Which one sounds better? You’re watching your favorite movie, and you have to crank it up to hear anyone speak. Or the sound of the movie envelops you and pulls you into the film. You want to feel like you’re in a movie theater or part of the show, right? To get that immersive feeling, you have some work to do. There are many things to think about when trying to choose the right sound system for your home.
Plus, if you want to go wireless, that only adds more to what you need to consider.
If you can’t quite figure out how to get the best value for your money, then you need to learn a bit more about these systems before you ever start shopping.
A Couple of Important Points
Before you get much further in your steps to learn how to choose the best wireless surround system, there are two things you need to recognize about these systems.
The first is that these systems cost more than wired systems. They are quite expensive. Of course, there is a range from cheaper to expensive, but in general, a wireless system will always cost you more than a wired one. Consider it an investment.
The second is that a wireless system is not completely wireless. The name is a bit deceiving. It refers only to the wires attaching the speakers to the receiver. You still have wires connecting the components to a power source.
If you have a concern about price or you only wanted a wireless system because you thought there would be no wires, then maybe you should look into alternative options. If you were aware of these two points, then you can continue to check into the other considerations you need to make when choosing a system.
Things to Consider
You want to think about a variety of things when choosing a wireless surround sound system. Some of the considerations you need to make include:
- Bluetooth vs. wi-fi
Bluetooth vs. wi-fi
You have two basic options for a wireless system: Bluetooth or wi-fi. According to Consumer Reports, the difference in the way the two types of systems operate impacts the overall functionality of each.
Bluetooth must compress data before it transmits it, which negatively impacts the quality of the audio. However, Bluetooth technology is more widely available on systems. These systems are also cheaper and easier to install.
Wi-fi provides a superior sound experience because it doesn’t have to compress the data. These systems also have more reliable connections and have a higher quality overall, including a larger range. However, these systems are more expensive, and you may need to look harder to find a wi-fi-enabled system.
We can’t recommend one over the other because it really comes down to your needs. If you have a strict budget, then go for Bluetooth, but if you need to use the system in a large space, then wi-fi is better. It’s important to think about what you need and how each system will deliver on those needs to figure out which is the right choice for you.
A system is pretty useless to you if you can’t figure out how to set it up or you can’t connect everything you need to the system. So, the second thing we suggest checking on any system you consider is connectivity.
First, investigate the setup instructions to make sure they are clear. Also, look for compatible devices to be sure you can connect everything you want.
Rolling Stone suggests looking specifically at the ports available. Some systems are notorious for not having enough ports to support a typical surround sound setup. You want to be sure that you know what devices you want to connect to and that there are ports to connect them.
The whole point of a surround sound system is to get an amazing sound that fills the room and creates a movie theater-like experience. When learning how to choose the best wireless surround system, you must consider range.
Bluetooth systems will provide you a shorter range than a wi-fi system. However, in some cases, you want a shorter range.
Bluetooth offers an average range of around 30 feet. If you have a smaller room, this will be perfect. You will get solid sound with no distortion. If you were to go for a longer range, it could muddle the sound and not provide the best experience.
The range for a wi-fi system is a little trickier. Wi-fi signals are easy to block. If something blocks the signal, it drops the ability to transmit. So, the range you will get on a wi-fi system depends on the open space you have. In an open area, the range can be as high as 100 feet, but inside with obstacles in the way, that could drop to as low as 50 feet.
You probably already know that volume is an essential consideration. You want loud and clear audio.
We measure volume in decibels, but manufacturers of surround sound systems will list it in watts. That is frustrating if you don’t know how decibels convert to watts.
To give you an idea, 50 decibels is equal to 1 watt. This level is about the same as the noise from a refrigerator. For something a bit louder, a motorcycle is about 95 decibels at the low end, which is 8 watts. Finally, for a true concert sound, you are looking at up to 120 decibels, which is 600 watts.
The last thing to think about when learning how to choose the best wireless surround system is the configuration. That is the setup of the speakers.
The most common configuration is 5.1. In this setup, you have three speakers in front at right, left, and center positions. Then, there is one speaker on the right side and one on the left side.
Another common configuration is 7.1. It adds more depth to the 5.1 configuration by adding 2 speakers in the rear on the right and left.
