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10 May 2018

Wi-Fi vs Bluetooth Audio

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For a while, Bluetooth was the most reliable and popular method to connect wirelessly to speakers. However, in recent years, Wi-Fi has increasingly taken center stage as well. So what are the differences between the two methods? Is one better than the other? Let’s pit them against each other and see how each of them stack up.

Music Quality

The first and foremost concern of many – music quality. Reliability was one of the reasons why Bluetooth became such a popular mode of transmission. However, Bluetooth compresses your audio files in order to send the data without interference. Even if your music source is CD quality, by the time it reaches your speaker, much of the dynamic musical range is already compromised. Advancements like AptX and AAC are able to minimize the audio loss, but they are not able to achieve lossless audio.

On the other hand, Wi-Fi has the ability to send audio wirelessly without sacrificing the quality of your recordings / audio sources. If you have a recording that is of CD quality (or even higher), the content can and will be accurately delivered to your speakers.

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Portability

One major benefit of Bluetooth and Bluetooth-enabled devices is portability. Most Bluetooth speakers are small enough for you to bring along for your travels or outdoor purposes. Simply hook them up to your smartphone or any other Bluetooth device on the go. Because the two devices connect without the need for any external network, they can be used almost anywhere.

While there are Wi-Fi speakers that are as portable (in terms of size) as their Bluetooth counterparts, they require a network to be connected to your smart devices. While Wi-Fi is widely available, it certainly isn’t ubiquitous and hence not always accessible.

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Connecting to Multiple Speakers

For a long whole Bluetooth was simply a point-to-point system, which means one source connected to one speaker at a time. There has been some advancement which allow multiple devices to be paired (Daisy Chain) but these usually involve specific products and the use of additional apps. Most Bluetooth products still are only limited to one paired source.

With Wi-Fi, the number of speakers and devices attached to a network is only limited by the number of available IP addresses. You can configure almost any number of combination of speakers and sources such that everyone can use individual zones or a whole-house zone, all on the same network.

So there you have it – both methods have their respective advantages. In terms of portability, Bluetooth definitely has one up over Wi-Fi; but if sound quality is a deal breaker for you, stick to the Wi-Fi.

For a range of both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers, check out our web store right here.

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