Wireless Audio

The True Meaning Of Wireless Audio

There tends to be a lot of confusion with the word ‘wireless’ when it comes to home audio ceiling speaker systems.

Let’s dispel a few myths though to give you a clearer understanding so you can find the right solution for you.

There is increasing interest in having ‘wireless’ speakers. Whether that is a portable speaker, a home HiFi system or through ceiling speakers – it’s the must-have product.

‘Wireless’ Audio Connection

First thing first – the way in which you can connect for audio is the one major factor in any system.

When we talk about ‘wireless’ connection, it is how the device you play from connects. In this instance, you have two main ‘wireless’ connections; Bluetooth and WiFi.

Bluetooth

The concept of Bluetooth has been around since the early 1990s. It has been an integral component of mobile phones for almost two decades, more so for handsfree use in cars.

Connecting via Bluetooth is really simple when connecting for audio purposes.

Within your device settings you’ll find the option for Bluetooth – select to switch it on and it will search for devices nearby.

Bluetooth works within a range of around ten metres. There are range extenders, but these can see a drop in signal strength, so stick to what it can do.

Normally, the device you want to connect to will have a clear name to identify it, check your manuals if you’re unsure. Select it, and it will either connect automatically or you may need a PIN code to connect. Once connected, you can then enjoy whatever audio apps, streaming services or stored music library with ease.

WiFi

WiFi can work in exactly the same way as Bluetooth, but it does depend on whether your audio system is WiFi enabled or not.

For example, Sonos is one of the market leaders for WiFi connection and the ability to play multiroom audio.

They rely on your home WiFi connection, the same way as some printers that can print wirelessly. It means you can go beyond the limited ten metres of Bluetooth and with a more stable connection.

Simply make sure your device is connected to WiFi and open up the app on your device that controls your audio system. It really is that easy! Sonos allows for integration of a range of streaming services (Spotify/Apple Music/Deezer etc.) and your own stored audio. You can even access radio streaming apps through the Sonos app.

Look out for more direct WiFi connecting systems in the very near future with developments in the pipeline.

‘Wireless’ Speakers

This is where we put to rest what is and is not a ‘wireless’ speaker and break down any real confusion.

“It has cables? That’s not wireless…”

Currently, the vast majority of our audio systems require speaker cable to a connecting amplifier needing power. Some do not – some are literally are a speaker with a built in/built on amplifier (which still needs power).

The former statement you can argue is not entirely ‘wireless’. And that is where the confusion often lies.

Many customers confuse the meaning of ‘wireless’ system with ‘wireless’ connection.

At BuyCleverStuff, our aim is to provide systems that allow you to play audio without a cable from your device to the speaker.

‘Wireless’ wired system

With some ceiling speaker systems, speaker cables (wires) need to run from an amplifier that sits above in the void (KB Sound). You can also cables run across and down a wall to a keypad (Systemline / Clever Little Box / Keene / King BT).

All will need mains power to them, either from a spur or from a break out to a plug socket. This is a great option if you are at first fix in your property before plastering.

Whether the connection is Bluetooth or WiFi, in this set up, you will have a ‘wireless’ connection for devices with a ‘wired’ discreet system that hides cables behind walls.

‘Wireless’ wireless system

Some ceiling speakers though have an amplifier built into and on them.

They do need one power cable to get it to work. They DO NOT take batteries.

Could you imagine wanting to change a bulk load of giant D batteries in your ceiling every other week? That is essentially what you would need to do with the power some amplifiers output – so mains power needs to be used.

Usually, it is a single speaker with the amplifier built in to it. You can expand to a second speaker if you wish – especially with the Lithe Audio products. Only then would you need a speaker cable simply to connect from one speaker to the other – and one cable/wire at that!

This built in option (without a second passive non-powered speaker) gives you a ‘wireless’ connection for devices and ‘wireless’ system – just a power cable.

Hopefully that has now explained the meanings of ‘wireless’ when it comes to our home audio systems available from BuyCleverStuff.

Not sure how many speakers you need? Check out our previous article on this to help you out room size-wise.

Room Size Help Guide For Ceiling Speakers

Simple Room Size Guide For Ceiling Speakers

Having a full understanding of just how your ceiling speaker system will work and how to get the best out of it is a great knowledge to have, particularly with a guide for ceiling speakers and a suitable room size.

You may have read in our previous article which showed this and gave a full explanation on how to decide on which ceiling speakers and where you position them.

However, we also know some of our customers just want a simple answer and an easier way to decide.

