The Difference Between Wired And Wireless Speakers
All speakers, whether wired or wireless, need three things to work: an audio signal, power, and amplification. Amplifiers, wires, and cables supply those requirements for traditionally wired speakers.
Wireless speakers plug into power, have built-in amplifiers, and instead of copper wire or cable, the audio signals transmit wirelessly to them via IR , RF , Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. Traditionally wired speakers don’t have a built-in amplifier and cannot receive audio signals wirelessly. Still, you can make them “wireless” with the use of add-on devices.
Tiny Receiver Huge Possibilities
Bluetooth receivers pair with any Bluetooth-enabled device, allowing you to stream everything, from anywhere, to your very non-portable speakers. Its so cheap and easy, youll wonder why you didnt think of it before.
We decided to test out the Nyrius Songo wireless Bluetooth receiver, which can be had for as little as $25 on Amazon. We dont recommend this particular receiver over any others, were more interested in the ease and viability of this type of solution. We recommend you do a little research before making your own purchasing decisions.
The actual receiver is pretty tiny, in fact, its smaller than a standard square Post-it® note.
Bluetooth receivers can come with a variety of outputs and features depending on your needs. Some might have optical audio connections, others sport RCA plugs for left and right channels. You can pair via Bluetooth, or for a little more money, some models come with NFC for instant tap-to-pair abilities.
This receiver is pretty barebones, though it doesnt really need to be fancy. A simple LED on the front tells us when it is paired to a device. On the back is a 5V USB power connector, and a 3.5mm stereo output.
The setup is simple. Plug the device into a power source, connect it from the audio out directly to your speakers audio cable or an auxiliary input.
With that done, the only thing left to do is to pair it. This particular model can store up to eight different audio sources.
It’s A Process But Definitely Doable On Your Own
- San Diego State University
It seems like more and more speakers are available with wireless connectivity, but still, many older devices are wired. The good news is there are several ways to convert wired speakers into wireless ones, from Bluetooth receivers to wireless conversion kits.
Can You Make Old Speakers Bluetooth
Using a simple Bluetooth adapter, youre ready to go. While this type of bluetooth audio adapter from Logitech comes with a discount for $40, it is a very appealing option for commercial use. Connecting it to the power strip and to the RCA or 3 port will make sure powered speakers are connected. This Bluetooth-enabled device can be paired with the 5mm inputs in this adapter.
Diy 51 Speakers Conversion To Bluetooth
In essence, all you need to convert your sound system into Bluetooth is a Bluetooth receiver that supports 3.0 or newer standards and has some audio output connector. Many USB receivers meet these requirements so, if you have one collecting dust or you can buy one secondhand online, you are good to go.
The next thing you will need is a 5V power supply. Almost any phone or universal charger will do the trick. Just check the specifications written on it before you proceed to make sure you got the correct one.
Besides the power supply and Bluetooth receiver, you will need a power cable to connect your charger and receiver. You will also need the correct audio cable to connect receiver output and sound system input.
To make it work, you will need to have some knowledge about soldering and electronics.
First, you need to disassemble the USB Bluetooth receiver and solder off the USB connector. You need to cut off the power cables end and figure out the correct polarity of wires. You can do this by using a universal multimeter. When you determined correct polarities, solder the wires to the receivers proper outer connections to provide it with power. If you did a good job, it should power up just like being plugged into the USB port.
All you have to do now is connect your receiver output with your sound system input. Ensure you are using the correct cable and place your receiver someplace where you can have unobstructed vision between it and the phone.
You May Like: How To Install Bluetooth In Car
How To Convert Speakers To Bluetooth Speakers Connect To Any Device Wirelessly
Lets be honest, nothing compares to the convenience of a wireless setup in our home theater system. Did you know that you dont have to buy a Bluetooth speaker from the get-go to enjoy this benefit? Our team of experts has a few methods up their sleeve to help you convert speakers into Bluetooth options so you can enjoy a clean setup.
What Can You Expect From Converting Your Speakers To Bluetooth
Since its introduction in 1999 to its current Bluetooth 5 iteration, this standard has come a long way regarding its capabilities. Back in the day, you were limited to only voice transfers over few feet, while now you can get to speeds of up to 3 Mb/s and send the signal to 250m away and two receivers from a single source. These updates made Bluetooth a widespread way of connecting various devices and exchanging data between them. So, by converting your sound system to receive Bluetooth data, you are upgrading it significantly. This way, you will be able to stream your favorite music or podcast from your speakers to your weathered 5.1 system just by a few touches on your mobile screen.
The only downside from using Bluetooth to connect your mobile to your speakers is that Bluetooth can only transfer stereo signals. This limitation means you wont be able to listen to separate rear/front and center channels, but only left and right.
Required conversion can be done by either doing a DIY project or buying some of the many off-the-shelf products created just for this purpose. Lets cover them both.
