Have you recently bought some wireless speakers? Maybe you’ve been given them as a gift. Or maybe you’ve had some for a while. Even if you haven’t got wireless speakers yet, you might be thinking about buying some. Either way, you’ve probably noticed how they’re a cool piece of gadgetry, right? After all, speakers used to be heavy and hard to move around. And they always used to need to be wired up to a power source somewhere. Not just a power source, a music source.
That made things difficult. But now, with wireless speakers, things have got so much more portable and convenient. That means you can enjoy your music on the go, or set up events in remote locations without too much planning.
Wireless speakers are great, but you might be wondering just how do wireless speakers work? If that’s the case, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the issues surrounding wireless speakers, as well as telling you how they work. It’s good to know a bit more about the technology you use, so you know what the drawbacks and advantages are. It’ll also help you make the right choice if you’re in the market to buy a new set of speakers sometime soon. So let’s have a look, how do wireless speakers work?
How do wireless speakers work?
When you’ve got wireless speakers, you’ll be able to be a lot more flexible with where you put them. That means you can move them easily and not have to run cables around your house. You can even take them outside when you’re relaxing in the garden. However, they must be kept in range, and this range can vary from speaker set to speaker set.
The “wireless” in wireless speakers refers to one of two things. Firstly, portable battery operated speakers have been around for decades. These made it much easier to go on the emove and still be able to listen to music or audio without headphones. You could enjoy yourself without having to plug the speakers into mains, so they worked well with portable CD players and other similar devices. Or mp3 players today.
However, these portable speakers weren’t completely wireless. You still had to plug them into a sound source for them to make noise. This would normally be a headphone jack on a CD player or similar. Not only that, but their batteries didn’t tend to last that long and would need replacing often. They also wouldn’t get very loud or have the best quality audio.
Real wireless speakers will get your music or audio to the speakers without any wires at all. Actually, some wireless speakers actually do have mains power, allowing more volume and a more sustainable piece of technology, but you can transmit music from any number of devices, without wires or cables. You can even use your phone as the music player if it’s connected (wirelessly) to a wireless speaker.
Internet wireless speakers
Basically, many of these types of wireless speakers are using the internet to transmit the sounds. While you can get some Bluetooth ones, most wireless speakers will be on a wi-fi network and you can connect to them via another device. In a way, they’re basically like mini computers. Let’s have a look at how they work in a bit more detail:
Standard speakers work by vibrating in order to create sound waves. They’ll need a power source to create these vibrations, and something telling them what sound to make (or how much to vibrate). This was traditionally done with cables, both to a power source and a sound source (or a signal that tells it how much to vibrate).
Infrared wireless speakers
There are a few ways wireless speakers can get the same signals and know how much to vibrate to create sound. While we’ve already mentioned the internet, that’s not the only way. Infra-red signals can be used similarly to television remotes to send a signal that we can’t see to a set of wireless speakers. The wireless speakers can have sensors to detect millions of pulses a second. However, you’ll need a direct line of sight between the wireless speaker and the signal device if you’re using infrared signals like this.
When an amplifier receives signals, it sends electricity to the coil and determines how much the coil vibrates, to create sound. But not only do these infrared speakers need a direct line, they can’t be interrupted like walked in front of. They can be good for concerts or other events in huge areas if they can be placed above the crowd. Extending cables or having a wi-fi signal that goes this far isn’t always easy, so that’s one area where an infrared speaker can work well. These infrared signals can also get interrupted by other devices quite easily.
Radio wireless speakers
Other wireless speakers can also use broadcasting waves, similar to a radio. This type of wireless speaker can work well and has a number of benefits when compared to some alternatives, but you’ll need a few extra pieces of equipment, like an antenna and receiver. While radio speakers can work well, they can also get interfered with by other things using radio waves.
Picking the right wireless speakers
Each different type of wireless speaker therefore has a number of different advantages and drawbacks. Internet-enabled systems are becoming more and more affordable, and these can transmit good quality signals.
However, you might not have wireless internet connectivity in every room, or devices that transmit over it. Infrared wireless speakers aren’t really great for domestic use. You’ll need to make sure it’s somewhere where the infrared signal is never interrupted. Radio signals can work well but can also suffer interference and need a lot of equipment to get up and running. For home use, you probably want to try either a Bluetooth or wi-fi internet speaker set. They’re getting more and more popular, and for good reason. While wireless speakers can have wireless power sources, if you’re using one at home and generally in the same location, try keeping it wired to the mains. It’s more convenient that way.