Get­ting the most out of your wire­less speaker

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Wireless Speakers Continued -

Wire­less tech ex­plained

The most used wire­less trans­mis­sion meth­ods tend to be the fol­low­ing: aptx Blue­tooth, reg­u­lar Blue­tooth, Ap­ple Air­play and Kleer (used by Arcam).

Air­play is Ap­ple’s pro­pri­etary so­lu­tion and works only with Ap­ple devices. Blue­tooth, and its higher-qual­ity aptx variant, will work with any Blue­tooth­com­pat­i­ble de­vice, while Kleer re­quires a don­gle.

If it were our money, we would opt for one of the Blue­tooth vari­ants – it’s ver­sa­tile and the qual­ity is fine, al­beit lower than with a wired con­nec­tion.

How much should you spend?

This all de­pends on what you want your dock to do.

If you fancy some­thing to take to the park for picnics, then you’d want to con­sider a unit that has a good bat­tery life. If you’re re­plac­ing a mi­cro or mini sys­tem, then some­thing like the B&W Zep­pelin Wire­less will do a com­mend­able job. As ever, try be­fore you buy, es­pe­cially if you’re head­ing to­wards the pre­mium range.

A good tip is to take your li­brary with you to the dealer/re­tailer and play some of the great­est hits straight from your por­ta­ble.

Choose the right file type

Whichever one you go for, and es­pe­cially if you’re con­nect­ing your de­vice, it’s im­por­tant to sup­ply the dock with a high enough qual­ity file.

We find that 320kbps is as low as we’d go with MP3 files, with Ap­ple Loss­less, FLAC or un­com­pressed WAV far more prefer­able.

If you use an Ap­ple de­vice, and use WAV files on your com­puter but don’t have space for them on your por­ta­ble, itunes has a handy op­tion to sync slightly lower-qual­ity ver­sions of your tracks to your de­vice.

In­stant multi-room mu­sic

If you’re look­ing to build a multi-room sys­tem, you’re in luck. (See p36 of this is­sue.)

Some docks won’t be able to play mu­sic on more than one de­vice at a time (un­less you have more than one which can stream to each other), but it does mean you can sim­ply se­lect each de­vice on your por­ta­ble as you move be­tween rooms and have your mu­sic in­stantly switch be­tween docks.

Al­ter­na­tively, you could fork out for a Sonos sys­tem – but that isn’t re­ally the point. Wire­less docks mean min­i­mal set-up – al­ways a bonus.

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