How to Make Regular Speakers Wireless in 4 Simple Steps!
There are many scenarios where routing cables to surround sound speakers can be very problematic. who wants to crawl through their attic and run 1 or 2 measly wires to get a signal to their rear speakers? It’s definitely not me, I’ve crawled through my fair share of attics, and I can attest that it’s not a fun time at all. Wireless speakers are the next big thing in audio/video setups, but not everyone will want to spend money on high-end wireless speakers.
You may be wondering if you can turn your current surround sound speakers into wireless speakers. yes, you can do it very easily with a wireless speaker kit. These wireless speaker kits make regular speakers wireless by sending the audio signals via RF (radio frequency). You may also need to connect a separate amplifier to the speakers to provide power, as most of this equipment does not provide power to the speakers.
There are several scenarios for using wireless technology to provide a signal to your speakers. we will go over how these wireless kits make regular speakers wireless, as well as how these kits should be configured. most are pretty simple to set up, so don’t worry!
how does a wireless speaker kit make normal speakers wireless?
Wireless speaker kits make regular speakers wireless by sending the audio signal via an RF (radio-frequency) signal. You can simply add a wireless speaker kit to provide a high-quality wireless signal to your surround speakers.
These kits contain a transmit and receive unit. the transmitting unit accepts inputs from the receiver or other sources and “transmits” them to the receiving unit. the receiving unit then processes the signal and routes it to whatever is connected to its outputs.
As mentioned above, you may need to add a separate amplifier to power the speakers because:
- power doesn’t travel wirelessly (duh).
- most wireless speaker kits don’t have a built in amplifier.
- many rear speakers are passive and not active (they are not self-sufficient).
if the receiver unit contains a built in amplifier it will usually provide a very small amount of power, I would not recommend using this. a separate amplifier is much more reliable.
note: rf is the same signal that wifi uses, many kits work around 2.4ghz. so be aware of where your wifi access point/router is located because they could cause interference.
how to set up a wireless speaker kit
This can get a bit tricky depending on the speaker setup and kit you’re using. I’ll do my best to generalize and provide enough information to set up a kit for most scenarios. typically you’ll only use one of these kits for your rear speakers and/or subwoofer.
Running cables to the front channel speakers is relatively easy because the receiver is usually located close to the speakers. the rear speakers are almost always located away from the receiver/amplifier. the subwoofer also has multiple locations that it can be set up.
so whether you use a cable or use a wireless kit depends on where the rear speakers are located. Running speaker cables can be tedious depending on the layout of the room, this is where wireless transmission and reception comes into play. If you have any questions, just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer your question.
1. choose a wireless speaker kit
There are two main types of wireless speaker kits:
- no built-in amplifier. it only sends an audio signal and requires an additional amplifier to power the speakers.
- contains a built-in amplifier.
I recommend getting a kit without a built-in amplifier because the output power of the wireless receiver unit is likely to be very low. much less than your current receiver/amplifier will output.
note the inputs available on the transmitter unit and the outputs available on your a/v receiver. If your receiver has pre-outs (rca outputs for the different speaker channels before power is applied), you can simply connect rcas from the receiver to the drive unit.
If your receiver doesn’t have pre-outs, make sure the drive unit accepts normal speaker cable as input. or you can use a line level adapter (example) to convert speaker cables to rcas. some kits will include an input and output for a subwoofer as well! Many subwoofers include a built-in amplifier, so it’s usually very easy to hook up. I’ll delve into how it all connects later.
wireless speaker kits without built-in amplifier
here are a couple of kits that don’t contain a built in amp. Note: I do not include prices because they change constantly. Also, if you have powered speakers, definitely go for a kit that doesn’t have a built-in amp.
moretop wireless video & Audio Transmitter and Receiver (on Amazon): This is actually a wireless audio/video kit, but you don’t need to use the video input/output. has the best reviews of all the wireless kits I could find.
bic america (on amazon): uses rcas for inputs and outputs. offers a range of 60 to 80 feet and is on the higher end of unamplified wireless kits.
Dynasty ProAudio WSA-5TR (on Amazon): Similar to the Bic America Wireless Speaker Kit, this kit is extremely simple to use and has received great reviews!
Remember that these kits do not power the speakers, only the audio signal. I suggest using a mini amp (on amazon) to power the speakers.
wireless speaker kit with built-in amplifier
The highest rated wireless speaker kit with built-in amp is the Amphony Model 1800 Wireless Speaker Kit (on Amazon). this unit uses a single transmitter that sends the audio signals to two separate receivers that have built-in amplifiers.
