Sugg. Retail: $99.95 (US)
Manufacturer: Terk Technologies,
63 Mall Drive, Commack, NY
(Reprinted from the Fall 2003 Audio Ideas Guide)
I’d had one of these gadgets operating when I was called by the Terk PR agency to ask if I wanted to play with the Wavemaster 30. By “these gadgets” I mean a box that sends audio and video wirelessly to a similar receiving box in another room. The original was an RCA that I bought after seeing it at a Thomson dealer show.
The Leapfrog iteration is quite similar to the RCA, FM-modulating the signals at a frequency between 2.4 and 2.4835 MHz, but adds the capability of sending infrared remote control signals in the opposite direction, so you can change channels, hit Pause, and so on. This is a major bonus.
Inputs and outputs on the respective boxes are RCA phono jacks, with a remote eye on the transmitter that is placed so it can “see” the source component’s infrared sensor. You just take your remote control to the receiver room when you want to watch on that TV. There is also a coaxial throughput on the receiver for use with TVs that lack RCA line inputs, using the ubiquitous channel 3 for video display.
I had always found the RCA box (called an Audio/Video Sender) just barely adequate in terms of signal strength, the picture prone to lines and grain, and the audio noisy. Of course, getting a signal from the downstairs A/V room to the upstairs living room is difficult because of all the concrete and brick, and the fact that each room is at either end of a 3000 square- foot house.
Both units have 4 settings over the frequency range described above, the idea being to choose the one on both sender and receiver that best penetrates the obstacles and keeps the signal clean. After running up and down stairs four or five times, I found the best setting, and then started fine tuning positions of sender and receiver antennae, that for A/V being a swivelling paddle, and that for IR (converted to RF) a 3″ mast.
Now, I have Bell ExpressVu on both TVs with separate receivers, due to the dual feedhorn design of the dish. But Star Choice, with its dual feedhorn dish devoted to accessing two different satellites (hence the elliptical dish) did not offer that possibility. Therefore the Leapfrog boxes came in handy.
Did the system work? Yes it did, very well indeed, not only handy but dandy (Red Green would approve, though there’s no duct tape involved in the installation). The picture quality was detailed and vivid, with excellent colour, while the sound was clean and noise free. It was a little tricky setting up the little retransmitting eye to work with the receiver’s remote, but once I got it a couple of feet away from the front panel downstairs, it worked like a charm.
I highly recommend the Leapfrog Wavemaster 30 system as a highly effective and inexpensive way to expand your A/V reach.