Over the years a whole array of wireless audio transmitters have emerged which are supposed to eliminate the cables at home when connecting audio equipment. Can these products make good on their promise to eliminate the cable clutter? What impact has changing technology had on their performance?
Wireless transmission of music has started with the launch of commercial radio broadcasts several decades ago. While still being popular today, FM radio is now being replaced by new technologies including HD radio, satellite radio and DAB broadcasts. Today a multitude of consumer devices exist such as wireless microphones, wireless surround sound kits, Bluetooth audio transmitters, baby monitors etc which eliminate the cord by transmitting audio wireless.
Setting up speakers in another room and distributing music throughout the house are some of the applications of wireless audio. Many homes are not wired for audio. Not every technology is perfect when it comes to wireless audio as we will find out.
One of the most traditional technologies is FM broadcasting. Audio is sent via a radio-frequency signal which is modulated (changed in frequency) with an audio signal. This technology is called frequency modulation or FM. It is fairly simple to implement. Thus FM transmitters are very cost-effective. Also, FM transmission offers high range. While most of today's 900 MHz products use FM transmission, FM has some major problems.
The FM signal will pick up static. Therefore there will be noticeable background noise. The amount of static will depend on the location of the transmitter and radio. FM radio waves are often reflected by walls and obstacles. This will cause several components to cancel each other out thus causing a varying signal quality in different locations. This phenomenon is called multipath fading. One method to cope with this problem is using two antennae instead of one. Products using this method are called diversity receivers. FM radios will easily pick up interference from other consumer devices which is another problem.
Bluetooth has gained popularity recently for wireless audio transmission even though this protocol was primarily designed to connect computer peripherals. Before the signal is broadcast, Bluetooth transmitters will convert the audio into a digital format. While offering high robustness against wireless interference, Bluetooth has several problems in regard to audio transmission since it was never designed with the purpose of transmitting audio. The range of the transmission is only 30 ft or less. Also, Bluetooth does not have enough space to send an uncompressed CD-quality
audio signal. Therefore the audio is compressed prior to the transmission. This compression will result in a loss of audio quality depending on the degree of compression. Bluetooth will introduce a delay or latency to the audio signal which is a problem for surround sound and video applications because the wireless speakers will be out of sync with the remaining speakers and video.
Satellite radio and digital terrestrial radio technologies offer high range but use extensive audio compression leading to degradation of the audio signal and have an audio delay of several seconds.
The technology used in Amphony's wireless audio transmitters sends audio in a digital format without audio compression. By avoiding audio compression, the signal will retain the original quality. The audio latency of this technology is less than 1 ms. Therefore it can be used for real-time applications such as wireless speaker kits in home theater setups.
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, you can e mail us on our web page. By using error correction, this technology can cope with interference from competing wireless devices which is key in today’s noisy environment. Rather than using the crowded 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz frequency bands, Amphony products operate at 5.8 GHz and thus offer high robustness. Other than Bluetooth, this technology can operate and number of receivers per transmitter which is key for sending audio to several locations throughout the house.