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WiiM’s Pro Plus – Just Brilliant at Price!

WiiM Pro Plus Review : Weam or Wim are the two ways of pronouncing WiiM, whose parent is Chinese firm Linkplay. The $219 / £219 Sonos Port looking WiiM Pro Plus is a relatively weightier and more solid variant of the original WiiM Pro, but it also has an improved DAC (AKM 4493SEQ), a low noise clock, power and circuit design, and a new ADC (Analogue to Digital Converter) on the rear line-in connection. AnalogUe, not Analog…. as I’m British.

This is meant for sharing turntables and CD players over the network to other WiiM players in multi room use – such as the WiiM Mini I previously reviewed. Link them for party mode or separate them to allow separate WiiM streamers to stream alone. Boasting lower noise levels than the Pro, purported to equate to improved sound, the ADC input now handles audio up to 192k/24bit as opposed to 48k/16 for the Mini and Pro. This is not something I would try because I’m unlikely to see a need to pass on CD’s and Vinyl to other streamers where I live, particularly as I use Roon Streaming in another room via my current set up of FiiO R7 and SP3 Active Desktop Speakers and so does my lounge system benefit from Roon locally.

Line Inputs mean you can send music from turntables and CD players over the network to other WiiM players like the WiiM mini.

You can use the WiiM with a TV – no eARC HDMI connection is present like with the Bluesound Node 2021 and latest Node X – but the optical input of the Pro allows you to use it with a TV and send your TV’s sound through your HiFi amplifier connected to the WiiM’s line outs, or alternatively using it just as a HiFi streamer in this guise. Of course if doing either you utilise its onboard DAC, the circuit converting digital audio to analogue we hear. But the Pro Plus can also be used as a transport to another DAC using its digital outputs – either the coaxial RCA connection or similar optical/toslink port. Whether it audibly improves on the standard Pro as a transport is yet to be tested by me, granted mention is made of the Pro Plus’ improvements to the power and circuit design.

Watch my YouTube video here

Whilst some ballast has apparently been added over the Pro to add 70grams, the Pro Plus is still small and light and doesn’t feel particularly solid and is plasticky certainly against the more luxurious plastic of the Sonos Port…. but that said, visually it’s similar and its case serves the purpose designed to house the component compliment and hold party to rear connections.

An internal Wi-Fi signal emitting aerial is possible with the plastic case for connection to the internet for streaming, or instead you can use the rear fixed RJ45 Ethernet port. This streamer has it all, streaming wise. Popularly Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect – allowing these services tablet and phone apps to essentially act as remote to tell the WiiM to pull the appropriate stream in native resolution, with the WiiM DAC handling streams up to a maximum 192khz/24bit via its analogue outputs.

WiiM Pro Plus Review : The Pro Plus comes with a remote control

But you also have Airplay2 streaming up to CD quality, Chromecast up to 96/24, DLNA for pulling streams from network computers and network drives, and it is stated as being Roon Ready on WiiM’s website… although not yet Roon’s interface tells us by not being in the Roon Ready list. The marker of Roon Readiness is of course being able to utilise the Roon RAAT protocol for best possible sample rate streams up to 768/32.

WiiM’s home app takes care of and integrates other popular and common streaming service integration like Qobuz, Amazon Music, and TuneIn internet radio, with Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect currently being hitherto the most popular way of streaming for audiophiles according to some polls. You can get the WiiM Home app on Android and iOS, plus Windows and MacOS apps are in beta testing at present according to looking at the latest posts on WiiM’s own internet forum.

WiiM Pro Plus Review : the App interface is fantastic at this money.

Chromecast Audio is useful if you use Chromecast from within capable apps…(e.g Soundcloud) let’s remember as a recap;

  • It’s good for those who don’t use iPhones with Airplay2 and around CD playback quality.
  • It isn’t gapless but is through Roon (WiiM advertise the pro plus as gapless but if you Chromecast from apps then by implication it can’t be because the Chromecast playback chain is limiting), and;
  • It gives a higher sample rate to that of Airplay 2 (up to 24/96 versus 16/44.1)

Welcome is the remote you get with the Pro Plus because being able to control volume, skip tracks and play/pause music less timed out tablets and phones is a bonus to quickness of use. But also available is muting capability, using voice assistant capable Alexa, Siri, or Google Voice Assistant by pressing the voice button, maybe a faff to some but a neat feature to others.

Bluesound’s pricier Node 2021 competes sonically better

But the ace card for HiFi use for me is the 4 numbered preset buttons… being able to select albums or playlists from music streaming services like Tidal or Internet Radio and assign them to the preset buttons in the WiiM home app gets your choice selections playing quick smart. There is another 8 presets in the app. This contrasts with Bluesound only having 5 presets in the BluOS app for streamers like the Node 2021 and X. With the Pro Plus you can select a preset from the front touch pad icons – as well as play/pause and volume, which contrasts the Node’s multiple playlist selections from its touch pad top panel ‘light dots’.

The fact that the Pro Plus has a volume control means you can use it as a pre amplifier. Most likely it will be used with price equitable headphone power amps or desktop based passive power amps, rather than in serious passive audiophile lounge systems. That said, use of budget streamers with active speakers like Adam Audio’s A7V where re-digitising of the audio happens again at the input in any event, means streamers like the Pro Plus can be particularly effective.  

Power is catered for by a USB Type-C 5V/2A socket meaning you can pimp the supplied iPhone-esque wallwart socket for a linear PSU type. Silent Angel’s Forester F2 PSU, albeit a rather price inappropriate power supply, shows what pimping a WiiM Pro Plus can do, which I covered in my video.

