As more and more home appliances are able to connect to the Internet, audiophiles have taken notice and expressed an interest in installing wireless audio-systems inside their homes. However, while wireless speakers are marketed as the sleek, no-fuss option, there are several factors at play that should influence the decision between purchasing a wireless or wired sound-system.
Upon first glance, a wireless sound-system looks like the easy-to-use option. Owners can move it around anywhere in their home, and there are no pesky wires to worry about. But is that really the case? Sure, there are wireless sound-systems on the market that are wire-free (or nearly). However, a speaker needs access to two things to work: an audio signal, and power.
The audio signal on a wireless system can be passed through a WiFi network that is transmitted by the system’s plug-in transmitter, or a built-in wireless transmitter. Right off the bat, if there’s a plug-in transmitter, this will add wires. Also, it’s always better to transmit the audio signal through a network that’s set up for the sound system, as to not slow down the network that your computer and other devices are connected to.
Additionally, a wireless speaker still needs to receive power through an amplifier. The amplifier can sometimes be built-in to the speaker housing, or be external. Also, the amplifier can run on batteries, or can be plug-in. The latter means that even though you can move your “wireless” speakers around the home, you may still have wires connecting those speakers to a nearby amp, or an amp to a power outlet. Either is not as “wireless” as it sounds. Finally, a wireless system may need its batteries replaced periodically.
However, wireless systems do also offer advantages, especially when it comes to convenience and connectivity. The high-end PW600 speaker from Paradigm offers high-performance audio in a wireless package, featuring streaming-controls via smartphone or PC that allow users to effortlessly connect to services such as Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, SiriusXM, and ESPN Radio, among others. Perhaps most importantly, the Paradigm’s wireless series components are equipped with Anthem Room Technology (ARC), which optimizes the system’s sound even when you move the speakers around. A plug-in mic measures sound output, instantly tuning the speakers to optimize performance in any space. This affords the line a significant sonic advantage over other hi-fi wireless systems.
In regards to a wired system, some shoppers may be put off by running wires through their home, and that’s a valid concern. However, a wired system does provide some advantages. First, it offers dependable performance and most of the time will not be affected by WiFi outages. Also, there is no need for messing around with batteries. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll likely experience better overall sound from a wired system.
At the end of the day, preferences and home layout is really what should guide your decision. Luckily, the helpful sound experts at Century Stereo are here to help you out with all your home-audio needs. Give us a call or visit our showroom anytime to discuss your preferences and needs to get some ideas about what type of system is right for you.