The Truth About SVS's SoundPath Wireless Audio Adapter Kit: A Full Review

Manufacturer & Model
SVS SoundPath Wireless Audio Adapter Kit
MSRP
$119.99 each
Link
https://www.svsound.com/products/soundpath-wireless-audio-adapter
Highlights
SoundPath gives owners a wireless transmitter and receiver that can feed powered subwoofers, speakers, and AV equipment, compatible with nearly any brand of speaker or sub, connects using mini stereo plug, ships with a variety of connection cables.
Summary
The SVS SoundPath Wireless Audio Adapter Kit allows home theater fans to turn powered speakers, subs, and other AV equipment into wireless gear. It delivers a frequency range of 5Hz – 24kHz, which makes wireless subwoofer performance a reality. And it’s ability to transmit CD quality sound makes it a perfect mate for a powered stereo speaker. We found SoundPath to be a great replacement option for traditional cables and wire.
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As a longtime home theater enthusiast, I can honestly say: I’m sick and tired of wires and cables. Sure, I appreciate their existence. After all, they’ve dutifully fed my AV passion for decades, but we’ve clashed far too often for me to claim undivided admiration. Wires have driven me to hack through perfectly fine walls, cut my fingers probing for gaps under baseboards, tirelessly fish tape through unknown wall voids, and spend decent money on wire management kits that are never ultimately discrete. And then there’s the certain fact that no room is safe from upgrades or design changes that – you guessed it – introduce new wire and cable requirements. And that’s exactly why the dream of high-performance wireless audio is so alluring.

Here’s where SVS and its relatively new SoundPath Wireless Audio Adapter Kit ($119.99) enters the picture, giving audio fans the power to retro-fit wireless technology to commonly used non-wireless speakers and amps.

SoundPath is designed to play double duty, possessing the ability to transform nearly any powered subwoofer into a wireless performer, while also transmitting CD-quality sound between a source and powered speakers, a receiver, or an amplifier. The promise of such a device is huge for obvious reasons, but only truly huge if it works. So, I asked SVS to ship us a review sample for a closer inspection and real-world home theater testing, and what I found is quite impressive.


What’s in the Box
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Before we talk performance, let’s take a look at what you get when you buy SoundPath. The kit ships in solid – no frills – packaging that gets the job done, internally protecting key components in a form-fitting plastic tray. Contents include a transmitter, a receiver, two USB power adapters, two 40” long USB to Micro USB power cords, two 17” long 3.5mm stereo male to stereo RCA male cables, two 15” long 3.5mm stereo to mono RCA male cables, and two 2” x 1”rectangles of 3M double sided tape. SVS also includes a miniaturized six page Owner’s Manual that offers placement tips, installation instructions, an FAQ, and troubleshooting steps (all of which can be found online).


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SoundPath’s wireless transmitter and receiver modules are reasonably small (2.56” L x 1.88” W x .75” H) and extremely light (1.25 oz), which makes handling and placement a snap. Both are finished in a matte black coating that feels soft to the touch, and both look exactly alike minus a few labeling differences. Connectivity wise, each houses a 3.5mm mini-stereo jack and a Micro USB power input, while also presenting a blue LED indicator light and a small pairing button.

The included USB power adapters (1.56” L x 1.13” W x .75” H) are also black, but have a glossy sheen.


Installation
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SVS scores big points for keeping SoundPath’s design intuitive, with a simple set up procedure that literally involves connecting power, inserting input and output audio cables, and waiting for an indicator light to signal when the factory-programmed wireless modules auto-pair. That means no complicated pairing procedures or fumbling with an app. And if the self-pairing process fails, both modules have reset buttons that re-initiate the process.

All being told, unboxing and installation takes roughly 10 minutes. And I didn't need to crack open the instruction booklet – it's pretty much plug and play. Using the kit’s cables (along with my own mini stereo to mini stereo cable), I was able to easily create wireless connections between a variety of equipment, including my laptop, an AV Receiver, a standalone amp, a powered speaker, and three different subwoofer models. Never once did I encounter pairing issues or confusing situations; this is a product that nearly anyone can install and operate with relatively little electronics knowledge.

My only nitpick takes aim at the included USB power adapters, which could use a redesign to help minimize protrusion from an outlet. As it stands, owners need to account for about 3.5” of clearance to accommodate a connected USB power cord and an adapter, which obviously is a non-issue for anyone sourcing power from a power strip. But, it might be an issue if your sub is positioned close to an existing wall outlet. It is worth noting, however, that you aren’t beholden to using the included adapters, as I was able to source power using USB ports found on a laptop, a powered speaker, and the backside of a receiver.


