Which Wireless Home Audio Is Best For You?

Which Wireless Home Audio Is Best For You?

Joel Pirela
Sep 7, 2011

We recommend wireless sound systems for several situations: multi-room entertaining, small space music listening duty, kitchen shelves, and of course, for renters who can't run wire/cables through walls. There's a wide and growing assortment of wireless audio technologies vying for your dollars (like the recent Sonos Play 3 we reviewed)...but which one is best for you?

B&W Zeppelin Air
The Zeppelin, which we tested/reviewed, is the only one of the bunch that uses Airplay technology to stream audio from your machine to the speakers. This model is a little pricey, but comes with 2x tweeters, 2x midrange and even a subwoofer. A dedicated port for the iPhone/iPod plus Ethernet and 3.5mm audio connections. It's one of the best in audio quality for an all-in-one wireless music system with a much larger sound than the modest size hints (lots of bass).

Creative ZiiSound D5
The Creative ZiiSound uses Bluetooth as a way to connect to the source. Using only 2x full range speakers, the sound quality gets taxed a little bit when pushed, so don't expect a deep, room filling sound… more likely like an upgraded set of regular computer speakers.

The Ion system is loud when you pump the volume but the quality starts going down really quickly with each notch above moderate volume. It can sound cheap and a tad messy, unless kept within its safe zone. On the plus side, the user interface is really simple and user friendly, with the included WiFi dongle requiring no setting or pairing: just plug and play. But no love for Android or other portable devices, this is iPhone or iPod only.

Pioneer XW-NAC3
The Pioneer is a real winner from the get go. Half the price of the B&W Zeppelin and almost the same sound quality. It's one of the smallest one from the selection but provides a great deal of detail in the music it plays. The audio performance really benefits from the ALC setting, which is a type of sound boost feature specially designed to enhance streamed music. Our personal favourite.

Other wireless audio alternatives:
Sony Ericsson MS500 Outdoor Wireless Speaker
Bose SoundLink Wireless USB Speaker System
Griffin Evolve Wireless Speaker System

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