For a period of time, Bluetooth was the most reliable method to connect wirelessly to speakers. However, in the last few years, traditional Wifi has become a popular method as well. What are the differences between these two methods? Is one option better than the other? Let’s take a look at the key components of wireless audio and see how the two methods stack up.
First and foremost, let’s consider music quality. Part of the reason Bluetooth became such a popular format was its reliability. However, it compresses your audio file. Even if your music source is CD quality, by the time it’s delivered to your speakers, much of the dynamic musical range is compressed in order to send the data without interference. Bluetooth advancements, like AptX, compress the audio less, but it’s not lossless.
Wifi, on the other hand, has the ability to send audio wirelessly, without sacrificing the quality of recordings. If you have a recording that contains the full range of audio, that content will be accurately delivered to your speakers.
One of the major benefits of Bluetooth audio is its portability. Most Bluetooth speakers are small enough to travel alongside a smartphone. Because the two devices connect without the need for any external network, they can be used almost anywhere.
While many Wifi speakers are as portable as their Bluetooth counterparts, they require a network to connect via a smartphone. While Wifi is available in many places, it’s certainly not everywhere, and not always accessible.
Connecting To Multiple Speakers
For a very long time Bluetooth was a point-to-point system meaning one source at a time, per speaker. For many products it’s still the case. Some advancements have been made, but usually involve specific products and the use of additional apps.
With Wifi, the number of speakers or smartphones attached to a network is limited only by the number of available IP addresses. You can configure almost any combination of speakers and sources so everyone can listen to individual zones or a whole-house zone, all on the same network.