Testing and listening impressions
So, we know that SoundPath is nearly dummy proof when it comes to installation, but is it a one-to-one replacement for standard cables and wires? Can you rig SoundPath into an existing subwoofer system without compromising performance? Does it really transmit CD quality sound? Rather than detailing listening sessions and various testing scenarios, let’s take a look at what SoundPath claims to deliver and what I found during the review evaluation.

Claim #1: SoundPath’s signal is “ultra-low latency,” clocking at <25.5 milliseconds.
Reality: True.
Latency or signal delay isn’t a concern if you’re using SoundPath to transmit a stereo signal to an amp or a pair of active speakers. But it could be problematic when asking it to feed a subwoofer or a rear speaker in a multi-channel system. Using a Denon X8500H AVR, I looked at Audyssey’s post-calibration subwoofer distance settings for two different 2.1 systems: one using a sub fed via cable versus one using SoundPath. The difference between the two was 28 feet, which equates to a delay of 25ms. Exactly as SVS claims.

While I couldn’t hear any lag in bass when using SoundPath in an uncalibrated system, I certainly confirmed that a 25ms delay exists. The good news is that SoundPath’s latency is fast enough that any receiver or processor with standard adjustments can compensate for the delay. That process can be automatically handled by a room calibration system, such as Audyssey, or manually adjusted within a receiver or processor’s distance settings menu. And because SoundPath’s latency is 25ms, owners simply need to add 28 feet to any subwoofer for proper compensation.

Claim #2: SoundPath provides “full-range wireless connectivity,” possessing the ability to transmit frequencies between 6Hz and 22kHz +/-1dB.
Reality: True.
Using Room EQ Wizard, I was able to transmit and measure tones as low as 5Hz and up to 22kHz without issue. Additionally, listening tests didn’t reveal any holes or deficiencies in familiar demo material.

Claim #3: SoundPath has a working distance of “up to 65 feet” when the receiver and transmitter have line of sight.
Reality: True. I was able to get SoundPath to transmit a signal up to 69 feet when both the transmitter and receiver had an unimpeded line of sight. That measurement is at the outer limits of operability, though, with small movements causing signal drops. Indoors, I found performance distances to vary from room to room, but never experienced any dropouts at ranges measuring 20 feet or less. Within my own home theater room, I was able to get SoundPath to send a perfectly clean subwoofer signal, passing through a wall and furniture, at a distance of 18 feet. I can only surmise this means SoundPath will work without a hiccup in most in-home circumstances.

Claim #4: SoundPath sends a 16-bit/48kHz signal for CD quality sound.
Reality: True.
Using a MacBook and an Emotiva XPA5 Amplifier, I was able to wirelessly play CD quality tracks without issue. As SVS claims, it was “pristine and accurate” (in other words: normal). I also used SoundPath to send audio to a RIVA Concert portable Wi-Fi speaker (connecting the receiver to the speaker’s mini-stereo input). As you can see in the informal measurements below, the speaker’s frequency response when wired (top) and wireless (bottom) was similar in nature.

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Claim #5: SoundPath gives a subwoofer wireless freedom without sacrificing performance.
Reality: True.
I integrated SoundPath into my home theater system, splitting the signal between two subwoofers, and noted zero performance issues, buzzing, or hum. Secondarily, I hooked up SoundPath to a single subwoofer for a quick informal frequency response measurement. As you can see, the wired (top) and wireless (bottom) response measurements practically mirrored each other, illustrating that SoundPath is a great direct replacement for a traditional subwoofer cable.

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Conclusion
If you’re looking to rid a room of an unsightly subwoofer cable, then this is your lucky day. SVS’s SoundPath Wireless Audio Adapter Kit works and its relatively inexpensive cost is worth every penny. I was able to integrate the kit into a variety of setups without introducing performance hiccups or audio issues. For those of you facing the prospect of running a cable or wires across a room, or if you're looking for a tad more freedom when it comes to subwoofer placement, SoundPath is a great wireless alternative.


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SoundPath Wireless Audio Adapter Specifications
Receiver

Operating Voltage: 5 VDC, 1A
RF Frequency Band: 2.404 - 2.476 GHz
Modulation: GFSK
Working Distance: up to 65 feet; line of sight
Transmitter Power: ≤ 10 dBm
Receiver Sensitivity: N/A
Frequency Response: 5Hz – 24 kHz +/- 1.5 dB
Delay Time: < 25.5 milliseconds
THD+N (dB): - 60 dB @ 1 kHz
SNR (db): + 85 dB @ 1 kHz


Transmitter
Operating Voltage: 5 VDC, 1A
RF Frequency Band: 2.404 - 2.476 GHz
Modulation: GFSK
Working Distance: up to 65 feet; line of sight
Transmitter Power: ≤ 10 dBm
Receiver Sensitivity: - 85 dBm
Frequency Response: 5Hz – 24 kHz +/- 1.5 dB
Delay Time: < 25.5 milliseconds
THD+N (dB): - 60 dB @ 1 kHz
SNR (db): + 85 dB @ 1 kHz
 
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Comments

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. Good to hear that it lives up to the hype. Wireless is always tough. :)
 

Tony V.

