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What are Wireless Speakers?

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  • Written By: Bryan Pedersen
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 19 March 2014
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Wireless speakers are a great choice for anyone that wants to get rid of the clutter and tangle of messy wires. They are also an excellent choice for outdoor use, when stringing wires is not even an option. Plus, setting up wireless speakers is as easy as taking them out of the box. Most systems need only be turned on and properly tuned to the receiving speakers without having to drill the walls or lift up the rug.

With the increasing popularity of home theatre setups with multiple speakers, the benefits of wireless speakers have become even more apparent. Wiring two speakers may not be very difficult, but connecting those speakers way in the back of the room and navigating wires around objects or through walls can become a time consuming task.

Wireless speakers generally fall into two categories: infrared and radio frequency. Infrared, like a television remote control, beams a signal to the speakers. The disadvantage of this setup are occasional dropouts of sound. Since infrared requires a direct line of site, and any objects in the way can prevent the wireless speakers from receiving. Other wireless speakers use radio frequency waves to transmit the signal. And while the signal can pass through objects, some static can interfere with the sound just like when listening to the radio or when using a cordless telephone.

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Another consideration with wireless speakers is range, especially for use outdoors. Many living rooms aren't bigger than a twenty or thirty feet, but reaching the patio 100 feet away is a much bigger challenge. Many speakers can be purchased with ranges well past that, but it's best to test first, before believing the manufacturer's claims. Any number of factors will influence the range of a set of wireless speakers including house, building materials, other electronic devices cluttering the radio band, and even geographic location. All of these can significantly reduce the range of wireless speakers.

Setting up wireless speakers outdoors also requires additional consideration. Most systems are weather proof, but usually are not recommended for leaving outdoors all the time. It's best to read instructions carefully and take them inside when possible. The weather proofing also can cause a muffled sound, though in the backyard, acoustics and audiophile quality sound are generally not the main concern anyway.

Wireless speakers are getting better every day as technology advances and they become more and more popular with consumers. Modern radio frequency systems utilize better transmitters and receptors to decrease the interference, while infrared systems have redundant transmitters to help reduce dropouts. Sound quality is also being stepped up as the systems become better able to transmit quality signals. While wireless speakers cannot match a traditional wired system of similar price in terms of sound quality, they can certainly be an excellent choice for many situations.

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Discuss this Article

anon29178
Post 2

How is a wireless speaker designed and implemented? What are the needed steps required to create one?

anon23512
Post 1

smart phones (blackberries, blackjacks, iphones...) transmit a signal to their wireless network that interferes with wired stereo speakers and radios. Does infrared wireless transmission solve that problem for wireless speakers?

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