6 Simple Wireless Speaker Shopping Tips
So you’ve decided to make the leap from wired to wireless music and might have made the mistake of Googling “Best Wireless Speakers.”
We here at Audioengine know how overwhelming this can be and we extend our deepest sympathies. But it’s time to put your concerns to rest as we’re here to give you some important buying tips… and yes, you may need these tips to make it through this with your sanity intact.
Before we start, let it be known we are not trying to sway you in any particular direction but we only want to make sure you’re aware of a few items that could go overlooked. And the majority of the following advice can be applied to pretty much any purchase you’re making in the audio world.
As with anything, it is important to start by setting a budget for yourself and finding a product that aligns with this budget.
There are a ton of great wireless products out there, some of them are practically being given away, and others might cost your life savings. No matter your budget, one fact remains: a quality wireless speaker setup doesn’t HAVE to be expensive. Conversely, you often get what you pay for, so it is wise to be wary of a product whose price tag looks more like a shoe size if you catch my drift.
Another important point that will assuredly be different for everyone is the inclusion of features.
If you’re looking for a simple wireless speaker with no options and no extra inputs, then don’t bother spending hours comparing products that are saturated with bells and whistles. If, on the other hand, you know you want the option to connect an analog device like a stereo or surround sound receiver, for instance, make this determination early and stick with it. There will always be an option to suit your exact needs so don’t feel pressured.
Reviews are king in today’s world.
Everything from the usability of a product to the competence of a company’s customer service team can be scrutinized in an online review, and that’s why it’s obviously important to read as many reviews as you can find (and to also read between the lines with some of these). A responsible company addresses negative reactions and does not let any concern go unnoticed. Reviews not only tell us how customers react to a product but how a company reacts to its customers. And the way a company reacts to its customers can tell you whether you’re making a good or bad purchase.
Warranties and trials
This is always a fun one! If you’re having trouble deciding between two or more products because they have the same features and similar reviews, why not go with the one that offers a trial or a better warranty?
The wireless audio market is extremely competitive, and most companies are offering a brief trial period with no penalties or full-coverage or even an extended warranty period. The fact is, a company with a truly great product has nothing to fear and is confident in their product’s ability to satisfy anyone and everyone.
Portability and durability
Where are you going to be using these speakers? Are you going to sling wireless audio from the kitchen to the living room, or are you taking this setup down to the park for a picnic? Do you need the speakers to be battery powered? Waterproof?
I know, I know, asking way too many questions but you should be asking these questions too! Again, there will always be a product that suits your needs for portability — and often times, if the speakers are easily portable, they will also be durable to some extent. The caveat is that certain other aspects of the speakers will inevitably suffer. Sound quality, aux inputs, wireless range, etc.; these are all things that have the potential to “get the boot” the more portable or waterproof your speakers need to be.
Sound quality and wireless range
Obviously we want our wireless speakers to sound great and to not drop out or lose signal EVER.
The sound quality of the actual speaker itself is something you may need to derive from customer reviews, unless you have the option to actually hear the speaker before making a purchase. Apart from that, it’s best to read up on the company, what materials they are using, and what the speakers can be compared to, etc.
But when it comes to the sound quality of the actual WIRELESS itself, you’ll need to look out for a few things. Wi-fi or Bluetooth and other fun terms all define different ways a speaker can receive wireless audio information and process it. Each of these has its own pros and cons, and some will be more or less suitable to your particular setup. Wi-fi is good if you want to transmit audio to multiple speakers at once but Bluetooth has a much easier setup and the ease-of-use is a HUGE advantage. But for the best sound quality AND ease-of-use, you will want to look for Bluetooth products that use the aptX or aptX HD “codecs”. These will give you the best audio quality possible, and with Audioengine, the longest range as well. If you wish to get into more technical details about this type of wireless audio, please read our article on Bluetooth aptX HD technology.
In summary, there are a myriad of products on the market and all have their pros and cons. To get started, make a list of things you want and need out of your music system. Determine what is necessary, nice-to-have, and what you don’t need. Then when you make the detrimental error of Googling, “Best Wireless Speakers,” you might make it through to the other side with your sanity intact.