Forget Sonos, this low-cost streaming amp turned my 'dumb' speakers into a music powerhouse

WiiM Amp in lifestyle setting with speaker and turntable on a desktop
(Image credit: WiiM)

It's not often that I am this impressed by a new audio product straight from the box, but WiiM Amp quickly won me over. Usually, it takes a while for me to get fully acquainted with any product, but the California-based maker's approach to smart music streamers has one of the smoothest setup experiences I've encountered.

Everything about the WiiM Amp worked seamlessly. In fact, I'm so taken with the all-in-one music streaming amp that I feel inclined to say "Look out Sonos, this WiiM Amp turned my dumb Hi-Fi speakers into a great-sounding music system for less." 

While I've often considered the Sonos Amp a great way to bring multiroom sound to a pair of passive speakers, it's pretty expensive at $699 / £699 / AU$1,099. But the WiiM Amp has similar smart streaming capabilities and multiroom integration for just $299 / £319.

WiiM Amp: $299 @ Amazon
A fantastic music streaming hub with hi-res streaming support, just add a pair of your favorite passive speakers. It's got clean power that's rated at 60W per channel at 8 ohms (120W at 4 ohms) and a high-performance DAC for rich, audiophile sound so you get the best from music services like Qobuz, Tidal, and Spotify.
Price check: $299 @ Crutchfield

WiiM Amp: <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=45724&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FWiiM-Amp-Multiroom-Streaming-Chromecast%2Fdp%2FB0CGCLXH4H%2F%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">$299 @ Amazon
A fantastic music streaming hub with hi-res streaming support, just add a pair of your favorite passive speakers. It's got clean power that's rated at 60W per channel at 8 ohms (120W at 4 ohms) and a high-performance DAC for rich, audiophile sound so you get the best from music services like Qobuz, Tidal, and Spotify.
Price check: <a href="https://shop-links.co/link?publisher_slug=future&exclusive=1&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.crutchfield.com%2Fp_399WIMAMPS%2FWiiM-Amp-Silver.html&article_name=hawk-article-name&article_url=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="crutchfield.com"" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">$299 @ Crutchfield

I've tried out all kinds of music streaming setups over the years. From established audio specialists making streaming amps costing thousands of dollars like the Cambridge Audio Evo 75 ($2,249) or the NAD Masters M10 v2 ($2,999), as well as the BlueSound Powernode Edge ($649) — Sonos' closest streaming amp price rival.

Until now, I've been impressed by the level of streaming smarts and performance on offer even at the high prices of the luxury audiophile market. But WiiM is shaking things up with audiophile-grade models at super low prices.

WiiM Amp with packing box

(Image credit: Future)

A powerful low-cost streaming solution

Wiim Amp app menu screens

Strong streaming service support with app access to Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon Music, Spotify, Napster, Pandora, TuneIn, Deezer, and more. (Image credit: Future)

The genius WiiM Pro streaming device was the company's first model I tried, bringing music streaming smarts to a traditional Hi-Fi speaker and amplifier setup in a convenient add-on for just $149. 

The WiiM Amp is a new 60W per channel at 8 ohms (120W at 4 ohms) streaming amplifier with full hi-res audio (24-bit/192kHz) support handled by the built-in audiophile ESS DAC (digital-to-analog converter). Like the WiiM Pro, it's a compact solution. The Amp is encased in a strong 7.5-inch square aluminum box that stands 2.5 inches tall. There's a volume knob on the front panel that also enables playback control when the remote or app aren't nearby, and a row of LEDs indicates the Amp's power output level. 

The compact dimensions make the WiiM Amp easy to accommodate as part of a desktop speaker setup, or anywhere you have a pair of passive speakers needing full streaming smarts.

Build quality is remarkably good, and the space gray color option looks more sophisticated than the black Sonos Amp when I placed them side by side. The WiiM Amp is also available in silver.

The WiiM Amp is supplied with a Bluetooth remote that has Alexa voice control, should you be so inclined. Mostly though, I've been using the excellent WiiM app to navigate my multiple streaming service subscriptions and access my Tidal, Qobuz and Spotify libraries and my favorite playlist. It's the same as the app for the WiiM Pro and is impressively intuitive to use. Whether you're scanning your music libraries or diving into the settings menus to fine-tune the setup, everything feels logical and straightforward.

The WiiM Amp will blow any audiophile's mind without blowing the budget.

Wireless connectivity runs to Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, Spotify Connect,  Tidal Connect, Alexa Cast, DLNA, and two-way Bluetooth. Much like Sonos, the WiiM app integrates seamlessly with many of the best music streaming services, giving access to Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon Music, and Deezer libraries via the app's 'Music services' screen. TuneIn, SoundCloud, iHeartRadio, Radio Paradise, and BBC Radio are also available. All services can be managed in the app so that only the ones you subscribe to appear on the home screen. There's no Roon-ready support currently, but as we found with the WiiM Pro, certification could arrive later.

WiiM Amp 3/4 images showing rear connections

(Image credit: WiiM / Linkplay Technology Inc.)

As a compact integrated amplifier, physical connections are well catered for with standard speaker binding posts, a subwoofer output, and optical digital and analog inputs for connectivity to external sources. An HDMI ARC port means it can connect to a TV for integrated sound and control. USB and Ethernet ports are also available. 

As for sound quality at the price, the WiiM Amp is incredible. I swapped it with my integrated amp that cost ten times as much and claims almost five times the rated power output of the WiiM Amp. It was going to be a tough test (or so I thought) but the WiiM Amp performed surprisingly well.

The soundstage had a good sense of 3D, which is a key element of any good stereo amplifier. The sound was a little leaner in its presentation, and it didn't have the richness or soundstage depth I'm accustomed to hearing with my regular 250W per channel amp going full pelt, but it was closer than I ever imagined given the power output and price disparity. It managed to drive my floorstanding tower speakers without any signs of complaint, and the little amp always felt like it had full control of the speaker drivers. Only some slight hardness at higher volume levels gave away the WiiM Amp's budget price tag.  

WiiM Amp app menus 2

Whether you're fine-tuning your setup or connecting wirelessly to Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, or via the two-way Bluetooth, the possibilities feel almost endless and everything runs smoothly. (Image credit: Future)

Partnered with a pair of well-designed budget or mid-priced speakers from a traditional Hi-Fi maker like Bowers & Wilkins, Klipsch, or Q Acoustics (other brands are available), and this little amp will deliver an impressively big sound. It's one of the most affordable entry-level all-in-one music streaming amps on the market right now, and a great starting point for budding audiophiles everywhere. 

More from Tom's Guide

Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.

  • BioMedTechGuy
    After 20 years in the upper echelon, at least for where I live, in Home Theater, I left "the biz" in 2009.
    I prefer some older gear, like the heart of my Theater Room is a circa December 2004 Sony STR-DA 9000ES receiver, and a 1998 Sony TA-N9000ES 5 channel amp run in BridgedTransformerLess (BTL) 2 channel mode, for the L,R front speakers. Anyway, I had bought a Chromecast Audio device and I enjoyed it for a couple of weeks, and I still use it, but the WiiM Pro streamer came out and it has been amazing! I have been able to set the output resolution to the max that will still allow the receiver to play back in 2.1 channel "AFD" mode, WiiM is very considerate of the customers requests for additional capabilities and they update often with any abilities that can be achieved. I'm glad to see their product line expand and as long as they continue to treat the end user well, I think their success will continue.
    Reply