Speaker Selection: Wired vs. Wireless

Selecting the proper speaker for a classroom install requires many different decisions. Speakers come in different sizes, shapes, styles and resistance values. Another decision that must be made is whether a wired or wireless speaker is best for a particular installation. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options.

Connection and Quality

Wired speakers offer the benefit of a direct wire connection to the amplifier. This guarantees that the connection will not be lost as it may be with a wireless connection. Wireless speakers are subject to interference and the connection may be broken due to that interference. The direct connection to the amplifier also means that there is no need to convert the signal. Wireless speakers have a base "transmitter" which will receive the audio signal, convert the signal into a broadcast format that can be sent to the wireless speakers, and then the signal will be converted back to an audio signal to drive the speakers. Converting the audio signal multiple times may compromise the quality of the signal. It is possible that the audio received by a wireless speaker may be of a lower quality than the same signal being sent to a wired speaker.


Wired speakers typically do not require a separate power supply. The power will be generated by the amplifier and sent to the speaker through the speaker cabling. Wireless speakers will require some type of separate power from a battery or a power supply. This power enables the speaker to receive the signal from the transmitter and convert the signal to audio. If a power adapter is required, then it is important to ensure that there is an outlet readily accessible for the wireless speaker.


Wireless speakers offer the advantage of being easier to install or relocate. Wireless speakers are ideal for environments that do not permit a permanent cabling installation or for dynamic environments where equipment may be relocated frequently. Wired speakers are typically more difficult to install than wireless speakers because of the need to run the cable from the amplifier to the speaker's installation location. Cabling for wired speakers is typically installed behind a wall, above a ceiling or within a race way. Installation of speaker cabling within a wall or above a ceiling is essentially a permanent installation for the chosen location. Moving a wired speaker requires reinstallation of the cabling. One additional concern with the installation of speaker cabling within a wall or above a ceiling is the fire rating of the cable jacket. Local building and fire codes will dictate which type of cable jacket must be used for an installation environment. Installing cable within a wall will typically require CL2 or CL3 rated. Installing cable within a dropped ceiling or raised floor will typically require plenum rated cable. Be sure to check with local officials before starting any cable installation within a wall or above a ceiling.

There are multiple factors that will determine which type of speaker, wired or wireless, will be appropriate for an installation. If audio quality and a 100% reliable connection is a concern, then the best type of speaker would be wired. If the environ ment of the installation is dynamic and equipment may be moved frequently, then a wireless speaker would be the best solution. Each installation will be different, and it is possible that a mixed environment of wired and wireless speakers may be the best solution. It is important to consider all factors before selecting which type of speaker to use.


Top Priority/Concern Wired Speakers Wireless Speakers
Mobility No Yes
Audio Quality Yes No
Reliable Connection Yes No
Dynamic Environment No Yes
Limited Power Outlet Availability Yes No
Cable Jacket Requirements No Yes
Wireless Interference Yes No

This white paper is for informational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. C2G makes no guarantees, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness or reliability of the information found in this document.