Is adding a Bluetooth audio receiver upgrade to your existing home stereo receiver your best option to wirelessly enjoy your music library?
Like anything, that all depends on your needs.
Here’s a guide to help you consider if adding Bluetooth to your home stereo receiver is right for you:
What’s Your Skill Level?
Do You Need An Easy Setup Process? Bluetooth is a universal protocol. It’s compatible across so many platforms and devices, so setup is as easy as it gets. If you’re a tech beginner, you won’t need to worry about asking anyone for help on this one. Power on your Bluetooth audio receiver and it automatically goes into a pairing mode. Turn on Bluetooth from your smartphone and it will quickly find your Bluetooth audio receiver and complete the pairing process. That’s the whole thing.
How Much of a Wireless Range Do You Need?
Most Bluetooth audio receivers will give you about 30 feet of reliable wireless freedom, so your paired devices will need to be within a few rooms of each other to work well. At the same time, you aren’t tied into any other external networks, which means that you can set up your Bluetooth connection wherever you please, so long that your paired devices are in range.
Are You OK with Experiencing Latency/Lag Time?
Whenever you’re dealing with a wireless signal, the question is not if, but rather how much of a delay is there in transmission? Standard Bluetooth latency is approximately 150 milliseconds long, which is especially significant if you’re syncing your audio with video. For reference, audio/video applications shouldn’t have more than 40ms of latency. (DAK’s Bluetooth audio receivers have successfully lowered this to 32ms using a low latency aptX profile.)
What’s Your Ideal Price/Quality Ratio?
If price is all you care about, expect to spend anywhere between $15 and $50 on your Bluetooth receiver depending on factors like return policies and construction materials used.
Your results will vary with a price driven approach, because different Bluetooth products use different specifications, or profiles, to break up your files into little data packets for wireless transmission. Most of these profiles compress your audio file by cutting out some of your music’s frequencies.
If you’re like me, you’ll want something that’s driven by quality while still being budget conscious. Bluetooth receivers in this product class range from $50 to $115 and are durable, well built and, most importantly, license Bluetooth profiles designed to give you CD quality music. Expect top notch customer support, generous return policies and reputable companies who stand behind their brand from this product class.
Now, about that Bluetooth profile that gives you CD quality, people across the web seem to agree that Bluetooth products using an aptX profile put out really good quality sound. That’s not to say that you can’t get great music from other Bluetooth profiles, but getting a Bluetooth receiver that supports aptX is a safe bet that you’ll be getting the audio quality you need. According to CSR, the company that developed aptX, that’s because aptX reduces your file size instead of compressing your audio, which allows them to preserve the full sound frequency range of your music.
Is A Bluetooth Receiver A Replacement or an Addition to Your Current Analog Setup?
Adding Bluetooth to your home stereo receiver is so attractive because it doesn’t have to replace any of your analog equipment if you don’t want it to. Think of it as adding another component to your stereo receiver setup. Sometimes you’ll want to listen to your CDs, sometimes you’re in the mood for a classic vinyl experience, but most of the time, you might prefer the convenience of wirelessly accessing your full music library on your smartphone or PC.
It’s just much easier to manage playlists from your tablet than constantly switching albums to hear the tracks you want. Again, there’s a time and place for everything, but there’s no reason not to have a wireless option available to you. Bluetooth just happens to be the easiest and most accessible wireless option out there today, and the perfect starting point if you’re first experiencing wireless music.