Recommended Reading: How To Connect Hearing Aids With Bluetooth
S Involved In The Conversion
- Purchasing the Wireless Speaker Kit
The first and foremost step in the conversion mechanism is purchasing the wireless speaker kit. These tools are readily available in the market at a reasonable price range. In addition to this, these materials are highly efficient and make the process of upgrading the speakers easier. Most commonly used speaker kits include Bluetooth adapters, which receive radio signals from the environment and convert them into audible sound.
Similarly, do keep in mind that despite their name, most of these come with cables and wires and are not completely wireless. This is attributed to the lack of real amplifiers in wired speakers, and therefore, it is impossible to send signals from one source to another. Hence, for signal transfer, an amplifier is necessary for the system.
Along with this, the amplifier should also be available with wires so that it can be connected to the power source. Thus, wires are an integral component of the speaker kit and provide ease of use. Apart from this, converter kits are also essential and are capable of connecting around two speakers.
However, the overall system is still wireless because the wires are only used for connecting the equipment. The signal still travels wirelessly using air as the medium between the source and the receiver. Lastly, the radio signal is transformed into audible sound by the receiving end. Hence, improving the overall functioning of the product.
- Connecting the Amplifier
Old Speaker Conversion To Bluetooth Boombox
HI everyone! Thank you so much for tuning in with me on this build! Before we jump in the details, please consider voting for this Instructable in the contest at the very bottom. Support is highly appreciated!
It has been a few years since I started building various portable Bluetooth speakers and boomboxes and even though it is truly satisfying to design and build your own portable speaker – one thing that I noticed for sure is that it does take quite a lot of time, usually a few weekends to build a decent speaker. Therefore I thought I would rather use an already built commercial speaker and attach a “rechargeable amplifier” to it! Not only is it much less time consuming but also a lot cheaper since you can get great quality second-hand speakers really cheap!
This idea of giving old items a brand new life has been with me for quite a while. Therefore I thought to give this old speaker built in the 80’s a new life by converting it into a portable Bluetooth + WiFi boombox using the amazing Up2stream Pro audio receiver which can connect to your streaming device via WiFi or Bluetooth 5.0 and with its own app it is a breeze to use. Let’s get into the details of this build next!
Read Also: Bluetooth 5.0 Mp3 Player
Common Issues People Face When Trying To Convert The Old Speaker Intowireless Streaming Without Bluetooth Audio Adapter
Buying a Bluetooth adapter iseasy and simplein fact, this is one of the easiest ways to turn your speakerswireless. You need to make sure you get the right Bluetooth adapter to helpyour speakers and smartphone connect in the smoothest way possible, and thatsthe biggest task.
On the other hand, trying toturn your speakers wireless without a Bluetooth adapter is a tough task. There are differentelements to consider, and it often isnt worth the time or effort when you getsimilar results simply by purchasing a Bluetooth adapter device.
You might not even be able tofind a suitable, easy solution to convert your old speaker into a wirelessstreaming device without a Bluetooth audio adapter. Remember that a Bluetoothtransmitter/receiver is different, as it helps convert analogue into digitalsignals. With one of these, you could connect your old stereo to your newheadphones.
An Upgrade For Better Sound And Better Range: Audioengine B1
*At the time of publishing, the price was $190.
If you have nice speakers or a higher-end audio system and you want to add a Bluetooth connection that can do them justice, the Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Music Receiver is a great step up.
The B1 is based on the same circuitry as Audioengines well-regarded D1 DAC, and the units audio quality reflects this: It offers better sound, by a good margin, than the less expensive Bluetooth receivers we tested. Music is lively and involving, with crisp, clear highs detailed midrange and tight, clean bass, particularly when used with devices that support aptX. In fact, because the B1s DAC is likely better than the built-in DAC of your phone, tablet, or computer, streaming to the B1 could wind up sounding better than connecting that source to your audio system with a cable: I found that streaming audio from my laptop to the B1 sounded significantly better than connecting the computer to my stereo using a cable from the computers headphone jack. On the other hand, my iPhone sounded a bit better with a wired connection to my stereo than through the B1, though the differences were small.
Read Also: Sound Bar For Tv With Bluetooth
Speaker Choice And Wiring
When choosing the speaker for this conversion build the most important parameters would be the impedance and the RMS output of the speaker. Also, since we are using a powerhouse of an amplifier which can output nearly 50 Watts of clean power in the palm of your hand and costing around 3$, it is best to use a 3-way speaker consisting of a subwoofer, a midrange driver and a tweeter. Ideally you would want a 3-way 4 Ohm speaker rated for up to 50 Watts.
I chose to use the legendary 3-way speaker – the Radiotechnika S-50B built in the 80’s which I got for cheap. It still plays great though it does have a few dings and scratches and a missing dust cap from the subwoofer but it is a great bargain for what it is. It is an 8 Ohm speaker rated for up to 50 Watts.
