Music is a huge part of my life. I have a large vinyl, CD and digital music collection. I won’t even get into the nuances of the music I collect because to the average person it makes absolutely no sense. But that’s part of why I love it so much.
When Apple moved from iTunes to Apple Music and transitioned to a streaming/subscription model, it gave me pause. While it was great to have access to almost anything in my pocket at all times, it also made me wonder about the volatility of such a service. Would the main platforms (Spotify and Apple Music) be able to release and pull albums without reason or notification from my collection without my knowledge? The answer to that question became clear not long after signing up for one of these services and led me to develop my own home music server (based on Volumio) where I could store everything I wanted without interference.
This solution addressed a lot of other issues that came up with a large music collection (ie. where to put private pressings, out of print releases, how to deal with pre-releases or obscure titles). But access to my own collection anywhere, anytime without a subscription was the biggest reason for this change.
Accessing this music was also a challenge. In my office I have my main 2-channel stereo system with a 1990’s era Sony GX90ES receiver, a Sony MXD-D40 MINIDISC/CD deck, and a collection of high-end speakers and subwoofers. But there’s also the Bose Smartbar and subwoofer connected to my TV, My SmartTV and a host of bluetooth and wifi connected audio devices throughout the house (not to mention all the Amazon Echos) that all are capable of streaming audio. The Volumio server was a great first step in achieving freedom from the streaming services but it was just the beginning of the rabbit hole that is streaming high quality digital audio.
Wiim initially made huge waves with it’s Wiim Mini. A small round affordable streaming device that connects to your stereo and supports hi-res (192kHz/24-bit) audio with an integrated TI stereo DAC (digital to analog converter) with an output providing 106-dB SNR (signal to noise ratio), dynamic range and -92dB THD+N performance. What does this mean? It means that this plucky little device for the low price of $78 USD can output audio with the same quality as a recording studio to any and all of your connected devices.
Wiim saw what they did and said that it was good and not long afterwards, the Wiim Pro ($149 USD) was born. With yet another aggressive retail price of $149 USD, the Wiim Pro sports the same DAC as the Wiim Mini but now with an ethernet port, Google Chromecast support, an optical line in and analog line-in ports along with an updated CPU and processing internals. What does this mean? It means that the Wiim Pro supports a wider range of device connectivity and faster, better, stronger.
My Wiim Pro came boxed in its recyclable branded box with the unit itself, a USB Type C cable, USB power adapter, stereo RCA cables, an optical Toslink cable and a quick user manual.
Setup was as simple as plugging it in, connecting the Wiim Pro to my stereo, downloading the Wiim Home app (iOS/Android/Windows/Mac) and introducing the Wiim Pro to my network through either the ethernet port or wifi.
Inside, the app is thoughtfully designed with a simple layout, easy to find features, and accessible settings. I was quickly able to locate my DLNA server, connect my music subscription accounts (the Wiim Pro supports a mad variety of music services with more being added all the time) and was immediately playing music while I tinkered with the EQ and settings.
Right off the bat, I was able to route music from the DLNA server in my office to the stereo linked Echo speakers in the master bedroom, then later when I moved outside for some yard work, I switched to my Monster Rockin’ Roller 270 Bluetooth speaker. I could even create groups consisting of particular devices or rooms in my house where I wanted the music to be. Moving from room to room was as easy as opening the app and switching sources while I moved about the house. A total gamechanger!
It’s also worth noting that Wiim also offers a voice remote ($19 USD) with a (push-to-talk feature) for those who wish to have a more dedicated physical remote.
Another nice feature on the Wiim Pro is “Trigger Out”. This enables older receivers/amplifiers with a standby feature to be activated by the Wiim Pro when a signal is sent reducing the amount of time it takes to get music to your earholes! A brilliant and a necessary feature for this guy who loves older equipment with things like phono stages and inputs for minidisc recorders.
Inside the app, along with a customizable EQ and loads of pre-sets, I can also set an alarm that will play music from any of my connected streaming services as well as my DLNA server or even the Wiim Pro’s line in. Which brings me to another killer feature, its preamp capabilities. For the minimalist who just wants to plug in a turntable, cd player or tape deck, the Wiim Pro functions perfectly as a basic preamp for a stripped down, yet feature-rich solution!
Audio playback sounds delightful on literally any of the connected speakers in my home. But it sounds best on my office system which includes some nice vintage PSB Image B25’s or the massive power hungry Mission 753 floor speakers.
Along with support for all your favorite voice assistants, the Wiim Pro comes for you with mind bending potential. With an incredibly aggressive price point, it’s easy to see why the Wiim Pro wins over its competitors like Sonos Port and enters the conversation with much higher priced streamers like the Yamaha Wxc 50 ($499 USD) or the Bluesound Node ($658 USD). You can see John’s review on the Bluesound Powernode Edge here.
While the Wiim Pro annihilates the competition at several price points above its own, it also offers so much flexibility. Is it the audiophile streamer with the most value? Without a doubt. This is a must have piece of kit.
Note: Our reviews are always 100% independent but Gearadical receives a small affiliate amount if you purchase the product on Amazon.