Wireless Speaker Buying Guide
Wondering if there’s an easier way to achieve a HiFi system at home without needing a HiFi rack full of components?
Well look no further than wireless speakers.
Wireless speakers, otherwise known as active bookshelf speakers, or powered bookshelf speakers are an all-in-one speaker system that consists of a bookshelf or countertop speaker with built in amplifier, digital to analog converter and wireless streaming capabilities such as Bluetooth or WiFi.
These speakers are plug & play, for bookshelf speakers you’ll have one master (active) speaker and one slave (passive) speaker.
Whilst they are usually referred to as “wireless” they will need power and an interconnecting cable, however they are completely wireless in use with Bluetooth and WiFi streaming options, as well as a host of physical audio inputs.
You’ll simply power the master speaker and connect the passive speaker with the included link cable.
For the all-in-one countertop versions such as the Airpulse P100X they simply plug in!
Features To Look For
Built In Amplifier: The key here is the built in amplifier meaning you won’t need any additional boxes, components or cabling.
Connectivity: Most wireless speakers will have a multitude of audio inputs, commonly analog inputs such as a 3.5mm stereo jack and stereo RCA inputs. You’ll also find digital inputs such as an optical and coax.
If you have a number of devices to plug in i.e a CD player, streamer, TV etc you’ll really want to look for a speaker with multiple inputs so that you can easily plug in all your devices and switch between them. If however you’re just looking to stream from your smartphone then just make sure you have Bluetooth built in without worrying about all the other connectivity options.
We also have a range of wireless speakers with turntable bundles hand-picked by our experts to make your decisions easier.
Wireless Streaming: Possibly the most important feature to look for, and found on almost every wireless speaker system we offer here at K&B Audio, is Bluetooth.
With Bluetooth you can easily connect your smartphone, tablet or computer without wires and stream your favourite music from TuneIN radio, stored music, YouTube and music streaming services such as Spotify & Deezer.
WiFi Multiroom: There is a growing selection of speakers that’ll connect to your WiFi network allowing you to control it from a smartphone app. You’ll also be able to group multiple speakers together to play the same music throughout your home.
Another option is to plug in a wireless streaming box to any wireless speaker with an audio input, then you can convert any speaker to WiFi multiroom!
Some speakers will also feature built-in compatibility with Amazon Alexa or Google Home. For example the Q Active 200 Bookshelf and Q Active 400 Floorstanding speakers can be used with Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple Airplay 2 allowing it to group with any other compatible speaker system.
Another thing to consider is where you’ll be placing your speakers as this will affect your choices.
The most common mounting methods are;
- Speaker Stands
- HiFi / TV Stand
- Wall Mounted
A lot of our customers are using wireless speakers on their desks for all round multimedia and HiFi sound, so a smaller speaker such as the Edifier R1280DB or the Airpulse A80’s offer the best sound quality without taking up too much space. Top tip, mount your speakers on desktop speaker stands to position them at the best angle.
Alternatively if you want out right sound and are mounting your speakers on speaker stands then you can afford to go for a larger sized speaker which will give you a better bass response and overall sound quality, such as the Kanto Audio YU6 or the Airpulse A300’s.
Finally, if wall mounting is your option then you’ll again want to stick with a smaller speaker with some speaker wall brackets. The Edifier R1280DB is the go-to wireless speaker for wall mounting.
Wireless Speaker Brands
There are a whole host of wireless speaker brands out there so it can be quite confusing to choose the best system for your needs.
Here at K&B Audio we currently offer Edifier, Kanto Audio, Q Acoustics, Airpulse & Klipsch. They all have their similarities but there’s usually a good reason for choosing each one.
Below we’ll give you a quick overview of the benefits of each brand to help you make a more informed decision.
Edifier: With many different models to choose from, Edifier sits at the entry level of wireless speakers, but they punch well above their weight! Despite the low price tag these speakers, especially the R1280DB and the R1700BT ranges are well featured and sound great.
If you’re looking for great quality music at home, want to upgrade your sound from your computer or a basic TV speaker system without spending a fortune then Edifier is a great solution that won’t disappoint.
Kanto Audio: If you want to step things up a notch then Kanto Audio is at the mid-level price point, but with a high level sound output! Beautifully designed, plenty of connectivity and a rich sound. You’ll pay a bit more than Edifier but you’ll soon forget about it once you hear them.
Q Acoustics: The award winning Q Acoustics M20 active bookshelf speakers from Q Acoustics are hard to beat at the £399 price level. They look great with black, white and walnut finishes and have the sound quality to match. These speakers are great for HiFi, movies, TV and gaming.
Airpulse: Designed by renowned audio designer, Phil Jones, Airpulse speakers come in at nearer the top of our range. Beautifully designed and engineered by the most brilliant minds in audio engineering. My personal favourite too as a set of A100’s adorn my home office desk for HiFi music as well as the general day to day multimedia. Highly recommended speakers.
You’ll also find Kleer Net technology on the Airpulse A300 Pro’s which means you won’t need a link cable between the speakers, simply plug both left and right into the mains and they’ll talk to each other wirelessly with zero lag.
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what a wireless speaker is, the different considerations for connections and mounting options and an overview of the different brands available.
Everything we sell here at K&B Audio has been tried and tested by our in house audio expects so you can’t go too far wrong.
Our team is also on hand to help you choose the best system for you by email, live chat or calling 02393 190955.