Many of us have old unused powered speakers stashed away somewhere. Even if they were to be used, long snaking wires would have to be laid, depending on how far away they were to be placed from the amplifier. In this era of Bluetooth, we are spoiled by the ease with which we can connect – without wires. In fact, Bluetooth allows us to connect not only two phones, but also computers, mice, keyboards, tablets, headphones, fitness trackers and so many more gadgets. However, Bluetooth audio remains the most popular application among all the above.
Bluetooth audio allows you to pair a speaker or speakers with any device, such as a phone, computer, tablet or any other, so that you have an audio connection – sans wires. Different types of Bluetooth speakers are available in the market. However, good Bluetooth speakers are quite expensive. The only advantage with these wireless Bluetooth speakers is that they will not be tethered by wires – their performance however, is not going to improve.
Therefore, if you have old speakers that still perform very well, upgrading them to work without wires will be worth the small amount of expenditure required to add Bluetooth to them. Once installed, the Bluetooth receivers in your speakers will pair with any Bluetooth enabled device. This will enable you to stream any audio from anywhere to your speakers.
Depending on your needs, shop for the right type of Bluetooth receivers from sites such as Amazon, eBay and others. Some have optical audio connection, while others come with RCA plugs for the left and right channels. Almost all will have an LED that lights up when the unit is paired to a device. The units run on 5V, so a USB power supply will do, while output is taken through a 3.5mm stereo jack.
Setup is simple – connect the Bluetooth receiver’s audio out to the audio cable of your speaker, or to its auxiliary input, if the speaker has them. Next, power up the unit and now all that is left is to pair the unit with a Bluetooth device.
As soon as you plug in the power to the receiver, it will start broadcasting its identifier. Open the Bluetooth settings on the device you prefer and connect. If you have a low-end device, only one pair can remain connected at a time. To switch sources, you will have to disconnect the current pair first before pairing another. Some high-end devices can store up to eight different audio sources, allowing easy switching.
The sound quality of an audio system depends primarily on the quality of the source and then on the quality of the amplifier and speaker combination. Addition of the Bluetooth receiver in this chain does not detract much from the listening pleasure. In fact, you will hardly notice any difference between Bluetooth streaming audio wirelessly and speakers connected directly with wires. The advantage with Bluetooth connection is that you can place your speakers more than 30ft away from the source.
Therefore, if you have a pair of powered speakers lying around unused, you can upgrade them with Bluetooth. You will be surprised at how much better they sound compared to the tinny sound from your mobile.