Wireless technology is said to be the future of connectivity. It is not surprising then that Bluetooth speakers, which are a form of a wireless technology device, are very popular today. Bluetooth speakers can be connected to smartphones or computers using signals that are passed through the airwaves.
It is widely known that loudspeakers come with either mono or stereo configurations. Can the same be said about Bluetooth speakers? Are Bluetooth speakers stereo or mono? This article is going to address this, so let’s jump straight at it. Are Bluetooth speakers mono or stereo?
Most Bluetooth speakers available today are mono. Many of them have just a single speaker that is capable of playing only in mono, especially the Bluetooth portable speakers. However, few manufacturers and brands make speakers or have technologies that allow their Bluetooth speakers to play in stereo.
Why Most Bluetooth Speakers Are Mono
Most portable Bluetooth speakers are mono, especially those that are relatively smaller in size. Mono Bluetooth speakers come with only one built-in speaker. They produce sound from this single speaker. On the other hand, Stereo Bluetooth speakers are engineered to have two separate speakers.
The reason why most Bluetooth speakers are mono is simply that they are not big enough to hold two separate speakers in them. Bluetooth speakers are primarily designed to be small and portable. Due to this, it is difficult to fit two separate speakers inside them.
The portability of Bluetooth speakers is one of their major selling points. Hence, in the quest to make Bluetooth speakers portable, it becomes difficult to fit two separate speakers inside the speaker casing.
It is only a few manufacturers and companies that are able to build Bluetooth speakers that can accommodate two separate speakers. These Bluetooth speakers that have two built-in speakers can play stereo signals. A Bluetooth speaker that has only one speaker in it cannot play a stereo signal.
In summary, it is relatively easier to fit or build a portable Bluetooth speaker that comes with one built-in speaker than two. That is why there are more mono Bluetooth speakers in the market than stereo Bluetooth speakers.
How Do Bluetooth Speakers Play in Stereo?
Stereo Bluetooth speakers are built to have two built-in speakers. These two built-in speakers do not play the same sound. Stereo Bluetooth speakers can be likened to the ear. As humans, we have two ears; a left and a right ear. Stereo Bluetooth speakers also have left and right speakers.
Just as I mentioned in one of my previous articles, the two channels in stereo devices transmit two different audio signals. For a Bluetooth speaker to play in stereo, it needs to have two separate speakers.
The presence of left and right speakers in stereo devices means they can transmit two different audio signals. These two separate speakers are usually located close to each other and inside the same box.
The quality of the stereo sound produced by stereo Bluetooth speakers depends on the physical separation between the left and right speakers. That is the best way your ears can perceive the difference in the left and right channel audio in a stereo signal. However, most stereo Bluetooth speakers do not have enough distance of separation between the two built-in speakers.
As you already know, Bluetooth speakers are built to be compact and portable. In order for the speakers to be compact and portable, these stereo drivers are built close together.
Unfortunately, this makes the audio they produce sound like mono instead of stereo when you are far away from them. This makes it hard for you to appreciate or enjoy the different sounds they produce.
Difference between Mono and Stereo Bluetooth Speakers
What differentiates mono Bluetooth speakers from stereo Bluetooth speakers is the number of built-in speakers they come with. Mono Bluetooth speakers are typically known to come with a single speaker. This type of Bluetooth speaker plays back audio using this single audio channel. Thus, mono Bluetooth speakers can be described as having a single audio signal technology.
On the other hand, stereo Bluetooth speakers contain two speakers, that is, for the left and right channels. Each speaker plays something different. Stereo Bluetooth speakers make use of these two channels to produce a sound that seems to emanate from two different directions.
Because stereo Bluetooth speakers contain two speakers inside them, they sound relatively louder than mono Bluetooth speakers. Also, stereo Bluetooth speakers are relatively more expensive than mono Bluetooth speakers. This is because of the complexity involved in their manufacture.
How Do I Know If My Bluetooth Speakers Are Mono or Stereo?
One way to know if your Bluetooth speaker is mono or stereo is to check the number of speakers in them.
If you can only see one speaker cone built into them, then they are definitely mono. If there are two speakers, here is what you’ll need to do.
Get close to the speakers and play stereo audio such as the popular left and right speaker channel test audio (on YouTube) through them. If you hear a stereo separation between the left and right channel through the two speakers, then your Bluetooth speakers are stereo. If not, then they are mono speakers, although they have two speakers.
