Wireless vs Wired Headphones: Which One Has Better Sound Quality

The quality of the sound that we perceive depends on the auditory capacity of each person, but when we are comparing two different data transmission technologies, the explanation becomes empirical by having numerical values ​​in between. There is a myth that wireless headphones have worse sound quality than those with cable, so let's try to unravel this statement to see if we are facing a myth or reality.

Let's assume: sometimes it is difficult to choose between wireless or wired headphones, and more with the number of different models that are on the market, and with so much price range between them. In the end, the simplest is to choose the ones that best fit the budget and that's it, but you should know that there are fundamental differences in terms of sound quality that go beyond materials or technical specifications, and it is the limitation in the data transmission.

The transmission of data in numbers

Before we said that the perception of sound quality is something subjective because it depends on each person, but in the end the numbers do not deceive. Bluetooth wireless headphones are capable of supporting a maximum data transmission of 768 kbps , while a headset with 2.4 GHz wireless technology transmits data at a rate of 3000 kbps in a typical way (even if it is called the same, it has little to do with 2.4G WiFi that can reach 450 Mbps). For its part, the typical cable transmission value is 2304 kbps.

It is necessary to take into account, and that is that the wireless transmitters consume part of their bandwidth to be in communication with the receiver, so the reality is that the real data transmission stays in approximately half. This leaves wired headphones a clear theoretical advantage, right?

That's right, theoretically. Because the reality is that most digital audio files have a bitrate of 256 kbps, with the highest quality formats that reach between 320 and 512 kbps (this value is, by the way, the maximum that Windows 10 supports for audio ), so in reality, we would only be losing quality in real terms if we listened to the highest quality FLAC files with Bluetooth headphones, but not with 2.4 GHz wireless headphones.

Other aspects that affect the sound quality

Before we mentioned that the wireless headphones, whether Bluetooth or 2.4 GHz, consume part of their bandwidth in being in contact with the wireless receiver. This, in many occasions and except with quality manufacturers that have managed to polish the technology, generates noise.

For this reason, when we put on a wireless headset without having any audio at the source, many times we can hear a background noise, known as "snow" but actually called pink noise. Here is an example, maximized so that you can hear it clearly, but keep in mind that in reality this noise is heard very, very low and in the background.

Keep in mind, however, that technology has evolved a lot and most good quality wireless headphones already avoid this annoying background noise.

In short: yes, wired headphones have better sound quality

This is how things are, and it is undeniable that the end result is that we will obtain the best sound quality with wired headphones . However, there are some buts, and that is that wireless technology has improved a lot and, really and with the exception of Bluetooth headphones, the quality will be the same except in cases of maximum audio quality, above values Hi-Res, and it will be something that the vast majority of people will not notice practically anything.

In numerical terms, the cable and 2.4 GHz transmission are matched, while the Bluetooth transmission is left behind. The downside of the wireless transmission is that residual background noise that remains, but in high-end models it has been completely eliminated, so there really is no difference.