Audio Pro

Audio Pro Link 2 steamer review

Turning boomers into alphas

₹ 29,990

Music lovers and audiophiles tend to be inherently different. If you identify with the former, you’ll likely hold on to your hi-fi gear for much longer, worrying more about your collection than what gear it’s played through. So take a moment to lift your head and look around. If you find an amplifier that still features a “tape” input, chances are you need a serious upgrade. The Audio Pro Link 2 is that genie of a product that ensures that the said upgrade doesn’t mean sacrificing your vacation budget.

Audio Pro Link 2 steamer review: Design

Essentially a wi-fi streamer with multiroom chops, it’s a nondescript box that has an analog input and output so you can connect even a turntable and stream it to other Audio Pro devices around your house. Of course, it also allows you to integrate Spotify and Tidal right into its own app besides supporting AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Bluetooth streaming. However, BT 4.2 gets the job done but not to the highest spec standards of 5.3.

The front panel is kept fuss-free with just a shiny Audio Pro logo and a few LEDs to denote source. The top has capacitive controls that are hard to read and hard to feel by touch due to their black-on-grey imprints and no differentiation to the surfacing. Thankfully, since the whole reason for its existence is modernisation, the controls are better managed via native or streaming service apps.

Connectivity is adequate with a line in/out that sorts out an analog source that you want to be streamed to other parts of the house along with optical and coaxial digital outs, ethernet and USB-A  for storing and streaming music via a flash drive. No specifics on the built-in D/A converter are given by the brand and it terms of file support, we had no issues playing WMA, FLAC, AAC, ALAC or MP3 formats. The app is pretty basic but it gets the job of setting up the Link 2 and syncing with your Spotify playlists done smoothly. Qobuz, Deezer, Tidal, Amazon Music and others are supported natively via the app too so you’d never run out of choice.

Audio Pro Link 2 steamer review: Performance

Regardless of the sound quality, if a device like this pulls your system out from the gramophone era, you’d be delighted. Fortunately, the sonic balance of Link 2 is so well-judged that it would put a smile on your face for all the right reasons. Hooking it up to our integrated amplifier and running both, Spotify natively and Apple Music via AirPlay 2, Doja Cat Essentials sounded lush and layered, almost like listening to physical media and that’s saying something about wireless streaming. On John Williams’ Raider’s March from the Indiana Jones OST, there is an impression of a restricted soundstage, but nothing that would be alarming unless you manage an A/B comparison with a high-end DAC. In fact, the built-in DAC seems perfectly acceptable for the price and functionality and considering it can stream tunes from vinyl, there is an A/D converter in there too. 

Vocals sound natural enough and there’s no undue emphasis on any part of the frequency spectrum, making it easy to live with and listen to for long periods. Just a general dip in openness compared to our reference DAC was experienced, but the fact that the Link 2 costs less than 1/10th the price should put things in perspective.

Audio Pro Link 2 steamer review: Conclusion

Beyond a doubt, the Link 2 would be an excellent addition to any system that needs a bit of a nudge to jump onto the wi-fi hi-fi wave. Even more so if you have an older system that you wish to retain without becoming obsolete. There are equally good competitors available out there now, but the simplicity and ease of set-up along with a very likeable sound makes the Link 2 easy to recommend.

Stuff Says

A nifty little device that adds a whole new world of functionality to your older or existing hi-fi and sounds good while doing it.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Easy and simple to fit into any system

  1. App is basic but helps visualize controls

  1. Entertaining sound that is forgiving of bad recordings

  1. No 3.5mm jack like on Gen1

  1. Soundstage and dynamics a bit compromised

  1. Bluetooth 4.2 feels a bit outdated

Connectivity: Ethernet, USB-A, Optical in/out, Line level in/out
Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
Built-in app support: Spotify, Tidal, Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Amazon Music, Deezer, Qobuz
Wi-Fi bands: 2.4GHz, 5GHz
File support: MP3, WMA, ALAC, AAC, FLAC
Dimensions (WHD): 180 x 36 x 126mm