Currently the Pro Plus is in beta testing so far as higher resolution MQA Tidal streaming is concerned and on top of the features above, the Pro Plus is also Bluetooth capable. Its 3.5mm trigger out connection is used to bring compatible amplifiers out of standby mode when music starts playing.  

Argon Audio’s Solo at similar money sounds better but doesn’t have the feature set!

CONCLUSIONS

There isn’t any product on the market that has as much streaming use and capability at this price. Don’t believe me, then read the table below contrasting this WiiM, Bluesound’s Node 2021 and Sonos’ Port. Glaringly the Sonos Port has no Chromecast Audio, nor Roon Readiness, nor is it designed to be used connected to a TV, all of which the cheaper Pro Plus can do. As an aside WiiM sorted lip synching on an update pertaining to the pro so the input is fine with TV’s…. The Bluesound Node 2021 falls down with Chromecast….But there is also the point that the Port isn’t Roon ready so it can’t pass on highest sample rate streams supported by Roon’s RAAT protocol. The Pro Plus on the other hand, whilst limited by its own DAC to 24/192 if using its analogue outputs, can understandably support higher sample rates up to 768/32 if used as a Roon Ready end point via its digital coax bit-perfect output (understandably with EQ off and Fixed Volume output to on in the WiiM home app), when Roon Ready certification is finally complete. I look forward to trying that feature out, but in any event Roon certification will make it an extremely cheap Roon Ready end point – expect 6 months if the certification on the Pro is to go by. Sonos does support more streaming services, albeit WiiM (and Bluesound) have it all covered with the main Audiophile used ones, but the Port can’t match the Pro Plus in these main areas – nor to my mind, sound quality, as I explain in my video.

The WiiM Pro Plus improves on the Sonos Port in most areas now!

WiiM are constantly updating firmware to provide new features and if it is possible for this Chinese firm to produce all this at £219/$219, one wonders what they can do if they make streamers around the same price as the Bluesound Node and Sonos Port, regarded currently as amongst the market leaders in the Audiophile space. The WiiM may not cope with the sonic quality of Bluesound’s Node 2021 as I covered in my video, which is no criticism with the price difference, but in my opinion it does with the Sonos Port for reasons I cover in my video too. And let’s not forget the Port costs around double that of the Pro Plus! Respect! WiiM will soon be releasing the WiiM Amp based on the Pro Plus and going for some more of Sonos’ all-in-one market which I suspect is going to have them looking over their shoulders…..


SPECIFICATIONS

  • Dimensions : 140mm x 140mm x 42mm (W/D/H)
  • Weight : 400g (Pro Version is 330g)
  • Line Inputs : 1xAnalogue RCA input pair, 2Vrms, digitised up to 192 kHz/24-bit, SNR 106dV
  • Digital Input : 1 x SPDIF Optical, up to 192kHz/24-bit
  • Line Outputs : 1 x Analogue RCA pair
  • Digital Outputs : Optical (SPDIF), Coaxial output – up to 768kHz / 32-bit / DSD512
  • DAC : AKM4493SEQ
  • SNR (built in DAC) : 120dB
  • THD+N (built in DAC) : 0.00032%(-110dB)
  • Network : 802.11 b/g/n/ac 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz dual bands Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth : 5.1
  • Digital Audio Output : Bit-perfect output, up to 192 kHz, 24-bit with digital optical or coaxial output.
  • Audio Codec : MP3, AAC, ALAC, APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, OGG
  • Streaming Protocols : AirPlay 2, Chromecast Audio, DLNA, Spotify Connect, TIDAL Connect, Amazon Music Casting, Qplay 2.0, Roon Ready (in process of certification).
  • Streaming Services In App : Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, Tunein, Tidal, Qobuz, SoundCloud, Pandora, iHeartRadio, vTuner, Napster, Sound machine, etc.
  • Power Input : USB Type-C, requires 5V, 1.5A or higher, Bundled adapter: 5V, 2A
  • Touch Pad Buttons : Play/Pause, Volume +, Volume -, 1 x Preset

COMPARISON TABLE – PORT, NODE & PRO PLUS

Sonos PortBluesound Node 2021WiiM Pro Plus
Price$449 / £400$549 / £550$219 / £219
Spotify ConnectYesYesYes
Tidal ConnectYesYesYes
Chromecast AudioNoNoYes
Airplay 2YesYesYes
DLNAYesYesYes
Roon ReadyNoYesYes (soon)
WiFi / RJ45 EthernetYesYesYes
TV Connection / UseNo – no digital inputs or eARC, not designed for TV use!Yes -eARC HDMI inputYes – optical input (no eARC)
BluetoothNo – only select Sonos speakersYesYes
Main Streaming ServicesYes – Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon Music Yes – Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon Music Yes – Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon Music
MQANoYesYes – in beta testing
Apple Music AppYes – in own appNo – via Bluetooth / Airplay 2No – not in app but via Airplay 2 / Chromecast / Bluetooth
YouTube music AppYes – in own appNo – via Bluetooth / Airplay 2No – via Bluetooth / Airplay 2
Room EQ Sonos App supports bass, treble, balance & loudness adjustmentBluOS 4.0 App : Tone Controls OnlyWiiM Home App : Room EQ modes & parametric equalizer
Optical & Coax Digital OutputsNo – Coax onlyYes – Coax & OpticalYes – Coax & Optical

Written by Simon Price

I'm music lover who shares experiences of faithfully reproduced audio in an ENGAGING way with HIGH VIDEO PRODUCTION VALUES. I enjoy and make reviews as I love audio gadgets, being a voice on audio and producing creative videos that ultimately benefit the industry and new participation. I keep technicalities easy, as I believe great audio serves music and music is inclusive and to be enjoyed by all!

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