Your old home stereo system is in good, working condition. Maybe it’s one of those hi-fi systems built in the ‘70s. Maybe you’ve invested time and money matching your receiver with your speakers and setting it all up, and don’t feel like going through the trouble and expense to replace it. Or maybe you have an inexplicable sentimental attachment to your classic equipment.
On the other hand, wireless audio technology has gotten so good that your digital music’s often indistinguishable from CD audio quality. The technology is there for you to enjoy, why miss out?
The good news is that you’ve got many excellent solutions to wirelessly play music through your existing home stereo receiver, no matter how ancient it is. With any option, you’ll be using a small device that’s receiving audio through a wireless protocol. It’ll plug right into the back of your home stereo receiver’s line inputs and play.
Here’s an overview of three best ways how to play your music wirelessly over your home stereo receiver, ordered by level of tech skill you’ll need to set it up:
Bluetooth Audio Receivers
Bluetooth audio receivers are the easiest and arguably the most reliable retrofitting audio solution available. They wirelessly pair with your device on a one to one basis creating a secure, direct but short-range connection, usually about 30 feet. Follow a few simple steps, and you’ll be streaming your music in under 2 minutes. You don’t need any real skill to set this up, and more importantly, you’ll probably never need to troubleshoot it. Once you know the rules of Bluetooth, it works exactly as you’d expect it to. No surprises here, and that’s very reassuring if you’re a beginner. There’s a good reason that Bluetooth is a standard feature in nearly all smart devices available today.
Want to know more about Bluetooth audio receivers? Here’s What to Consider Before Adding Bluetooth to Your Home Stereo Receiver
Wifi Audio Receivers
Wifi audio receivers connect to your home network and receive streaming audio routed through a central hub (ie: your wifi router) from your computer or smartphone. The range extends as far as your home wifi network, and many wifi audio receivers support multi-room setups. That means you’d be able to play music from a single music source over multiple stereos in different rooms of your house, provided they’re all connected to the same wifi network. Bluetooth audio receivers aren’t quite there yet (but will get there soon enough).
Though initial set up only requires a basic knowledge of connecting to wifi networks, if that’s as far as your wifi knowledge goes, you may find it challenging or frustrating should you ever need to troubleshoot. And, unfortunately, wifi connections are more prone to connectivity issues, audio dropouts and hiccups than are Bluetooth connections.
DIY Wireless Receivers
Looking for a new project to challenge your computer networking knowledge? An advanced, but fully customizable multi room solution is to build your own wireless receivers. You’ll have full control over how it works and what it’ll do for you. This step by step guide here uses a Raspberry Pi to build a multi room audio system. In the author’s words, “You should have an understanding of networking, intermediate to expert computer skills and maybe some linux experience too.” Full disclosure: I haven’t tried my hand at this one just yet; it’s too much of a time commitment. Let us know about your experience if you’ve attempted this project!
Bottomline: Bluetooth audio receivers and wifi audio receivers are both great ways to stream your music over your existing home stereo system. Bluetooth is the easier way to go and is usually your best bet if you’re new to the world of wireless audio. Wifi is the better option if you need something that offers multi-room audio, though it has a steeper learning curve.