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When you look at the audio department of any store, you can’t help yourself but think that there is nothing else to invent, that we have seen it all. However, the real fans of audio equipment are looking forward to the full development of the newest wireless technology that takes the entire listening experience to the next level. We say “the entire listening experience” because it’s not only about the performance and sound quality of your headphones and wireless speakers but also about the entire experience including the comfort at all levels.
The technology is called “true wireless technology” (or TWS) and, in this article, we are going to try to introduce it to you and show you the world of untangled and uncluttered satisfaction filled with nothing but pure music. This technology hasn’t been perfected yet, but even in its current stage of development, it delivers more than satisfying performance. It offers more freedom, more opportunity for interaction with the objects and people around us.
What Is True Wireless Stereo Technology?
In order to understand the true wireless stereo technology, we have to explain to you the terms “true wireless” and “stereo” because the combination of these two technologies has resulted in TWS technology.
Stereophonic sound or, as it will definitely be more familiar to you, stereo sound is one of the most common sounds you can hear today but it didn’t become so popular overnight. This type of recording was first used in the early 1900s and one of the first companies that used it in theaters was Disney but the real expansion happened during the 50s and 60s when it became truly popular.
Its popularity comes from the fact that stereo sound is more pleasant and more natural for human ears than monophonic music because, as its creators said, people have two ears and this is the main reason why any type of stereo recording consists of two recordings played at the same time. Therefore, if you have two recordings, it means you have two channels, the left for your left ear and the right for your right ear.
True wireless technology
True wireless technology is the ‘’art’’ of transferring sound wirelessly through Bluetooth. The wireless transmission is enabled by a small chip built into the source and into the receiving device (devices). The true wireless devices (headphones/earbuds and speakers) have many positive characteristics but the most important one is that there are no cables of any kind. This means not only that you won’t have to connect two or more of these devices into a system and to the source of sound with cables but also that you won’t have to use the cable to supply it/them with power. They come in all shapes and sizes and have different types of rechargeable batteries that can last up to 12 or 15 hours, depending on the price and quality. The cheapest speakers/headphones have shorter battery life (from 4 or 5 to 8 hours per charge).
True wireless devices can be used alone or in the form of a system of the same matching devices paired one to the other. They are highly portable and can be used in different parts of your house/apartment, or even outdoors in case their build quality allows it.
True wireless headphones/earbuds
True wireless earbuds are small, light and simple-to-use type of headphones that can be found at very reasonable prices. They are rechargeable and portable, and they enable you to use them in pairs or only one of them while performing different activities such as doing house chores, walking, running, or even driving. True wireless earbuds/headphones enable greater mobility due to the lack of cables.
True wireless speakers
True wireless speakers are the speakers that come with built-in rechargeable batteries as the only power source, which means that you will be able to use them all over the house or outdoors without the necessity to set up and take care of the cables lying all over the place. They can be paired with smartphones, players, computers and even TVs, while their sound quality remains quite satisfying.
True wireless devices can be used as single devices or in pairs. When used in pair, one device will be the left channel, while the other will play the right channel creating that pleasing stereo sound experience. For example, if you have two Bluetooth speakers of the same kind that support pairing/linking, you can link them together, pair them with the sound source and use as a stereo speaker system. Of course, this usually requires the use of a certain app or a simple remote controller that will allow you to control the music, play, pause or skip tracks.
How True Wireless Technology Works?
We have mentioned some of the details related to this subject previously but we should probably explain the process of connecting true wireless devices in more detail. It is quite simple and you can definitely do it on your own, but it won’t hurt if we to go through it together.
If you have a pair of true wireless earbuds or a pair of true wireless speakers, which are supposed to be connected into a true wireless stereo system, the first thing to do is to turn the Bluetooth on and pair one of these devices (the user manual usually indicates which one shall be used first) that can be called the master device to the selected audio source (smartphone, player, PC, TV, etc.). After successfully pairing the first device with the audio source, you will want to pair the second device (the so-called “slave”) to the master device, not the source. This way, you’ll get your stereo system, which plays separate left and right channels, making the music more pleasing and real to your ears.
The technology is actually based on chips. Every Bluetooth device has a built-in chip responsible for sending and receiving audio signals wirelessly. The main speaker receives them from the source device and it remains mono in case the connection finishes there. In case the main speaker is paired with another speaker, it starts sending the signals towards its “slave” and the signal is split into two channels – left and right.
