Wireless vs traditional wired speakers - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 02-26-2007, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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This may sound like a dumb question, but I need help. Talking to a friend yesterday he said that why did I go for all that trouble in wiring everything through the wall so I could have my speakers on mounts, and not have all that cable lying around, my answer was that in my opinion (not sure exactly why) sound quality would not be the same with a wireless speaker, specifically 5.1 could not be acheived at least without turning the signal into an analog one, and having pro-logic do the trick. I guess I just need help in convincing myself I was right, or change my opinion because I was totally wrong.

thanks
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post #2 of 19 Old 02-26-2007, 11:39 AM
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At the moment, there are no wireless speakers on the US market that can compete with wired ones.

Kal Rubinson

"Music in the Round"
Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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post #3 of 19 Old 02-26-2007, 12:55 PM
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And... you either run a speaker wire or a "power" wire. So... are they really wireless?
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post #4 of 19 Old 02-26-2007, 06:13 PM
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It depends on how the wireless speakers get their sound.

First, realize that a wireless speaker is going to have its own power amplifier -- it will be a "powered speaker." This is not bad in itself (in fact, can be really good), but if the speaker amp design is a cheap job, it'll degrade the sound.

Second, if the sound goes through analog radio modulation, you'll have FM-style signal-to-noise ratio, which is bad.

Third, if the sound goes through the radio as digital, then you're at the mercy of the digital-to-analog converter in the speaker. Given that wireless speakers are designed for convenience, not quality, chances are they saved money there.

Fourth, unless you feed the transmitter a digital signal, the transmitter actually contains A/D converters. See above about how likely these are to be of high quality.

Now, you could put together a high-quality wireless system, using powered speakers of high quality (Mackies, Genelecs, ATCs, etc), some wireless digital transmission doo-dad, and a competent D/A converter at each speaker (or speakers with built-in D/As, such as the Genelec 8200 series). However, I haven't seen a wireless digital transmission doodad that I would trust (although such a thing may exist). Also, you'd pay a lot extra for the convenience, compared to getting just the speakers.
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post #5 of 19 Old 02-07-2008, 01:56 AM
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is the Kenwood RFU-6100 a good choice? the next better one will be the KEF which is about 5x more than the kenwood one.....
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post #6 of 19 Old 02-07-2008, 06:51 PM
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No, it's not a good choice compared to wired speakers.
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post #7 of 19 Old 02-07-2008, 09:28 PM
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well, unfortunately we do not have the luxury to lay wires for the rear speakers. Let's put it this way, how much would the rear speakers contribute to the overall listening experience? I am planning to get a Spherex Xbox 5.1 and the rear channel is only 16W RMS.......having a 50W RMS per channel for wireless connection is still not sufficient?
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post #8 of 19 Old 02-07-2008, 10:00 PM
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If you don't have the option for wired rear surrounds, then I'd go with a DSP or just bite the bullet and go 2.1 or 3.1. Surrounds don't see much info, but that doesn't mean they don't contribute to the experience.

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post #9 of 19 Old 02-08-2008, 12:56 AM
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DSP requires the right walls to project properly, I think most living rooms doesn't have such luxury to be built that way.... furthermore it's not cheap, are you sure it is better than wireless rear experience.....coz there is no physical speakers at the rear!

Please advice why DSP could be better than wireless surround.....I would love to know and that could change my mind
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post #10 of 19 Old 02-08-2008, 04:36 AM
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DSP's don't suffer from interference from other 2.4ghz sources. Wireless speakers can get static, especially if you or your neighbor have wireless phones or a router or something. Wireless signals are also generally not as strong as a wired setup, either, so the surround info will be diminished no matter what. I've noticed it in two setups I've seen. They're just unimpressive.

A DSP in the right room is surprisingly convincing. Although if you do have a room that is open, I'd just stick with 3.1 and call it good.

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post #11 of 19 Old 02-08-2008, 04:01 PM
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Quote:


Spherex Xbox 5.1

If that's the reference, then the Kenwoods will probably do just fine.

Personally, I would prefer real speakers to DSP, and I think the side speakers are needed for a good surround experience. Tastes may vary, however.
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post #12 of 19 Old 02-08-2008, 08:48 PM
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Tulpa, i see where you come from. My unit is not adjacent to any neighbor except the above and below unit. Furthermore, Kenwood RFU-6100 is not using higher frequency like 2.4Ghz but RF signal at 914 MHz. I guess that wouldn't have any interference with your Wifi/wireless phone(I dun have any yet).

My point is, regardless of the interference, even if you do have a perfect room (which usually dun exist), how can the virtual 5.1 beat a physical surround speakers? If you do have a dedicated room that has no windows at all as an AV rooms, why do you still need a DSP?

May I know the details of the 2 set ups you experienced? Could there be other contributing factor that makes it unimpressive too?
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post #13 of 19 Old 02-08-2008, 08:56 PM
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Actual wired speakers to tend to beat a DSP, but a DSP's virtual surround sound will still sound clear, as opposed to a muffled, crackling sound that most wireless setups tend to suffer from.

