Best Wireless Audio Systems in 2022 with Buying Guide

Wireless Audio Systems have grown increasingly popular along with improvements in their sound, reliability, and affordability.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the various types of wireless systems and the features to look for in making the right choices. Looking for a wireless audio system but not sure where to start?

We’re here to help… Why Wireless?

Wireless Systems have an obvious Benefit

  • Freedom of movement onstage
  • Unencumbered by instrument or microphone cables
  • The need to stay close to monitor speakers
  • Free to roam the performance space
  • Best for active performers and presenters
  • Faster to set up
  • Help minimize the clutter of cables, mic stands, and floor monitors
  • Wireless systems can be placed at houses of worship, lecture halls, theatres, dance and exercise studios

Best Wireless Audio Systems

Let’s check out an online buying platform for some of the best models available.

Sonos Roam

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Powerful audio performance, Easily portable design,
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Bass can be overwhelming
  • Weight: 0.95lbs
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inch / 168 x 60 x 62 mm
  • Drivers: One tweeter, one mid-woofer
  • Supported connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5
  • Aux-in: No
  • USB : Yes (USB-C)

Bose Home Portable Speaker

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Great design, Well-balanced soundExpensive compared to Sonos Roam, Lacking in bass
  • Weight: 2.4lbs
  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.6 x 4 inch / 191.5 x 119 x 104 mm
  • Drivers: N/A
  • Supported connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2
  • Aux-in: No
  • USB charging: Yes

Sonos One

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Full-bodied, rich sound, Alexa and Google Assistant, Combine two for stereo setupExpensive for its size
  • Weight: 4.08 lbs
  • Dimensions: 6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 inch / 161.45 x 119.7 x 119.7 mm
  • Drivers: 1 x tweeters, 1 x woofer
  • Supported Connectivity: AirPlay, Bluetooth 4.2, Google Cast, Spotify Connect, 3.5mm, RCA
  • Aux-in: Yes
  • USB: No

Braun LE01

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Refined sound and build quality, Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast streamingNeeds to be set up using Google Home
Basic app
  • Weight: N/A
  • Dimensions: 27.5 x 10.6 x 3.89 inch / 700 x 271 x 99mm
  • Drivers: 3 x front-firing drivers, 2 x passive radiators and 3 x class D amplifiers
  • Supported connectivity : Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, AirPlay, Chromecast
  • Aux-in: Yes
  • USB: No

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin (2021)

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Balanced, detailed, full-range sound, Very acceptable control appNot quite the stereo separation we were led to expect, Would suit an HDMI input nicely
  • Weight: 6.5kg
  • Dimensions: 210 x 650 x 194mm (H x W x D)
  • Drivers: 2 x 1-inch tweeters, 2 x 3.5-inch midrange, 1 x 6-inch subwoofer
  • Supported Connectivity: AirPlay, Bluetooth 5, Spotify Connect, Bowers & Wilkins Music App (with Deezer, Qobuz and TIDAL support)
  • Aux-in: No
  • USB: No

Naim Mu-So Qb

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Amazing looks, Full and vibrant sound, Small form factorSetup isn’t seamless
  • Weight: 12.3lbs
  • Dimensions: 8.26 x 8.58 x 8.24 / 210 x 218 x 212 mm
  • Drivers: 1 x Woofer, 2 x Mid-range, 2 x Tweeter, 2 x Passive Radiator
  • Supported Connectivity: UPnP, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth aptX
  • Aux-in: Yes
  • USB: Yes

Sonos Arc

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Dolby Atmos, TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus, Discrete all-in-one soundbar, Amazing surround sound and music playbackDoesn’t suit every room
  • Weight: 24.6lbs
  • Dimensions: 3.4 x 45 x 4.5 inch / 1141.7 x 87 x 115.7mm
  • Drivers: 11 high quality drivers
  • Supported Connectivity: Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • Aux-in: No
  • USB: No

