The Chromecast Audio was one of the most truly useful gadgets of its time — a dedicated music streamer for under $50 that could also be controlled with your voice. Though you can still purchase the Chromecast Audio, it has been discontinued so long that there are now preschoolers who never saw it in production. I spent all of those years trying to find a suitable replacement, including some kludgy hacks to the Xiaomi Mi Box S, but in the WiiM Pro I finally found what I wanted. While the Pro costs more at $149 than the Chromecast ever did, the WiiM Pro can also do more — much more. It’s essentially a Sonos Port — a music streamer that can also distribute an analog source — but with full hi-res support and at one-third of the price.
Though it doesn’t actually replace the Pro, the brand new WiiM Pro Plus picks up where the Pro leaves off, mainly by improving the “simply OK” parts. The WiiM Pro did a lot of things right, but a weak point was its analog input, which had an AM-radio frequency response. The Plus potentially fixes this by adding a TI Burr-Brown Audio PCM1861 ADC to convert an analog signal and squirt it out to other WiiM devices (though not Airplay ones, sadly). While I didn’t have a problem with the sound of the analog output of the WiiM, the Plus adds an even better DAC (AKM 4493SEQ) and upgraded operational amp. It also does DSD, which should please some audiophiles.
Otherwise, the Plus offers everything that the Pro did including Wi-Fi, Ethernet, digital optical and digital coax. The streamer also offers an absolutely comprehensive number of streaming standards. including AirPlay 2, Alexa Casting, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, Qobuz, Deezer, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and Chromecast built-in. While the Pro is Roon Ready, the company says that certification is coming soon for the updated version.
The WiiM Pro Plus features a comprehensive control app for iOS and Android, but it also ships with a voice-capable remote.
Though most people will be very happy with the performance of the WiiM Pro, the new unit be worth the upgrade for some others. Specifically, If you’re looking to stream a turntable to other rooms, the WiiM Pro Plus looks to be your best option — and it’s still half the price of the Port.
The WiiM Pro plus is available from today for $219.