If you need a home speaker system, you can go for a wired or wireless speaker. Wireless speakers connect to your devices either through Bluetooth or WiFi, and you can go for the one that feels convenient for you. If you search for the best between the wired and the Bluetooth speakers, most sources cite the audio fidelity differences between the two, but there are so many other differences that you can consider.
There are scenarios where a wired speaker comes in handy and others where a Bluetooth speaker is all you need. Read on to learn more.
Are Bluetooth Speakers Worth It?
Bluetooth speakers are worth it when you need portability, the convenience of not using wires, and the versatility of connecting different devices to the same speaker. You will find these speakers are easier to set up, and they also come at a more affordable price.
If you are an audiophile, you may find that the Bluetooth speaker doesn’t quite meet your needs in audio quality. However, the difference is not noticeable to many unless you comb through every note from the audio very keenly. At first, I never heard the difference in audio quality between the two, and I still have to listen keenly to hear the difference.
For audiophiles looking for the best sound quality, you can go for a wired speaker and deal with the wires. Again, if you need a speaker you can take anywhere, even if you are an audiophile, you still have to go for a Bluetooth speaker.
Modern Bluetooth speakers have an advanced version of Bluetooth, Bluetooth 4.1 or 5.0, which enhances the audio quality. Some of the most advanced speakers such, as the JBL Boombox 2 and Sonos Move have several other features, besides better Bluetooth version, that enhance their audio quality.
But are these speakers better than the wired counterparts?
Do Bluetooth Speakers Sound As Good As Wired?
This is the great debate. Today, most devices you buy are Bluetooth enabled, and they have an advanced Bluetooth version for faster file transfer. If you buy a stick PC today, you might end up with one that doesn’t have an audio port, and this means that you have to upgrade to Bluetooth.
Over the years, Bluetooth speakers have evolved to offer better audio quality. If you have a problem with audio quality, go for the best Bluetooth speakers, and they will offer a quality almost as good as that of wired speakers.
Why is the audio quality of Bluetooth speakers considered inferior?
When you transfer files over Bluetooth, the files are compressed and then sent over the wireless services. If you have an older version of Bluetooth, older than Bluetooth 4.1, the compression reduces the quality of the files and you end up with a poor sound quality.
The latest Bluetooth versions still compress the files but not as much as the earlier versions of Bluetooth. Traditional audio enthusiasts prefer wired speaker connections while most people buying speakers today prefer the new Bluetooth speakers.
If you are not looking to set up a studio, a Bluetooth speaker will offer an audio quality you will love at home or in the office. If you are so keen about sound quality, you can go for the most advanced speakers of opt for a wired speaker.
How Do Bluetooth Speakers Work and What are the Advantages of Having One?
Bluetooth speakers do not need wires or the internet to play audio. As long as you have a smartphone, a PC, or any other Bluetooth device, you can send audio to the speaker. These Bluetooth devices send audio files to the Bluetooth device in the form of radio waves.
The speaker has a small chip that receives and interprets the radio waves from a connected audio device.
One of the main advantages of using these devices is that you do not need wires to play audio. You only need the power cable, and once the unit is charged, you can take it wherever you want. The Bluetooth speakers can connect to multiple devices, and you can connect multiple speakers to one device.
If you have several rooms and you need to listen to audio in each of these rooms, you can connect all your speakers to the same device and control all of them from there. This way, you can listen to music while in the kitchen, the living room, and any other room in your house.
Setup doesn’t require a complicated process, and you never have to call a professional. You can start by switching on Bluetooth on the speaker and the device you need to play audio from. From your audio device, pair the speaker and then start playing the audio. You can set up Bluetooth speakers in less than a minute, and you are good to go.
What Are Some of the Challenges Experienced with Bluetooth Speakers?
A Bluetooth speaker has a few setbacks compared to a wired speaker. For starters, the speaker doesn’t allow as much control as a wired speaker. The amplification and conversion of the speakers is not within your control.
Some Bluetooth speakers offer an app that allows you to control the audio quality. Even with the control of an app, the amp in a Bluetooth speaker is small and built into the speaker. As such, the quality of the sound is not as impressive as with a bigger amplifier.
The volume level of a Bluetooth speaker matches the amps and the speakers inside it. This is in contrast with the wired speakers, which have bigger amplifiers and bigger speakers. If you want a speaker that goes all the way in terms of sound volume, you should go for a wired speaker.
The range of a Bluetooth speaker is restricted. Most of speakers can only receive audio from 30 feet away. Further than 30 feet and the speaker doesn’t play clear audio.
You do not have to worry much about the audio quality of a Bluetooth speaker. Bluetooth technologies such as the aptX address the audio quality issues that come with compressing files to send to Bluetooth. These modern Bluetooth technologies ensure you cannot discern the loss in audio quality even when it is there.
When is a Wired Speaker Better than a Bluetooth Speaker?
If you have been using a wired speaker, you might be reluctant to use a wireless speaker. But is this the right decision?
Wired speakers work by transmitting high volumes of data through wires. These speakers use an external amplifier instead of the built-in amplifier in Bluetooth speakers. The speakers transmit electric power through a wire to the amplifier, which then boosts the electronic signal into a source that facilitates the sound produced by the speaker.
These speakers do not work without an amplifier. Wired speakers are ideal when you need to enjoy complete auditory control. With a wired speaker, you have an amplifier, a subwoofer, and other auditory accessories that make it easier for you to control the audio.
The wiring can be challenging, but once you connect the speakers, you never have to set them every time you need to listen to audio. The speakers remain connected.
The main advantage of these speakers is better audio quality. The signal from the audio source to the speaker is direct, so the audio is not compressed and there is no loss in quality. Again, the better amplifier and other accessories also enhance the audio quality.
Why a Wired Speaker May Not Be a Good Choice?
Although the wired speakers might beat a Bluetooth speaker on sound quality, it still has some wires that can affect the aesthetics of your home. The wires can be a nuisance, can be dangerous if they start fraying, and they can also be unsightly.
There is also the risk of blowing out your speakers, especially if you do not buy the right power level of amplifier. However, this is not common unless the amplifier is really huge. You also have to buy some expensive add-ons, including a separate amp, subwoofer, DAC, LFE, and some extra speakers if you want more.
If you need speakers for your home or your office, you will not discern any audio differences between the wired and the Bluetooth speakers. But you may still wonder whether the Bluetooth speakers are worth it.
You should consider the number of speakers you want, the ease of use, the aesthetics, the loudness needs, and the use of your speakers. If you are a beginner, Bluetooth speakers will serve you well as they are easy to use, they are affordable, and they offer impressive sound quality. The wired speaker is only for audiophiles and for events that need the loudest sounds possible.
There are several Bluetooth speakers to choose from. You need to ensure you pick the best for the highest audio quality, the longest battery runtime, waterproofness, and other connection methods. Most of these speakers cost less than $100, some even less than $50, but you can still come across some that cost as much as $3000 – your budget determines the speaker you pick.