Should You Be Using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for Your Wireless Audio?
Finding the Best Way to Stream Music Throughout Your Home
Streaming music has become the most popular way to listen to a favorite album or song, and in turn wireless speakers have skyrocketed in popularity. Almost all major audio manufacturers have come out with their own models which allow users to stream music directly from their smartphone—no need to invest in additional sources or extensive wiring. Wireless audio solutions are typically distinguished by the type of connection they use: Airplay, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. In this article, we'll discuss the differences between all three to see which may be the best option for your Atlanta, GA home.
Bluetooth was the first wireless audio connection and is still popular among many portable speakers today. The biggest benefit of a Bluetooth speaker is that it is the most universally compatible. That being said, it has the most limited range out of all wireless speakers. Though you don't need a visible line of sight to your speakers, a thin wall will likely interrupt the connection. Another drawback of Bluetooth speakers is that they’re a standalone solution, meaning they do not work as a full wireless audio system. Since the technology works based on a direct pairing, you can only stream to one speaker at a time.
AirPlay Audio Systems
These speakers connect with Apple devices so that you can stream music directly from your iPod, iPad or iPhone. The biggest drawback of an Airplay connection is its limitation to Apple devices as sources, meaning that you can only play music off IOS devices whether it’s streaming music from your iPhone or accessing the iTunes library on your Macbook. Out of all the wireless options, they also expend the most energy. For this reason, few battery-operated models are available. If you want to turn your current speakers into wireless speakers, you can connect them to an AirPlay-enabled receiver that lets you play your iTunes library to speakers throughout your home.
Wi-Fi Wireless Solutions
If you want multi-room wireless audio, Wi-Fi is currently the best option when a traditional fully-wired solution is not an option. It offers the broadest range, meaning you can be over 100 feet from your speakers and still be able to control them. Wi-Fi networks can also carry uncompressed files to meet the demands of even the biggest audiophiles. It's also the easiest to incorporate into a full whole home audio system.
Wi-Fi speakers can be paired together and grouped into distinct zones then managed from a mobile app on your smartphone. With a basic installation, you get immediate access to the free streaming services like Spotify and Pandora as well as premium subscription services like Tidal. Have different music playing throughout the house; stream a Spotify playlist in the Kitchen while listening to Sirius XM in the living room.
To get the most out of your Wi-Fi wireless audio system, incorporate it with a connected amplifier or AV receiver. These let you turn traditional hi-fidelity speakers into wireless speakers that connect directly to your streaming services. These audio device add-ons also let you connect your wireless speakers to other source components like turntables or media libraries.
While Blue Tooth and AirPlay speakers offer a convenient option that you can take to any corner of your home, Wi-Fi is the best option when it comes to a full home wireless audio solution. If you want to learn more about the different types of wireless audio, feel free to contact a local BRAVAS partner.