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On our desk this week - 9

Sondigo Sirocco

Cost: $140

The Sirocco is a wireless audio bridge. What does that mean? It's a product that takes audio from your computer and plays it through a set of speakers not connected to your computer.

Why would you want to do that? Well imagine, for example, that you have your PC upstairs and your home cinema speakers downstairs. Using the Sirocco, you could listen to your MP3 library on your cinema speakers. Perhaps you have speakers in the kitchen and your music on your laptop - you could play back your tunes through some decent speakers, rather than the rubbish laptop ones.

On our desk this week - 9 Sondigo sirocco On our desk this week - 9 Sondigo sirocco On our desk this week - 9 Sondigo sirocco On our desk this week - 9 Sondigo sirocco
It's a fairly simple premise. The Sirocco has a wireless antenna, so you can stream music from your computer with a direct connection. It then has a bunch of audio output ports so that you can connect your speakers. The bridge supports stereo and Dolby 5.1. There is an optical audio out as well as analogue surround out.

On our desk this week - 9 Sondigo sirocco On our desk this week - 9 Sondigo sirocco
Setting up the Sirocco is pretty easy. First, you have to hook it up to a Windows box using ethernet. You can install the software on the Windows box, then use it to configure the name of the device. Once that's done, unplug the Sirocco and hook it up to your speakers, wherever they are.

On our desk this week - 9 Sondigo sirocco On our desk this week - 9 Sondigo sirocco
You can control your audio output using this control panel. You can switch streaming on and off, control the latency and configure multiple devices, so you can send different audio streams to different rooms. You can also control the output mode and use virtual surround sound speaker placement.

The Sirocco is completely DRM-agnostic - it doesn't care what kind of content you feed it.

The Sirocco is undoubtedly a natty device, no doubt inspired by Apple's AirPort Express. If you need to stream audio around the house, this is a great, user-friendly solution. At $140, it's not cheap, and an extremely long piece of speaker wire would clearly be cheaper - but that's not really the point. The software works properly and we didn't encounter any issues playing various types of music files. We recommend you check it out.