What is TWS Pairing, And Do You Need It?

Bryn De Kocks | February 9, 2024 5:22 am

Bluetooth speakers have become a part of our daily lives. Their portable design and ease of use ushered in a new wave of how people listen to music. Still, Bluetooth speakers aren’t without their limitations, one of which being the soundstage and dispersion of audio. That’s where TWS comes into play. In this article, we’ll discuss what TWS is, what it does, and how it can improve the way you listen to music.

What Is TWS?

TWS (True Wireless Stereo) is a pairing method that allows speakers and earphones to be paired together to produce stereo sound. When you use a single speaker, the audio is mono, meaning all frequencies are delivered from the same general location.

That’s not to say each driver within the speaker plays the same frequencies, as tweeters still reproduce the high frequencies while midrange drivers cover the midrange frequencies and woofers cover the low end. Additionally, some speakers may include a sub-bass for the deep lows.

Instead, there are elements of mixing that get lost with a single speaker setup that plays mono. Panning, for instance, where sound moves from one ear to the other, is not present in the audio.

Feeling lost? Try this quick practical experiment to understand the differences between mono and stereo better.

Put your hands in front of you, close your eyes, and snap your fingers repeatedly simultaneously. Did you notice how the sound seems like it’s coming from the same direction? Now close your eyes and snap your fingers, alternating between the left and right.

Notice anything? The perceived direction of the sound changes when each finger is clicked alternately. 

This is similar to how stereo sound works. When your music is being played from a single source, the frequencies lack the separation that gives sound the depth and nuance we love. The subtle variations in left and right panning that are present in audio mixes are there for a reason: to add to the immersion of the song. Without stereo sound, those nuances are lost.

TWS mono vs stereo

How It Works

Music is typically produced using two channels, left and right. Producers will pan certain sounds towards each channel to improve the detail of the sound, creating small nuances that add to the immersion of a song. The only way to experience the vision of the producer is to listen to it with both left and right channels.

Here’s an analogy to help you understand.

Picture yourself watching two cars race down a strip. The cars are starting down the strip on your right-hand side and will race past the finish line on your left side. You’re positioned parallel to the road, and as soon as the car takes off, you start to hear the engines faintly in your right ear; as they get closer, they get louder, and you start to pick up on details in the engine – perhaps hearing the gear changes as they approach. For a split second, the cars are directly in front of you before they move past, and your left ear starts to take focus as the engines droning fades into the distance as the cars pass the finish line.

Imagine not having the audio separation in your left and right ear. You’d lose that sense of anticipation as the cars approached. You’d miss the crossover where the sound went from a right-ear dominant sound to a left-ear dominant sound. Similarly, when a speaker is unable to reproduce sound in multiple channels, details get lost.

This process of audio moving between the left and right ear is what we’re referring to with channels and stereo pairing. When two speakers are paired together using TWS, one speaker will take the left channel and the other the right channel in the same way that traditional speakers do. Together, they will play sounds with channel separation taken into account. The result is a more detailed, natural, and immersive listening experience with a noticeably improved soundstage.

What’s The Difference Between TWS Earbuds & TWS Bluetooth Speakers?

TWS is a term most frequently used in Bluetooth speakers and earbuds, but do you have to worry about buying mono earbuds? Don’t worry; the term TWS, as it relates to earbuds, is just about the pairing process used by wireless earbud designs.

Almost all wireless earbuds will include TWS as a standard protocol for connecting. Earbuds will usually automatically (or with the press of a button in some cases) be paired together with TWS so that you can start listening.

TWS in Bluetooth speakers is different. It’s a feature only available in some speaker models and is restricted to certain models. For instance, one may only be able to pair it to the same model, while other speakers may let you use TWS on similar models from the same range. Just note that if you use TWS on different models, you’ll get an inaccurate representation of the audio. I do not recommend doing it.

Practical Applications of TWS And Do You Need It?

TWS is best suited to listeners who want to improve their audio quality by increasing the detail and the soundstage. It is less typically used for individual music enjoyment and rather used in group settings like parties. Still, a select few people like to use two Bluetooth speakers with TWS to replace traditional speakers.

When one chooses to connect two speakers with TWS, one needs to consider the position, distance to the listener, height, etc. All of these components come together in unison to improve the overall experience.

Is TWS The Right Choice For You?
Step 1 of 4

TWS Support In Modern Bluetooth Speakers

TWS support in Bluetooth speakers is fairly new, having been introduced within the last decade. Since its introduction, it’s become increasingly popular. While initial releases were limited to larger party speakers in many cases, new models of smaller, more portable speakers are also coming out with TWS support.

Some consumers may be confused by similar pairing terminology, and it’s essential to understand the differences between speaker pairing and TWS. A speaker paired with multiple others is typically done via a daisy chain or a wireless connection aside from TWS. 

Ensure that TWS is specifically supported or the term True Wireless Audio is referenced. Suppose you see terminology like party pairing being used. In that case, it likely refers to a mono audio connection that plays the same audio out of multiple speakers but without the essential separation of left and right channels.

I hope this guide on TWS helps you understand the technology, and if you have any questions about TWS or want to help find the best TWS speaker for your needs, drop us a comment below, and we’ll gladly assist.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
Photo of author

Author: Bryn De Kocks

Bryn has worked in the field for several years, writing in-depth speaker reviews for various audio publications. His work has historically focused on headphones and Bluetooth speakers, while incorporating his understanding of the Bluetooth speaker market to help educate potential buyers.

See All His Posts