Bluesound Pulse 2

Wireless Speakers: Bluetooth vs Wi-Fi

What is Bluetooth and How Do Bluetooth Speakers Compare to Wi-Fi Speakers?

Wireless speakers have been widely used to provide music throughout a house by the touch of a button. These speakers can receive an audio signal utilizing Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. How does this work and how do they compare in audio quality?

The short answer is this: Both Bluetooth speakers and wi-fi speakers compress the data files differently to play music on the speaker. Ultimately, Wi-Fi speakers can be used anywhere within the Wi-Fi signal; stream media using the internet; use multiple speakers with one smart device; and typically sound better than the current Bluetooth speakers on the market.

Range and Convenience of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Both wi-fi and Bluetooth are standard features on most smart devices but work in different ways.

A Bluetooth speaker can instantly be connected to devices but needs to be within a short range, so using the device while connected to the speaker is more difficult.

Bluetooth was originally created for sending small signals short ranges, like wireless mice, phone sets, and keyboards. At most, a signal from the smart device can be up to 30 ft away, but, more realistically, only 15 feet away from the receiver.

With these speakers, you use the media from the smart device itself, which means its use may be interrupted by the usage of the source, like phone calls, or background sounds in apps.

Wi-Fi speakers only rely on the strength of the Wi-Fi signal and can be controlled by most smart devices that are on the same network. Wi-Fi speakers connect to one main system, which allows multiple speakers to be connected to play music all over the house.

In this case, smart devices control the speakers, but the music is sent from your music collection or streamed from the internet. This means that phone calls or other applications would not interrupt your music playing.

Quality of Audio and How it Works

What is Data Compression?

Data compression is used to make files smaller so that it is easier to send data.
It is like looking at a slightly lower resolution TV: it’s easy to make out the images on the screen, but there are differences in the details.
By compressing the music file, the details are muted, and the sound quality is worsened. The more data compression, the worse the sound quality.

When choosing what kind of speakers to use, there is one thing that matters above all else: sound quality. Almost across the board, Wi-Fi speakers have better sound quality than Bluetooth speakers.

Bluetooth compresses the data more than Wi-Fi speakers. Though Bluetooth has a high definition (HD) version, only some devices support this new technology, including B&W PX headphones and wireless speakers, BlueSound products and only certain smartphones and tablets.

Unlike Bluetooth-only speakers, Wi-Fi speakers have a way of compressing data files that do not lose the quality of the audio. This allows these speakers to play up to high-resolution (Hi-Res) files, which is the highest-quality audio file available.

We carry multiple brands that create Wi-Fi speakers, such as Sonos, Paradigm, Yamaha, and BlueSound. Currently, BlueSound is the only brand we sell that has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities.

For a demo of our wireless speaker selection, stop by our store or schedule an appointment with our salesmen.