Sonos Play: 5

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Easy to setup, Powerful soundSimple design, Too big for some spaces
  • Weight: 13.8lbs
  • Dimensions: 8.03 x 14.33 x 6.06 inch / 204 x 364 x 154 mm
  • Drivers: 3 x tweeters, 1 x woofer
  • Supported Connectivity: AirPlay, Bluetooth 4.2, Google Cast, Spotify Connect, 3.5mm, RCA
  • Aux-in: Yes
  • USB: No

Pure Evoke C-F6

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Modest and attractive design, Incredible playback options, Built-in radioNo Google Cast support
  • Weight: 9.2lbs
  • Dimensions: 14.9 x 5.7 x 8.7 inch / 380 x 145 x 223 mm
  • Drivers: 2 x 3″ full range
  • Supported Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Aux-in: Yes
  • USB: No

Marshall Stanmore

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Lots of connectivity options, Great retro designBig heavy build, Pricey compared to better-sounding options
  • Weight: 10.3lbs
  • Dimensions: 13.8 x 7.3 x 7.3 inch / 350 x 185 x 185 mm
  • Drivers: 2x Mid-to-high range, 1x Woofer
  • Supported Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth aptX, USB, Toslink/3.5mm
  • Aux-in: Yes
  • USB: Yes

Amazon Echo Studio

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Gigantic sound
Alexa smarts
Larger than your average Echo
3D audio is a mixed bag
  • Weight: 7.7lbs
  • Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.9 inch / 206 x 175 mm
  • Drivers: 1 x upward-firing midrange speaker, 1 x right-firing midrange speaker, 1 x left-firing mid-range speaker, 1 x forward-firing tweeter, 1 x downward-firing woofer
  • Supported Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplay
  • Aux-in: Yes
  • USB: No

Devialet Phantom I

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Unique design
Fantastic audio performance
Super-expensive
Quite heavy and large
  • Weight: 25.13lbs
  • Dimensions: 10 x 9.9 x 13.4 inch / 255 x 252 x 342mm
  • Drivers: Grade 1 titanium tweeter driver, aluminum medium driver, aluminum bass drivers
  • Supported connectivity : Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Roon
  • Aux-in: No
  • USB: No

Sony HT-A9 Home Theater System

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Immersive audio sounds great
Supports all kinds of audio technologies
Expensive compared to buying a soundbar
Doesn’t come with a subwoofer
  • Weight: 1.6 lbs (control box), 6 lbs (speakers)
  • Dimensions: 6 x 2-1/8 x 6 inches(control box), 6-3/8 x 12-3/8 x 5-7/8 inches (speakers)
  • Drivers: Up-firing speaker (X-Balanced Speaker Unit), Soft Dome Type Tweeter, Wide Directivity Woofer (X-Balanced Speaker Unit)
  • Supported connectivity : HDMI eARC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Chromecast built-in, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2
  • Aux-in : No
  • USB: No

Google Home Max

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Sounds incredible, Google Cast built-in, Bluetooth compatibleBetter sounding speakers are available
  • Weight: 7lbs
  • Dimensions: 13 x 7.3 x 5.9 inch / 335 x 187 x 150 mm
  • Drivers: 2x Tweeters, 2x Woofers
  • Supported Connectivity: DLNA, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, USB, 3.5mm
  • Aux-in: Yes
  • USB: Yes

KEF LS50 Wireless II

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Phenomenal audio quality, Easy setup, Lots of connection optionsExpensive compared to rivals
  • Weight: 44.31lbs
  • Dimensions: 12 x 7.9 x 12.2 inch / 305 x 200 x 311 mm
  • Drivers: Uni-Q Driver Array, low frequency aluminium cone, high frequency vented aluminium dome with Metamaterial Absorption Technology
  • Supported connectivity : Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, ROON Ready, UPnP Compatible. Bluetooth 4.2
  • Aux-in : Yes
  • USB: Yes

