Home Technology Blog

Wireless Audio Hits the Big Time

April 24, 2014 | Comments

Interest in wireless music is at an all-time high and comes at a time when there are more options than ever before. And thanks to advances in technology, the dream of high-quality, interference-free wireless music throughout the home can be a reality if the right steps are taken.

According to CEDIA's Wireless Audio Solutions: Technologies and Best Practices white paper, a well planned whole-house wireless system offers many benefits, starting with non-invasive installation. In other words, there's no need to cut holes and snake wires through the walls, except in rare cases where the power connections required for "active speakers" (with built-in amplifiers) are concealed.

Other benefits include:

  • Substantially lower installation and setup costs compared with traditional hardwire-based distributed audio systems.
  • The ability to access multiple audio sources, including music from streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora, music libraries stored on a home network and individual devices, CDs and other disc-based media, satellite and Internet radio, and traditional AM/FM radio.
  • The ability to stream music from PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones from anywhere in the home.
  • Upgradeability and scalability, or the ability to easily upgrade and expand a system over time without a huge expenditure.

Why Hire a Pro?

With store-bought wireless music options readily available, why should a homeowner consider hiring a pro? For one, home technology professionals have the wherewithal to create a customized experience that takes into account all of the laptops, tablets and smartphones being used in the household as well as existing home theater or music systems into which wireless music options can be integrated.

Electronics professionals also have deep knowledge of the latest technologies and know which ones will work best in a particular environment. Not all wireless technologies are created equal, and the same can be said of homes.

Depending on the particulars, it might come down to selecting standard Wi-Fi or one of its more specialized versions, or building a system (or part of it) around a different wireless standard, such as the one developed by the Wireless Speaker and Audio Association (WiSA).

Ultimately, the homeowner wants unfettered access to music throughout the house and a system whose performance is not hindered by network congestion or compromised by signal interference. When you hit Play, you want the music to start right away and keep on playing - without static and dropouts.

Other benefits of working with a professional include:

  • On-site assessment of the existing wireless network and the environment - including things like building materials and the layout of the home - to determine what (if anything) needs to be done to ensure robust signal coverage throughout the home.
  • The knowledge and working experience to create the best-sounding system, which in addition to choosing the right technologies, involves room acoustics, speaker placement, seating location and other factors.
  • Off-site monitoring and troubleshooting, which enables a technician to quickly fix bugs and address performance issues via the Internet.

To learn more about wireless audio options and how to get the most out of a whole-home music system, consult a CEDIA professional. Click here for a list of CEDIA-member home technology professionals in your area.