Wireless speakers that use WiFi to stream music all over the home, a category lead by Sonos, are increasingly popular due to their ease of use and the access to a vast music library. What’s held these products back from really hitting a mass audience is the price. The least expensive Sonos speaker is the PLAY 1 at $199. Many competitor speakers, such as the Denon Heos, are more expensive than that. Supertooth, a company known primarily for its Bluetooth hands-free car speakers is now offering a home audio experience similar to what you get from a Sonos system, but with Bluetooth instead of WiFi.
But wait, you might be thinking that Bluetooth can’t do what WiFi can due to range and bandwidth limitations. Supertooth gets around this a little by requiring the user to only link their smartphone to one speaker—the base speaker. That speaker then uses a separate proprietary wireless RF technology to send music to the other speakers in the home within about 50 feet. An app allows you to select any speaker in the system, or all of them, to play the music, which is streamed via Bluetooth from your smartphone or tablet to the base. It can’t send multiple audio streams to the system (something Sonos and the other WiFi-bases systems can do), which means you have to play the same music on all the speakers. The wireless speakers in the kitchen can’t play a different audio stream from the speakers in the living room.
The trade off in functionality of a Bluetooth system vs a WiFi system is in price. The Supertooth Multiroom System starts at $299 for three speakers. One of the speakers is also the base station that gets paired to your smartphone or tablet. The other two can be set up as a stereo pair to play together or as separate mono speakers to put in different rooms. The app for the system only controls the speakers (speaker selection, volume) and doesn’t rely on built-in streaming services. Whatever streaming apps you have on your phone can be played on the Supertooth system.
The Multiroom System will be available in a few different color options (black wood/grey grid/black cloth or light oak wood/white grid/grey cloth) and available as a three-speaker ($299) or five-speaker set ($480) later this spring.
Read about more wireless speakers here.