Wireless Home Cinema Speakers Buying Guide

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Wireless Home Cinema Speakers Buying Guide

Everybody wants a terrific sounding home cinema system, but not everyone wants to spend all day matching up all of the cables with one another. The truth is that most home theatre systems come along with a great deal of confusing wiring and ports. The different players, and even the surround sound speakers, all need to be fitted into exactly the right places in order for the system to work properly.

Some homeowners go to great lengths to hide all these wires, including even tearing up the carpet to place the wires underneath, but there are better options out there. A set of wireless speakers reduces the overall amount of cable clutter associated with home entertainment systems. Electronic stores and online websites like eBay, often sell wireless speakers. When searching for wireless speakers, customers must first evaluate the products based on how well they fit into their home system including: size, technological specs, and functions.

Benefits of Wireless Speaker Systems

Where wireless speakers truly excel, is cutting down on the cable clutter that comes from running the speakers into the AV receiver. This is especially true of rear surround speakers, that typically have their cables strung across the entire room. In fact, some homeowners who already have a home cinema system simply purchase an add-on rear receiver unit to power the speakers in the back of the room. The rear receiver communicates wirelessly with the AV receiver in front, forgoing the use of long cables that stretch across the entire room. There are many options to consider with wireless speaker system setups, including the technology that powers them.

Types of Wireless Speaker Systems

Wireless speakers use wireless technology to communicate with the amplifier or AV receiver, instead of using cables. While this greatly cuts down on the amount of wires used in a home entertainment setup, buyers need to be aware that most systems are not truly wireless. After all, they still need a power source, so unless the homeowner purchases battery-powered speakers, they still need to be plugged into a power outlet.

Radio Frequency Wireless Speakers

Radio Frequency, or RF speakers, use radio waves to communicate with a transmitter that then sends the signal to the AV receiver. Most wireless speakers use some form of this technology even if they market it under another name, such as Sony's patented S-AIR wireless speakers. RF technology is preferred by many because it carries a stronger signal over longer distances, allowing the speakers to work from multiple rooms. For example, wireless speakers that use RF technology can play music all over the house from the central music player located in the home cinema system.

2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz Wireless Speakers

RF speakers have to use a radio band to transmit their signals, and most of the speakers on the market use either 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz. Between the two, it is far more common to find speakers operating on the 2.4 GHz band for several reasons. Mainly, the 2.4 GHz band is preferred due to its longer range, allowing the speakers to work over greater distances. However, the same reason speaker manufacturers choose this band also holds true for other wireless products, such as wireless home networks and mobile phones.

Many of these digital devices also operate on the 2.4 Ghz band, and this can cause problems with the speaker reception. Homeowners who have a wireless home network may be better off choosing speakers that use the 5.8 GHz band, since it does not interfere with most other digital signals. However, the 5.8 GHz band does not have the long range of the 2.4 GHz band, meaning that customer must decide if a pure signal or reception length is more important.

Infrared Wireless Speakers

Some wireless speakers use infrared (IR) technology, and this may be the way to go for homeowners who only want to use wireless technology on their rear surround speakers. IR wireless speakers are more limited in their range and signal than RF speakers, and they only work when they can directly transmit the signal. This means they have to be in the same room as the receiving device, and they must be installed where nothing can pass between the IR signal. Even someone casually walking across the room can pass through the IR beam, interrupting the signal. Therefore, they work best when placed high on the wall, far away from heavily trafficked areas.

Wireless Speaker Surround Sound Setups

There are several different surround sound options on the market for customers to choose from. The smallest is the 2.1 surround sound system, which uses two front speakers and a centre speaker. 2.1 systems use very large speakers that demand a lot of power, therefore these systems are often sold as wired instead of wireless.

