This post was originally published by TYM’s own Matt Montgomery on his personal blog, mattmo’s tips. We at TYM are very excited about new wireless audio solutions and think our customers will love WiSA enabled products.
At CES 2015, I was fortunate enough to hear the Klipsch’s demo for their new WiSA Certified Reference Premiere WIRELESS Home Theater speakers (I know it’s a mouthful). And….it was glorious! The Klipsch speakers were fantastic, but more especially, I was ecstatic about the WiSA Standard and its performance. It’s a game changer! I’m embarrassed to admit, that previous to CES, I new very little about WiSA (pronounced WEYE-SUH). I’m fully aware of WiSA now, and you will be soon enough if you’re not already.
What Is WiSA?
You’re probably wondering, what is WiSA and why should I care? WiSA is the Wireless Speaker & Audio association. Founded in 2011, it aims to advance the interoperability of CE products and high-performance wireless Speakers. WiSA works with manufacturers to certify products with the WiSA standard, ensuring that the devices work together flawlessly, and without any detriment to the sound reproduction. It’s a bit like buying two devices that have Apple’s AirPlay. If they both have AirPlay, you know they’ll work well together. If you see a Blu-ray player that is WiSA certified, and Wireless Speakers that are WiSA certified, you know they will work together.
How Does WiSA Work?
WiSA doesn’t work on the Wifi. It’s not connected to the network at all. This helps reduce interference with other wifi connected devices. Instead, it utilizes a set of relatively unused channels between 5.2 to 5.8 GHz. These channels were originally reserved for the military and weather services, but are now available for consumer devices; provided the devices actively avoid interference with these services. WiSA takes it one step further, and creates a sort of self healing setup. It constantly scans for a Channel backup, so that in the rare event of interference from another device or service, it can jump over to an open frequency. This technology and process, gives the end user a phenomenal audio experience – lossless HD audio, no dropouts, no latency and no service headaches for the consumer¹.
Scalability with WiSA
The other advantage to WiSA is it’s scalability. Products like the Sonos Playbar are scalable as well, but only within the Sonos family, and even within the Sonos family there are some restrictions. With WiSA, you can grow your system with any WiSA certified Speakers or CE devices. So you can start out with a WiSA certified Blu-ray player, and WiSA certified front speakers. 6 months down the road you can add wireless surround speakers, or maybe just move all the speakers and Blu-ray to a different room entirely. You can also mix and match between hardwired and wireless speakers. So you could hardwire the Soundbar or 3 front speakers to the WiSA certified Receiver, and then send audio wirelessly to the rear and surround speakers in the room. The WiSA solution will make it very easy for customers to buy and install any variety of speaker configurations. And, it’s super simple to configure speakers. The WiSA speakers have a sort of self-calibrating feature in them; so you won’t need the THX guy to custom calibrate your speakers anymore. Almost certainly, we’ll see widespread adoption of WiSA by the major manufactures of both CE devices and Speakers. Your options for a WiSA Certified Surround system will be virtually endless.
Let me be the first to say that I still prefer hardwired speakers. I’ve read posts, where people argue that the WiSA certified speakers are even better than hardwired speakers, but I’m going to be very slow to that party. That being said, I’m on board, I’m all in, I’m converted to the WiSA Standard. I sat through a demo at the Klipsch booth that was PHENOMENAL. If I sat you down in the same demo, and didn’t tell you the speakers were wireless, you would never be the wiser. As TV’s get thinner, (wait till you see the new razor thin Sony TV’s, good grief!) the need for good quality wireless speakers will increase. I’ve been anxious for such a solution for some time. WiSA delivers!
Named one of Technology Integrator’s Top Talent Under 40, Matt has designed systems for 20 national award-winning projects, including "Home Theater of the Year", and "Custom Smart Home of the Year" from CTA™ (Consumer Technology Association). His ebook “How To Wire Your Smart Home” is a best seller among professionals and DIY-ers alike. He has taken classes with Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). You can watch Matt share the secrets of his craft on YouTube!
Matt is a Golden State fan.