The Problem With Wireless For Surround Sound

Most of us hate cords running around the floor, particularly when they are not quickly concealed. We simply invested in a top-notch residence theater system. We have a terrific video display, an audiophile top quality residence cinema receiver, and also some excellent audio speakers.

Thus far, so excellent. Now it’s time to attach the back channel surround audio speakers. Our system look was simply degraded from Star Expedition to Mad Max. This is an apparent application for wireless, right?

Really, there are some significant problems with using wireless strategies for border sound channels.

Time Lag

Wireless border systems have a processing/transmission time lag that makes the sound from the back networks out of sync with the audio from the front speakers. The integral time required to create the signal, transfer it to the speaker, decode the signal, and finally, to intensify the signal for the audio speaker creates the time countered. Minimal sound handling latency is required for effective border noise.

The audio from the various speakers ought to be listened to at the exact same immediate. For the majority of setups, the rear channels are closer to the audience than the front networks. Therefore, Dolby Digital and Dolby Surround Pro Logic systems apply a hold-up of a few nanoseconds for the border sound channels. The timing is that critical.

When people hear the exact same noise from various instructions, the illusion is developed that the noise’s resource is a phantom area between the noise’s resources. Recording designers utilize balance controls to imitate audios throughout the audio field, allowing them to find noises to various viewed areas throughout the sound stage.

Timing is crucial between surround networks where depth as well as place details are to be established by the ears, and also inevitably, by the mind.


The second issue with cordless surround systems is disturbance. There are numerous modern technologies utilized for wireless surround, as well as the source of interference according to Myparty website is specific to the technology.

Both Bluetooth and also Wi-Fi devices run within the 2.4 GHz band. Bluetooth is the technology that is made use of often for wireless key-boards and also mice, however the capability of Bluetooth systems is minimal for surround sound applications.

A Bluetooth signal power is just around 1 milliwatt. Dolby Digital needs a bandwidth of concerning 400 Kbps as well as Dolby DTS makes use of a transmission capacity of about 450 Kbps for a 5.1 system. Bluetooth has an optimum information transfer price of 433 Kbps, which is sufficing quite close.

Another choice for border audio transmission is Wi-Fi 802.11 b (likewise in the 2.4 GHz band, as is 802.11 g ). An 802.11 b signal is capable of 54 Mbps maximum throughput (30 Mbps in practice), which is more than adequate for this application.

There are substantial sources of disturbance in this 2.4 GHz spectrum from cordless phones, other Wi-Fi equipment like wireless-enabled laptops, wireless game controllers, fluorescent lights, and also microwave stoves. Also bad electric links can trigger wide Rf range emissions.

Bluetooth tries to stay clear of disturbance by “frequency-hopping”. If the signal is getting disturbance, it will certainly (ideally) just be for a split second, since the system will recognize the disturbance, and also switch to a different regularity.

Wi-Fi likewise has the capacity to prevent disturbance by changing channels, as well as by redundant loops of information transmission Lots of Wi-Fi items declare to mange interference issues. Unfortunately, the products are limited by the abilities of the 802.11 chipsets, and the 802.11 procedure itself.

IR (infrared), which is most often utilized by remotes, is yet an additional technology occasionally used for wireless border. IR has a transmission capacity ability of greater than 100 Mbps. IR for data transmission was preferred on laptop computers a few years back.

Extra just recently, it has actually been changed by other cordless modern technologies such as Bluetooth, because they do not need a straight line of sight (LOS). IR transmission is shed whenever there is a loss of LOS between the transmitter as well as the receiver, as well as, on top of that, the signal undergoes disturbance from IR remote controls and ambient light.


A third issue is that the rear audio speakers will need a source of power if they are obtaining the signals wirelessly. They will require power not only for the real audio speakers, yet they will certainly additionally require power for an on-board amplifier. If our goal is to eliminate all cables, this is an issue. Powercast (Pittsburgh, ) has an innovation that will wirelessly provide power to tiny appliances like cellular phone, yet the optimum price is 10-15 watts, not enough for border channels.

On a last note, if you choose to acquire a cordless border system, checked out the item attributes thoroughly. I recently helped on an installation where a DVD/Receiver system was gotten with wireless capability. In this case, the cordless capacity was for distribution to a second space for the main networks, not a wireless capacity for surround networks.

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