Connecting Bluetooth Receiver To Powered Or Active Speakers
Powered speakers have their own external power supply. Powered speakers use this power supply to add voltage and current to the line-level signal. Because of this, you can plug a Bluetooth receiver directly into a set of powered speakers.
Alternatively, if you want to add a Bluetooth audio channel to your powered speaker system, you will want to hook your speakers up to a preamps output channel, and plug the Bluetooth into one of the audio input channels of the preamp and use the other channels for your other audio devices.
A preamp is also a good way to add volume control to powered speakers that dont have one. If your powered speakers do not have their own volume control, it is highly recommended that you get a preamp. Otherwise, your Bluetooth device will be the volume control, and you will need to remember to set it to the appropriate volume before you listen every time.
Read Also: Best Bluetooth Headphones For Mixing
Convenience Of Converting Regular Speakers
Rather than just purchasing Bluetooth speakers like the newly released Sonos Roam speaker, our team of experts believes that converting speakers to Bluetooth has its advantages. For starters, eliminating the hassle of a wired setup is a given. For a clean clutter-free living room, you get the benefits of a more portable system.
Without the restriction of wires, you can freely move the previously wired speakers into new locations and experiment with placements for a new and better soundstage.
Other than the neat-looking system, you can use both wired and wireless connections with different devices when it suits you. This will elevate the convenience and versatility of your speakers.
It is quite easy to implement the wireless Bluetooth receiver and its very affordable. It will cut down on your costs compared to purchasing a brand new set of wireless Bluetooth speakers. Depending on where and when you want to play your content, you have the choice of going wireless or not.
Our Pick: Startech Bt2a
*At the time of publishing, the price was $73.
The StarTech BT2A Bluetooth Audio Receiver is our top pick for most people thanks to its combination of good sound quality, range, usability, connectivity, and price. It comes from a reputable vendor, has a two-year warranty, and is reasonably priced.
The BT2A paired to new devices, and reconnected to old devices, reliably in our testing. It can remember eight paired devices if an additional device is paired, the oldest-paired device is bumped from the list. Additionally, it includes NFC circuitry for easy pairing with Android mobile phones and other compatible devices, although the normal pairing process is easy enough.
In terms of audio quality, the BT2A supports the aptX codec and features a high-quality DAC thats well-regarded in this price range. When used with my computer and iOS devices, the BT2A provided the best sound quality of the models we tested in this price range. Overall, it offered the best dynamic range, the best high-frequency and midrange detail, the best bass power and tightness, and the least high-frequency distortion. It noticeably bested the audio of the Grace Digital 3Play and Avantree Roxa, and far exceeded that of the Motorola Moto Stream.
Reception was about average for the home models I tested, but enough to cover most living areas well. Indoors, each covered my living room and most of an adjacent bedroom outdoors, unobstructed range was about 40 feet.
You May Like: Which Bluetooth Earphone Is Best
How To Make Your Wired Speakers Wireless
You don’t need to buy new speakers to go wireless. Follow these simple tips to affordably add Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to an existing speaker set so you can pair it with your phone or tablet and stream your favorite music.
So, you have a pair of wired speakers that are connected to a stereo receiver you love, or maybe you have a self-powered pair, or a 2.1 system that’s perfect for watching movies. But all of your friends are buying smart speakers they can talk to, or at least stream music to, and you want to get in on the wireless revolution. We’re here to help. There are plenty of ways to introduce wireless connectivity to your current setup, most of which are relatively inexpensive and easy to accomplish.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers
Our biggest complaint about the StarTech BT2A is that it doesnt support multiple active connections: If youre listening to music from your phone and want to switch to playing music from your tablet, you have to break the active Bluetooth connection with the phone , and then connect the tablet. Three models we testedthe Grace Digital 3Play, Motorola Moto Stream, and Avantree Roxasupport multiple active connections:2 In the above scenario, your tablet would already be connected, so when you begin playback on the tablet, the receiver would automatically switch to playing the tablets audio. If you have multiple streaming source devices and frequently switch between them, this is a very convenient feature, and one we wish the BT2A offered. However, the three models that include it all have big drawbacks in other areas, and the feature itself often didnt work as expected.
The range of our top pick isnt outstanding, but its comparable to that of most Bluetooth devices: 30 to 40 feet unobstructed or 20 to 30 feet through walls and other obstructions. To get significantly better range without making compromises in other areas, you need to opt for something more expensive, such as our upgrade pick. Similarly, like all but one of the devices we tested, the BT2A occasionally skipped for no apparent reason, despite being near the transmitting device with a clear line of sight. Our upgrade pick was the only device that never had this issue in our testing.
Also Check: Best Bluetooth Headphones For Drummers