The Main Advantages of True Wireless Technology
True wireless stereo technology has not been perfected yet, but it’s not the latest thing on the market and it’s been very popular lately. Although it may sound complicated when you pronounce the name, TWS is actually quite simple. The devices you use must feature Bluetooth connectivity and be able to pair with each other. Apart from this, you may have to download an app in order to enable pairing or control the performance but there’s nothing too complicated or confusing. The devices are simple and most of them manage to pair in just a few seconds. In case you need some help, you can always consult the user manual that will explain the process to you in a few simple steps.
Free of cables
It’s maybe a bit difficult to believe but these devices and systems really don’t have any cables. The connection is established via Bluetooth and the rechargeable battery is the power source. This characteristic is probably the most important advantage of such a device because it actually enables you to move freely wherever you want.
For example, if you use a pair of truly wireless earbuds, you will notice that you won’t be able to feel them in your ears all the time – this is how light they are. Also, they enable you to move around freely without any cable dangling around or tangling in your pocket or bag. On the other hand, if you own a pair of true wireless stereo speakers, you will notice how easy it is to move them around the house or yard without the necessity to drag their cables all the way.
Good quality audio
Although Bluetooth technology is not perfect, the audio quality is not bad. The old Bluetooth versions were much more limited when it comes to data transfer, but the new versions are much more capable and they can deliver pretty good audio quality (even Hi-Res audio in some cases). The new devices that support one of the latest Bluetooth versions combined with aptX HD or LDAC support can deliver an impressive sound quality.
The price depends on many things – build quality, durability, size, battery life, driver quality, etc. It also depends on the manufacturer and, in some cases, you’ll be paying an additional price for the brand. Still, true wireless stereo devices don’t cost a fortune. If you have enough money to spend on Bose speakers/headphones or similar products, go for it, but if you don’t, you can always find something cheaper. The market is so big and you will definitely find a reasonably priced device for you.
The Main Disadvantages of True Wireless Technology
Limited battery life
No matter how long it can last, rechargeable batteries always have limited lifetime and by every charging cycle, they are getting closer to their end. No matter how good your battery life is, it is always possible to run out of juice, which can be annoying, especially if you are not able to recharge them. Even if you are, you can be annoyed by the fact that you will have to wait until the charging is over in order to use your device again.
True wireless earbuds are easy to lose
One of the disadvantages, when you’re using something so small, is that it can be easily lost. These earbuds are so small and so light that you won’t be aware that they are in your ears and when you are not aware of something like that, you can easily lose them.
Control buttons may be difficult to use
Most of the true wireless devices are small and portable, which leads to the conclusion that there is not enough space to place all the necessary control buttons. Also, considering the new trends and features that our devices have, there should be much more buttons. However, when there is not enough space, the manufacturers simply have to save it by installing multifunctional buttons. This means that your already small earbuds will be turned on and off by pressing a single button, that the music will be played or paused by pressing another button, or that the volume controls can be used for skipping tracks. The situation with the speakers is not much different except for the fact that they have much more space. However, the buttons on the earbuds might be too confusing or too small for your fingers, while the buttons on the speakers might be too confusing to use.
The sound quality is not on par with wired devices
Bluetooth is getting better every day but the files are still compressed and you can’t really compare wired and wireless speakers/headphones when it comes to sound quality. Also, one of the problems related to the sound quality is the maximum volume of true wireless earbuds. They are simply very quiet. The fact that can cause even greater problems is that many models of true wireless earbuds are sold as single devices. This means they are even quieter this way than when sold and used in pairs because two are always louder than one. After all, it is more difficult for you to hear the ambient noise when the earbuds are in both of your ears.
All in all, we have to admit that wired devices are still much better, but the introduction of certain Bluetooth codecs (LDAC, aptX HD) improved the quality of Bluetooth audio and even enabled Hi-Res audio reproduction.
Hello, my name is James Longman.
I’m a writer and editor at AudioReputation. I disassembled my first portable AM/FM radio when I was only 8. At the age of 11, I burned the circuit board on my old boombox cassette player. I’m not going to explain how but it was reckless and stupid.
Since then, I have become much more careful around radios, boomboxes, and other audio devices (at least, I like to think so) but I have never lost the passion for audio equipment. Throughout 20 years of my professional career, I’ve been working for various audio equipment manufacturers and even started building speakers on my own in my little workshop.
I love the work we do here at AudioReputation. Testing, comparing, and evaluating all kinds of audio devices (speakers, soundbars, headphones, home theater systems, etc.) is something I truly enjoy. I try to be unbiased and give you my honest opinion on every piece of equipment I test. Still, you should take my reviews with a pinch of salt and always be just a little bit skeptical. The fact that I liked some speaker or soundbar doesn’t mean that you are going to love it. If you have the opportunity, you should test it/hear it before buying it.