Some time back the only option available to us was wired speakers. With advancements in wireless technologies such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and others, wireless speakers became a viable and popular option. Many people argued that the quality of wireless speakers was inferior but is this still the case today? We look at a common debate between wired vs. wireless speakers.
What people said, and was true in the early days of wireless technology, is that you can transmit better quality at speed over a cable. If you take your sound and audio seriously, quality is everything. Even the best system will not perform well or sound perfect if the signal to the speakers is poor.
The reasons for the improvement in wireless speakers
This all comes down to the technology used to deliver the audio without wires. Let’s take a look at the main options.
This technology has been around for many years now and, as with most technologies, has undergone multiple improvements. The more recent Bluetooth protocols are infinitely superior to earlier versions. This allows for longer distances, greater data volumes, as well as faster speeds.
This is now a standard in many homes and again, the technology has improved over the years. WiFi allows you to transmit large amounts of data at high speeds making them ideal for wireless speakers.
Another factor is speaker design. The driver technology, power management, and other aspects have improved. Some speakers are specifically designed to operate wireless and this helps to improve the quality of the output.
Are wireless speakers as good as wired options?
The debate still rages on. The reality is that things are certainly a lot better now than even just a few years ago. They have certainly improved in leaps and bounds since the early days of wireless speakers. But are they as good?
As with anything, you get good and bad. You get some top-quality wireless speakers and many poor wireless speakers. So one thing you have to do is be sure that you compare apples with apples.
Unless you are a true audiophile and expect perfect quality and can detect the small nuances in sound or audio output you are not likely to have any regrets if you invest in quality wireless speakers.
Let’s take a look at the facts and you can decide for yourself.
Pros and Cons of Wired vs. Wireless Speakers
Wired speaker advantages
Everything else being equal, you will have a more stable and quality output from a wired speaker system. Despite advances in wireless technology, a wire is still the best you can get. The quality and clarity are better, there is no latency, and the output is stable. The difference is negligible but if you are serious about sound it is hard to deny that a wired speaker still has an advantage however small it is.
The speaker wires deliver power to the speaker so there is no need for rechargeable batteries or AC power.
They are generally less expensive than wireless speakers.
Once connected, wired speakers are easier to use.
Wired speaker disadvantages
Cable clutter is the main issue. Even on a simple system, you will have multiple wires that get in the way. It is always a challenge to make them neat and tidy. They do not look great so care has to be taken to try and conceal or neaten them. On more complex systems with multiple speakers and other connections, this becomes even more of an issue.
Exposed wires are at risk and can be damaged by people, pets, cleaners, and other activities. Damage can be tricky and costly to repair.
Your positioning options are limited by the length of the wire as well as how you plan to run the wire. Placing the speakers correctly is critical for good sound. An odd-shaped room makes this task even more difficult.
Wireless speaker advantages
The main advantage is that you have the freedom to position the speaker in the optimal position without any cables getting in the way or restricting you. The result is neat.
It also takes less time to set up and position the speaker as you do not have to run the cables.
There is no risk of pets, children, or other issues causing damage to the wires.
The speakers can easily be moved if you rearrange the room or need to move them for any other reason.
Wireless speaker disadvantages
Despite great improvements in wireless technology, it cannot match the speed, quality, and reliability of a wired system. Although many will not notice it, the output quality is not quite a good as a quality wired system.
Wireless signals are also susceptible to interference from other appliances or external factors. Although this is rare on good modern systems it can still happen. Signal loss or disconnecting issues can reduce the sound quality.
Multiple users and large data transfers over a WiFi system could cause latency or loss of quality.
The range is limited so despite having the freedom to position them wherever you wish you still have to take range into account.
You will either have to factor in a power supply that uses a wire anyway or rechargeable batteries. These can both be an irritation.
Wireless speakers tend to be more expensive than wired options.
So, which one do I choose?
The question still remains as to which option is better. This will depend on several factors. These include, but are not limited to, your desire for audio perfection, the size and shape of the room, the type of audio you intend listening to, and your personal preference.
Fortunately, the best wireless speakers are so close in quality to wired options that the average listener will not notice a significant difference. As you have seen above, both options have positives and negatives. It will be up to you to decide on the best solution for your needs.
The choice is yours and it is great to have such freedom of choice. For many, a wired speaker system is not an issue but many will prefer the flexibility and freedom of wireless speakers. We have given you the low down on both options so that you can make an informed decision and get the best solution for your requirements and environment.