Adding wireless speakers to my current, vintage analog system.

I’d like to add wireless speakers to my current setup (listed below). 

Ideally I would be able to control volume and basic EQ for the wireless speakers independent from the wired speakers, while also having a main receiver where I have control over the overall EQ/volume for all speakers - if that makes sense.


I like the sound and look of my vintage receivers, and would like to stay with true stereo (not single or paired mono speakers).   And I don’t want to add too much bulky gear, if possible.


I mainly stream Spotify (from an old MacBook to the R-2000) and play vinyl records and CDs (and occasionally cassette tape or MiniDisc). 

So far vIdeo and TV (home theater setup) have not been on my improvement radar - I’m fine with a good sound bar for the TV for now.



I live in an approx 1200 sqft open warehouse space with high ceiling, wooden floor and large windows. I don’t have a particular listening spot - I like to have good sound when I dine, but also when I cook in the kitchen corner or work in the upper mezzanine loft. 


Currently the KEFs and the Klipsch woofer (living room area) are driven by the R-2000, and all the Minimus-7s (upper loft and kitchen/dining area) are driven by the Nikko. 


For the time being I’d just replace the Minimus’ with some decent, small wireless speakers.  Probably not so easy as the Mins are surprisingly good for their size.


If, whatever I will add to my rig for enabling it to send sound to wireless speakers, can also function as a high-quality DAC and/or direct music streamer, that’d be an added bonus, but is not my main concern right now. 



Current setup:

  • Yamaha R-2000 - serves as main receiver and powers a pair of KEF Q500 and a Klipsch 120SW (mains). The R-2000 is then connected to:
  • Nikko NR-1219 which powers 3 pairs of Minimus-7 (secondary) in the mezzanine lofts and the kitchen/dining room

My understanding is that wireless speakers come complete with their own amplification.  Even if you were to add a source,  that can Bluetooth or otherwise wireless feed speakers and was simultaneously connected to your receiver (such as a turntable that can Bluetooth or a streamer), it is bypassing the amplification in the AVR and relying on the amplification of the wired speakers, afaik 


Are you saying that, when I use wireless speakers, the sound quality is mainly defined (and/or even bottlenecked) by the speaker’s built-in amplifier?
If so, is there no way around that?

Do audiophiles avoid wireless speakers altogether, or are there speakers with excellent amps built in: If the latter, how do I control volume and EQ – on the speakers themselves?

Or, is the only way to use some of the proprietary speaker/amplification pairing (Sonos, MusiCast...)? If that, wouldn’t the receiver/amp have an influence on the sound quality?


If I go with Sonos, I will need to use their amplifier/receiver and Speakers, correct?
From what I hear, the Sonos sound is rather boomy. Can you confirm that?

I didn’t say anything about the quality of wireless speakers.  Merely pointing out that afaik they come with their own amplification.  The quality of that amplification can vary, as with any system.

  I haven't used wireless speakers myself, but there are are a lot of theoretic advantages.  One would need less power and they eliminate a crossover, and there are obvious space saving advantages.  I've heard the KEF and another smallish powered speaker and they have a surprising amount of bass for such small units.  I just don't think that thee is a way to work your vintage AVR into the equation.  You could perhaps use the preamp section of the AVR, if it has pre amp out, but then you are attached to the speakers with wires, and you want to avoid that

I thought there were Bluetooth transmitters which take a receiver signal and translate and forward a digital signal to wireless speakers?
Sort of a reverse DAC - an ADC if you will. Or did I just make that up? 

You can get a Bluetooth receiver , such as Audioengine, and it will attach to your receiver via RCA cables.  You can transmit from a Bluetooth source, such a cell phone.  The signal will go to the Bluetooth receiver which yes has a DAC inside.

The DAC will send the now analog music signal via aforementioned cables to your AVR, which will then send it to your speakers, via the cables that attach the speakers to the AVR.  I hope you haven’t got lost yet.

  What you CANNOT do is send the Bluetooth signal directly to your speakers because your speakers have no way to receive and then amplify the signal.  In your original post you said that you wanted to transmit wirelessly from your receiver to speakers.  I suspect what you meant to say was you wanted to transmit wirelessly from a source, such as a cellphone, and otherwise keep your present system ( receiver and speakers).

  Pick up an Audioengine (I have had one for several years in one of my systems).Plug it into your receiver, stream from your phone via Bluetooth, start enjoying music, and relax

Thank you all for taking your time and being patient wth me!

I guess my questions are confusing as I’m not yet familiar with terms and technology, or maybe I expect more than what’s currently possible.

To clarify: I was wondering about both, wirelessly to and from the receiver.

One of the questions I have now is if it’s worth skipping the laptop and stream "directly" to the receiver, and if an added Bluetooth receiver/DAC is the only/best way to do that in terms of sound quality.
I understand that it’s streaming to begin with and probably one way or another always inferior to wire-connecting a CD player or a turntable. So I guess this part of the equation is more about convenience.
I just wonder, if I were to get a Bluetooth receiver, what brand/model folks here recommend (best DAC, ease of setup and use, stability of signal, least amount of footprint...).

