Difference Between Wired & Wireless

Difference Between Wired & Wireless

A basic guide to understanding wireless audio transmission and how it affects your headphones. Get to know about wired and wireless options.

Free Headphones! Kidding. But now that we have your attention, we do mean to take a gander at whether it’s a good for your headphones to be ‘free’ of wires or not. See what we did there? No? Moving on…

In this age of mobility and wireless tech, being tangled might seem odd. With 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth taking over the world of tech, audio too is well on its way to wireless freedom. But, there’s still time before wirelessness catches up with the prowess of a good ol’ wired pair of headphones. Why, you say? For that let’s understand the difference between using a wired and wireless headphones and how it affects the way you listen to music.

Wireless headphones are the trend in today's day and age. Portable and comfortable are all we look for, don’t we? Headphones and earphones are also becoming portable and convenient.


Technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC are used to transmit audio signals. There are many wireless buds and cans that have an excellent audio reproduction. Beats X, V-MODA Crossfade and u-JAYS are some noteworthy examples. While going wireless helps in terms of convenience and mobility, there are some limitations to itBluetooth operates at 2.4 GHz. Many wireless radio and other transmissions also operate at this frequency range. There is a chance that during Bluetooth playback, some other device working at same frequency might interfere. Tough chance for something like that happening on a wired connection. 

If you are using Bluetooth to listen to music from your phone or laptop, you have a benefit of moving freely. Bluetooth 4.0 works up to a range of 30 feet. There is a possibility some other Bluetooth device may be in the same area as your Bluetooth headphone. This might interfere with your signal. Many headphones have now been rolled out with Bluetooth 5.0. 

Near Field Communication (NFC) does not transmit audio signals continuously. It is used to connect to another NFC-enabled device in a jiffy. The audio is then transmitted via Bluetooth. 

The main disadvantage of wireless devices is that there may be a loss of quality while high-resolution audio is being transmitted. To reduce this loss in transmission over Bluetooth, companies like Qualcomm, Apple and Sony have come up Bluetooth codecs. These use a high-grade transmitter and receiver with an advanced codec support that reduces the loss to a great extent when it comes to wireless audio transfer



This does not mean that wireless headphones without codecs are not usable. Companies work hard at creating good sounding wireless headphones. Battery life and connectivity loss are the only other disadvantages, which do not occur frequently. Not like we don’t face these with our mobile devices. But, keep your fingers crossed as the slew of wireless headphones hitting the market are getting better and better, with respect to their ability to play hi-res audio and battery life. The day when wireless will sound as good, if not better than a wired one isn’t too far off.

Wi-Fi can be set over a larger area using inter-connectivity. Large Public Address (PA) systems can be set-up over Wi-Fi. Due to high inter-connectivity and better signal, the audio does not interfere. However, (as of now) headphones cannot be set up over Wi-Fi networks as there is a problem of other devices and conflicting networks.

When we compare wired headphones over wireless, the main advantage is proper signal transmission over wires leading to better audio reproduction. Most wired headphones use copper cables with fibre casing. This reduces the loss of signal to nearly nothing. The main drawback with a wired headphone is that the cable is tangle-prone. Yes, even the ones that are tangle-free (while they don't tangle as easily, at times you will still have sort through the knots). There are also chances of the cable getting caught on things or having the connector being yanked out of your music player while moving about. Additionally, you cannot keep your device in one place and move around while listening to music due to the limited length of the cable.

Some popular wired headphones are Audio-Technica ATH M50x and the Sennheiser HD series. Moreover, hi-res players and amplifiers can be used with wired headphones for playing lossless high-resolution audio.

Every listener has an option to choose based on his need and lifestyle. Wireless audio, as good as it is, will keep improving with technology. There is no disadvantage to using a wired or wireless earphone and headphone as long as the product satisfies the expectation of the user. Music whether natural or digitized, always pleases a music lover. So carry on listening and keep on grooving!