Apr 142012
 

The newest series of wireless music kits promises streaming of music throughout the home without limits. We will research if these newest products are suitable for whole-house audio. Also, we will give vital tips for selecting a wireless audio system.

If your house is not wired for audio then you face quite a challenge when you want to get your music from your living room to your bedroom. Frequently the audio source cannot be moved. Running speaker wires between rooms will be expensive and as a result many people are searching for alternatives. Products which resolve this problem are usually based on the following technologies: infrared wireless, RF wireless, wireless LAN or powerline.

Infrared wireless audio devices are limited to line-of-sight applications, i.e. only operate within a single room since the signal is broadcast as infrared light which can’t penetrate walls. This technology is often found in wireless speaker kit product versions.

RF wireless products will broadcast the signal as RF waves. These waves can easily penetrate walls. RF wireless audio devices either utilize FM transmission or digital audio transmission. The least expensive choice is FM transmission. Products using FM transmission, however, have a series of drawbacks. These include degradation of the audio quality due to static or hiss and audio distortion. In addition, FM transmitter products are also quite susceptible to interference from other wireless transmitters.

Digital wireless audio transmitter devices, such as products from Amphony, utilize a digital protocol. The audio is first converted to digital data before being broadcast. This method guarantees that the audio quality is entirely maintained. Some transmitters use some type of audio compression, such as Bluetooth transmitters, which will degrade the audio to some degree. Transmitters which send the audio data uncompressed will attain the highest fidelity.

Wireless LAN (WLAN) products are practical when streaming from a PC but will add some amount of latency or delay to the signal because wireless LAN was not originally designed for real-time audio streaming. WLAN receivers usually require buying a separate LAN card to be plugged into each receiver.

Powerline products broadcast the audio via the power mains and offer great range. They run into trouble in houses where there are individual mains circuits in terms of being able to cross over into another circuit. Powerline products have another problem in the form of power surges and spikes which can cause transmission errors. To prevent audio dropouts, these products will commonly have an audio latency of several seconds as a safeguard.

Now we’ll give you some suggestions for shopping for a wireless system: Go for a system that supports multiple wireless receivers if you plan to stream audio to several rooms so that you don’t have to purchase a separate transmitter for each receiver. Some devices have some sort of error correction built in which will help guard against dropouts in case of strong wireless interference. Pick a digital RF audio transmitter to make sure that the audio quality is preserved. Make sure the audio latency is less than 10 ms if you have a real-time application such as video.

Make sure the wireless transmitter offers the audio inputs you require. You may need amplified speaker inputs, RCA audio inputs etc. Make sure that you can purchase additional receivers later on as you expand your system. Check that you can get receivers with speaker outputs for connecting regular loudspeakers as well as receivers with line-level RCA outputs. If you go with a digital audio transmitter, choose one with an input audio level control knob to prevent the music signal from clipping inside the transmitter audio converter. This will guarantee optimum dynamic range regardless of the signal level of your equipment.

Ensure that the amplified wireless receivers have built-in digital amplifiers with low distortion figures. This will keep the receiver cool due to high amplifier power efficiency and offer optimum sound quality. Pick a system which offers receivers that can drive speakers with the preferred Ohm rating. Make sure the receivers have a small form factor and are easily mountable. This will help during the installation. Devices using the less crowded 5.8 GHz frequency band will commonly have less trouble with wireless interference than 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz devices.

You can find additional information about bluetooth audio transmitter models as well as other wireless audio versions from Amphony’s web site.

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