The true meaning of wireless speakers
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.
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 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.
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.
You can also cables run across and down a wall to a keypad.
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.