“Computer audio” is the current favorite buzz phrase in high end audio. Ironically, non audiophiles are probably not too familiar with the term since playing music files from a computer, internet radio, or some form of a streaming service are daily activities. Since most listeners are not audiophiles, convenience and easy access to music are far more important than quaint notions of high fidelity sound. But nowhere is it written that you can’t have the best of both worlds; great sound and convenience. Forget complicated set ups with USB DAC’s, expensive playback software and esoteric computer tweaks. Many just want to hit “play” and hear files stored on their hard drives without jumping through hoops, but with high fidelity sound.
Some high end audio companies have heard the call, offering wireless streaming built into audiophile components. There have even been cheaper alternatives around for a while, including the Logitech Squeezebox and Sonos systems, but they require a bit more than novice-level computer and networking skills to set up correctly. Plus, they require software to be installed on either a PC or a Mac. All that being said, one company seems to determined to provide ease of set up, high quality audio, and and an elegant footprint. That company is BICOM.
BICOM, located in Monroe, CT, has been developing Digital Signal Processing (DSP) based technology for the telecommunications industry for the last 20 years. BICOM technology can be found in phone systems manufactured by NEC & Samsung. Recently, BICOM developed solutions to synchronize media while it is being distributed through IP, Ethernet or Wirelessly. This technology enables BICOM to develop a number of high tech multimedia solutions for both to end users and OEM’s.
Under their playGo brand, the company has produced a very neat new product called the playGo USB. Priced at $449, it's definitely a unique and focused take on wireless audio. The playGo USB system is compatible with both Windows and MAC, and is comprised of a sender module, and one receiver module. The sender module is powered via tethered USB cable, and the receiver module via a wal wart power supply. The modules are very attractive, and slightly remind one of Apple’s industrial design ethos. But these are better built than any Apple product I have handled. They are made of a special material called Corian, made by Dupont. This material is exceptionally durable, and is used in kitchen counter tops. By the way, the playGo USB is made in the U.S.A., very much unlike Apple products.