What is the Axiim Q?
The Axiim Q is, as far as I can tell, the first WiSA-based wireless AVR to reach market. Full specs and features are available on the Axiim web site
, but here are some highlights:
- 6-input HDMI switching (1080p).
- 7.1 channel wireless audio output to any WiSA-compliant speakers from any manufacturer.
- HDMI CEC support that actually works (unlike many other supposedly CEC-capable devices I've owned in the past).
- Gorgeous, responsive UI for configuration, input switching, etc. Far nicer looking and more intuitive than anything I’ve used on previous receivers (Onkyo, Yamaha, etc.).
- Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity for updated background images, Wi-Fi direct audio streaming, etc.
- A fully-featured remote smartphone app (iOS/Android) that doesn't appear to be an afterthought like so many other marketing bullet-point apps. The Q is also completely controllable via IR and is compatible with Logitech Harmony remotes (I personally use it via a Harmony Elite).
- One-click firmware updates for both the receiver and the wireless speakers.
In short, WiSA is a wireless audio standard that doesn’t suck. Here’s the official pitch from the WiSA Association web site
Can I buy the Axiim Q AVR standalone?
WiSA technology transmits 24-bit audio at sample rates up to 96k/second, with robust error recovery for uninterrupted listening enjoyment. With extremely low latency and negligible speaker-to-speaker delay, it offers flawless wired-quality performance and reliability.
WiSA technology operates in the relatively unused 5.2 to 5.8 GHz UNII radio frequency spectrum, reliably transmitting uncompressed HD audio from 2-channel stereo to 7.1 surround, along with system configuration and calibration data. Older wireless technologies, by contrast, operate in the same crowded frequency band used by cordless phones, baby monitors, security monitors, wireless Internet hubs, and microwaves—resulting in interference and poor quality audio.
The WiSA Association was created to provide an interoperability compliance program for speaker brands and manufacturers of CE devices. Consumers purchasing products bearing the WiSA logo can be confident that these products will work together flawlessly in the home theater environment. This level of compliance is especially critical for new and emerging technologies such as wireless audio.
Currently, it appears that the Q can only be purchased as part of a 5.1 or 7.1 home theater bundle. However, the web site notes that "all items will be available individually in the future".
The Q looks a lot smaller than most AVRs. What gives?
Because the amplifiers are in the WiSA speakers themselves, the Q can have a much smaller footprint than a traditional AVR.
So you don't need any wires running to WiSA speakers?
I wish! With the Axiim Q, you don't need to run any wires from the receiver to the speakers
, but each speaker does need to be plugged into a standard wall outlet. This is necessary to power the per-channel amp that's housed inside each WiSA speaker.
Is the UI any good?
I think it's pretty slick, but judge for yourself. Here's a quick video walk-through: