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Speakers determine the overall sound quality of your system, so it is definitely worth spending some extra time listening to a few models before making a purchase decision. Modern day speakers come with varieties of features, some you may need, some are not worth your extra bucks. Here, we have prepared a buying guide for you to let you know everything you need before choosing a speaker for your system.
One of the most frequent questions we get asked is whether someone should buy wired speakers, or wireless, so we find it necessary to discuss the pros and cons of each. Since features like Bluetooth and Wifi became common, manufacturers are slowly tilting toward wireless feature relieving us from the cable clutter, along with bringing gradual improvement in the sound quality. Wired speakers still dominate with proponents saying that wired speakers deliver far better sound quality compared to the wireless ones.
Since the wireless speakers started penetrating into the market, it was widely accepted that their wired counterpart delivers comparatively better sound quality. The reasoning for this is quite simple. It is much easier to transmit a greater amount of electrical data through a physical wire than sending it on a wireless signal. More data means greater audio fidelity, which is quite difficult to reach for wireless devices.
However, wireless speakers have shown great promise with technological advancement. The gap between the sound quality of wired and wireless speakers is a lot narrower than it used to be. Let’s dive into the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Wired Speakers: Pros and Cons
The biggest advantage of wired speakers actually has nothing to do with sound quality. The biggest advantage is about control. Wired speakers give you a lot of control on some of the aspects like sound. Whatever system you are using to stream the audio, you will need a digital to analog converter and an amplifier if you want to boost the analog signals.
This will have a huge impact on the sound, something you do not get in the wireless speakers. The thing you need to consider is that you may need to purchase these components separately thus a higher cost for you.
Wired speakers are also very easy to use unless you’re simply hopeless with technology because you will need to connect the cables to the different components.
Wired speakers give stable connection, and are cheaper than wireless speakers.
That doesn't mean they don't have downsides. Chief among these is that you will have to deal with wires – obviously. For some, a collection of snaking cables can be a real annoyance, an annoyance which can be multiplied if you happen to be setting up are full surround sound system. We’ll talk about the difference that expensive cables can make below.
The second major downside is that you will need to do a little bit of calculation when making your purchase, to ensure that the speakers are correctly matched to the power level of your amplifier. You don’t need to stress too much about this – you have to work quite hard to blow your speakers – but it is something that you need to do.
To sum up: you should buy wired speakers if you want precise control over your sound, if you want to be able to swap out components in the future, and if you’re okay with having a few wires lying around.
Wireless Speakers: Pros and Cons
The main advantage of wireless speakers is it allows you to have a speaker system that does not use any wires to function. All you need to do is plug in your speaker, connecting it to a wall outlet (or not, if it’s battery driven), then hook it up to your sound source via WiFi or Bluetooth, and you’re away. For us, this is absolutely the best reason to own a wireless speaker. It is so unbelievably easy.
Wireless speakers enable you to pair up a large number of speakers all around the house for better sound.
The main disadvantage is that you do not have any control over the amplifier or the conversion.
You also need to take into consideration that if there is a power switch or a power cut out, you cannot use them. It can also abruptly disconnect from the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth then you have to start the reconnection process again.
Since wireless speakers depend on wireless data transfer, it requires compression to be done which could lead to poor sound quality.
They are often more expensive than wired speakers, and some require a level of cabling because the main speaker has to be connected to a power supply and then you wirelessly connect it to the other speakers.
You also have to be careful about the range and anything that may interfere with the signal transfer. Some things like walls or corners can interfere with the transfer of data, and you’ll be unable to enjoy the sound without interference.
So where does that leave you? When would you buy a wireless speaker? Well, you go for one (or several) if you want an easy, efficient sound system that will fit seamlessly into your existing gadget ecosystem, without any hassle or additional equipment.