6 Sound reasons to buy a hi-fi system (rather than a Bluetooth wireless speaker)
A stereo music system really has a lot going for it.
We like hi-fi, obviously. What that really means is that we love music and we really want it to sound as good as it can. That is where having a decent hi-fi system comes into play.
Where once stereo speakers, an amplifier and a CD player or turntable was the standard set up for a music system, now you can do it all (and more) with a single wireless speaker. And quite some of them are pretty good, and in any case far more convenient and affordable than any traditional system.
But… it is not quite the same, is it? There are still many reasons why a stereo system makes so much more sense. For instance:
It sounds better
Let us kick things off with an easy one. You like music, right? So why not hear it sounding as good as it should? 99 times out of 100, that will mean a traditional separates system.
The sum of the parts will almost always deliver better – and better-value – sound than a similarly priced wireless speaker can offer. Each box is a master of its trade, rather than a jack of all trades, the latter always requiring a compromise somewhere. From stereo separation to stereo imaging, Class D amplifiers to the limits of smaller boxes, the technical reasons are plentyful but the end result is the same: when it comes to sound quality, a stereo system is very hard if not impossible to beat by a one-box wireless speaker.
It will ‘always’ work
Every now and then it just so happens that Spotify is down, or that other streaming platform you love listening to. If you are listening to music on a wireless speaker, there is a fair chance you are out of luck in these circumstances. And who knows, maybe one day your carefully curated music library will disappear? Like when iTunes merged with Apple Music, remember that?
Yes, you can play locally stored music, and indeed Bluetooth does not require wi-fi, but at long last, wireless speaker will leave most people, most of the time, at the mercy of The Cloud. However there is really very little to stop you from playing a music collection made of CDs, vinyl or even downloads…
You get the best of both worlds
Although we probably just like doing it, we actually do not have to go through our dusty record collection to find the next thing to play. You can now add a music streamer to your amp and speakers and have a whole world of digital music at your fingertips, gathering the sonic benefits of your system as well having the convenience of Spotify or Tidal. You can plug your hi-fi into a multi-room wireless system from the likes of Audio Pro, Sonos or Bluesound whole-home smartness, or take advantage of the fact that an increasing number of hi-fi brands have built their latest streamers to support multi-room music. And on the other hand, you really cannot play a vinyl record on a wireless speaker, believe me..
There is often an upgrade path
Another reason why a system still cannot be beaten – the ability to upgrade over time. Fed up with your speakers? Simply buy a new pair and connect them to your system. Feel like adding a turntable? Go for it. A separates system allows you to upgrade components over time, as and when you’re able (financially or otherwise), as well as adding new features with new products.
Contrary to what you might think, wireless speakers go quicker ‘out of date’ than a pair of passive speakers. Voice control, room correction, new software – all this tech can be great, but already quite soon it can also leave your once shiny new purchase looking sad and a bit ‘version one’…
It is more than just a box
This idea of upgrading and fine-tuning your system brings us to the next point: a hi-fi system is a living, breathing, beautiful thing… figuratively speaking, anyway. But trust me when I say that you will feel a real connection to a system of components which you have chosen, plugged together, positioned, perfected and sat back and enjoyed. And, while putting a wireless speaker in the corner of the room and then fiddling with your phone for ten minutes can be satisfyingly convenient, it is not likely to feeling at one with your system and your music collection.
It is much like the argument for physical media over digital. We love streaming music, but it is not the same. Think of a hi-fi system as the delicious homemade bread, in contrast to a quick sandwich you buy on your way to work (being a wireless speaker).
Buying physical music supports artists
As mentioned earlier, a hi-fi system does not always have to mean playing physical media but most of times does support CDs and vinyl (and digital downloads). And, whether we like it or not, as things stand, if you want to support artists and bands making the music you love, buying physical media is a better way of doing it than streaming. Simply because they earn more money by it.
Besides, if you are thinking of starting your vinyl collection, you will want more than a wireless speaker anyhow.
With many of us spending extra time at home these days, more and more people valuing a physical connection with music in this digital age, and everyone always eager to hear the music they love at its best, I think it’s a good a time to build and enjoy a brilliant, versatile and maybe even a state-of-the-art hi-fi system.
Happy listening ☺