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So just to be clear this will transmit a stereo signal as well in a single unit?
 

Todd Anderson

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JStewart

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Would the latency remaining consistent be a concern or is that not a possibility with these?
 

Todd Anderson

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Would the latency remaining consistent be a concern or is that not a possibility with these?
You mean, does the latency fluctuate?

I don’t have any information to guess one way or another. I’d imagine it’s pretty stable - but if it were to fluctuate by .5ms, you wouldn’t notice.
 

Todd Anderson

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Wish I could give you a definitive answer on that... I didn't notice anything, audibly, to suggest that performance was always changing.
 

Matthew J Poes

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The latency should be static. Any fluctuation is too minor to matter and I’m fairly sure it doesn’t really fluctuate at all.

The latency is pretty modest. Thankfully most receivers can compensate for it.
 

tesseract

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The SoundPath kit gonna help a lot of people. Maybe me, someday!
 

Matthew J Poes

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When I get home from the holidays I plan to expand upon this. One of the things this device brings up is a new problem that we usually could ignore. That is frequency restricted delay being added through the signal path in potentially detrimental ways. With amplifiers themselves having dsp that introduces quite a bit of delay, wireless devices adding delay, and external processing further adding delay, the net effect is significant and sometimes uncorrectable group delay. While we can argue that small amounts under 20-30ms may not be audible, I’ve now seen systems introduce over 100ms of group delay. Sometimes multi-sub systems will have 20-50ms or more of differential group delay between subs. This is a problem and something consumers should be aware of.
 

Talley

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What about interference from all these other wireless devices in the home?
 

Todd Anderson

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It operates on RF 2.404 - 2.476 GHz... with any wireless device, there's always an outside possibility of interference. The product comes with a 45-day trial period. So you can always deploy it and see if your environment presents interference.
 

BSS

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In my home setup, I have 5.1 setup. Because of certain reason, I decide to wireless beam the sound from my AVR to my surround speaker. I have since tried few things. First was the cheap radio transmitter and receiver, the problem was that it has huge noise. I would have to decrease the amplifier volume to 20/100% to reduce the noise and then increase the DB in the AVR to +10. Between my front speaker and surround speaker the db setting is -7 (calibrated by the AVR) and +10 (also calibrated by the AVR). Because of this, I dont think this is the best solution, because even the AVR are telling me that my speaker is "out-of-phase", actually it means the volume is too low.

Since the first solution doesnt work, then I change to use bluetooth. Since I know bluetooth technology has very low noise and stable connection, so I decided to get one. Indeed the noise was very low and I was able to crank my amplifier that drive the surround speaker to a much higher volume, I would say 80/100 %. But the problem is that the delay is causing me some big time problem. Since the front/center speaker is wired, I can obviously heard the delay coming from the surround speaker. How does the delay sound like. I would say around 40ms to 50ms. How do I know it? you first heard the sound from the front, then immediately after that the sound will repeat itself from the surround speaker again. That is call delay. So how do I know its 40ms to 50ms. I went to this youtube

"
"

,where some guys actually record the delay sound start from 0ms to few second. Using bare ear, I can obviously measure the delay using the youtube sample. It might not be that accurate as I dont have much advance measure tools, but nevertheless, its enough to tell me that the delay is not small. The maximum delay that I can accept, to be honest is not more than 2ms. Anything more than that, I consider noticeable by my ear and it really doesnt give me a pleasure hearing experience. OK, so I know now that bluetooth solution doesnt work, and did I mention that I was using the Low-Latency-Mode, which promise minimum latency? but yet, it doesnt work.