So with that, here we have some practical examples of rooms and suggested speaker sizes.

In addition we are now adding search filters relating to these to our website to help our customers select the correct ceiling speaker system.

Average UK Room Sizes

We have based our room sizes on a number of plans from high-profile UK homebuilders, including longer narrow rooms such as converted open-plan kitchen diners. Although not a definitive list, it gives a good approximation:

Average Room Sizes 1 (Redrow 2016)
1) Example of an average UK home and room size (Redrow 2016)
Average Home Sizes 2 (Redrow 2016)
2) Example of an average UK home and room size (Redrow 2016)
  • Lounge / Living Room – 5m x 3.5m
  • Large – Lounge / Living Room – 5m x 5m
  • Kitchen / Dining – 6m x 3.5m
  • Large Kitchen / Dining – 9m x 4m
  • Dining Room – 4m x 3.5m
  • Kitchen 4m x 3.5m
  • Family Room – 4m x 3.5m
  • Utility Room – 2m x 2m
  • Master Bedroom – 4.5m x 4m
  • Other Bedrooms – 3.5m x 2.5m
  • Ensuite – 2.5m x 1.5m
  • Family Bathroom – 3m x 2.5m

As can be seen in these average room sizes, there are a few variations. To keep it simple, we’ll focus on key rooms where most of our customers would fit ceiling speakers, these include Living Room, Kitchen Diner, Master Bedroom and Family Bathroom.

BuyCleverStuff – Room Size Guide

So here is our final guideline – and what we define through our website for sizing of rooms, and an idea of the speakers you’ll find when you filter:

Room Size Guide

Room Size (metres)Room Size (feet)BuyCleverStuff Size DefinitionSpeaker Option To Expect
2m x 2m6' 6.7" x 6' 6.7"SmallOne pair of 2.5” speakers OR one single stereo 6” speaker
4m x 3.5m13' 1" x 11' 6"MediumOne pair of 5”+ speakers OR one single stereo 6” speaker
5m x 5m16' 5" x 16' 5"LargeOne pair of 6”+ speakers OR two pairs of 5” speakers
8m x 4m26' 3" x 13' 1"Long NarrowTwo pairs of 5”+ speakers OR two single stereo 6” speakers

Although this is only a few of the options available, and some rooms will not fit within these dimensions, it is only guidance, to the best of our knowledge and advice.

We feel that these four variations will allow our customers to highlight only ceiling speaker systems which are the most appropriate for the room in question.

If your room layout is not covered (i.e. for an exceptionally unique size – hedge a guess if your room sits between sizes) or you have a multiple room audio requirement, please do not hesitate to contact us with your specific requirement.

Ceiling Speakers - What Type & How Many Do You Need

Ceiling Speakers: What Type & How Many Do You Need?

Where ceiling speakers, and installation, is concerned – this is a common and somewhat difficult question to answer.

There are so many variables to consider first and foremost.

These extra things to consider include the room size, layout, ceiling height and even furniture within the room.

In this article, we want to try to be as general as possible without too many deep technical details. We understand many of our customers want a straightforward in ceiling audio solution, however let’s handle some basic principles first.

Ceiling speaker dispersion angle

Dispersion angle is the important feature to note in your ceiling speaker specification, this tells you at what angle the audio leaves the speaker.

The wider the angle, the larger area the speakers will cover. This is may seem to be a pretty good indicator, however it’s not always quite that simple.

The angle quoted is usually for the entire speaker and not for the tweeter where the detail of the music is generated, so at the extremities of the dispersion angle you might only hear bass and limited treble.

Positioning ceiling speaker

So now we understand a little about Ceiling Speaker dispersion angle, but another factor is that ceiling speakers, and speakers in general, usually sound louder at their centre compared to listening at an offset angle.

With this in mind, an overlap coverage is usually suggested to ensure that both the volume is equal and also so that the higher frequency detail of the audio playing is directed to the listener.

Ceiling Speaker Overlap Coverage
Ceiling Speaker Overlap Coverage

The solution is simple just have more speakers? If it was only that simple – this now becomes challenging in large rooms where limitations mean that only one of two pairs of Ceiling Speakers are possible.

The simple solution without adding more audio amplifiers is to choose the biggest speakers to give the widest native disbursement pattern.

An important point regarding this, don’t assume the bigger the speakers, the wider the angle. However, it is usually the case that large ceiling speakers have a wider dispersement.