Knowing what factors to consider and having some general information about what to expect may not prepare you completely to choose the best system. The following FAQs can fill in some of the blanks and provide you with the rest of the information you need to learn how to choose the best wireless surround system.
Wireless surround sound system: How does it work?
It’s a good idea to understand how the system works to get the most out of it once you make your purchase. Every wireless system has a receiver. The receiver gets the audio signals from your home theater system. It then sends that audio to the speakers. That’s pretty simple.
One other element to note is that the receiver will need power. You have to plug it into an electrical outlet. In some systems, the speakers also require power from plugging them in, but other systems may power the speakers through the receiver wirelessly just as they receive the sound.
How are 5.1 and 7.1 wireless sound systems different?
As you already know, the main difference between the 5.1 and 7.1 systems is an additional 2 speakers in the 7.1 system. There are more differences to consider that may impact your choice.
In general, 5.1 systems are more self-contained. They are easier to set up and cost less. On the other hand, they also have less power and cannot provide the same richness and depth of sound as a 7.1 system.
So, you do get a fuller sound experience from a 7.1 system. They also usually have a higher quality and better capabilities, but they are more expensive. Plus, if you use a 7.1 system in too small of a space, it will not sound good, so you need a more open area in which to use it.
What brands make the best wireless sound systems?
Almost every brand making sound systems offers a wireless option. However, top brands seem to provide the best choices.
Bose is a great choice. The Bose Lifestyle 360 is on the expensive side, which is the main downside to the system, but it is also incredibly versatile and well made. The Bose name is a standard in the industry for quality. One detail you should note is that there are a lot of wires required in this wireless system, which may be a deal-breaker for you.
- As main components, your purchase include: One Console, 4 OnmiJewel side speakers, One OmniJewel center speaker, One Acoustimass wireless bass module, universal remote control, 2 wireless receivers, One ADAPTiQ headset and Owner’s guide
- Dimensions (”): Console – 15.98 W x 2.56 H x 10.16 D | OmniJewel Side speakers (each) – 1.84 W x 5.77 H x 1.84 D | OmniJewel Center speaker – 21.34 W x 1.9 H x 1.84 D | Bass module – 11.61 W x 12.8 H x 11.61 D | Wireless receivers – 6.54 W x 1.6 H x 3 D
- Wires length: 6-foot IR emitter, 5-foot optical cable, 6-foot HDMI cable, 5-foot power cord, 20-foot center speaker cable, 20-foot wireless surround speaker cable, and 20-foot front speaker cables
- Front and center speakers have a wired connection, while the 2-rear speakers connect to a wireless receiver and AC power mains. The rear speakers and bass module connect to the front module wirelessly
- Supported Audio formats - Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, Multichannel PCM. Video Source compatibility - Support for six 4K/60 video sources (HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2)
Next up is JBL. The JBL Bar 5.1 Home Theater Starter System with Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer is a home theater in a box. It’s well put together and provides you with everything you need to get a dream setup. It also has a quality build with a stylish design. While it is generally easy to install, setup can take a while because it is tough to balance the system.
- The JBL Bar 5.1 transforms from a soundbar into a true wireless 5.1 home theater system for an epic movie and music–listening experience
- The soundbar features two detachable battery–powered wireless surround speakers with 10–hours of playtime, 510W of total system power, a 10” wireless subwoofer, three HDMI inputs to connect 4K devices
- With Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS, your movies, music and video games will never sound more incredible
- Enjoy rich and thrilling bass from a 10in (250mm) wireless subwoofer with the convenience of flexible placement without the hassle of wires
And that’s not all you need to consider
VIZIO is another top brand. The VIZIO V51-H6 is the perfect choice if you have a budget that you need to stick to closely. Plus, it has a compact design, which makes it ideal for small places. The range is average, but it has a very stable Bluetooth connection, and installation is a snap. The biggest downside to this system is it lacks ports so if you need to connect many devices, you’re out of luck.
- Optimized for 4K HDR content with Dolby Audio 5.1 Bring out the best audio performance from your 4K HDR content with Dolby Audio 5.1 when connected through HDMI.
