Wireless sound for all...
January 6, 2011 3:05 PM   Subscribe

I want to replace my current, cheap, crappy surround sound system. However, there are a number of components that need to be addressed to satisfy me.

First, I want wireless. I am not willing to negotiate on this.

Second, I need a system that will provide amazing sound quality for PS3 gaming, DVD film (5.1 is a must), live streaming AND...here's the kicker...a turntable.

Currently, I have a phono pre-amp plugged into my not-so-good system to boost the sound quality of my beloved vinyl. But, it's not even close to the kind of quality I want.

What recommendations do you have for a wireless system that will accommodate all these components?
posted by AlliKat75 to Technology (8 answers total)
Clarification, not negotiation: Do you want the front two speakers and center channel to be wireless as well, or just the rear satellite speakers? You're going to lose a lot more quality through wireless connections to speakers than you are through a non-integrated phono pre-amp. Component manufacturers assume consumers know this, and design their systems accordingly.

If you're okay with wired front speakers, you just need a receiver with a phono input, a good set of (wired) bookshelf or floorstanding speakers, center channel, and finally a pair of wireless surround speakers. (All as examples; you haven't told us your budget.) Once you have this set up, you would want to specify that you want the turntable to ONLY play through the front L&R speakers-- use the 5.1 amp as just a stereo amp.

The key is that you can add wireless speakers to a real component amplifier. I suppose you could do the same for the front speakers as well, but the quality would suffer.

Or just get a better (or even better) phono preamp and a fully wireless, everything-included sound system. But again... the wireless connection is the quality bottleneck.
posted by supercres at 4:15 PM on January 6, 2011

Amazing sound is relative. Give a $ amount you'd like to spend.
posted by wongcorgi at 6:33 PM on January 6, 2011

Response by poster: Ideally, I would like the entire system to be wireless. However, the point you have made about loss of sound quality is certainly worth noting.

I would not like to spend more than $1000.
posted by AlliKat75 at 7:47 PM on January 6, 2011

supercres is right about degradation of sound when transmitted wirelessly, alas. I too yearn for a full-quality wireless era to dawn.

As for phono pre-amps, you could check out the Cambridge Audio 640p, which is universally raved about as ultimate value-for-money in its class ($180ish). If you're unsatisfied with your turntable's sonics, though, perhaps first invest in a better cartridge? However, speakers first, then turn to 'table tweaks (alliteration unintentional).

In terms of priority/effect on SQ, I'd suggest a ranking of a) speakers b) source components c) amplification. Not that your amp is unimportant (and if you're not aiming to upgrade later, might as well go high-quality now), but you'll hear more gains from the other two. Actually, because it sounds like you're fairly satisfied with your source components, just rank speakers and amplification a-b.

I certainly don't blame you for wanting to spend ~$1000; however, it indicates that the L-R channels should be prioritized to fit that budget. Also, 5.1 includes a subwoofer; you wanting to go there?

Best of luck to a fellow vinylphile!
posted by alexandermatheson at 8:04 PM on January 6, 2011

Check out Monitor Audio. They design at the crossroads of AV and two-channel audio, and you might be able to assemble a reasonably priced full system using their components.
posted by alexandermatheson at 8:17 PM on January 6, 2011

Are you sure that the current phono pre-amp is a limiting factor? It seems much more likely that your turntable (really, the cartridge), the speakers, and possibly the amp are truly the weak links there.
posted by The Lamplighter at 8:34 PM on January 6, 2011

It's possible to build a mid-fi system within your budget constraints, but wireless speakers will not produce "amazing" sound. This goal is the El Dorado of the speaker industry. Sorry about that.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:05 PM on January 6, 2011

Response by poster: You have all given me a lot to think about...more than I was thinking about when I posted my question. It seems I need to do some serious re-evaluation before I get started building my dream system. Thank you for all the advice. I shall heed it all.
posted by AlliKat75 at 11:28 AM on January 7, 2011

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