Sending (to speakers):
I understand that I cannot send sound directly from my receiver to my current speakers. I’d have to get wireless speakers, which seem to have wireless receivers built in (making them capable of receiving a wireless, digital signal). In addition I probably need some sort of transmitter connected to my receiver if I want to send a wireless/digital signal from my receiver to the speakers (when playing my turntable for example), correct?
Do I need to match the transmitter brand to the wireless speaker brand (proprietary technology) or do I have a choice, can I mix and match?
Either way, what wireless speaker and transmitter brands/models do folks here recommend (sound quality, uninterrupted signal, ease of setup and use...)?

I also heard that small devices can be added to existing analog speakers to make them capable of receiving wireless. Does anybody here have experience with that? Is it complicated? How’s the sound quality? What do folks here recommend?

New receiver?
I start wondering if it would be worth looking for a newer receiver with the desired technology built in.
Are there receivers out there that can match the sound and looks of my current setup?
Would I need to match receiver and speaker brand (proprietary tech)?
If I invest in something like that, do some of these come with separate/multi-channel options – so that I can control the volume of one pair of speakers independent from another pair of speakers?

Thank you all for sharing your advice and experience!
I’ll be happy to share mine once I get to a satisfying solution.

After a bit more research I come to understand that there is Bluetooth and then there is WiFi. And WiFi seems to be the better choice when it comes to hi-res/losless sound quality. Ideally I get something with capabilities for both, WiFi and Bluetooth. 

If so, it comes down to a Receiver and Transmitter with WiFi and Bluetooth capability, a good DAC and flexible option for good speakers  – if that exists – which most likely limits the selection and makes it more expansive.
I can dream, right? Sigh!

I think that you have some fundamental lack of understanding here, although you seem to be progressing.  I recommend reading the latest version about Hi Fi by Robert Harley.  He updates his book every few years and I don’t doubt that he has a chapter that covers the basics of streaming.  His magazine, The Absolute Sound, had a good series on basics a few years ago that should be easy to Google.

  So let’s try to be basic.  Streaming involves playing computer files through your Hi Fi system.  Those files are either stored on a commercial server (Amazon, Apple, Spotify, etc) or else on some kind of storage in your own collection, such as a hard drive or a usb stick.

   The files can sent via Ethernet, which is a wired connection to your Internet Modem/Router (I assume you know what a router is, since you use a laptop and are accessing this site).  Or the files can be sent without a wired connection.

  WiFi is the standard for wireless.  Hopefully you know what WIFi is. If you use your laptop to access the without being tethered to an Ethernet cable, or a cellphone, you are using WiFi.  Your HiFi system  does need a receiver for the WiFi signal.

  Bluetooth is another way to send wireless files.  Related technologies are Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast.  In general you need a sender and a receiver for these as well.  Bluetooth and AirPlay in general compress the original WiFi signal and are of lower Fidelity than straight WiFi.  WiFi and Ethernet in general are equivalent and uncompressed and the best sound.  I am speaking in generalities here and you might get others disagreeing with some points.

So then how to stream?

You have a laptop. In theory that is all you need.. The laptop can take the files from a storage device. Laptops also have DACs. A Digital to Audio Converter converts those 1s and Os in the digital stream to analog sound. All you need to do is run RCA cables from the laptop into your ancient receiver. You are done.

Laptops have DACs, but they aren’t that great. So you can greatly improve things by using a separate DAC. The simplest way to go here is a DAC that looks like a USB stick and attaches to a USB slot in the laptop. The other end of the DAC has an attachment for a RCA cable that will attach to your receiver.

You then need a subscription to a streaming service, such as Spotify, from which you can get files to play. Or you can play your own CDs or lps, but you have to store them on a device as digital files.

Streamers are dedicated audio components that are basically computers optimized for computer audio.

Bluetooth is a convenient way to wirelessly send audio. Most wireless headphones or ear buds use Bluetooth as do many other devices. You need a sender, such as a cellphone, and a receiver, and a DAC. Some laptops can receive a Bluetooth signal. Bluetooth uses only a portion of the WiFi band so historically it has sounded inferior (but good enough for most non audiophiles). There is a new codec out for Bluetooth, which I haven’t heard, that purports to be lossless, but many devices, such as cellphones, are not equipped with that codec.

Ultimately I would recommend that you get a streamer and a new audio amplifier. You can buy all in one, AVRs that come with DACs and streamers included, but I wouldn’t recommend starting this way

I neglected powered speakers.  These basically have a pliers inside them, and then they typically are configured to accept Bluetooth, WiFi, and Ethernet, and usually you can plug in components such as CD players or turntables.