So every since then, I was searching for other wireless alternative in the internet. I bump into DTS Play-Fi, and so I ordered the klipsch Play-Fi called Klipsch Gate. The thing have yet to arrived, so I cant give any comment. But from the reading in the internet, there wasn't any details on what is the delay measurement. Probably because manufacturers want to hide it so that they can sell it? Or maybe the latency is low enough to be negated or stating out. I dont know. But I will find it out once it arrived. Another fine solution is using a technology called "WISA", stand for Wireless Speaker and Audio. But the product of it seem to be very limited at the current moment. But one good thing I can say about without even having the product for test Is that, the technology guarantees less than 1ms of latency. That was written in the document or spec in the website. So at least I know what I am getting before purchasing. But another issue arise again. How the WISA works is that, there will be a WISA transmitter plug into the source to transmit the audio signal, but the at the receiving end, there was no "receiver-adapter" product available. You can only beam this audio directly to a speaker that has WISA build in. So why am I saying this is an issue. You see, its an issue because most of use (audiophile) have our own amplifier and speaker set. We wouldnt be preferring the WISA speaker offered in the market, where it was small and come with class-D amplifier. That goes the same with other wireless audio technology like MultiCast from Yamaha, Heos from Denon, and etc. There is no "receiving adapter". Guess that is a marketing strategy.

So, for me, I will only buy wireless solution such as this SVS transmitter/receiver when I know that all my speaker is wireless connected, else that 25ms is obviously unbearable and noticeable for anyone.
 

JStewart

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In my home setup, I have 5.1 setup. Because of certain reason, I decide to wireless beam the sound from my AVR to my surround speaker.
But the problem is that the delay is causing me some big time problem. Since the front/center speaker is wired, I can obviously heard the delay coming from the surround speaker. How does the delay sound like. I would say around 40ms to 50ms.
Is there a reason why you can't increase the distance setting for the surrounds in your AVR to compensate for the delay?
 

Sonnie

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I use this for my rear sub and it works beautifully. The review is spot on. :T
 

BSS

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Is there a reason why you can't increase the distance setting for the surrounds in your AVR to compensate for the delay?
Thanks for the advice. I just try to recalibrate it, it does help reduce the latency issue, but still I can hear about 3ms to 5ms delay. But its better than previous. The AVR detect my surround speaker is 25meter away. And that is max the AVR can go. So I try to pull my front/center speaker to 0.3meter to further reduce the surround latency.
 

BSS

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I use this for my rear sub and it works beautifully. The review is spot on. :T
I can think of few reason. (1) you can really notice the bass delay. (2) you need to have a comparison to identify the delay, else ms delay is really un-noticeable. Try using it for surround speaker, with front speaker wired. Then probably you will notice the 25ms is a significant delay.
 

JStewart

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I would say around 40ms to 50ms.
Thanks for the advice. I just try to recalibrate it, it does help reduce the latency issue, but still I can hear about 3ms to 5ms delay. But its better than previous. The AVR detect my surround speaker is 25meter away. And that is max the AVR can go. So I try to pull my front/center speaker to 0.3meter to further reduce the surround latency.
If the initial delay was 50ms and there is still a 3ms to 5ms delay, woudn't that mean your surround speakers are more than 7.85 meters farther from your measuring point (presumably the MLP) than the center channel? That's a good sized room!

I can think of few reason. (1) you can really notice the bass delay. (2) you need to have a comparison to identify the delay, else ms delay is really un-noticeable. Try using it for surround speaker, with front speaker wired. Then probably you will notice the 25ms is a significant delay.
While I couldn’t hear any lag in bass when using SoundPath in an uncalibrated system, I certainly confirmed that a 25ms delay exists. The good news is that SoundPath’s latency is fast enough that any receiver or processor with standard adjustments can compensate for the delay. That process can be automatically handled by a room calibration system, such as Audyssey, or manually adjusted within a receiver or processor’s distance settings menu. And because SoundPath’s latency is 25ms, owners simply need to add 28 feet to any subwoofer for proper compensation.
My AVR allows a distance setting of up to 80ft. That means the connected speaker would have to be over 52ft farther away than the closest other speaker before the latency added by the SVS wireless adapter will cause it not to work.

Edit: It just occurred to me... In my neighborhood I could put a sub in my neighbor's house with distance to spare! :)
 
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BSS

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If the initial delay was 50ms and there is still a 3ms to 5ms delay, woudn't that mean your surround speakers are more than 7.85 meters farther from your measuring point (presumably the MLP) than the center channel? That's a good sized room!

My room space is just around 20ft x 60ft. Its an open concept room design. Actually the surround speaker is just 1 meter away from sitting point, position at the rear of it. The reason why the aVR is detecting ">24meter" away is because of the bluetooth audio transmitter, that is adding some latency into it. I just received my klipsch GATE play-Fi, let me test it out and see if its better than the bluetooth tech.. I guess its better in latency. As long as in the range of the AVR adjustable range, then AVR will do all the adjustment. If I am using my old marantz, I don't think it can handle 24m away speaker placement.
 
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