Why is wireless audio better for multi-room sound?
This is the third in a series of blog posts on the subject of wireless audio. Our objective is to simplify what to the average music lover is a complicated and confusing subject. We will publish a new installment about every two weeks, so please check back again. As always, we welcome your comments and participation.
Some audiophiles undertake the serious project of installing built-in wiring in a house. Although costly, in-wall wiring can solve the problem of speaker cables on the floor. With enough planning, an in-wall system can meet your playback needs; of course, the placement of the sources and speakers is fixed. One downside is that if you move, the wiring must stay behind. A wireless system, on the other hand, can travel with you to your new house.
Consider this analogy: Contrast a railroad train to an airplane. Railroad tracks require intensive labor to maintain the roadbed; airlines have terminals, but nothing else. A train can only travel to destinations connected by rails; a plane can fly anywhere (with an airport). Overall, for many applications, air travel is more efficient. That’s the difference between wired and wireless.
Wireless audio can take full advantage of the wonderful world of connectivity. Many of our favorite handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets have a very limited selection of wired outputs. They are primarily designed to communicate to the outside world using wireless technology. Using connectivity such as Bluetooth and WiFi, a wireless audio system becomes a seamless extension of the handheld devices. True, wired systems can be designed to include Bluetooth and WiFi, but these products are relatively scarce and in some cases their setup and operation is complicated.
With sources such as smartphones and tablets, wireless audio systems can take full advantage of apps. First, you download a wireless audio app to your device. Then from your handheld device, you can organize and browse your music library (whether it’s on your device, and sometimes even if it’s in the cloud or on a local server), listen to streaming music services, or tune to internet radio stations. Using the device, you can direct audio signals to your wireless playback unit, or to multiple units placed throughout your house. Of course, you can use the device to control playback volume. Access to music and control of its playback is all easily accomplished from your touchscreen.
A wireless audio system provides flexibility, expandability, connectivity, and convenience. It makes audio playback throughout your house a seamless extension of your handheld device. Wireless devices such as smartphones are better than wired devices, and for the same reasons, wireless audio systems offer advantages over wired ones. If your phone is wireless, why shouldn’t your audio system be wireless too?
If you’re thinking that wireless audio systems are pretty cool, the next step is to research them to understand the differences between systems, and determine which kind of system is best for you. We’ll consider those questions next….