March 22, 2011
| by Grant Clauser
Dang, those pesky wires. Aversion to running wires all over the house is still one of the main complaints about surround sound systems, despite the many wireless options available. KEF, which has offered a wireless surround sound solution for a few years, has recently improved its system and dropped the price by $100.
The Universal Wireless System 2.0 transmits on a 2.4 GHz frequency and doesn’t require any line-of-sight between the transmitter and receivers. It employs technology KEF calls Advanced Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (AAFHSS) which guards against potentially conflicting transmissions such as LAN routers, cordless phones or microwave ovens (many cordless phones also employ a similar frequency hopping technology). When the KEF product senses another device intruding on its space, it “hops” to another frequency within milliseconds.
The system comes with a transmitter which hooks up to your surround receiver via standard audio jacks. The transmitter sends the audio signal to the two receivers which connect to the speakers via standard speaker wire. Out of the box the system is suitable for the two surround speakers in a 5.1 system, but an additional receiver can be added for a 7.1 system. Each receiver includes a 50 watt digital amplifier to drive the connected speaker.
But it doesn’t have to be for surround sound speakers alone. The system can be hooked up to any audio source to transmit music wirelessly. It has a range of about 70 feet.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.