In this post, I’m going to compare Bluetooth speakers with wireless speakers and point out some applications in which you can use either model. To be accurate, Bluetooth speakers are one type of wireless speakers. However, they use a fairly specific protocol. That is why I’m going to refer to speakers which use any protocol other than Bluetooth as wireless speakers.
In many applications, Bluetooth speakers are optimal. In particular, their main advantage is that they don’t require a dedicated transmitter unit. If you look at wireless speakers from http://www.amphony.com/products/wireless-speaker.htm or if you read reviews at http://www.cnet.com then you may notice that other types of wireless speakers require a transmitter unit. However, there are some exceptions.
AirPlay wireless speakers I using Wi-Fi as the underlying technology. On top, they incorporate a protocol which is supported by a number of portable devices such as Apple iPhones or iPads. As such, AirPlay speakers don’t require a transmitter but can receive audio directly from any device supporting AirPlay. Typically, these speakers are quite expensive. This is because Apple charges licensing fees for manufacturers incorporating this technology.
As an alternative, I recommend other types of Wi-Fi speakers. You can use any computer or laptop which supports Wi-Fi as long as you have a suitable app installed which is supported by the speaker. There isn’t any particular standard regarding the protocol used for the audio transmission when using Wi-Fi. Therefore, you typically would have to download an application which is supported by a specific model. That is the main advantage of Bluetooth wireless speakers. They don’t require you installing a specific application.
However, Bluetooth models are fairly restrictive in terms of how many speakers can be paired with one transmitting device. In almost all cases, only one receiver is allowed. Other types of wireless speakers are less restrictive. Many models can pair up to four or more speakers per transmitter. If you want to distribute one audio track throughout your home then I would not recommend Bluetooth speakers but instead a model that supports multiple speakers per transmitter. Also, these types of proprietary transmitters typically have larger wireless range then Bluetooth.
Regarding the audio quality, Bluetooth speakers are usually at the bottom and. This is because of two reasons. First reason is that Bluetooth incorporates audio compression which means that there will be a certain amount of degradation of the audio during the transmission. Second, nowadays the majority of manufacturers offering Bluetooth models sell their products for a fairly low price. That has an impact on the quality of those products. Also, the size of Bluetooth speakers is sometimes very small and thus these models don’t have sufficient bass frequency response.