Jim Venable Ups the Ante on Wireless Audio - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-29-2013, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Jim Venable, President of the Wireless Speaker and Audio Association (WiSA), discusses his vision of a standard for wireless audio that far exceeds any such system today, with up to eight channels of 24-bit/96kHz uncompressed audio in the 5MHz RF band. More than a dozen WiSA-compliant products should appear on the market by the end of the year.

 


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post #2 of 15 Old 06-29-2013, 11:59 PM
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I'm all for technological advances, but I fail to see how this will catch on in the mass markets.

Manufacturers will have to build active speakers, which will drive up the costs.

You'll still need wiring for the power.

And there aren't many pre/pro's that are cost effective vs just buying an AVR w/ all the features they have now.

It sounds like it would just fit a niche market.
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post #3 of 15 Old 06-30-2013, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by biliam1982 View Post

I'm all for technological advances, but I fail to see how this will catch on in the mass markets.

Manufacturers will have to build active speakers, which will drive up the costs.

You'll still need wiring for the power.

And there aren't many pre/pro's that are cost effective vs just buying an AVR w/ all the features they have now.

It sounds like it would just fit a niche market.

Wiring a 7.2 or 9.2 surround system is non-trivial—you have to buy amplification one way or another. The single best way to add surround sound to a soundbar-based system is through wireless rear speakers. When one examines the success of the soundbar in the "mass market", the need for rock-solid wireless becomes clearer.

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post #4 of 15 Old 06-30-2013, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Wiring a 7.2 or 9.2 surround system is non-trivial—you have to buy amplification one way or another. The single best way to add surround sound to a soundbar-based system is through wireless rear speakers. When one examines the success of the soundbar in the "mass market", the need for rock-solid wireless becomes clearer.

I'm not sure I'm following you.

So you're saying this is more geared to future homes being built?

Even still, costs would go up as today's active speakers are much more expensive than just wiring for a regular AVR and passive speakers.

Or adding to or just using a soundbar?

I don't remember Jim Venable discussing soundbars at all. He seemed to be focusing on multi channel audio.

Again, I don't think it's a bad idea, just one that will fill a niche void rather than J6P and the mass market.
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post #5 of 15 Old 06-30-2013, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biliam1982 View Post

I'm not sure I'm following you.

So you're saying this is more geared to future homes being built?

Even still, costs would go up as today's active speakers are much more expensive than just wiring for a regular AVR and passive speakers.

Or adding to or just using a soundbar?

I don't remember Jim Venable discussing soundbars at all. He seemed to be focusing on multi channel audio.

Again, I don't think it's a bad idea, just one that will fill a niche void rather than J6P and the mass market.

WISA is a standard, not a product, so here's my thinking:

Soundbars now dominate the A/V market. A high-end soundbar can replace a receiver, providing amplification for the main channels, inputs, etc. If a soundbar supported WISA then adding a subwoofer or two—as well as adding surround channels—would be a matter of choosing from a selection of WISA enabled speakers and subs.

At the same time, the same WISA-enabled speakers and subs would also work with a fully WISA-compliant receiver. Such a receiver might not have any built-in amplification whatsoever, or it might be a traditional AVR with only 5 amped channels, but with support for 9.1 channels via WISA—thus replacing the preamp outs.

The key is flexibility. To me the clear application for WISA is the ability to add surround-sound speakers without having to run wires to the main amps—and in the case of a soundbar-centric wireless sound system that could encompass all channels except for the center channel.

Watch Gibson, I bet you'll see something come from them, like what I describe. But, I am speculating. I do know that I've seen the market trend graphs. WISA benefits any application where 24/96 uncompressed audio needs to be moved around in a home environment, and no product makes more sense in that context than a wireless surround-sound system based on a soundbar.
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post #6 of 15 Old 06-30-2013, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

WISA is a standard, not a product, so here's my thinking:

Soundbars now dominate the A/V market. A high-end soundbar can replace a receiver, providing amplification for the main channels, inputs, etc. If a soundbar supported WISA then adding a subwoofer or two—as well as adding surround channels—would be a matter of choosing from a selection of WISA enabled speakers and subs.

At the same time, the same WISA-enabled speakers and subs would also work with a fully WISA-compliant receiver. Such a receiver might not have any built-in amplification whatsoever, or it might be a traditional AVR with only 5 amped channels, but with support for 9.1 channels via WISA—thus replacing the preamp outs.

The key is flexibility. To me the clear application for WISA is the ability to add surround-sound speakers without having to run wires to the main amps—and in the case of a soundbar-centric wireless sound system that could encompass all channels except for the center channel.

Watch Gibson, I bet you'll see something come from them, like what I describe. But, I am speculating. I do know that I've seen the market trend graphs. WISA benefits any application where 24/96 uncompressed audio needs to be moved around in a home environment, and no product makes more sense in that context than a wireless surround-sound system based on a soundbar.

I could see adding a sub or two, but I thought most people choose a soundbar to avoid the clutter and hassle of more speakers.

Now, if this standard helps them decide to upgrade due to it's ease, I could also see a few going that route, but not many.

The flexibility I would think more prevalent is adding speakers to other rooms, outdoors, a workshop.
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post #7 of 15 Old 06-30-2013, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biliam1982 View Post

I could see adding a sub or two, but I thought most people choose a soundbar to avoid the clutter and hassle of more speakers.

