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How Wireless Speakers Work

Wireless speakers use a transmitter (base) to send electrical signals from the stereo to the amplifier, usually incorporated within the speakers. The speakers turn these signals into sound waves that we can hear. Wireless speakers do exactly the same thing as all speakers: translate an electric signal into an acoustic one. The difference is these signals are not transmitted through wires, but through radio waves or through infrared waves (only in some surround speakers).

Wireless speakers technologies

Currently there are two major technologies for wireless drives.

1.       The first one is based on the radio transmission of FM signals from a transmitter to the speakers. The manufacturers say that you can position the speakers up to 150 or 300 feet away from the base station (depending on the model you buy), and they work even through walls, ceilings and floors.

2.       The second is based on the infrared transmission and is only used for the rear speakers in a home theater system (the ones that produce the surround effect).The first technology is preferred by manufacturers because it has fewer inconveniences.

What to expect

How can one describe them? Well, there are two devices that work in tandem, a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter picks up signals from an audio device or CD player (which it is attached to) and sends them to the receivers which are the speakers, even if they are placed in another room in the house or outdoors. Of course, we are only talking about how the speakers communicate with your stereo. But they still need power supply, and that comes through a wire, unless you're using batteries. The idea of wireless is a bit confusing at this point.


Wireless speakers usually operate in the 900 MHz FM range. Unfortunately, there are other home appliances and devices that may function within the same range, so there might be some jamming between them. Wireless speakers are said to interfere especially with older cordless phones and baby monitors. A good wireless speaker system will let you do some tuning in order to overcome those interferences.


Because wireless speakers have a built in amplifier, they need to use a power supply. Usually, they offer the user the alternative to use batteries or the AC adapter.Only Sony's SRS RF90RK is featured with a built-in rechargeable battery.


Most wireless speakers work within a range of 150 to 300 feet from the transmitter. The RF frequency is powerful enough to penetrate through walls and furniture. Most users are skeptical about these figures, though. Also, though all of the wireless speakers manufacturers claim that their devices are weatherproof, extra caution with leaving them out in the rain would be most welcome.


Practical Guide to Wireless Home Theater Systems

An Introduction:  True wireless home theater is still the unattained ideal many home theater owners would love to achieve. Thanks to advancement in new wireless technology, things are changing fast, and wireless systems are becoming better, cheaper, faster, and easier to use and install, however...

As things stand today, the term wireless in the audio and video world does not mean 'wireless' - rather all that it means is less wires. And this applies to any wireless speaker system presently available on the market. Still, this in itself can turn out to be a great advantage to many. Home theater systems are synonymous with a huge mass of home theater cables that are not only unsightly, but also difficult to troubleshoot should problems arise. Concealing this mass of cables is surely not a straightforward job. This being especially so if you do not have pre-wired walls and ceilings for an in-wall home entertainment wiring solution.

Professionals can do the job for you but it will surely turn out to be expensive, and often difficult to manage. Unfortunately, eliminating the mass of cables and interconnects between system components is still not a completely viable option. But reducing the clutter, yes.

Wireless Speakers Systems - Understanding the Technology

In order to understand the technology behind wireless speakers systems, first one must realize that there is truly no complete wireless speaker system. These systems still require at least some connectivity to a power source. Wireless speakers systems require amplification either through an integrated amplifier or through an external unit; and you cannot amplify a signal without power!

It is true that there are a number of battery-powered wireless speakers systems. However, these would normally be more suitable for multi-room audio or for external use rather than for home theater. Battery power simply cannot provide sufficient audio power for home theater use in a viable manner.

Therefore, the key factor with any wireless speaker setup is not a total wireless solution. Rather, it is the added flexibility and convenience of not having to wire the speakers all the way across the room or home. And this applies irrespective of whether this being for the rear surrounds, or for some remote speaker setup in a multi-room audio environment.


Why Things Suck: Wireless Speakers

By Paul Boutin 01.18.08 | 6:00 PM

We all love the idea of wireless speakers just plug the system’s base into your stereo and put the speakers wherever you want. “The reality,” bad sound and loads of interference. The big problem is multiple conversions or bootlegging, the digital signal.  Dolby Digital, DTS signals from your CD or DVD is converted to analog by your receiver amp. Then, to reach your wireless speakers, this signal must either be reconverted to digital format (further degrading the sound) and sent wirelessly, or turned into a lower quality analog signal sent by FM transmission. Either way, pristine audio isn’t an option. (Think how much better “Bohemian Rhapsody” sounds on your car CD player than over the local Clear Channel station.) Once the transmission reaches the wireless speaker, it must be reconverted so your analog speaker cones can rock the room. That’s at least three conversions from digital to analog and back again and each trip degrades sound quality. It’s just not worth it: You’ll need to run power cables to your speakers anyway, because no battery will crank out audio level wattage for very long. It’s your choice: aesthetically offensive speaker cables or crappy sound.