Wireless home audio is no longer only a reality for the wealthy audiophile, but with so many companies entering the market it’s becoming an increasingly convoluted purchasing decision for the consumer.
The omnipresent Bluetooth is not suited to high-end, as it uses extensive compression to fit its bandwidth, resulting in a reduction in audio quality that is noticeable on higher quality speaker systems. And while companies such as Samsung, Bose and Sonos are providing their unique takes on wireless audio, a lack of interoperability between brands can make setting up a wireless digital A/V environment far more expensive than it should be.
Given our commitment to the highest quality pro audio. Profusion is focussing on bringing you an extending range of DLNA and WiSA solutions, both of which offer professional quality sound between different brands. But for those who are still unsure which direction they’d like to take their designs, we’ve outlined the differences between the two to hopefully make things that little bit clearer.
The DLNA guidelines adopt open standards and set out rules to achieve media sharing and interoperability between brands. For example, DLNA allows for wireless playback of files stored on networked devices, and is found on a range of Windows, Andoid and iOS applications. It’s now a common feature found on many home devices such as Blu-ray players, TVs, computers and NAS storage devices, as well as some speakers. In addition to audio it also governs video and picture formats.
Pros: DLNA is compatible with a wide (and increasing) range of A/V devices from different manufacturers, and boasts no audio loss. It also streams via the home’s WiFi network, making it easy to set up.
Cons: DLNA works with stored music files rather than streaming the content, and downloads part of the audio file before playing it. While this provides superb lossless audio, it does limit its functionality due to latency. DLNA is unable to stream to multiple devices and it does not work natively with Apple products.
Featured products: ConversDigital’s mconnect range support DLNA (which also includes options for AirPlay interoperability for Apple Products, multi-room support, streaming audio services and Bluetooth).
WiSA (Wireless Speaker and Audio Association) is another wireless audio standard, but one which uses its own WiSA transmitters rather than WiFi to connect audio devices. In simple terms it aims to replace the audio speaker cable with a near perfect digital wireless equivalent.
Pros: The audio quality is lossless, and features stereo speaker pairing and multichannel (5.1, 7.1) speaker systems. It is ultra low latency and each channel is perfectly in sync. WiSA allows wireless audio to work with different manufactures – for example, pairing the various TV brands with different speaker brands – giving the user a highly flexible approach to home audio.
Cons: WiSA technology is not as prevalent as WiFi, though it used in an increasing number of TVs, media players, soundbars and speakers. As with DLNA, use is restricted to the home, with the pay off being lossless sound quality as opposed to the reduced quality that arises from the ubiquitous Bluetooth’s data compression.
Featured products: Our Summit modules support WiSA audio standard. In addition, they offer extended range modules suitable for professional audio applications such as live sound, or multi-room audio systems.
If your interest is in wireless microphones then take a look at THAT’s Analog Engines, designed specifically for companding, to improve audio quality in wireless microphones.