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WiiM Amp

A number of newly-arrived brands are changing the network audio landscape, offering high-performance components at surprisingly affordable prices. But while companies such as Chinese-based EverSolo are challenging the established high-end names, the real budget star of the moment is California company Linkplay Technology: formed 10 years ago by tech entrepreneurs from big names including Google and Harman, it’s taking the streaming add-on market by storm with its WiiM brand, with products starting at just under £90 for its WiiM Mini.

This puck-shaped device, just 6.9cm across and 2.4cm tall, will bring AirPlay 2, Bluetooth and Chromecast into any system you connect it to, along with streaming services including Spotify, TIDAL and Amazon Music, playback of music stored on your local network, and both voice control and multi-room capability. Above it sit two larger models, the WiiM Pro and the Pro Plus, the latter with enhanced audio capabilities but still having a sub-£220 tag.

However, now WiiM has outdone itself with the £299 WiiM Amp, which – as the name suggests – has not just all the streaming capability onboard, but also 60W per channel of amplification, making it all you need to set up a network system with just the addition of a pair of speakers. It even has inputs for a range of external sources: you can plug in a USB drive and play music from that, there are both analogue and digital ins, and there’s even an HDMI connection, allowing you to route the sound from your TV through to the speakers.

The output to your chosen speakers – buy a sub-£200 pair and you could have a complete streaming system for just under £500 – is via good quality metal terminals, and there’s even a feed for an active subwoofer for a really big sound.

It does all this in a package just 19cm square and a little over 6cm tall, available in silver or space grey – which will please the Apple addicts! – and if you want to use it with headphones it’ll connect through Bluetooth for wire-free listening.

Control is via a simple volume control, also doubling for play/pause, and the supplied remote handset, which will work with Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri voice commands. Meanwhile, the WiiM Home App offers seamless control of streaming, plus detailed set-up of the WiiM Amp including 24 equalisation presets to adjust the sound, more customisable EQ options, and user settings for the subwoofer level and frequency range – you can even allocate a different package of settings to each of the WiiM Amp’s inputs.

Sound quality

With all that capability at such an affordable price, all the WiiM Amp needs to get right is the sound – and fortunately the designers have nailed that one, too: the presentation is well-weighted and suitably detailed, without ever straying into brightness or brittleness at the top end. True, bigger, less well-equipped and pricier amplifiers will give a more substantial bass and bring out more of the character of voices and instruments, but you’d really have to spend a considerable amount more to better what’s on offer here, and the balance is well-suited to relatively modest speakers with which this map is likely to be used.

Playing through my desktop Neat Iota speakers, and even a pair of PMC Prodigy 5s – admittedly both way beyond the level one might expect to use with a £300 streamer/amp (even if you could find another one!) – the WiiM Amp gave a good account of itself, proving more than capable of filling a decent-sized living room with enjoyable music, and showing little sign of strain even when played at levels a bit beyond the sensible.

Indeed, the more I used this little amp the more my appreciation grew, and the ability to hang one of the company’s other streamers off my main set-up and then use the WiiM Amp and a pair of compact speakers as a dining-room system in multiroom configuration, all under the control of the WiiM app, was hugely enjoyable.

Living with

This is about as simple as plug-and-play streaming audio gets. Set it up in minutes using the app, connect a pair of budget speakers, and you’re in business. What’s more, it works well with a Wi-Fi connection to a broadband router, though for those who want to play things very safe, and are intending to stream a lot of hi-res music, it may be worth taking advantage of its Ethernet wired connection. It won’t improve the sound, but if your home has a lot of Wi-Fi traffic going on, it will certainly be the most stable option.


Without a doubt this little amp, partnered with a suitable pair of speakers, will give a quality of sound to challenge any other convenient streaming solution this side of £1000 or so, and the neatness of the unit, and its ease of set-up and operation, definitely sets the standard for others to aim for. Whether you want a simple main-room streaming solution, or a little system for a second room, with or without that multiroom capability, the WiiM Amp is a winner.

Listening notes

Wars that shaped the world: Goalhanger

This immersive audio podcast series from Goalhanger takes the listener into the thick of the action of various conflicts, explaining and illustrating the battles. Through the WiiM Amp and nearfield speakers, the effect is as dramatic as it is illuminating

Philip Glass: Mad Rush

From the composer’s recent Bandcamp-released Philip Glass: Solo album, this is about as definitive a performance as you can get of the intertwining themes of this lengthy piece, and the WiiM Amp offers all the weight and finesse it requires

Ulysses Owens Jr: Sticks

A crisp, punchy rendition of the opening track from A New Beat, drummer Owens Jr’s live outing with his up-and-coming ensemble Generation Y. The WiiM Amp lets the brass sing out while keeping the bass tight and the stickmanship constantly thrilling

What the press say

Why you should buy it

There’s a simple answer to that one: there’s nothing else like it at this price level. The streaming side is clear and flexible, whether you just use it to play music from a smartphone or tablet, or explore all the online and network capabilities here, while the onboard amplification is gutsy, clean and involving, whatever kind of music you choose to play. Convenient, easy to use and huge fun, this is remarkable value for money.

Video review

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