How to Convert Wired Speakers to Wireless

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It's possible to make your existing speakers wireless.
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If your home theater or stereo system didn't come with wireless surround speakers, or if you'd like the convenience of wireless but have a significant investment in your current speakers, it's possible to make your existing speakers wireless. You'll need to add some kind of wireless kit or amplifier to your system, but they're easy to install.

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How This Works

To convert your wired speakers for wireless use, you'll need three things. One is a transmitter, to connect to your existing stereo setup and send a signal to the speakers. The second is a wireless receiver, to accept that wireless signal and send it out to the speakers. Finally, you'll also need some form of amplification to drive the speakers.

It's simplest if you're using self-powered speakers, like computer speakers or a subwoofer with its own power supply. In those cases, you'll just need a very basic wireless speaker adapter.

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Simple Wireless Speaker Conversion Kit

A basic wireless speaker conversion kit is a fairly simple piece of equipment. It consists of a transmitter which attaches to one of the outputs on your stereo and a receiver that connects to the speakers. Before you choose one, your first step should be to check out your connection options at each end.

Depending on your stereo, you might have RCA connectors, a headphone jack, a digital audio output or just spring terminals where bare wire would normally go. Your powered speakers might connect with a headphone-style plug, RCA connectors, a digital audio connector or bare wires. Choose a kit that has the connectors you need on both the transmitter and receiver. If necessary, you can also use adapters to make the right connections.

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Once that's sorted out, installation is simple. Connect the transmitter to your stereo's output, and to a source of power. Connect the receiver to the speaker inputs, and to power. Some kits use their own dedicated radio frequency and require no further setup. A Bluetooth kit will usually come already paired from the factory, though occasionally you might have to pair the transmitter and receiver manually. With Wi-Fi models, you'll need to connect them to your home network.

Amplified Speaker Conversion Kit

If your speakers are the conventional, non-powered variety that rely on an external amplifier, you'll need to invest in a wireless speaker amplifier. These work in exactly the same way as simpler conversion kits. The only real difference is that the receiver unit you attach to your speakers contains a built-in amplifier of its own.

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These vary pretty widely in cost and features, so do a comparison before you take the plunge. Some are comparable to a regular home stereo amplifier, at up to 100 watts of power. Others are more limited. Some models are designed to integrate into the manufacturer's larger wireless systems and can be controlled with the same remote or smartphone app that runs the stereo, TV and input devices.

As with simpler kits, installation consists of connecting the transmitter to your stereo, the receiver to the speakers, and then connecting through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

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Working With "Smart" Ecosystems

If you've got money already invested in one or another of the "smart" home automation/audio systems, you might find that your smart speakers have a headphone jack or other form of audio output. If that's the case, you can use that connection to drive a set of self-powered speakers, and have music anywhere your network-connected smart speaker can go.

Just Adding Wireless Connectivity

If your aim is simply to give your system the ability to receive streamed audio wirelessly from your phone or another device, that's also a simple proposition. You can pick up an inexpensive Bluetooth receiver, and attach it either to your main stereo or directly to a pair of powered speakers. These typically have a headphone jack or RCA connections for their output, though higher-end models might offer a digital option.

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