Linkplay Technology announced a new addition to its lineup today: the WiiM Amp. The $299 device serves as a receiver with a decidedly vintage focus, even more so than the WiiM Pro Plus that the company launched earlier this year, thanks to physical outputs that let you output directly to a set of old-school passive stereo speakers.
The WiiM Amp is now the priciest streaming box from the company, but it’s possible it earns it for the right person. It’s more versatile than most compact AirPlay 2 receivers thanks to plentiful streaming standard support and the unique set of outputs for the bring-your-own speakers crowd. That’s probably a very small chunk of the population, but there just aren’t that many wireless receivers like this that are so targeted, and judging from the tenor of the replies in WiiM’s forums, it’s a welcome option.
The WiiM Amp has several wireless music options, including Chromecast, Spotify Connect, TIDAL Connect, Alea Cast, and DLNA. It supports the usual audio formats like MP3, FLAC, ALAC, and AAC. But its color naming scheme — silver and space gray — is taken right from Apple, and its rounded corners give it a distinctly Apple Mac Studio vibe, just with a giant volume knob on the front. That makes sense, as this device fills a very particular niche with its AirPlay 2 support.
AirPlay 2 is a great multiroom audio standard, but there’s always been a frustrating gap between affordable AirPlay 2 receivers and very expensive high-end ones from the likes of Denon and Sonos. There’s not a lot in that middle ground outside of WiiM’s Pro and Pro Plus receivers, and even those have room for improvement.
Like the WiiM Pro Plus, the WiiM Amp supports up to 192 kHz / 24-bit variable bit rate audio out. It uses an analog-centric ESS Sabre ES9018 DAC. It outputs either 60W per channel at eight Ohms or 120W per channel at four, and it supports Stereo PCM but not Dolby Digital or DTS. Its two sets of banana plugs on the back give you two channels of passive stereo output, and a subwoofer connection rounds that out.
The WiiM Amp should appeal to anyone who wants a standalone, more straightforward way to get streaming audio to their old-school speakers than plugging a second-gen AirPort Express or one of WiiM’s other devices into an older receiver that might be on its last legs.