Top line review: this is the accessory I've been waiting for! Super easy streaming that I always have with me. Sounds perfect! I'm streaming with it for several hours a day, whereas I rarely hook up my cable and gave up on the Roger Pen long ago. I still have some things on my wishlist, but this knocks out most of them. Not sure the price, but if it's inline with some of their other accessories and I had to pay for it, I'd definitely spend the money.
Streaming that you always have with you, no other accessories needed.
Streams from all apps on the iPhone/iPad.
Connection is generally rock solid, range is good - still works 30 feet/10 meters away from my phone with a wall in between
Audio quality is very good, on par with Direct Audio Cord, much better than AudioLink or Roger!
Audio level goes as high as DAC streaming.
Not that big, same size or slightly smaller than DAC cover or Roger cover. Will keep it on all the time.
Battery life seems about the same (my routine is off working from home "these days", so I can't say for sure)
Can actually stream at the same time as the AudioLink! (Yes two simultaneous streams!) So I use the AudioLink to stream from my computer (audio cable from computer to AudioLink, not Bluetooth)
Cons/could be better:
Doesn't stream from my Mac.
Doesn't use Sonnet (1 or 2) mics for phone calls, uses the phone's mics.
Sometimes needs to be power cycled to reconnect to phone if they've been "apart" for a bit. Quickly reconnects though.
My Sonnet mics are still on while streaming, audiologist couldn't find option to turn them off while streaming, and I don't see a software option.
Would be nice if iPhone's quick access Hearing Device controls in Control Center could change Sonnet settings and presets. Still need to use AudioKey 2 app or remote.
I was lucky enough to time a processor upgrade to pretty much the exact day AudioStream became available. I think MedEl actually slowed things down so that the timing would be right! It arrived Tuesday last week along with all my other new gear - the whole box was the size of a microwave! The AudioStream itself was in one of the small accessory boxes, like a battery cover or mic cover. It included the AudioStream itself and a new battery frame for disposables. The battery frame is marked with a tiny "fan"/wifi icon and it is imperceptibly shorter than the old frame. I tried sliding the AudioStream over my old battery on my (old) Sonnet, and it almost fit, but there's still a >1mm gap. I use rechargeables, so I had to open the new set of rechargables that came with my upgrade and grab the new RCB frame (also marked with a fan/wifi symbol) - I swear, it's impossible to tell the difference to the old one. So note: if you use rechargables and get the AudioStream, beg and plead for a new rechargable battery frame, or suck it up and buy one.
Once I got the batteries sorted out, I got started setting up on my old Sonnet. So... my situation with my iPhone is... unique... let's leave it at that. I'm 99% sure you won't run into the issues I had. (Oh! I have no idea how any of this works on Android! )Once I retried on my iPad (and later back on my iPhone with things cleaned up), I got the proper experience. I installed the AudioKey 2 app, launched it, signed in with my MedEl account (account registration requires a processor serial # to verify you are a recipient). Allow Bluetooth (obviously) and Location Services (for "Find My Processor") when prompted. Once you're in, you can then bypass everything else and click the 🍔"hamburger"/menu button in the upper left, and choose "Connectivity Options". Click "AudioStream" > "Configuration" > Pick Left or Right, then Next. Slide the AudioStream onto the processor to power up, hold close to the iPhone/iPad, and click Next. Patiently wait, you may have to retry the power up, scan step (I did). You'll be prompted for a name – in iPhone settings this becomes "<name>'s hearing device", so just give it a short simple name (I think it's max 8 characters). Now wait again... this part also timed out on me on some of my reconfiguration attempts. You'll be prompted for a "pairing request", click Accept! It'll say "success". At this point, you *should* be ready to go. Back on the "Configure/Update/Reset" page, don't bother with "Update" at this time, I assume the v1.0 firmware is up-to-date.
OK, time to stream... I had some music queued up, so I swiped down to get Control Center, and noticed my volume control had an Ear icon in it. When I pressed play, there was a delay, and the Ear icon went back to a Speaker icon, and the playback was paused. On my iPad, I pressed play again, and it hesitated, the Ear icon came back, I heard a faint "thunk" from my processor, and the streaming began! So from first setup, it may take a few seconds for the system to get everything setup to stream. Be patient. On my finicky iPhone, it wouldn't work straight away. Maybe I wasn't patient enough. I had to go to "Settings" > "Accessibility" > "Hearing Devices" and wait while it briefly scanned for devices. "Justin's Hearing Dev." appeared, cycled through a few different statuses and finally was "Connected". Tapping on "Justin's Hearing Dev." gives me a page with an option to "Stream to right hearing device" which should be on by default. At this point, streaming/listening to audio worked!
In regular use it mostly "just works". If I haven't been streaming for a while, it usually starts streaming again without issue. But sometimes the audio won't start - seems this happens when the AudioStream and phone lose connection for a bit due to turning off Bluetooth or physical separation. It'll think it's connected, but it's not. Powercycling the AudioStream solves the problem, but a handful of times I need to powercycle twice. Reconnection can be immediate, or sometimes it takes a few seconds.
What do I use it for? I'm streaming podcasts and web radio stations to it while I work and do chores. I used to want to do this, but hated setting up and tangling with the DAC cord, now it's just a few taps on my phone. I use it to watch YouTube videos (usually don't need captions) without bothering my wife and searching for headphones. I'll probably listen to more spoken content this way than any other moving forward - it's so convenient and I get rehab at the same time! I listen to music (mostly for the rehab benefit). I've tried some Zoom/WebEx calls, works great but my good ear is much better suited for that.
I'm SSD, and phone calls are infinitely easier and less annoying to the other person if I use my good ear. But I have tried a few calls and it seems to work well. Just have to remember to keep the phone close because it's using the phone's mics. On one call, I tried to switch audio to NOT use the AudioStream, but it kept toggling back to the AudioStream. I think this is an iPhone bug not AudioStream.
Another cool iPhone feature is "Live Listen" (I'll explain in another post how to set it up). This feature streams the iPhone's microphones to the AudioStream, and can be quickly accessed from Control Center. The audio pickup streamed this way is amazing! It can really amplify sounds, and background noise is greatly suppressed. It's like having a zoom lens for sound. It blows away the quality of audio from the AudioLink remote mic... by a lot! There is a slight delay however, and since the Sonnet mics are still active, it's a bit like an echo. Perhaps it'd be best to turn the mic sensitivity all the way down if you want to use this feature. Or hopefully MedEl can give us a way to control the audio/mic mix from the AudioKey 2 app. I won't use this feature a lot, since I have one good ear, but maybe I will find a use for it - it's fun and impressive to play with though!
Anything else?! Physically, it's a little big, but I don't notice at all. I have a large head with proportional ears, so it's still hiding behind my ear lobe. I don't have to look at it! For the benefit it gives, I'll trade-off anyone else's opinion of how it looks. It doesn't add perceptibly to the weight of my processor. I'll be wearing it 99% of the time vs regular battery cover.
Alright, I've said a lot (way too much). Let's conclude: It's awesome, I love it, you should totally get one! I don't know what it costs since I got it as the connectivity option on my upgrade. But if I were to pay out of pocket, say it was in the ballpark of $500 - I would absolutely spend that to have this. That might be a good chunk of money, but I've been waiting and dreaming of having something like this since before I got my implant!