Apple HomePod mini

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Incredible sound, Sleek design, Only smart speaker with Siri built-inNeeds Apple Music for full function, Small number of compatible smart home devices
  • Weight: 0.76lbs
  • Dimensions: 3.3 x 3.9 x 3.9 inch / 8.43 x 9.79 x 9.79 cm
  • Drivers: Full-range driver and dual passive radiators for deep bass and crisp high frequencies
  • Supported connectivity : Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, AirPlay
  • Aux-in: No
  • USB: No

The History of Wireless Audio Systems

  • Several individuals and companies have made competing claims that they invented the first wireless system.
  • Early ’50s tinkerers created “wireless radio microphones” that transmitted signals using radio frequencies.
  • These systems showed up sporadically in theatrical and sporting events.
  • The Shure Brothers have been the first wireless microphone system for performers.
  • Called the Vagabond but had a minimum range of about 15 feet.
  • In 1957, a German company called Lab W, later to become Sennheiser created a wireless system that had a range of about 300 feet.
  • An American electrical engineer, Raymond A. Litke, developed a wireless microphone system in 1957 that was used in various applications such as the Olympic trials in 1959 and the 1960 Democratic and Republican conventions. He was granted the first wireless system patent in 1964.
  • German manufacturer, Beyerdynamic, was also successful during this era with its wireless technology that was used in 1964 to capture the soundtrack for the filmed version of the musical My Fair Lady.
  • In the mid-1970s Nady Systems resulted in wireless systems with a more comprehensive dynamic range. This led to stadium acts such as Todd Rundgren and The Rolling Stones.
  • Today, every large venue uses wireless systems, dramatically changing the dynamics of performance.
  • In 1996 a joint Emmy Award went to Nady, CBS, Sennheiser, and Vega for “pioneering the development of the broadcast wireless microphone”.

Wireless Microphone System Components

All wireless mic systems, regardless of their applications, are made up of two essential components:
* Transmitters
* Receivers

Transmitters convert the audio signal captured by the mic into a radio signal. These are then sent to a receiver that converts them back to an audio message that is then sent to the sound system.

Handheld Microphone Transmitters

  • Incorporate the transmitter into their handle
  • Both functions are contained in a single unit
  • Separate transmitters that can be plugged into the XLR connector of any dynamic mic
  • Making microphone options even more plentiful when going wireless.
  • Lightweight
  • Durable ABS polymer chassis
  • Has a smaller footprint than previous receivers
  • Features enhanced group and channel scan
  • Equipped with true diversity
  • Rugged build quality
  • Easy to use a wireless receiver
  • Quality into the price range

Bodypack Transmitters

  • Units clip onto clothing or guitar straps
  • Can be used with lavalier or head-worn vocal mics,
  • Come in a range of sizes,
  • Used to capture dialogue in TV, film production and public -speaking settings
  • Offer consistent, high-quality sound pickup
  • Have a headband
  • Easy to position for use during highly active performances

Plug-in systems

  • Short cable that plugs into the instrument’s output jack
  • Connects musical instruments with a bodypack transmitter
  • Clips onto clothing or an instrument strap
  • Electronics have multiple settings for use
  • Grown in popularity
  • Reliability has increased
  • Prices have come down
  • Offers plug-and-play functionality
  • 50-foot indoor signal range
  • 24-bit Relay digital wireless sound quality

Types of Wireless Systems

Virtually all pro wireless systems operate on either the VHF (very high frequency) or UHF (ultra-high frequency) bands.

VHF vs UHF

  • VHF Wireless Systems
    • Operate within the 174 to 216MHz range
  • UHF Wireless Systems
    • Operates within 470 to 805MHz range (the range for TV channels 14-69).
    • Used by higher-end wireless systems.
    • Has a reputation for having more transmitter range
    • Less prone to TV interference
    • Allowed more transmitter power by regulation
    • UHF has more range not due to power, but due to the signals move through the atmosphere more quickly.
    • Has up to eight times more frequencies available.

Analog vs Digital Wireless Microphones

Digital wireless microphones are superior to analogue systems in many ways.

