Music is an important part of our life, we listen to it all day long. Think back to the beautiful or sad moments in your life. You can probably still remember which song was played. The advent of wireless speakers have simplified listening to music, especially on the go. Wireless speakers for the home have also undergone enormous development. This means that the term “wireless surround speakers” is often not entirely clear. In this article we will tell you all about it.
WHAT IS A WIRELESS SPEAKER?
As the name suggests, a wireless speaker is a speaker without a cable. This sounds logical, but there is also a lack of clarity here. In an earlier article we explained the difference between powered and passive speakers. Many powered speaker manufacturers use the term “wireless” to indicate that music can be played wireless. This is also called “streaming”. These speakers still need to be connected to the power supply, which is not completely wireless. Speakers that are, have built-in batteries or a battery. In addition to the battery or accumulator, there is also a big difference in the way music is streamed to the speaker. This can be done by means of Bluetooth and WiFi.
WIRELESS BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS
Most of us will be familiar with the term “Bluetooth”. It is a technology that enables wireless communication between two devices. For example, it is possible to send audio from your phone to your speaker, but also send a file directly to your printer. Due to the short range, approximately 10 meters, Bluetooth can be seen as a replacement for short cables.
Bluetooth speakers are usually intended for outdoor use. They often come with a sealed housing, portable size, and built-in battery. This battery is possible because Bluetooth consumes little power. Wireless Bluetooth speakers generally do not have the highest quality and are not the most expensive speakers on the market. These speakers are therefore not suitable for use as wireless surround speakers.
There are Bluetooth speakers that work on a fixed power connection, but the majority of these speakers have a battery. This makes these types of speakers ideal for on the go.
WIRELESS WIFI SPEAKERS
Another technology that is often used for streaming audio is WiFi. We all know this technology from the wireless internet. Speakers that use WiFi are the aforementioned powered speakers, also called active speakers. These speakers are not completely wireless due to the presence of a power cable. However, they usually have more functions and streaming options, which makes them ideal for use as wireless surround speakers. Powered speakers are available in all shapes and sizes. They are often a lot bigger and have a more attractive design than the wireless Bluetooth speakers for on the go. Although the design is a matter of taste.
To stream audio to your speakers via WiFi, it is necessary to connect both the speaker and the source device to a WiFi network. Some manufacturers offer the possibility to have multiple speakers communicate with each other via WiFi. For example, you can place speakers throughout your home, all on the same network.
Wireless speakers are nothing new. These speakers have been developed considerably over the years, just like the various technologies with which audio can be streamed. In addition to Bluetooth and WiFi, there are a few other variants. For example, Apple came up with AirPlay a few years ago. With AirPlay it is possible to stream music from Apple’s mobile devices, a Mac or a PC with iTunes to an AirPlay-compatible speaker. However, to use this technology, a WiFi network is required unless the speaker has AirPlay PlayDirect. This can be compared to Bluetooth and sets up a network between the two devices.
Another possibility is WiSA, which we have already discussed before. This technology was announced quite silently back in 2013. Only in recent years more and more manufacturers have jumped on the WiSA train. WiSA can be seen as a WiFi connection. It uses a relatively unused portion of the radio spectrum. This makes it possible to stream music wirelessly, in high resolution. This means that the technology consumes a relatively large amount of power and that the speakers must therefore also be connected to the power supply. You won’t find WiSA in true wireless speakers on the go.
Little can be said about the quality of wireless speakers. As with wired speakers, there are huge differences. It is important to ask yourself what you are going to use the speaker for. Would you like a somewhat simpler Bluetooth speaker for outdoors? Then you can expect that the quality is not great. This does not mean that the WiFi speakers for indoors are of good quality as standard. Again, there are major differences between the cheaper and more expensive models.
Are you considering purchasing a new wireless speaker? We always advise you to experience the sound quality for yourself in advance. Just like the design of a speaker, the sound quality is a matter of taste. If you still want to look at the specifications of speakers, it is good to look at the frequency range and power.