Now, if this standard helps them decide to upgrade due to it's ease, I could also see a few going that route, but not many.

The flexibility I would think more prevalent is adding speakers to other rooms, outdoors, a workshop.

It's a situation where "and" works better than "or." WISA-enabled speakers could be used in the applications I describe, or the applications you describe. The point is that a standard increases the total potential uses for the speakers. Whether the AVR is sending the signal for surround or zone 2 is irrelevant. The key is fidelity, interoperability and reliability. In fact, that highlights the advantage of having a pair of WISA-enabled speakers. A single pair of WISA-enabled speakers could easily be moved around and re-purposed, to serve all the roles we've discussed. Passive speakers offer no such flexibility.

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post #8 of 15 Old 06-30-2013, 10:31 AM
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I'm looking forward to their speakers,

because i hate wires and i'm a "neat freak". Hope they work unlike some other "wireless speakers". Also (waf) for wireless. :P


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post #9 of 15 Old 07-01-2013, 04:50 AM
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I'm really hoping the standard catches on...this has so much potential. It would really open up what I'm willing to do in some of the less dedicated spaces in my home, especially given that I'm in a rental.

It's another important step towards the "internet of things." I just hope that given enough time, the standard becomes so open that anything that can output audio can connect to the speakers, which can open up some really unique possibilities.

One thing I hope that isn't overlooked, is that all the gear should share a common power cable. I'd probably still want to wire the power cable through walls wherever possible, having a common connector would make swapping out gear over the years much, much easier. Beyond that, I'd like to see a dedicated amp/transmitter unit that could convert existing speakers into something WISA compatible.

This is the chance to redefine what speakers in the home are capable of, I hope they don't stop short at a mere cable replacement.

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post #10 of 15 Old 07-14-2013, 12:30 PM
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This is great stuff.

I'm going to sell my amp and speakers in anticipation for some of these Wisa products.

JTR and other companies that build passive speakers should hop up and get with the powered-speaker program if they want to keep up, IMO.

Seaton is probably very well placed to upgrade their products to use Wisa, they'd be silly to not go in this direction.
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post #11 of 15 Old 07-14-2013, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biliam1982 View Post

You'll still need wiring for the power.

It's hugely more practical to find a nearby power outlet than to run tens of feet of wiring for surround speaker wires.

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post #12 of 15 Old 07-14-2013, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noah katz View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by biliam1982 View Post

You'll still need wiring for the power.

It's hugely more practical to find a nearby power outlet than to run tens of feet of wiring for surround speaker wires.

Exactly, plus, you don't have to worry when you move your speakers around the house, or move to a new house, etc. It's a huge time / energy / money saver.

I don't think they'll be able to standardize a set of power connectors easily though. I can see small speakers running off smaller power plugs, and larger ones with a standard 3-pronged plug, and everything in between. Isn't there also a way to power things wirelessly? Like rectifying antennas? I think those are equivalent to mini microwave guns that are dangerous to living creatures that cross its path, but perhaps there is more modern wireless power tech out there that could be used as well.

Completely without wires == watch out companies, the competition is about to heat up. I see power amp companies like Emotiva shifting more and more of their product lines to powered speakers rather than power amps. I've been trying to get my XPA-3 shipped back for repairs and it's so bloody heavy and huge, the cost alone...It sucks that the rest of my audio set up is kind of ruined for that. If I had a 5.1 or 7.1 Wisa setup, I could just own an extra spare speaker in case I ever need to get one of them replaced, it's doubtful more than one would die at the same time, kind of like having a spare tire. But when your power amp or AVR needs replacing, you're stuck with a real bad situation as the rest of your setup all of a sudden stops working entirely.
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post #13 of 15 Old 07-15-2013, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RLBURNSIDE View Post

I don't think they'll be able to standardize a set of power connectors easily though. I can see small speakers running off smaller power plugs, and larger ones with a standard 3-pronged plug, and everything in between.

I don't see the problem; my 1200 W heat gun has a standard 2 prong plug, which should be fine for any powered speaker.

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post #14 of 15 Old 07-15-2013, 02:12 PM
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forget wireless audio we need wireless HDMI. Having a single Blu-ray player or computer and be able to have the output on any displays in the house would be great. Even better would be having a single computer that could output 2 or more different videos at the same time to different displays.
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post #15 of 15 Old 08-01-2013, 05:19 PM
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I wonder, how would Wisa + non Wisa tech work together. I sold my discrete passive speakers and am selling my amp in anticipation of going active all the way. So I'm wondering how easy it would be to run two wired PA speakers as my main left and right (with a phantom center), and use a few of these Wisa speakers for surround duty.

I just hope receivers designed around this spec will have the presence of mind to accomodate mixing Wisa and regular connected wired speakers in one 5.1 or 7.1 ensemble. Ideally I'd want to get rid of my receiver too, and have my PC just use a Wisa soundcard + two mains hooked up directly via the analog outs.

I absolutely hate HDMI for audio, it's the most annoying standard ever. Whoever came up with the bright idea of cutting off my audio when I turned the TV off, despite it going through my receiver, is a very poor excuse for an engineer.
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