One of the nice features provided by Bluetooth technology is its ability to stream music wirelessly to speakers, headphones and earbuds. While the sound quality suffers compared to a high-end stereo system playing vinyl or an advanced audio format like SACD or DVD-Audio, it works well enough with compressed formats like MP3 or AAC. The added convenience of wireless means you can listen to your music library anywhere in your house.
With that in mind, let’s look more closely at putting together a wireless stereo system at home. Setup is a breeze when working with Bluetooth.
Shopping for a Bluetooth Speaker
The market for Bluetooth speakers has exploded over the last few years, driven by the growth in smartphones and tablet computers able to store and stream your music library. If you have the time, make it a point to visit your local brick and mortar retailer to try out the speakers with your own ears. Just like the halcyon days of “old-school” stereo stores, you need to hear their sound quality in person, as speaker preference is a very subjective matter.
One piece of advice is to stay away from the Beats brand, as they are known for poor sound quality relative to their price, especially considering their headphones.
When auditioning Bluetooth speakers, pay close attention to their bass response, as well as their support for two channel audio — stereo still being superior to mono. Other notable features include support for battery power and the ability to operate as a speakerphone when paired with a smartphone. Some speakers even remember the last few devices they were paired with, making it easier to switch between multiple Bluetooth transmitters.
DLNA is Another Option for Streaming Wireless Music
Many smartphones, tablets, Blu-Ray players, smart TVs and AV receivers support DLNA technology. This allows you to connect a DLNA-compatible hard drive hosting your music library to your wireless router and then stream that music to any compatible device in your house. If you have a high-end audio system, this generally offers superior sound quality compared to streaming to a Bluetooth speaker.
DLNA also works with video and photos, offering a convenient method of accessing different types of media on a variety of devices. You are also able to access the content of your hard drive when traveling. In this case, run a speed test to make sure your ISP is providing a high enough upload speed to support streaming — video obviously using more bandwidth than audio.
Setting up a wireless stereo system at home can be a breeze but take the time and put the effort into choosing the right Bluetooth speaker. And if you take advantage of DLNA technology you can enjoy a worthy option offering better sound quality in addition to video streaming.