There’s nothing like the shake, rattle and rumble of a movie soundtrack to make you feel as though you’re in the middle of the action. That’s true whether the sound in question is a hail of explosive spears whizzing by in “Mad Max: Fury Road” or the lush score that immerses you in the intrigue of “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Enjoying the same sonic experience in your living room, however, has typically required living with a big, honking A/V receiver and a mess of wires.
It took a while, but the wireless revolution has finally found its way to the home theater: WiSA, a new, ridiculously easy-to-use technology lets you conveniently position speakers all around your living room for optimal sound. The amplifier is gone, and so are the pesky wires you once needed to run to each speaker.
A system like this is a huge step up from a soundbar, the elongated speaker-packed box that tries to fire sound every which way. Always a compromise, even the best soundbars can’t deliver the realism that discrete speakers can. While Sonos, a company known for masterminding whole-home wireless audio products, has for years offered a setup that combines a soundbar and wireless rear-channel speakers, even that falls short of true surround sound.
New WiSA systems from Bang & Olufsen, Klipsch and newcomer Enclave Audio deliver the real deal. All support five to seven speakers (plus a subwoofer) that each has its own built-in amplifier and wireless receiver. Rather than having to snake an audio cable across the floor (or hiring someone to pry up your floor boards to run wires under the floor), you’ll only need one cable for each speaker: a power cord. And because the speakers establish their own Wi-Fi network instead of using yours, they can deliver high-resolution audio data without mucking with your Netflix stream.
At the heart of every WiSA system is a command center. This could be a small stand-alone box (as it is in the Klipsch setup below), or it could be built into the TV (the approach Bang & Olufsen takes) or the center-channel speaker (Enclave Audio’s strategy). To this hub, you connect your Blu-ray player, Apple TV, Sky box or whatever you’re hunkering down with for the night. What’s great is that, when the speakers are powered up, the components just start talking to each other. Menus displayed on a TV allow you to tweak settings, and the remote controls have an on/off button that will put all the speakers into sleep mode, awaiting a wireless wake-up call.
The setups here can handle movie-theater-quality Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound (automatically switching modes, depending on your source material). But you don’t have to be a cinema nerd to justify investing in a system. For example, if you’d rather not dedicate five speakers in your home solely to movie watching, you can divvy the rig up: Keep two of the speakers in your bedroom to listen to music, but on movie nights, bring them out into the living room to serve as the rear-channel speakers that are so crucial to creating the surround-sound effect.
Why not give AGW Technologies a call to understand more about how to free yourself from the wires but still maintain a high quality surround sound experience.