The amps are rated at 80 watts each, far more than most other wireless speaker kits. 80 watts should be enough for most systems. they also claim the range goes up to 300 feet! the amphony 1800 model is definitely the best option if you need an integrated amplifier with your wireless speaker kit.
The WRSK-250 OSD Speaker and Subwoofer Kit (on Amazon) is a transmitter and receiver kit that contains an amplifier at the receiving end. these are much less common than regular non-powered kits.
This unit only supplies 25 watts of power per channel. this is probably much less than your receiver or amplifier is capable of providing.
However, the nice thing about this unit is that it has line outputs for the speakers and subwoofer. so you could use a separate amp if you want. but at that point, it wouldn’t be worth the higher cost of getting a kit with a built-in amp. just food for thought.
2. connect transmitter
Once you’ve chosen your wireless speaker kit, it’s time to make your regular speakers go wireless!
First, you will need to connect the transmitter to the receiver or amplifier. The transmitter sends the audio wirelessly using RF. Depending on the kit you choose, there will be different options for inputting the audio signal. The transmitter shall have a speaker cable, RCA and/or 3.5mm auxiliary input available.
For speaker wire inputs, connect regular speaker wire from the receiver’s two speaker outputs to the transmitter’s inputs.
for rca inputs, connect rca cables from the receiver’s pre-outs to the transmitter’s rca inputs.
If your transmitter only has a 3.5mm input, you will need an RCA to 3.5mm adapter to connect the receiver to the transmitter. Once you’ve connected the inputs for the transmitter, plug the AC power adapter into it and into a power outlet.
3. connect the receiver.
Now that the transmitter is connected successfully, it’s time to connect the wireless receiver to make normal speakers wireless. again, depending on the wireless speaker kit you choose and the speakers being used, things can vary a bit. Here are some scenarios for different kit and speaker setups, and how to hook everything up correctly.
using a separate amplifier (most common)
if you use a separate amplifier, you will need to connect rcas from the receiver unit to the amplifier. then connect the speaker cable from the amplifier to the speakers. the receiving unit provides the signal to the amplifier, then the amplifier applies power to that signal and sends it to the speakers.
I would do this if the speakers being used are passive. meaning that the speakers do not have their own power supply or internal amplifier. And of course you need to connect the AC adapter to a wall outlet and connect the other end to the receiver.
using a receiver unit with a built-in amplifier (less common)
If the receiving unit contains a built-in amplifier (not likely), then making the connections is very simple. connect the speaker cable from the receiver unit to the speakers. then connect the power for the receiver.
It’s that simple, but be aware that the power provided by the receiving unit is likely to be very low. so don’t expect the connected speakers to put out a huge amount of sound.
the speakers contain an internal amplifier (i.e. they use active speakers)
Some speakers simply plug into a wall outlet and use an internal amplifier as a power source, so only one audio source is required to output sound. With an active speaker, your wireless receiver doesn’t need an amplifier.
Simply connect RCAs from the receiver unit to the speaker and voila, your speakers work wirelessly. In addition, you will need to connect the power adapter for the receiver unit. there really is no way around that.
4. test the system!
Now, with everything connected, it’s time to test the system!
First, let’s make sure the receiver is receiving a strong signal from the transmitter. If the sound produced by the connected speakers contains static, sounds unclear, is delayed, etc., you probably need to adjust the position of the transmitter and/or receiver.
Also, check all connections and make sure all cables are secure. some transmitters and receivers have multiple “channels” that can be set manually. try changing the “channels” to see if this improves the sound quality.
Once you have the best possible signal, you may need to adjust your speaker levels. wired and “wireless” speakers should have similar sound levels.
You don’t want the front/wired speakers to be extremely loud and the rear/wireless speakers to be barely audible. levels can be adjusted on the receiving unit, the amplifier, or both.
and if everything is set up and working correctly, you will have successfully learned how to make normal speakers wireless!
It’s pretty easy to make regular speakers wireless! you just need the right equipment and the knowledge of how to set everything up.
I hope this article has given you enough information to understand how to properly configure this type of system. If you don’t want to go through all this (it really isn’t that much), you can simply buy a wireless speaker system. but keep in mind that high-quality native wireless speakers don’t come cheap.
You can buy a decent set for a cheap price, but they probably don’t have much power behind them. higher priced devices are usually much more efficient at producing sound.
However, in my opinion, setting up a wireless speaker kit is not that difficult. If you already have speakers and are on a lower budget, go ahead and try using a wireless speaker kit. you might be surprised how well it can work!
If you ever have problems with your speakers, check out this article on 9 Basic Steps to Troubleshoot Your Home Theater Speakers.