The Tradeoff Between Wired and Wireless Speaker

The Tradeoff Between Wired and Wireless Speaker

Range Govindan
Oct 23, 2012

With more and more wireless speakers popping up, it seems these are the perfect solution to wire-related problems. However, do these speakers outperform wired ones in every case? Here's what you need to know if you're about to make a speaker-related purchase.

It seems a no-brainer. If you're about to purchase new speakers, you should probably consider some wireless options. You'll reduce some of your problems related to wires, although in most cases, these "wireless" speakers still need to be plugged into a power source, unless they contain a rechargeable battery.

On the other hand, wired speakers will still perform better in most cases than wireless ones. It's simply due to the wireless protocols used, and it will take time before wireless speakers perform on par with wired ones. Just like a wired Ethernet connection is still faster than Wi-Fi, a wired speaker can easily outperform wireless ones in audio fidelity.

However, the reality is not all, or even many, users require hi-fi audio fidelity speakers and wires. For example, I've got a wireless rugged Bluetooth speaker, a Braven 625S, that I use in the bedroom, or when I'm in the kitchen.

It makes sense to have a certain flexibility when it comes to speakers. Having a larger speaker that is compatible with AirPlay is beneficial if you just want to queue up some songs from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer. The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air and A7 are viable options, if your budget allows for such a purchase, since they can be connected to stereo components and a home theater system on top of being used as a way to play music from your mobile devices or your computer.

Here are some wireless options that will work with a variety of wired sources as well:

1. NAD VISO 1 Wireless Digital Music System
2. Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air
3. Bowers & Wilkins A7
4. Arcam rCube

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(Images: 1 & 3. Nad Electronics, 2. Arcam)

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