Best Stereo Bluetooth Speakers
Getting the right speakers to suit your needs is very important. However, it is not an easy thing to do due to the enormous number of Bluetooth speakers on the market. When going in for Bluetooth speakers, do not equate appearance with quality.
If you’re looking to pick up a Bluetooth stereo speaker, I have read extensively to come up with a list featuring the best stereo Bluetooth speakers available.
Audioengine HD3 Wireless Speaker
The truth is, if you’re looking for a Bluetooth speaker with a true stereo experience, a two-speaker setup is the best option for you. This is because you can place them farther away from each other. That way, your ears can perceive the left channel from the right channel.
This is why Audioengine HD3 Wireless Speaker (on Amazon) comes in first on this list. This is not your traditional battery-powered portable Bluetooth speaker. They are bookshelf speakers that need to be plugged into a power outlet. However, they sound incredible.
The aptX HD Bluetooth codec built into this pair of speakers allows you to connect to it via Bluetooth even when you’re hundreds of feet away from them. It also comes with a USB input, RCA, and even a 3.5mm jack to connect other devices such as turntables, smartphones, DVDs, and CD players.
Anker Soundcore Flare 2
The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 (Amazon) is one of the best budget stereo Bluetooth speakers you will come across. It delivers great sound quality. This stereo Bluetooth speaker is engineered to be waterproof and weighs about 1.29 lbs. It also comes with a speakerphone feature. This Bluetooth speaker runs on a 5,200 mAh Lithium-ion battery and can last for about 12 hours.
It has a great design and can be used for both home and outdoor activities. The only disadvantage is that; it does not have AUX input.
Best Mono Bluetooth Speakers
There are a ton of mono Bluetooth speakers available. It is hard to identify which ones are good enough at first glance. However, this shouldn’t be a problem for you. After reading this, you will get to know more about the best mono Bluetooth speakers you can go in for.
JBL Flip 5
The JBL Flip 5 (Amazon) is a lightweight Bluetooth speaker which weighs about 1.2 lbs. It is cylindrical in shape and has a length of 7 inches. JBL Flip 5 also offers about 12 hours of playtime. It comes with controls that are easy to use. This speaker is built to be rugged and ideal for outdoor use.
The great thing about JBL Flip 4 is that it has a technology known as the JBL Connect technology. This technology allows you to pair the JBL Flip with other JBL portable Bluetooth speakers like the JBL Clip, Charge, Extreme, and other Flip portable speakers.
This means you can turn these Bluetooth “mono” speakers into a stereo speaker by connecting them together using the JBL Connect technology.
As an additional feature, this mono Bluetooth speaker comes with an IPX7 waterproof design. This waterproof mono Bluetooth speaker delivers amazing sound quality. However, it does not come with an in-built microphone and has no AUX input as well.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Mono Bluetooth Speaker (also on Amazon) is waterproof and dustproof. It is designed to be super portable. This mono Bluetooth speaker features a 360 sound and offers about 13 hours of battery life. It uses 5.0 Bluetooth connectivity to connect to your devices.
This mono Bluetooth speaker has a recharge time of about 2.6 hours and can be charged with a micro-USB cable. Despite its small size, it is known to deliver loud audio.
Mono vs Stereo Bluetooth Speakers: Which is Better?
According to manufacturers, stereo Bluetooth speakers are able to deliver better sound performance than mono Bluetooth speakers. This makes them better than mono Bluetooth speakers.
However, is this actually the case? Like I mentioned earlier, most stereo Bluetooth speakers do not have enough distance of separation between the two built-in speakers. This makes the sound they produce sound more like mono instead of stereo. However, overall, the sound produced from stereo Bluetooth speakers has width and sounds better.
One important thing to note is that your listening environment and perspective play a huge role in how good a Bluetooth speaker sounds. Mono may sound better than stereo for outdoor applications, where the Bluetooth speaker will be played to cover a large area.
This is because, in outdoor locations, it is difficult to position every potential listener in a way that they may have equal access to both right and left speaker channels.
For situations where the listener is at a relatively fixed position, stereo Bluetooth speakers will sound much better than mono speakers. Thus, stereo Bluetooth speakers are ideal for relatively small and enclosed listening environments, while mono Bluetooth speakers are ideal for outdoor applications.
Bluetooth speakers can be either stereo or mono. However, there are more mono Bluetooth speakers than stereo. Mono Bluetooth speakers contain a single speaker, while stereo Bluetooth speakers have two built-in speakers.
This means, if the music you are listening to is from a Bluetooth speaker that has a single built-in speaker source, it means you are listening in mono.