Everything You Need to Know About Wireless Speaker Systems
Are They Right For You?
As a smart home and AV systems integrator, we have done dozens of residential and commercial audio speaker installations. If someone comes to us wanting to incorporate high-quality audio in multiple rooms in their Frisco home, we have many options we can propose.
We work with major speaker manufacturers like Origin Acoustics and Sonance for built-in speaker systems in homes. We also work with premier audio equipment brands like Mcintosh for high-end listening systems. Generally speaking, a wired speaker solution is going to provide the best audio performance in a home.
In some cases, homeowners may not want to run wires in walls for built-in speakers, or structural issues that might make that impractical. In the past few years, wireless speakers have become enormously popular, mostly from the prevalence of simple-to-use Bluetooth wireless speakers that allow you to stream most any audio from your smartphone or tablet. These days, wireless speakers can be a viable - and high quality - solution for one room to multiroom systems.
Read on to learn more about wireless speakers and see if they are right for you.
The Problem With Bluetooth
Bluetooth speakers are popular and easy to set up, and there are higher-end models from a plethora of audio manufacturers that have excellent sound quality. The problem with Bluetooth is that it is distance limited, meaning that the device transmitting audio to it, like a smartphone or tablet, must usually be no more than 30-40 feet away to have an uninterrupted signal. In the real world, walls and other obstructions in the home typically limit this distance even more.
The other problem with Bluetooth is that all the audio from your phone or device goes through that connection. When your phone rings, the music stops playing. When you get a notification - and they are constant these days - the sound from the speaker dips as that notification comes in. Besides these annoyances, Bluetooth typically offers lower sound quality as the audio is digitally compressed over that connection. And Bluetooth is impractical for a multiroom system as the technology does not do a good job of synchronizing sound across multiple speakers.
Other Wireless Speaker Systems
Several wireless music technologies are competing for space in your home. Apple’s Airplay is built into a many wireless speakers and AV receivers. Google’s Cast technology is integrated into speakers as well as a dongle device that can be plugged into many audio systems. Audio manufacturers such as Yamaha have Musicast, and Denon has HEOS. DTS Play-Fi was created by DTS (of movie surround format fame) as a framework for connecting multiple manufacturer’s speakers wirelessly into multiroom systems. All of these systems offer similar features, and some have small advantages over the others.
What We Recommend
There is a dizzying array of options in wireless speaker systems. But there is one we recommend above the others, and it comes from the company that pioneered genuinely wireless speaker systems - Sonos. The reason we recommend Sonos is that it offers a comprehensive wireless speaker solution that is elegant and easy to use.
Sonos offers a line of speakers that can provide quality sound in every room. They innovated the use of mesh networking technology to solve the issue of latency in wireless networks, which could make the sound from multiple speakers get out of sync. Their speakers can be used as a single speaker or tied together (wirelessly of course) as a stereo pair, improving imaging and quality in a larger room. They were the first to introduce Trueplay, which is room equalization software - similar to what AV receivers have - to tune the sound of their speakers to room acoustics.
Perhaps most important, Sonos was a pioneer in the development of a simple, easy to use app that aggregates multiple music sources - like your iTunes library, Pandora, Spotify and more - into one intuitive interface, and direct that source to play on one or more of your Sonos speakers. Sonos also recently introduced the Playbar soundbar, which is a high-end soundbar system for TVs and also participates seamlessly in a Sonos multiroom system. The combination of great sound, sleek design, and ease of use makes Sonos a winner in high-end wireless speaker systems.
If you’re looking for a home speaker system - wired or wireless - contact us to explore the options. Just fill out our online contact form, or click below to instantly connect with one of our technology experts.