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General audio topics that don't fit into specific categories.

A comparison

Advantages of wireless:

1) Cheaper and easier to install.

2) Battery-operated equipment can be moved at will.

Advantages of wired:

1) Not that expensive. With modern stud and wallboard construction, it isn't hard to find installers that will put in outlets for less than $100 per drop. I put four drops in my house for about $350. If I weren't paralyzed I would have done it myself in an afternoon for $50 in parts.

2) More reliable connection with higher speed. Most wireless tops out at around 50 Mbs (assuming a good strong signal). Wired pretty much runs close to 100 Mbs all day long (some overhead is involved and reduces the transfer rate).

3) Greater network security. Wireless can be hacked. Wired requires a physical connection to the network to hack it.

4) Much lower EMI. Wi-Fi operates at the exact same frequency as a microwave oven. It's a much lower level, but it's on 24/7/365. My guess is that in ten or twenty years there will be a big "Oops!" when they discover it constitutes a health hazard.

5) Any EMI will degrade the sound of any audio system to some degree. That's why companies make power line filters, ferrites, specially shielded interconnects, termination networks for speaker cables, and in the case of Tannoy, ground connections for the speaker baskets.

Some equipment is less susceptible than others (tubes are generally better in this regard), and some people are willing to live with the degradation. But to my mind you need to have a compelling reason to use wireless to even consider it. It certainly isn't going to *improve* your sound, nor your health.

People make all kinds of excuses: "It's all around anyway, so don't worry about it." (Kind of like saying the air is already polluted, so you may as well clean the inside of your house with a gasoline powered leaf blower.) "I have a wireless router and my system sounds fine to me." (Yes, but did they ever do carefully controlled before and after tests?)

My son just got an RC helicopter with a 2.4 GHz transmitter (same as Wi-Fi and microwave ovens). It says right in the manual, "Don't put any body part within 5" of the antenna." And that is something that gets used maybe one hour per week, not 168 hours per week.

Over 30 years ago my lab instructor for organic chemistry said to avoid eating trans-fats (partially hydrogenated oils). He said that they have a shape (conformation) that is not found in nature, and that the fats get incorporated into your cell walls. Nobody knew what the effects might be back then, but it was clear that it wasn't likely to be positive.

Now they know that it increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Frito-Lay (not known for their healthy snacks) dropped all trans-fats years ago, I'm sure to avoid the risk of lawsuits. I was glad that I took the advice of my lab instructor all those years ago. I just don't see any compelling reason to use wireless, and lots of risks and potential risks. And it's a free country, so you will do what you do.


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