble of speaker wires and works seamlessly with all other WiSA compliant brands, allowing consumers the option to choose which speakers work best for them.

The prototype Axiim Link on display was a small, black puck-like device connected via a single USB 2.0 cable to a Windows 10 PC:

The Link utilizes USB 2.0 High Speed with 480 Mbps bandwidth to transmit eight channels of uncompressed 24bit/96kHz audio from an Xbox One or Windows 10 PC to the Link. Both the power and audio data are transferred over this single USB 2.0 cable. The Micro USB connector allows the Link to maintain a small profile while an integrated Bluetooth Smart module allows for connection to iOS and Android mobile apps for speaker configuration and audio control, including volume and EQ settings. Link houses an infrared (IR) receiver, which allows for integration with third party universal remote controls like the Logitech Harmony series.

Although final pricing and availability had not yet been determined, Axiim is targeting a release date for the Link sometime in the third quarter of this year with a tentative price below $200.