One setup was a Panasonic. I don't know the model. The speakers all around were subpar, but the surrounds sounded distant and muffled compared to my wired setup. It was like someone stuffed cotton in the speakers.

The other used the RocketFish setup that looked similar to the Kenwood. It would pick up interference from somewhere. It was also muffled. I think it was paired with some low end Klipschs or something.

If you truly want wireless, go for it. I just think that a 3.1 setup, while not having the rear enveloping of a wired 5.1/7.1, sounds better than a wireless 5.1 setup.

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post #14 of 19 Old 02-08-2008, 09:06 PM
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lol, rocketfish........famous for popping and hissing sound......very frequently....what can you expect from a 25W RMS per channel wireless amp?

As for Panasonic, have you actually compared by connecting physically wire to the actual unit too? The HTiB itself could be already quite crappy..... DSP definately beat them anytime, looking at the quality and material used. Look at the cost, how much does it cost the Panasonic and the other one using crappy rocketfish vs a DSP?

Anyway, this is the detail specs of the Kenwood entry level HTiB that makes use of the RFU-6100 unit: http://www.crutchfield.com/App/Produ...HTBS610&tp=196
I just received it from an ebay auction without subwoofer, will let you know if it's crappy compared to a Spherex....I was only interested in the RFU-6100 wireless unit. Won them at the price of USD, a new pair of receiver will cost USD150 minimum.....

Take a look at its intro at http://www.practical-home-theater-gu...s.html#Kenwood The special design of using 900Mhz frequency is meant for avoiding the interference with other RF devices.

The next level will be from KEF: http://www.kef.com/kht/wireless/home.htm
This will cost min USD600...and it's using the 2.4Ghz signal

I haven't got time to hook up the Spherex with the Kenwood RFU-6100 yet, will feedback here regarding the muffled, crackling sound. I will test them with the wires with the same set up to compare, I think that will be a fairer comparison.

Any suggestion for the right media to test? movie/CD titles?
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post #15 of 19 Old 02-08-2008, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iMbEst View Post

l
As for Panasonic, have you actually compared by connecting physically wire to the actual unit too?

It wasn't mine, although I played around with the settings and whatnot.


Quote:


The HTiB itself could be already quite crappy.....

Oh, it pretty much was, but the wireless speakers sounded noticeably worse than the fronts.

As for the Rocketfish, I don't see much difference between it and what the Kenwood uses, but I've never heard the Kenwood one. Or the KEF. I just know there's a lot of 2.4Ghz signals flying around, in addition to other things that can screw with your average radio signal.

But if wireless is what you need, go for it. It may be fine.

edit: I didn't see the 900mhz that the Kenwood uses. Don't some cellphones use that band?

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post #16 of 19 Old 02-08-2008, 09:22 PM
 
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Whatever happened to those IP addressable speakers that Polk was developing a few years back? The one I saw was in-wall model but still use ethernet cable. They should have wireless version by now.
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post #17 of 19 Old 02-08-2008, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

edit: I didn't see the 900mhz that the Kenwood uses. Don't some cellphones use that band?

Yes, some. But in Singapore, only those 7-10 years old mobile phones (if there are still working fine) are tapping to this range. Quite an antique actually Dun think it's even a contributing factor to me....

so any suggestion for the right thing to test between the difference of wired and wireless set up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimpleSetup View Post

Whatever happened to those IP addressable speakers that Polk was developing a few years back? The one I saw was in-wall model but still use ethernet cable. They should have wireless version by now.

As far as I know, we shall avoid such speakers, coz you are restricted to its power. By going for universal wireless adapter, you can connect to any speakers, up to the restricted specs at the adapter, not the speakers. Even KEF can't go beyond 50W RMS....but I'm always wondering if a rear surround does it such a big power.....
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post #18 of 19 Old 02-08-2008, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iMbEst View Post

so any suggestion for the right thing to test between the difference of wired and wireless set up?


Any movie that uses the surrounds. LOTR, Master and Commander, Star Wars (like Ep 1's podrace scene.) It'll tell you pretty fast whether it's working or not to your satisfaction.

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post #19 of 19 Old 02-09-2008, 09:02 PM
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just got the set yesterday but i couldn't test it without providing it the right power adapter to use.

Anyway, my itchy hand forced myself to opened both units .......

The Transmitter (RFU-T6100):


The Receiver + 50W RMS x 2 Amp (RFU-R6100):


I noticed there is a "switch" for you to change frequency.....anybody familiar with such thing? I think I can always switch to the "undisturbed" frequency....the stock frequency is 914Mhz, can 900 band mobile phone interfere the signal?

Do you guys think it's better to change the signal in cable and connector at the transmitter? It looks cheapo to me.....I doubt I can change the output connector as both are soldered...

Is there any circuit "review" for the rocketfish ?
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