Powerline Audio System Features
The Audio Station transmits or distributes audio to as many as four rooms or zones. It has inputs for two audio sources in addition to the iPod dock. It can connect to an existing stereo system or CD player with either stereo RCA cables or a 3.5mm stereo audio cable so you can distribute almost any analog audio source to any other room in the home. The Audio Station also charges the docked iPod.
The Audio Adapter receives audio signals from the Audio Station via the electrical wires and can be connected to a pair of powered speakers or to another stereo system, mini system or any amplified stereo system with an audio input.
The basic Powerline Stereo Audio System comes with one Audio Adapter, but can be expanded to a four-room system with additional Audio Adapters. Additional Powerline Stereo Audio Systems can provide almost unlimited expansion capabilities beyond four rooms.
The Audio Station comes with dock adapters for different iPod models and a wireless remote control for selecting volume, track, play and pause on the docked iPod from other rooms.
The Powerline Audio System includes SRS WOW HD, a sound enhancement technology designed to provide a wider sound field with deeper bass and greater overall clarity, a useful feature for improving sound quality.
Powerline System Setup
I connected the Audio Station to the stereo system in my main listening room via the fixed level analog record outputs. The system has only a CD player, although any audio source connected to the stereo system could be connected to the Audio Station via the REC OUT jacks.
I connected the Audio Adapter to a mini stereo system in the kitchen. The mini system has an AM/FM tuner and three 3.5mm mini-jack inputs for external audio sources.
The IOGear system can transmit only one source at a time, either the iPod or one of the other two sources connected to the Audio Station. Perhaps future models will incorporate multiroom and multisource operation. My hunch, and it's only a hunch, is that IOGear is probably planning to do just that.
Powerline Real World Performance
The IOGear system transmits at a data rate up to 28Mbps so even high-resolution audio sources, such as stereo SACD or DVD-Audio sound excellent. For comparison, a CD has a data rate of about 1.5Mbps.
I noticed a sound delay of approximately one second between the two rooms. The delay wasn't a problem if both systems weren't playing at the same time or if they were separated by walls. According to IOGear the audio signal is buffered or temporarily stored before being transmitted from the Audio Station to the Audio Adapter. The solution is to use an Audio Adapter with each system to equalize the delay between rooms.
The only other difficulty I encountered was AM radio interference in the second room. When the Audio Adapter was plugged in, the AM radio in the mini system was unusable due to static and noise. FM radio was not affected. I contacted IOGear and after some investigation they discovered that some AM tuners were affected and others were not. I suspect that receivers with better tuner shielding are less affected by radio frequency interference (RFI) or Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI).
The problem was solved with an inline AC noise filter, an accessory costing $5 to $10.