A Few Tips To Help Pick A Wireless Surround Sound Package
A growing number of wireless surround sound transmitter products claim the ultimate freedom in streaming audio all over the home. We will take a look at numerous products and technologies to find out in how far these devices are effective for whole-house audio uses and what to look out for when buying a wireless system.
Getting audio from your living room to your bedroom can be quite a challenge especially in homes which are not wired for audio. There are several technologies solving this problem. These include infrared wireless, RF wireless, wireless LAN (WLAN) and powerline.
Infrared is limited to line of sight since the audio signal is broadcast as lightwaves and for that reason products using this technology, such as infrared wireless surround sound products, are restricted to a single room.
RF wireless products will send the signal as RF waves. These waves can easily penetrate walls. RF wireless audio products either use FM transmission or digital audio transmission. FM transmitters are the cheapest alternative. They offer good range but the audio signal is prone to audio distortion and noise and is very susceptible to interference from other wireless transmitters.
Digital wireless audio transmitter products, such as products from Amphony, use a digital protocol. The audio is first converted to digital data before being transmitted. Some wireless audio transmitters will employ audio compression, such as Bluetooth transmitters which will reduce the audio quality to some extent. Digital wireless audio transmitters which send the audio uncompressed provide the highest audio fidelity.
WLAN products are practical for broadcasting audio from a PC. However, wireless LAN was never designed for real-time audio streaming. As a result, products utilizing WLAN will introduce some amount of delay to the signal. WLAN receivers often do not have built-in network access. As a result, such products frequently require purchasing separate LAN cards. These cards are then plugged into each receiver.
Powerline products use the power mains as a medium to send the music. These products normally offer excellent range. On the other hand, they face problems if there are a number of separate mains circuits in the house. In this case the signal will have difficulty crossing between these circuits. Powerline products have another challenge in the form of power surges and spikes which can cause transmission errors. To avoid audio dropouts, these products will commonly have an audio latency of several seconds as a safeguard.
Here are some guidelines for choosing a wireless audio system: If you plan to stream audio into numerous rooms of your house, be certain to pick a system that permits streaming to multiple receivers at the same time. That way you don't have to buy a separate transmitter for every receiver that you are streaming to. Choosing a product with some form of error correction will help mitigate against strong RF interference. Such interference can be brought on by other wireless transmitters. Select a digital RF transmitter to preserve the original audio quality, ideally one with an audio latency of less than 10 ms in case of video or other time-sensitive applications.
Choose a transmitter that has all the audio inputs you need, such as speaker inputs, line-level RCA inputs etc. Get a wireless system where you can buy additional receivers later on. You should check that you can get receivers for all the different applications you have. Such receivers may include amplified receivers for passive speakers or line-level receivers for active speakers. Given that you may want to connect the transmitter to several sources, you should choose a transmitter that can be adjusted to different signal volume levels to prevent clipping of the audio signal inside the transmitter converter stage.
For high amplifier power efficiency and greatest sound quality, confirm that the amplified receiver has a built-in low-distortion digital amplifier. Check that the amplified receiver can drive speakers with the preferred Ohm rating and that it is small and easily mountable for simple installation. 5.8 GHz wireless products typically have less trouble with interference from other wireless transmitters than devices operating at 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz.