Monday, September 15, 2014

Music Throughout Your Home - Go Wireless

Imagine coming home and having music greet you at the door. Or play when you go over to sit in your favorite chair. Or follow you from room to room. Having your music under intimate control used to require professionals running cables through walls and installing speakers of their choice — not yours — to convey the audio. Besides being expensive and time-consuming, the whole process left out apartment dwellers and condo owners who weren’t allowed to have invasive processes applied to their walls.

Portable speakers changed all that — at its simplest, you can sit a powered Bluetooth speaker on a table in the den or on a counter in the kitchen and send music to it from your smartphone or tablet. But that only gives you one-to-one control over what is being played. For music throughout your home that is being played from quality speakers, you need to go wireless. This means you can stream different music in different rooms or listen to the same song in all of them. And have this kind of control over your music library (i.e., iTunes) from a computer or smartphone/tablet as well as control Internet radio stations and other online audio venues.

Plus the setup for all this can be done DIY (Do-It-Yourself), with all aspects under user control; what speakers to get; where to place them; how to use them. And having lots of technical knowledge is not one of the requirements, because the technologies in place take care of the heavy lifting.

Speakers to Get
Wireless speakers come in varying sizes and configurations — matching that of those typical used in home theater setups. This means that you can get single speakers in groups for creating a Left and Right stereo front sound stage, a Soundbar to work with a television, and a Wireless subwoofer to give you the deep bass that makes everything sound more impressive. Nor should we forget amplification of the speakers themselves; some come with their own amplifier built in, while a stand-alone amp can provide power as well.

Where to Place The Speakers
Unlike wired speakers, placement of wireless speakers is an open book. This is due to the speakers not being confined by cables attached to them, or even to size restriction. But don’t mis-think that a compact wireless cabinet just shoves a tiny speaker inside: most of the Speakers are of HiFi quality, with woofers and tweeters inside for the mid-range, along with bass radiators in some cases to aid in crating the lower range audio frequencies. Plus some have multiple speakers working hard inside. While placing speakers on stands is always an established and sensible option, so too is the option for direct placement on walls in a manner akin to hanging a picture frame or a flat screen TV (but on a much smaller scale of course). This is taken care of by having mounting brackets that tilt and swing. And of course simple placement where a speaker is put on a table isn’t something to be frowned on either. In other words, whatever works for the space the speaker is to go in is the answer to respond to.

How To Use the Speakers
Wireless speakers have a distinct advantage today of there being smartphones/tablets which can employ apps for controlling them. But we’re not discounting computer control either. Either way, control over the wireless speakers can be done individually or in groups (obviously having the speakers all from the same company removes any problematic control issues). The speakers are using the WiFi home network that is already serving as the gateway for online, with proprietary technologies built in to take “hold” of the network’s airwaves and modulate it as needed over the speakers. None of this requires altering the home network, buying a new/different kind of router or being forced to increase the bandwidth that is already in play. To paraphrase that “i” company, the wireless speaker systems “just work.”

The final point to make is that having wireless speakers allows for the listener to take control over their music, what is being played and where. But even bigger than that is that the intimidation factor is gone — a person can go ahead and get wireless speakers and set it up to enjoy. The gap between “wanting” to have music throughout the home and “doing it” has been bridged. That doesn’t mean that professional installers are something to sneeze at. But it does mean for the DIY audio-desiring person that there’s something to feel pretty good about.


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