  • Sound Quality ­– Digital wireless microphones transmit audio signals that have been converted into 1s and 0s, which are not affected by the transmission medium. Analogue systems send the audio signal because a modulated radio wave, which means disturbances or interference in the transmission will result in audio artefacts.
  • Longer Battery Life – On average, the battery life of digital wireless mics is better than analogue ones. Typically, digital systems require a lower power transmitter than their analogue counterparts, which can result in up to 40% longer battery life.
  • Security – Digital systems are encrypted, meaning the link is secure from eavesdroppers – whereas analogue signals can be picked up by anyone in the vicinity with a suitable receiver.

Essential Wireless Receiver Functions and Features

  • The true worth of a wireless system is determined by
  • Overall sound quality
  • Dynamic range
  • Freedom from dropouts & interference
  • Has easy-to-use controls
  • Easy-to-read displays.

Diversity Circuitry

  • Diversity is all about reception and freedom from dropouts
  • Wireless brands tout it as a selling feature
  • Presence of two antennas on the receiver
  • Receivers with actual diversity circuitry have two separate radio receiver modules
  • Each connected to its antenna
  • The signals from the two antennas are monitored
  • One receiving the stronger signal is automatically selected
  • Reception is in part a function of the position under the influence of the relative locations of the transmitter and receiver.
  • Reduce the chance of dropouts occurring by having two antennas

Frequency Agility

  • This term refers to systems that have several frequency paths you can select from.
  • In any given location one frequency may work better than another, and be free of interference from competing signals from other wireless devices.
  • Multi-stage music festivals can be especially challenging, making a frequency-agile wireless system essential.
  • Automatic Frequency Selection
  • With this feature, a frequency-agile system selects the frequency automatically.

Choosing a Frequency

When purchasing a system (especially one that is not frequency agile), you will be asked to select from several frequency options. These choices are designated by a combination of a letter and a number, but these designations are not standardized from one manufacturer to the next.

Displays

It should indicate signal strength, identify the channel being used, and have low-battery level warning indicators or battery-level meters. Battery-status displays are usually located on the transmitter, but some high-end systems have them on the receiver too.

What to Look for in a Digital Wireless Microphone

The wireless microphone you choose will significantly depend on what you intend to use it for.

Microphone TypeCheck for all options in a wireless system with a handheld, lavalier or headset microphone.
Each mic is suited to different scenarios, so the kind you need will be fairly obvious.
Range­Different systems have different transmission ranges, ranging from short distances to hundreds of feet.
A good rule is to think about how far you will usually be from your subject, then doubling it to be safe.
The range is often reflected in the price of a system.
SizeWireless systems come in a range of sizes, from ultra-compact to larger desktop units like the Performer Kit.
If you’re continually interviewing remotely, shooting on-the-go, or need something discreet, the smaller, the better.
Battery LifeKeep in mind that battery life, size and range should all be taken into consideration together.
If small size is significant to you, you may have to sacrifice battery life.
Latency­Transforming an analogue audio signal into digital binary code (during the transmission stage) takes time.

Things to Consider in Finding the Right Wireless System

Where do plan to use the system?

In one fixed locationBe sure the system operates on VHF or UHF frequencies that won’t compete with local TV broadcasting or other wireless devices used in or near the location.
In different cities and placesA frequency-agile system will help you adapt to local conditions

How many will wireless systems be in use?

  • One :- no need for multi-system management.
  • Two or more :- each must be able to operate on a different frequency.
  • Those frequencies should be chosen with care to prevent interference between systems.
  • Better-quality systems help automatically selecting compatible frequencies.
  • UHF and VHF systems operate alongside each other without issues.

Are there any signal-path obstructions?

Diversity receivers will help prevent dropouts caused by physical obstructions and reflective surfaces.

Benefits of Wireless Microphones

  • They are wireless, so no trip hazards and mucking around with messy cables.
  • Allow for greater ease of movement.
  • Operate with vast distances between the transmitter and receiver.
  • They are discreet to lend a clean look to the proceedings.
  • They are durable as cables wear out, but waves don’t.
  • They can be hands-free.