  So if I was you, You want to start with a defined budget.  It’s easy to fritter resources away when you don’t understand the concepts, or even when you do.

  Start with the laptop and USB DAC attached to your receiver.  Try a streaming service such as Spotify or Qobuz or Apple.  If you want to listen to your CDs as computer files we can help you with that.

  That might be all you need.  If you decide to go further, fine, but familiarize yourself with streaming in this low cost fashion

Thank you, mahler123, for laying it all out for me. 
It's not as bad as you seem to think. Some of the concepts I'm familiar with. But I did get confused, and it explains some things – and it may help me to decide how to approach this. 
What it comes down to is that I seem to suffer from first world problems:
– dreaming up things and being impatient about making it a reality
– assuming for tech to make anything possible, better, more convenient
– too many options
– expecting one thing to solve it all
– expecting high quality to be somewhat affordable
– constant upgraditis
– no time

My last post under powered speakers, should read “amplifiers “ and not “pliers”.

Questions you should ask yourself 

Have you defined a budget?  That should be step #1

Do you intend to stream solely from a service such as Spotify?  Or do you also want to move your CDs to a hard drive and be able to stream them?  Digitalizing lps is a whole different ball of wax.  Do you want to use a phone or tablet as a source and control, or be sticking with the laptop, or both?

 Further recommendations would depend upon your answers.  In the meantime I would consider getting a USB/DAC for the laptop and just streaming with that for a while to get comfortable.  Many audiophiles find that is enough and stop there, and it would be a low cost way for you to start 



Budget: it depends. Max $150.

Streaming: so far mainly Spotify (I may add other services later, dunno yet).. 

Vinyl and CD: happy with using CD player and turntable as is for now.

DAC: ideally both, Bluetooth and WiFi.

Any recommendations as far as good brands/models?

Any recommendation for a good DAC that does both, WiFi as well as Bluetooth aptX? 

Sorry, at $150 budget, you are pretty limited.  Without trying to sound like an audio snob, at that budget you won’t get highly revealing gear.  Try Wiim or iFi products .  I haven’t heard them but budget audiophiles seem to like them.  By the way, what you are seeking is a streamer DAC combination, not just a DAC.  I would also refer you back to my earlier recommendation to get a USB DAC to attach to your PC.  I recommend Audioquest, which might be slightly above your budget.  Again, iFi might have a usb DAC that might add some Bluetooth, you’d have to check their product lineup 

Thank you so much for all your advice and patience! 
I think I have enough information now. 

I ended up getting a Wiim Pro Plus, which I just connected to the receiver today, via Line Out. And I started sourcing Spotify via WiFi. Was easy to set up. 

I skipped the laptop. I control/play Spotify from my phone and/or via the Wiim remote. Seems convenient, but I noticed significant latency when picking a new song in Spotify. It takes a lot longer until it plays the next song than it used to take via BLT. My WiFi is usually pretty fast and stable. Maybe some settings? 

I was also able to connect to a BLT speaker but haven’t managed to do both BLT and WiFi at the same time, not yet.

The Pro Plus is obviously slightly over my initial budget but seemed to be a good value for the money, with decent built quality, lots of options and a pretty good DAC. 
That way I have options and can customize things to whatever setup I want further down the road - unless I win the jackpot and decide to go all high-end separates or with a TOTL all-in-one receiver. If the latter I’m assuming the Pro Plus has still some resale value.

I’ll report more on my experience with this new toy soon. 

Thank you all for your help!

I seem to still be slightly confused about resolution and bit rates. 

What does it mean when Wiim claims that the DAC can handle digital audio files of up to 32-bit, 768kHz, and how would I ever take advantage of that? 

Is that just true for the receiving side of things? I assume this being a moot point for Spotify. But let’s say I use Tidal, do I need to get an external DAC with 31/768 out and bypass the Wiim’s DAC? 

If so, I feel mighty stupid as I was hoping that the Wiim’s DAC would suffice for this kind of scenario. That should be more clearly stated when they advertise the built-in DAC. “Handle” in my vocabulary doesn’t stop short of the device’s outputs.

I was able to clarify one thing, with help from some nice folks over at AK.
I think what I didn’t realize was that the 192/24 “limitation” only applies to some of the local/physical inputs, and not when music is streamed from the “cloud” via Ethernet or WiFi. 

What is BLT?  Bacon, Lettuce and tomato?

Don’t lose sleep over not getting 32 bit/768 kHZ material.  There are probably no recordings that were actually made at these settings.  These crazy numbers are obtained by upsampling.

  Even if such a recording did exist, whatever the claims of the manufacturer, a budget component such as yours wouldn’t be able to deliver it in away that you could hear a difference.

  Stop stressing about the equipment.  You bought something, now enjoy listening to music.  If you want to learn about the joys of understanding digital specications, such a the meaning of bit length and frequency transmission, try some of the references provided up thread, or Wikipedia