The 5.1 surround sound system uses two front speakers, two rear speakers, a subwoofer, and a centre speaker. Keep in mind that while a 5.1 surround sound system may be marketed as wireless, in truth this only applies to the two rear speakers. The front speakers are still wired, and the subwoofer may or may not be, depending on the manufacturer's specifications. This also holds true with 7.1 surround sound systems that have two front speakers, a subwoofer, a centre speaker, and four rear speakers. In fact, having wireless speakers helps reduce cable clutter on the rear components of a 7.1 system.

Wireless Speaker Size

It is rare to find wireless speakers in large floor standing, or tower speaker models, simply because there is not a high demand for them. The trend is veering towards smaller, more powerful speakers. Therefore, customers commonly have to make a decision between the medium-sized bookshelf speakers and the smaller satellite speakers. Both can be used for rear speakers on a surround sound system, but there are several things to keep in mind prior to purchase.

Bookshelf vs. Satellite Wireless speakers

Bookshelf speakers typically work better than satellite speakers, but there exists Hi-Fi satellite speakers that simply blow bookshelf speakers out of the water. However, as one can imagine, the Hi-Fi speakers cost considerably more than regular speakers. Bookshelf speakers also work best when they are placed on a cabinet or a stand, as their heavy size does not allow them to easily be mounted onto the wall.

Satellite speakers work best when coupled with wall mounts due to their smaller size. Satellite speakers must work in conjunction with a subwoofer in order to completely play music. For this reason, most audiophiles use bookshelf speakers as their front speakers since these are the ones responsible for playing most of the audio track. Satellite speakers are commonly used in the rear of the room, where they can emphasise the special effects better.

Wireless Speaker Specifications

When purchasing wireless speakers, make sure that their impedance and power output settings, match up with those used on the amplifier and the AV receiver. This means that customers need to pay close attention to the ohm and the watt level. Between the two, ohms is more important since the mismatch between speaker and amplifier ohms often causes speaker blowouts. Always ensure that the speakers meet the minimum ohm level on the amp. Power settings need to also be considered, so be sure that the RMS power output level of the amp falls into the range of the speakers.

Buying Wireless Speakers on eBay

When it comes to online shopping, no other website can match the convenience of eBay. Bringing together sellers from all over the world using its digital platform, eBay allows shoppers to explore a selection that is simply unmatched anywhere else. It is a great way to find wireless speakers that can match any home entertainment setup, whether the buyer is looking for a totally wireless system or simply for a set of wireless speakers.

Purchasing Wireless System Sets on eBay

Be careful when buying a set of so-called wireless speakers. For example, a quick search for 'wireless speaker sets' reveals many setups of 5.1 and 7.1 systems that claim to be wireless, but in fact only have wireless technology for the two rear speakers. If you want a completely wireless system that includes the front speakers and the subwoofer, then you will probably have to purchase all of the speakers separately. Try to match up the brand names since the same brands provide better voice-matching capability than different ones.

Purchasing Wireless Speakers on eBay

When purchasing individual speakers, or speaker pairs, you should search by type. For example, if you want a pair of bookshelf sized speakers for the front speakers of the home cinema system, search for 'wireless bookshelf speakers'. If you want wireless satellite speakers for the rear, search for 'wireless rear speakers'. You can also further limit your search by brand name, such as 'Sony wireless speakers'. Buying speakers this way may prove to be more expensive than purchasing them in a complete set, but for many it is the only option available for an entirely wireless system.

Conclusion

Customers who are tired of the hassle of connecting and installing wires to all of the different speakers of their home cinema system, love wireless technology. Wireless speakers lack the restrictive, unwieldy cables of their counterparts, allowing them to be installed in areas where wired speakers simply would not work. Large surround sound systems, such as the 7.1 setup, can make good use of wireless technology, especially with the four rear speakers. However, any home theatre system that has too many cables can benefit from the clutter clearing capabilities of wireless speakers.

When shopping for speakers, customers need to decide which type of wireless speaker is best for their particular setup. Speaker size, room setups, and specifications, must also be considered before purchasing any wireless speakers on eBay. By carefully examining the different speakers available for sale, customers can get the best deal while buying the right speakers for their home cinema.

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