The Quest For Wireless Surround Speakers

In an ideal world, humans would never hurt each other intentionally and all surround speaker systems would be completely wire-free. But that's not how it works. Although partial wireless-ness is now a reality, as is the fact that some humans don't hurt each other intentionally, true freedom from wires is still wishful thinking for the most part. Of course, admirable strides have been made in wireless technology since the old days of miles and miles of cabling but there's still that ever-present element of 'trip-and-curse-ibility' in today's world of audio accessories.

Wireless Surround Speakers: Limited Scope

Wireless speaker systems usually mean that only the rear surround speakers are of the wireless kind. This is usually good enough since it is these same speakers that usually provide the trip and curse aspect to any decent American household. There are some great brands at very competitive prices out there, and if you take the time to hunt for those 'just perfect' wireless surround speakers, you might just find what you're looking for, whether it's the right price, specs or sound quality.

Looking For A Full System: The Works At A Grand

Sony's DAV-FR10W has a pretty good sound from the perspective of a complete solution, comparable with their wired cousins. Though a little on the expensive side at $1000 or so for the full set, you might consider them worth the price if they save you a lot of wiring headaches. At 114 Watts per channel times 7, they're bound to knock the socks off any unsuspecting soul entering your home. The tower speakers are excellent space savers and look like something that would fit right at home in a Spielberg movie. However, this is only available as a full-fledged home theater system, with the rear surround speaker components not readily available to buy separately.

Cost Effective Wireless Surround Speakers

The Acoustic Research AW877 is a very popular brand of wireless surround speakers. At $120, they may just be the cheapest option around. Although they're rated at a 250 foot range, they're only good for a small room environment, and the 7.5W RMS they deliver are more suitable as sound extensions to an existing system rather than main components of your home theater system.

Wireless Surround Speaker Options: Link Kits

While wireless surround speakers come with a home theater system, a wireless kit can also be introduced to convert your rear speakers into wireless ones. Kenwood and Bose both have wireless link kits that are compatible with their own models of rear surround speakers. Kenwood's RFU-6100 sells for about $250 – not bad when you look at the 50 W RMS they pump out. The additional features like selectable RF channels for transmission, and active noise reduction circuitry can help eliminate or reduce RF interference from other sources. This set up will also allow you to incorporate a second system, linking all 4 rear surround speakers. The Bose SL2 for rear speakers is a great wireless link option, but can only support Bose systems rated at a maximum of 200W per channel. The selling price of $220 is very reasonable if you already own a compatible system, but the 30-foot range may cramp your style just a tad bit if you have a longish home theater den.

The Downside Of Wireless Technology

Wireless speaker systems do have their disadvantages. Interference with other RF appliances like cordless telephones and microwaves, complicated set up procedures, undecipherable technical information and spec requirements for compatibility – these are just some of the reasons that people don't readily jump on the wireless bandwagon. To complicate this, research studies are frightening folks into thinking that everything that works on wireless technology will affect the brain in some form or other. While people don't see microwaves or mobile phones in this light, wireless speakers attract a lot of negative attention.