- Loud and Clear: The 96dB sound pressure level and 50Hz – 20kHz frequency range deliver dynamic and accurate Sound.
- DTS Virtual:X: Enhances any content with room-filling, floor-to-ceiling virtualized 3D sound.
- 5” Wireless Subwoofer Place the wireless subwoofer anywhere in the room to add deep booming bass.
- Voice Assistant Input Use our voice to control your Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant devices through the sound bar with a dedicated 3.5 Aux or Persistent Bluetooth connection.
Next up is a huge name in electronics, Samsung. The Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q90R is an excellent system. It performs at top levels and is one of the best true wireless systems. The biggest issues are that it isn’t very compatible with non-Samsung devices and it is pricey.
- Product Dimensions: 48.26" W x 3.26" H x 5.35" D | Spk (sub woofer) Net Dimension: 8.07" W x 15.86" H x 15.86" D
- Includes: Remote Control, Battery, Wall Mount Kit and HDMI cable
- DOLBY ATMOS AND DTS:X TECHNOLOGIES: With Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, sounds move independently around you from all directions, even above, just like in real life
- 7.1.4 CHANNELS: 17 built-in speakers, including four that fire upward and two that fire from the side, surround you in multidimensional cinematic audio that rivals even the very best movie theater experience
- REAR WIRELESS SPEAKER KIT INCLUDED: Upward firing rear speakers add another element of surround sound to your movies, making every moment more cinematic
Rounding out the top five brands is Polk. The Polk Audio Signa S2 is another one that has a budget-friendly price tag. It is also compact and won’t take up a lot of room, making it nice for small spaces. Audio quality is decent, but the LED indicators are confusing, it lacks compatibility with newer sound settings, and it does not have a lot of ports.
- A PREMIUM ULTRA-SLIM SOUND BAR WITH INCLUDED WIRELESS SUBWOOFER – 5 powerful full-range drivers deliver BEAUTFUL RICH SOUND WITH DEEP BASS. POLK’S EXCLUSIVE VOICE ADJUST TECHNOLOGY & Dolby Digital Decoding maximizes sound clarity & reduces voice delays
- EXCELLENT SOUND AND VALUE on par with any mid- to high-range sound bars available in the market. At just over 2" tall, it fits most spaces — easily wall-mount it or place in front of your TV. It won’t block your TV’s bottom edge or IR remote sensor
- UPGRADE YOUR HOME THEATER EXPERIENCE – Watch your favorite shows on your 4K HD Smart TV with exceptional picture quality & crystal clear sound. With numerous connection possibilities, plug in any audio source via HDMI ARC, optical input & AUX
- WIRELESSLY STREAM MUSIC from your favorite streaming apps like Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, and others directly from your smartphone, tablet or other compatible device through the built-in Bluetooth technology
- SET UP YOUR SOUND BAR IN MINUTES — With the included subwoofer, HDMI and optical cables quickly connect your TV to the sound bar. Get set up and listening in minutes
Can I make my surround sound system wireless?
If you decide that buying a new system just isn’t in the cards for you, you may want to consider converting your current system to wireless. And it is possible to do so with a wireless speaker kit.
The kit will turn a wired speaker into a wireless one by using radio-frequency signals. However, you may still need power from an electrical outlet for the speakers. The wireless aspect will really only disconnect the speakers from the receiver, but even that is great as it removes a lot of unsightly wires.
In the kit, you get a transmitting and receiving unit that sends and receives the audio signals between your system and the speakers. You also get the connectors you need to convert each speaker. The most important thing is to make sure it is compatible with the system you currently have.
Kits do not include extra power supplies, which you may need to add. You have to buy them separately if you need them. That is something dependent on your system, so you may have to make a second purchase after buying the kit.
Wrapping Up: How to Choose the Best Wireless Surround System
Learning how to choose the best wireless surround system is a matter of learning about the different features and aspects of such a system. It helps to have knowledge of range and connectivity. The more you know about these systems, the better decision you can make.
While we offer some examples from the top brands, there are many options on the market. So, whether you buy a new system or convert the one you have, we urge you to keep everything in mind and take the time to consider your needs, compare your options, and choose a system that will best suit you, your space, and your budget.
Last update on 2022-08-25 at 19:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API