How Do Wireless Headsets Work


Many potential wireless headset buyers are discouraged by misconceptions about wireless technology. The truth is if you want to buy a device, you should know how it works, at least the basics. So, I thought it would be a good idea to answer: How do wireless headsets work?

Wireless headsets use radio waves or digital signals to transmit data. The data is compressed and decompressed via codec programs. Headsets use this technology to transmit audio without a wire.

Of course, the ‘real’ answer isn’t that simple. Stay with me, we’ll explain wireless technology thoroughly.

What Do We Mean By “Wireless Technology”

The standard for wireless headphones and headsets is Bluetooth technology. Because of this, most people immediately think of Bluetooth when we’re talking about wireless headsets. But not all wireless headsets use Bluetooth.

So, let’s clear things up. Bluetooth is not the only wireless technology headphones and headsets use. There are other ways to transmit data wirelessly. Sometimes, instead of radio waves, data is shared with digital signals or infrared technology.

Both of these alternatives to Bluetooth are used for TV headphones. It’s very unusual to find this kind of data transmission on the headsets you use with a smartphone or a PC. However, I would still advise on checking the headset’s wireless technology before buying.

Bluetooth has shown itself to work best with wireless headsets, so that’s why it became the standard. But why is that?

How Does Bluetooth Work With Headsets

How Does Bluetooth Work With Headsets

We’ve already established that Bluetooth is the best wireless technology for headsets. There must be a reason for that. Answering this will also give you an insight into how wireless headsets work.

It doesn’t make sense to explain the alternative wireless options. I believe, most of you’re are looking for headsets to go with your smartphone, laptop, or PC.

Bluetooth enables wireless data transmission. It uses radio waves that carry data through spaces. The waves are sent by a radio transmitter. They don’t have a predestined destination though, they go in all directions.

So, the radio waves must end up somewhere? Without a radio waves receiver, the data transmission wouldn’t be possible. The receiver picks up the radio waves and collects the compressed data which needs to be decompressed now.

Bluetooth Headsets

All Bluetooth headsets have a Bluetooth chip installed in them. This is what sets them apart from all other headsets. With headsets, the Bluetooth chip acts as the radio transmitter and receiver we’ve talked about.

Of course, the device you’ll be connecting the headset with must also have a Bluetooth chip. Consider the two chips as two antennas. The device sends a signal which the headset picks up. All the signals you’re listening are basically this, data transmitted from one device to another.

Headsets are not only used for listening though. They are a combination of headphones and a microphone. So, the wireless headset must also send radio waves, not just receive them.

That’s what’s particular to wireless headsets. The Bluetooth chip doesn’t only act as a radio waves receiver. It is also a transmitter.

Compressing And Decompressing Data

Audio data by itself is too big for radio waves. Not just for radio waves. Basically, all the data you are using is compressed and then decompressed. Bluetooth uses a particular program for compression called ‘codec’.

The better the codec, the better the audio. Most commonly, Bluetooth headsets use Sub Band Code. Sony headsets are praised because of their unique LDAC codec.

I know you may think this isn’t important in understanding how wireless headsets work. However, it’s an important factor to consider if you want the best headset for you.

Bluetooth Versions

Bluetooth technology has improved a lot over the years. The latest Bluetooth version is Bluetooth 5.0. It’s a promising improvement over Bluetooth 4.0, it uses less energy, adds distance, and enables dual audio.

Why do Bluetooth versions matter?

So besides the improvements, there’s another reason. It’s a very important factor to consider if you want to buy the best headphones. In order to bring out the most of the version, both devices must support that version.

For example, take a Bluetooth headset with the 5.0 version, and a device with the 4.0 version. You won’t be able to get the benefits of the 5.0 version. Because of the phone, the headset will be using the 4.0 version.

Don’t worry about compatibility. All the versions are compatible. It’s just that you won’t be able to get out most of the version.

Energy Usage

You can’t transmit data without a power source. Bluetooth like the other wireless technologies uses energy. So, where does that energy come from?

I know this is quite obvious. No wires mean the presence of a battery. I still think is important to mention, many forget about it. For some, it’s a dealbreaker, they don’t want their listening time being limited.

So, just keep in mind that wireless headsets use a rechargeable battery. You can’t listen for more than 4-8 hours without recharging the battery. Consider a power bank for the headset you have in mind.

Nearly done, keep reading.

Wireless Headsets Vs Wired Headsets

Wireless Headsets vs Wired Headsets

Now that you know something about wireless technology, let’s compare it with wired technology. What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Wired headsets provide better audio quality. It’s common knowledge that wired headsets provide the best audio quality. That won’t always be the case though. Wireless technology is improving, Bluetooth is a perfect example.

Move freely with wireless headsets. The freedom to move around makes up for the audio quality disadvantage. Now you can hear your teammates while you’re AFK.

No wires while running. Most people listen to music while running, some even talk business. And runners hate wires. So, wireless technology has been important to the running community.

Other Related Questions And FAQs

Can I Use Wireless Headphones With My TV

Yes, you can. There are two options. You can connect Bluetooth headphones with your TV if it has a Bluetooth chip. Or, if you have wireless headphones that use digital signals.

Can I Use Wireless Headsets With My Xbox One

A wireless headset can only be connected to the Xbox One Wireless controller. The console doesn’t support Bluetooth, so you can’t connect them directly.

Andrej Jovanovski

Hi there, I'm Andrej. I've always been an electronic devices addict, especially audio devices like headphones, earbuds, and headsets. I am staying up-to-date with the technology, so why not write about what you know? I'll share some useful tips about all your headphones related questions.

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