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Speaker Wires. We love them because they deliver sound to our precious speakers, but we loathe them because they can be expensive, tangly, and tough to hide. Think of the great lengths that enthusiasts have gone through to hide wires: ripping open walls, removing baseboards, pulling under carpets, hiding behind moldings...you know the drill. All of these techniques can create a clean looking space, but they are time consuming (and some are quite messy). Then there is the dream of a wire-less setup. Ah, yes...doesn’t that sound appealing? Just imagine placing your speakers wherever choose without once considering how to run a wire. Manufacturers have tried to make this a reality with middling success. Past products have run into issues with interference, signal strength, and overall sound quality. It would be incredible if it worked, and most likely – someday – wires will be a thing of the past. We hope.


Bang and Olufsen has recently stepped up to the wireless plate with a new speaker platform called Immaculate Wireless Sound that they claim is big enough and bold enough to resonate with users listening to high-end digital sound. The technology delivers 24-bit uncompressed music wirelessly, thus allowing unlimited placement of speakers without the concern of running wires. It relies on WiSA’s (Wireless Speaker and Audio Association) open wireless standard, so any future Bang and Olufsen wireless speakers (which Bang and Olufsen says are coming this fall) will play nicely with WiSA compliant displays and components made by any manufacturer.

This move puts Bang and Olufsen into rarified air, as no other high-end manufacturer has tapped into the latest WiSA standard. Not only is Bang and Olufsen looking to put this technology into some of its future speakers, you can also look for it to appear in some televisions.

"WiSA certification ensures the best available quality in high-definition wireless audio," says WiSA president Jim Venable. "We are proud to announce that the first brand to achieve the WiSA stamp of approval is also one of the world's most iconic champions of amazing sound. Bang & Olufsen is paving the way to a new generation of wireless speakers of uncompromising quality."

One of the benefits of using WiSA is that its operating frequency is relatively free of traffic from other household goods, thus interference should be kept to a minimum. Not only that, but there’s enough bandwidth in its range to deliver 7.1 surround sound with uncompressed 24-bit sound. The standard also addresses latency issues (reducing them to 5ms) which means that lip synch problems between audio and video should be nonexistent.

"Our engineers have been testing the boundaries of wireless speaker technology for years," explains Bang & Olufsen CEO Tue Mantoni, "but until today the transmission quality simply hasn't been reliable and good enough. Now, our investment in this pioneering technology and our collaboration with WiSA pay off as we introduce Bang & Olufsen's latest innovation in sound, design and technology.”

Will this technology deliver? Time will tell. Look for Bang and Olufsen to bring their new wireless speakers to market later this month.

Image Credit: Band and Olufsen
 

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You probably still need to run power to the speaker. So it's not completely wireless.
Ditto.

I have some locations that I would use wireless speakers in a heartbeat if they didn't require 110VAC wiring to those same locations. It's fairly impractical to achieve full speaker performance on battery power (plus the batteries need replacement or recharging at some point), and in many cases, it's far more troublesome to run 110VAC power than speaker wiring. There are certainly some applications for wireless speakers on battery power (like portable PA systems), but for home systems, I don't think the time has quite come.

Now if you could install a giant Tesla coil in your home and get wireless power to the wireless speakers, that might sell:whistling:
 

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Most of the B&O speakers have been "active", needing both a power cord and speaker cord (and sometimes a separate control cord) to work correctly in the "system". I feel that wireless transmission of music is mainstream now - Airplay, Sonos, Bluetooth. It will probably cost more for higher rez transmission, but I remember a few years back, Bluetooth was not even stereo capable, much less the fairly mature wireless system it is today.

I think its a step in the right direction, I mean they do charge enough for their gear to warrant the newest technology. Dropping any wires is always a step in the positive for WAF.
 

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Most of the B&O speakers have been "active", needing both a power cord and speaker cord (and sometimes a separate control cord) to work correctly in the "system". I feel that wireless transmission of music is mainstream now - Airplay, Sonos, Bluetooth. It will probably cost more for higher rez transmission, but I remember a few years back, Bluetooth was not even stereo capable, much less the fairly mature wireless system it is today.

I think its a step in the right direction, I mean they do charge enough for their gear to warrant the newest technology. Dropping any wires is always a step in the positive for WAF.
I completely agree that going wireless is a "step in the right direction" for some applications (powered subwoofers are one great example), but for traditional speakers, it's not that big a deal. Since B&O speakers required a power cord to begin with, it does reduce the number of wires (and is an improvement for B&O), but for traditional speakers it's merely a substitution of a power cord for a speaker cable, and providing for that power cable entails building codes and the issue of contact with high voltage, so it's not an improvement but rather the opposite. That doesn't imply that "wireless" isn't useful, since it can be applied to connections between equipment (e.g., BD player to AVR) providing it can carry the same level of quality (unfortunately, it's not quite up to multichannel HD audio quality yet).
 
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