Let’s revisit the history of the headphones before we talk about True Wireless Vs Wireless. This will give us an idea of how much the technology which these headphones employ have evolved.
A Revisit To History
- Headphones existed even before the early ’50s. They were of course not as elegantly crafted as today but at that time having a headphone was not everyone’s cup of tea. Those headphones were wired and very much bulky. So, in a nutshell, they were very uncomfortable to wear. Then in the ’60s efforts were made to improve the condition of the headphones. Therefore, light and comparatively small headset became a part of the history.
- But innovation didn’t stop. Soon wireless communication was developed which nowadays we leverage a lot. But these were used mainly for communication through space. Even more, Neil Armstrongs famous words, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” were also transmitted through a wireless headset. And look where we are now, using true wireless earbuds in our day-to-day life.
- Many say that there is not much difference between both the technologies and others say there is. My answer is yes, they both are not same. Yes, we cannot argue that they both work using the same fundamentals and principles.
- Both require transducers, transmitters and receivers etc. So, let’s see where they both differ. As I am relating their use with the headphones so I will use headsets for the explanation.
In wireless headsets, the headset has no physical contact with a cord which connects it to the source. By source, I refer to any device you use while using the headset. Whereas, in wired ones, there is a wire which acts as a channel for data transmission. So, now you might be wondering – ‘Where Is The Channel Here.’
For wireless, the atmosphere acts as a channel. Furthermore, data is transmitted through the air in the form of radio waves.
How Does This Occur??
Cool down here I am with an answer to your question. The data which is in digital form initially is converted into radio waves. This is accomplished using transducers. Further, these waves are thrown out of the device, let’s consider it to be a smartphone. Throwing of radio waves is technically called as transmitting which is the function of a transmitter.
Now as you have guessed we have to catch it, yes you have guessed it correct. This catching process aka receiving is executed by a receiver on the headset. So, the data has been transferred from smartphone to your headset. From here it is finally converted into audio by again using a transducer.
Even more, both the endpoints [phone & headset] have receiver and transmitter. So, this is the basic operation that is performed. For performing these steps many calculations and number crunching are done.
True Wireless, not just wireless
The reason why I first explained wireless is that now you are ready with the basics. And honestly, hereafter things are quite easy to understand. The difference is that true wireless uses wireless and is indeed a level ahead. True Wireless earbuds are neither connected to the phone nor with each other.
In wireless, transmission from phone to the headset was sufficient. Whereas here that’s not the case.
1]. How will the earbuds receive data?
2]. How phone will transmit data to both?
3]. How both will work in sync?
These question may we running across your head. So, first of all, only one earbud is connected to the phone via Bluetooth. The other has no wireless connection with the phone instead it is connected to the other earbud.
Earbuds With Smartphone Example
For us to understand this better let’s consider L & R as the earbuds and S as a smartphone. Mostly, the right earbud is connected to the smartphone. This is the reason why it prefered to keep the smartphone in your right pocket. So, we will consider R to be connected to S.
As discussed earlier data transmission is executed. Now we have data at R, this is to be delivered at L. So, initially when the earbuds are turned on R sends waves to L and L sends it back to R. This completes a cycle. The time taken for the cycle to complete is divided into half.
R -> L
L -> R
Therefore, we have time that the data takes to reach L from R. This plays a major role for the earbuds to work in sync. As R has to do more work of connecting to two points. Moreover, it also takes care of the time delay for proper sync so R should practically have less battery life. On the other hand, R can have an optimised battery considering the workload.
Now, Which One Is The Best ahh??
For that to answer, there is not much accuracy and connectivity achieved by true wireless as compared to wireless. But the gap is very little and will be jumped quite soon.
Today, there are wireless earphones and headphones which perform better and are cheaper than the truly wireless ones. So, for present wireless headsets are more accurate and affordable. Whereas there are true wireless earbuds which outperform many headphones but they are pricey.
Most importantly, technology is getting better and efficient and there is not much time before true wireless earbuds will rule the headphone industry.
I am sure that my effort explains you the difference and functioning of both the technologies. Yes, this was itself an ‘in a nutshell’ explanation. Because behind the scenes, many calculations and engineering are taking place.
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