Cut the Cords and the Clutter With Wireless Surround Speakers

You no longer need to be tethered when it comes to creating a home theater.

Samsung's Shape Wireless Audio-Multiroom M5.

You’ve done the research, spent the money, and finally built the home theater system of your dreams. That means that you should be able to put the speakers wherever you want them, right? Of course, it doesn’t always work that way.

The preferred spot for home theater surround speakers is where they sound best, which will vary depending on the configuration of your room. In some cases, it’s not always where they look the best. Even more frustrating is that it isn’t always where they reach the best. Having speakers wired to your home theater setup can make placement difficult, as well as an eyesore. After all, no one has ever been complimented on their “really cool” web of wires stretching across the living room floor.

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It can be easy to conceal wires near or behind the A/V cabinet. However, when it comes to surround sound, you want those speakers spread out around the room. Running speaker wire inside the wall isn’t always an option and having wires run across the floor is both ugly and dangerous.

Forget tiptoeing and tripping over wires. Surround sound has gone wireless! This option makes placement easy — and isn’t permanent, which is a nice perk if you want to move the system at some point.

What Makes Them Wireless?
How sound gets from point A to point B may vary, depending on your product. For instance, Bang & Olufsen currently has the only WiSA-certified speaker out there. Sonos, on the other hand, creates its own network using your existing Wi-Fi setup.

Many of the options on our list have all of that goodness packed inside the speaker cabinet. Others require some type of transmitter and receiver combo.

Doesn’t Wireless Make Them Inferior?
It’s important to remember that most wireless speakers are not technically wireless. They do need a transmitter and receiver, although these may be built into the speaker. If that’s the case, they typically need a power source. So that’s a cord for you. However, it shouldn’t be a cord that sticks out like a sore thumb, making for a much neater setup.

Of course, many audio fans often relate wireless with being unreliable or inferior. There are absolutely plenty of junky wireless speakers out there — and some are made by respected manufacturers. However, wireless surround sound has gotten significantly better thanks to improved technologies and higher quality products.

What Are My Options?
There seems to be endless options for wireless speakers and even wireless subwoofers. However, the category of wireless surround sound is still on the small side. That said, there are some really interesting options out there, with more on the way.

If you have a specific manufacturer, technology or budget in mind, those factors may pick your surround option for you. However, there are other things to ask yourself:

1. Do I want to add onto an existing setup or buy a complete theater package?
2. Do I want to use existing wired speakers as wireless surrounds?
3. Do I have a power outlet near where the surrounds will go?

Let’s take a peek at some recent wireless surround sound options

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This article was originally published on March 31, 2015 and was updated on June 15, 2015.


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