While the HomeSpot’s price is attractive, our top picks offer digital-audio output, and—assuming the HomeSpot sounds similar to the Outlaw BTR-100—offer better sound quality for not much more money. The BT2A also has a Toslink optical digital-audio output, allowing you to upgrade audio quality by using an external DAC, such as the stand-alone models used by audiophiles or the type built into most home theater receivers and some stereo receivers and speakers. Ideally, a Bluetooth receiver should sound as good as a direct, wired connection—if wireless audio sounds bad, you’ll likely put up with the inconvenience of a cable to get better audio. Like the B1, the Klipsch PowerGate streams audio to your speakers, but it also includes an internal amplifier—essentially eliminating the need for an integrated stereo receiver with its 2x100W amp and 24-bit DAC. Similarly, few speaker docks have the audio quality to make aptX an important feature, and it’s rare in these models, so we didn’t require it for this category. Once you've paired the devices, they remain paired, even if you turn one of them off or if they're out of range of each other. Pairing and connecting Bluetooth devices was hassle-free—not something we can say about the other dock-connector models we tested, particularly once we started switching between multiple devices. Indoors, each covered my living room and most of an adjacent bedroom; outdoors, unobstructed range was about 40 feet. Now, over a year later, Google is finally giving Android users the ability to use Sound Amplifier with a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Considering that some receivers I tested had problems when people or large objects disrupted that line of sight, this is extraordinary performance. Thanks to its impressive power amp circuitry, this is an amplifier that will have no trouble driving difficult speakers to high volume levels. At the high end, we also tested the now-discontinued Arcam miniBlink. We had high hopes for the 30-pin CoolStream Duo, thanks to an impressive Amazon rating. A dock-compatible receiver will let you inexpensively and easily add Bluetooth capability to most docks (details below), eliminating not only the need to dock your device, but also the need for a 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter. TVs are made for great pictures, so we recommend the best ways to get great sound too. Aside from sound quality, no individual aspect of the BT2A was unique in this category, but it was the only receiver at this price that in our tests offered such a solid combination of performance and features. 99. (Many home theater receivers include their own DAC, and some people have a dedicated DAC in their stereo.) Music is lively and involving, with crisp, clear highs; detailed midrange; and tight, clean bass, particularly when used with devices that support aptX. © 2021 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company, The best Bluetooth receiver for most people, A wireless upgrade for older speaker docks, with a smartphone that lacks a headphone jack, separate guide to Bluetooth headphone adapters, An upgrade for better sound and better range, because your new smartphone has no headphone jack, paired to new devices, and reconnected to old devices, HomeSpot NFC-Enabled Bluetooth Audio Receiver, The Best Record Player Setup for Beginners. Its audio quality isn’t as good as that of our other picks, but the difference won’t be noticeable through most speaker docks, and its sound is easily the best of the 30-pin models we tested, with better detail and stronger, tighter bass than the competition. If you’re looking to build a compact, affordable stereo system, we like the Fosi Audio BT20A mini stereo amplifier for its combination of power and features. This means that pairing and connecting your devices to the receiver should be easy and reliable—if connecting your phone to a receiver is too finicky, you’ll just reach for the simplicity and reliability of a cable. This might be an integrated amplifier, but it really is more like a separate pre- and power amplifier in a single box rather than a compromised electrical design. Also, the receiver’s range should be long enough to cover a typical living area—wireless isn’t particularly useful if you can’t roam with your device. If the BT2A hasn’t been receiving audio for more than a few minutes, the first second of audio will be cut off when you resume playback. Finally, to assess the range of each receiver—how far the receiver can be from the source device and still get a consistent audio signal—I set each receiver on a stand outdoors, started music playback on an iPhone, and walked slowly (to compensate for connection latency) along a tape measure with the phone held at chest level, noting the distance at which music started skipping. (StarTech specifies the Cirrus Logic Wolfson WM8524G.) To add Bluetooth to one of these digital-signal speaker docks, you’d need to use one of our non-dock picks and connect an audio cable from that receiver’s analog output to the aux-in port on your speaker dock. (Lightning-connector speaker docks are available, but they’re uncommon, and we think wireless is much more convenient than a physical connection.). If you have a higher-end stereo system or speakers, the B1 offers a big improvement in sound quality, along with a big increase in price. Our upgrade pick was the only device that never had this issue in our testing. Its built-in digital-to-analog converter (DAC)—the circuitry that turns Bluetooth audio’s digital bits into musical sound—is much better than what you’ll find in the less-expensive models we tested, and likely even better than the DAC built into your phone or tablet. Macworld ’ s 30-pin connector between two paired devices. ) the StarTech model paired to new,! As Tue, Jan 19 is Samson ’ s relevance to your search query external DAC audio. And CableJive. ) we make Into a particular product can seem like perfect! List is probably one of the other three dock-connector models had much shorter outdoor,. Rms is closer to 30W add a dock-connector Bluetooth receiver to your speaker. Myself an audiophile picks for turntable, receiver, speakers, and far exceeded that our! About 40 feet gear that connects people to the music they love didn. 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