Where you listen

Another factor to consider is to think how the listener will listen to the audio.Will they be standing or sitting? It might not sound important, but trust us, it is!

If the listener is only going to listen to audio in one fixed position, then the best placement for the ceiling speakers would simply be near to the sitting position with a single pair.

However, if the room is a living space the listener might be walking around, or maybe even entertaining guests. This changes the number of speakers and the position between the speakers.

For example, if on average a head height is around 4ft (1.2m) when seated, you then need to consider that when standing this could increase to anywhere between 5ft and 6ft (1.5-1.8m).

On the seating layout, the ceiling speakers could be placed wider apart than those within a room where the listener is more likely to listen whilst standing.

Ceiling Speaker Position (Seated)
Ceiling Speaker Position (Seated)

We want to give basic guidance for the number of ceiling speakers in a room based on our experience and the speakers we offer at BuyCleverStuff.

We understand a lot of the above is difficult to put into practice. With all the variables when choosing a ceiling audio system – let us break it down again.

Breakdown of positioning

First, we need to work out an average placement spacing across our full range of speakers. Below are a few examples of the ceiling speaker dispersion angle based on an average 2.2m (7.2ft) ceiling height, and the spacing that we would recommend is as follows:

  • 90° dispersion angle / Spacing at 4.0ft (Seated) or 2.8ft (Standing)
  • 120° dispersion angle / Spacing at 4.5ft (Seated) or 3.5ft (Standing)
  • 175° dispersion angle / Spacing at 5.5ft (Seated) or 3.7ft (Standing)

As you can see the Ceiling Speaker spacing placement can vary quite a bit between, and the diagrams really help to explain this if you were in the room and listening.

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The first shows a room with just the right number of speaker where the listening height is 1.2m (4ft). However the latter two show where spacing is too wide or a speaker with the incorrect dispersion angle is used.

The result of the second layout would be quiet sections between speakers and music detail lost. The examples exaggerate to help explain the worst-case scenarios.

Best practice is to fit as many as possible to ensure the room is filled with audio. However, you also need to not put too many in to provide a balanced listening experience. In addition, it means less volume required from each speaker to fill the same area.

Stereo Ceiling Speakers

Another consideration when selecting ceiling speakers? Single stereo speakers versus a pair of ceiling speakers.

Single stereo ceiling speakers are perfect for smaller, square rooms, where fitting a pair of ceiling speakers would not be possible.

Further to that, single stereo ceiling speakers are perfect for longer, narrow rooms. Think of fitting two speakers to allow for stereo sound. One in each half of the room saves shoehorning in two pairs of speakers.

With all this in mind, at BuyCleverStuff, we want to help make sure you got the right ceiling speaker system.

In our next article, we’ll explain exactly how we’ve come to decide upon defining a room space – and how you can search and filter when buying at BuyCleverStuff.

Buy With Confidence | BBC One Wales - X-Ray

Buy With Confidence Scheme To Feature On BBC Welsh Consumer Show

Live in Wales? If you do, tune in to BBC One Wales tonight at 7:30pm to X-Ray, the Welsh consumer rights show, which will feature the North Wales Buy With Confidence Scheme – which we at BuyCleverStuff are officially a part of!

On the show, hosted by presenter Lucy Owen, you’ll be able to see exactly how the scheme works.

The Trading Standards Approved Scheme is run collaboratively by six Trading Standards services of North Wales, with Anglesey taking a lead.

The six services have come together in an effort to bring to residents and businesses of the area, the nationally recognised trader approval scheme, Buy With Confidence.

Buy With Confidence at BuyCleverStuff

Back in November, BuyCleverStuff became the very first business in the Cheshire West & Chester area to be a part of the scheme, and one of the very first online businesses to get this mark of approval.

This means we’ve been assessed by Trading Standards, and that our processes, from how our website explains itself through to our after-sales contact, are deemed reputable and trustworthy.

The North Wales Buy With Confidence Scheme is open to any manner of businesses wishing to apply to advertise themselves as “Trading Standards Approved”.

The two local businesses to be featured in tonight’s episode are M&M Removals and Gwynedd Garage Doors, having been recently filmed by the BBC X-Ray team.

If you miss the show tonight on BBC One Wales, don’t forget you can also view it on BBC iPlayer after it has aired.

For further information on the scheme, and to also find BuyCleverStuff on the list of businesses, visit – www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk

Missed the programme first time round? Find it here on BBC iPlayer – available to watch until April 3rd 2017. You can only watch in the UK, and must have a valid TV Licence.