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What Is WiSA? What You Need to Know and How it Works

One of the problems with home theater setups is all the wires needed to connect the speakers and components. Do you know about WiSA?

WiSA Logo Wireless Speaker and Audio

One of the problems with most home theater setups is all the wires needed to connect the speakers, especially if you have a system with more than 5.1 channels. There are some hybrid solutions such as soundbars or home theater-in-box systems that provide wireless surround and subwoofer options, but WiSA offers a complete wireless solution for all your speakers in a home theater setup. 

Who and What Is WiSA?

WiSA (Wireless Speaker and Audio Association) was formed in 2011. WiSA is a trade organization supported by member companies that serve as a clearinghouse to develop and coordinate standards, development, sales training, and promotion of wireless home theater audio products, such as speakers, A/V receivers, and source devices. 

WiSA tests and certifies related products developed by its member brands to ensure consistent standards for wireless high-resolution, multi-channel, low latency, compatibility, robustness, and ease of use so that products under its jurisdiction work seamlessly together. 

Member Brands include Bang & Olufsen, Klipsch, Harman Kardon, Axiim, Platin, Enclave Audio, Sound United, and more… WiSA also provides retailer support

Platin Milan WiSA Speaker System

Specifications

Companies that want to offer WiSA-enabled products for sale have to meet the following core specifications:

  • Wireless transmission using a specific narrow section (24 frequencies) of the 5GHz band. WiSA transmitters need to be able to constantly monitor the designated transmission frequencies for interference and make real-time changes if needed.   
  • Two to eight (8) channels of uncompressed 24-bit, 96KHz audio. This means that wireless systems ranging from 2.1 to 7.1 or 5.1.2 channels (Dolby Atmos) can be accommodated as determined by the product manufacturer. 
  • 5.2ms of latency and less than 1 microsecond of synchronization between speakers. This makes that there are no unwanted audio delays between channels.
WiSA Core Specs

Once products are tested and approved by WiSA, products can be placed in either WiSA Certified or WiSA-ready product categories and allowed to carry the respective logo. 

WiSA Certified

Products that are designated as “WiSA Certified” connect and work seamlessly with other WiSA Certified products. Products such as the Axiim Q UHD Media Center AVR or WiSA SoundSend and any branded WiSA certified speakers work together right out of the box.

WiSA Certified Example

WiSA Ready

Products that are designated as “WiSA Ready” means that a plugin WiSA transmitter can transmit to any WiSA Certified Speakers. A WiSA Certified plug-in USB transmitter can be connected to LG OLED TVs, Select NanoCell TVs, and Select Hisense LED/LCD and Laser TVs, that provide wireless audio transmission to any WiSA certified speaker system. 

LG TV WiSA Ready Example

There is slight variation within the WiSA Certified/Ready designations with regards to specific product features beyond core specifications. 

For example, the Enclave Audio WiSA CineHub will only work with Enclave-branded speakers as Enclave markets integrated systems (CineHome II/CineHome Pro). Enclave WiSA certified speakers will work with other branded WiSA transmitters, but it is not recommended as audio performance will be comprised and feature access will be limited. 

WiSA vs Bluetooth and other Wireless Systems

WiSA is a closed wireless system. This means that although it is wireless, it doesn’t support wireless whole-house audio and isn’t compatible with Bluetooth or other wireless speaker system options, such as Sonos, Heos, Yamaha MusicCast, BluOS/Bluesound, DTS Play-Fi, or Damson Audio

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A manufacturer can opt to include Bluetooth and other Wi-Fi system support in the same speaker product that is WiSA certified. However, those capabilities remain separate. This means that you can’t use the WiSA, Bluetooth, or other Wi-Fi features at the same time.  

Note: WiSA technology supports both Dolby and DTS surround formats (including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X). However, the extent of surround sound format support for specific products is determined by each participating manufacturer. 

WiSA Products

USB Transmitters: USB Transmitters (may look like a large flash drive or compact round plug-in device) can be connected to select TVs, projectors, and USTs (Ultra Short Throw Projectors) that are WiSA-ready. Once plugged in, the user opens the WiSA option in the TV or projector/UST’s setup menu to activate the WiSA feature.

LG TV WiSA dongle

Hubs: These are also transmitters, but may provide multiple HDMI inputs, an HDMI output (ARC/eARC), and sometimes come with USB and digital optical audio inputs. HDMI-ARC/eARC and digital optical connections allow connection to any TV with those connection options. 

There is no built-in streaming capability, but you can connect an external streaming device (if the Hub has an available HDMI input) or pass streaming service audio from any smart TV to the Hub. Hubs don’t have built-in amplifiers as they are included in each WiSA speaker.

WiSA Transmitter

Speakers: WiSA speakers are powered, wireless speakers. Each speaker has to be connected to AC power to supply power to amplifiers in the speaker housing but audio signals are transmitted wirelessly from WiSA USB transmitter or Wireless Transmission Hub. This eliminates speaker wireless connections providing both freedom of speaker placement and the elimination of visible speaker wire clutter.

Klipsch 5.1 Reference Speaker Bundle

How WiSA Setup Works

One of the benefits of a WiSA system is its easy setup.

  1. To start, place the WiSA-enabled speakers where you want them. Each speaker has a label on the back that designates if it is for the left, center, right, etc… channel.
  1. Connect each speaker individually to AC power. 
  1. If the speakers have on/off switches, turn the speakers on. 
  1. Next, plug in your transmitter or hub to the TV via USB or HDMI-ARC/eARC (whichever is required) and power if required. As mentioned previously, some transmitters/hubs may also provide a digital optical audio connection option if you don’t have HDMI-ARC/eARC (check before you buy if you need this option).
  1. Once everything is on, the transmitter or hub will find all the speakers and provide you with any additional setting options to optimize performance (varies with brand/model transmitter or hub used). There are usually indicator lights on the speakers to confirm the connection.

Tip: WiSA (Soundsend), Axiim (Link), and Enclave Audio (CineHub) also provide access to companion mobile phone apps to aid in the setup and use of their respective WiSA transmitters/hubs and speakers. 

WiSA SoundSend Mobile Setup and Control App

Tip: Enclave Audio WiSA Hubs work with the Roku TV Ready feature. Just plug the Enclave WiSA hub into any Roku TV via HDMI-ARC/eARC and use the TV’s on-screen menu to set up and manage the audio settings of the connected Enclave WiSA system. 

Enclave Audio Settings on Roku TV

The Amazon WiSA Store

WiSA has established an online store on Amazon that makes it easy to find and purchase the growing number of WiSA-Certified and WiSA-Ready products. 

WiSA Promotional Video

Related reading: See our Enclave Audio CineHome PRO Wireless Soundbar Review that uses WiSA technology.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. KZBFF ELF

    December 9, 2021 at 8:54 am

    Bought Buchardt A700, it uses Wisa, I have to say it’s pretty awesome, I don’t miss wired now really.

    • Ian White

      December 9, 2021 at 2:21 pm

      Buchardt makes some really nice speakers so I’m sure the A700 are excellent products. WiSA is gaining in popularity.

      Ian White

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