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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The idea of a wireless surround sound package is incredibly enticing. Having spent hours cutting drywall, removing baseboards, and fishing speaker wire, followed by repairs and painting, I believe I’m one of the many that has wished for a simple hang-and-play wireless solution that actually worked; HD quality audio without a hint of crackling or dropout.

Pipe-dream. Right?



Klipsch's new wireless speaker package complies with WiSA specifications.


Let’s be honest, even if a robust speaker package claims to be “wireless,” there’s still the little issue of power. And with true power comes wires – one for each speaker. Portable Bluetooth speakers can skirt this issue with an onboard rechargeable battery, but a full-range speaker system needs juice direct from an outlet. This introduces an entirely separate problem of outlet accessibility and location. Users looking for a clean wireless install will likely need to move or add outlets to achieve a seamless design, which sounds almost as bad as defaulting to running speaker wire.

Let’s take a moment and ignore the obvious tech-descriptive fallacy of the term “wireless” when referencing full-range speakers, and look to the positive: the quality we can expect from wireless full-range speakers is on the up. The Wireless Speaker & Audio Association (WiSA, pronounced “why-suh”) is a wireless standard organization with big-gun advisory members such as Definitive Technology, Polk Audio, Klipsch, Pioneer, and Sharp. It was established in 2011 and has since crafted the WiSA Compliance Test Specification which defines a set of attributes for wireless speaker tech that insures good quality. Some of the key specs include 24-bit uncompressed audio, sample rates up to 96k/second, 5 ms fixed latency (no lip synch issues), robust error recovery, and speaker-to-speaker delays of one-millionth of a second. WiSA compliant devices are also scalable, which means they can be mixed and matched even if they are different brands.

Sounds great, right? It sure reads well to my eyes and immediately has me wondering about the specification's potential future impact on AV receiver viability – will buyers gravitate toward speakers that carry their own power supply? According to Lou Schreurs (Senior VP Product Creation, Bang and Olufsen), Bang and Olufsen’s customers have warmed-up to their WiSA compliant speakers. In fact, reception has been so good that the company has expanded its WiSA compliant Immaculate Wireless Sound line from three to five offerings.

The problem with using Bang and Olufsen as an example of a new wireless frontier is that their price points often extend well beyond the purchase capabilities of most buyers (the BEOLAB 20 from its Immaculate Wireless Sound line sells for $6,300). But if I were to mention the popular brand Klipsch, perhaps the ears of average-range buyers might be perked.

Klipsch is now a few short months away from officially releasing its first WiSA enable speakers. Its Reference Premiere Wireless speaker system marks the first WiSA compliant audio system made by an American speaker manufacturer. The system consists of a tower speaker (RP-440WF), a monitor (RP-140WM), a center channel (RP-440WC), and a sub (RP-110WSW). These speakers use the same driver and horn technologies found on Klipsch’s Reference Premier speakers (the sub is molded directly from the company’s new RP-110SW subwoofer), but they are speaker wire free. The system relies on a connection hub that has 4 HDMI, optical, and analog inputs. It also has onboard Bluetooth capability. This hub can run a complete 7.2 channel system.

The entire system is due to be released this coming fall and hopefully more details concerning the hub’s capabilities (can it decode HD codecs?) will trickle-out soon. At the very least, acceptance of Klipsch's system will be interesting to follow. Perhaps some kind of hybrid AVR WiSA compliant speaker system will be born, allowing users to power front speakers with an AVR while outfitting rear channels with WiSA capabilities. Stay tuned!


Image Credit: Klipsch


***EDIT***
Here is some additional information concerning the frequency spectrum used by WiSA (taken from the organization's website):

"WiSA technology operates in the relatively unused 5.2 to 5.8 GHz UNII radio frequency spectrum, reliably transmitting uncompressed HD audio from 2-channel stereo to 7.1 surround, along with system configuration and calibration data. Older wireless technologies, by contrast, operate in the same crowded frequency band used by cordless phones, baby monitors, security monitors, wireless Internet hubs, and microwaves—resulting in interference and poor quality audio."
 

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:eek: but but but... we could no longer talk about cable differences :huh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've added an edit to the bottom of the article, addressing frequency spectrums.

Wonder if we'll ever get to a point at which audiophiles will claim that some frequency spectrums sound better than others when compared in completely neutral, interference free, environments??

Totally plausible, right?
 

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I've added an edit to the bottom of the article, addressing frequency spectrums.

Wonder if we'll ever get to a point at which audiophiles will claim that some frequency spectrums sound better than others when compared in completely neutral, interference free, environments??

Totally plausible, right?
Anything is plausible when you're talking about audiophiles. Make sure to stock up on wifi spray.

In all seriousness though, our living room is the perfect case for wireless surround speakers. It's almost essential if I want to go more than 3.1, so I'm interested to see this category develop. I'd love to see some kind of wireless in-wall implementation for a nice clean look. Could be tricky to get power to them but it's definitely feasible.
 

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Hmm.. Now this is of great interest. The biggest challenge during my install of course was hiding the cables for the front "high" speakers. Also I wonder if you can run more than 2 subs if you so choose...
 

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I would never consider a wireless speaker for home theater or music. I have actually have everything directly wired (XBOX, Computers, etc) This will never be an option for me.
 
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