There are numerous versions of Bluetooth adapters for retrofitting audio devices. We show which adapter is suitable for which application.
In order not to drown each other out when using a smartphone, television, PC and stereo system, headphones are the best solution. Wireless models with latency-free transmission are available for less than 50 euros, more in the guide Bluetooth headphones with aptX up to 60 euros. But how do you get the television or stereo system to send the audio signals via Bluetooth? The same question arises in reverse. How do you get the audio signals wirelessly on the good old stereo or the wired headphones?
This works conveniently with the help of Bluetooth audio transmitters and receivers. They enable wireless transmission and are connected to the respective device using the classic jack plug or an optical cable.
In our overview we show suitable devices for the different purposes.
Stationary Bluetooth receiver for systems
Stationary receivers with a corresponding audio output are suitable for retrofitting a stereo system with Bluetooth. The codec used, the transmitter and receiver use for transmission, determines the sound quality. The almost lossless audio codecs are suitable for keeping the quality losses low AptX or Aptx HD. The difference to the older codecs AAC and SBC however, it only comes into play if it is uncompressed music – with music streams from the Internet, the differences are practically inaudible. Another advantage of the AptX codecs is the low delay between transmitter and receiver.
While inexpensive models, such as the Belkin music adapter, only have a 3.5 mm jack output, higher quality versions are equipped with an additional optical and / or coaxial output. The power is supplied by an external power supply.
The range of most Bluetooth receivers is around ten meters. Some models, such as the Avantree from Oasis, are better equipped and allow significantly longer distances (30 to 90 meters). This is particularly advantageous if the player is not in the immediate vicinity of the receiver. The Avantree adapter not only has a huge range, it can also send content at the same time. This is useful, for example, for listening to TV programs with Bluetooth headphones. The AptX Low Latency Codec is particularly important when used on a TV. The codec ensures almost instantaneous audio transmission for Bluetooth devices. Without AptX, there can be a noticeable offset between image and sound. The result is asynchronous lip movements.
For transmitters, it should be checked in advance whether a simultaneous connection to several end devices is possible. Only then can multiple headphones or Bluetooth speakers be addressed. Very cheap adapters usually cannot. The Avantree, on the other hand, also fulfills this requirement.
The connection to the audio receiver is usually easy. Models with NFC, such as the AR6103 from Thomson, simplify the connection between the adapter and smartphone. You transfer the necessary access data wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet that is also equipped with NFC.
Mobile Bluetooth receiver for headphones and cars
To retrofit your headphones with a 3.5 mm jack with a Bluetooth receiver, a receiver with an internal battery should be used. The battery life of the mobile adapter differs greatly from model to model. The very compact receivers in particular only last two to three hours. The BoomBoom 75 from Marmitek is a real cross-country skier. According to the manufacturer's description, it lasts up to ten hours without a power supply. Alternatively, adapters with USB power supply also work with a power bank.
To use the Bluetooth receiver in the car, the radio needs an AUX input with a jack connection. If you want to supply your car with music even without a corresponding connection, you need a special FM transmitter, such as the Roav SmartCharge Car Kit (test report) or the
Comsoon BT58N (test report).
Models with a 12V power supply are suitable for use in vehicles without their own USB power source. With the BR-C8, Aukey has a suitable receiver with a jack plug on offer. Some Bluetooth adapters use standard batteries instead of a rechargeable battery. For example, the Hama Bluetooth audio adapter relies on cheap AAA batteries that are available everywhere.
Since mobile models are mostly used for headphones or in the car, for example, a range of ten meters is normally sufficient. If you want to use the audio adapter to watch films, you should pay attention to a delay-free playback thanks to AptX.
Bluetooth audio transmitter
To make the TV fit for Bluetooth headphones or speakers, all you need is a Bluetooth transmitter. Delay-free audio transmission with AptX is absolutely essential for this combination. The function is not so important when transmitting sound without an associated image.
While cheap transmitters only have a jack connection, more expensive models such as the Avantree from Oasis are also equipped with an optical input. What is really needed depends on the equipment available. Many modern TV sets dispense with the classic 3.5 mm cable and therefore require a transmitter with an optical or TOSLINK input.
If you don't just want to watch TV alone with your Bluetooth headphones, the transmitter should be dual-link capable – only then is a simultaneous connection to at least two playback devices possible. Avantree from Oasis and SV1770 meet these requirements.
Bluetooth audio adapters come in many forms and with a wide range of features. If you only want to transmit music, you can choose cheap and very compact models. Experience has shown that these deliver sufficient quality and range. However, there is a slight background noise and a lower overall volume in the pauses between the songs. Experience has shown that the Elegiant model does a good job, for example.
If you want to enjoy films using Bluetooth headphones, you have to dig deeper and buy a model with AptX codec. Adapters with receive and send functions are hardly more expensive than devices with only one of the two functions, which is why we recommend the Avantree combi adapter from Oasis.
For the power supply, it makes sense to choose a device with a USB connection. On the one hand, the power supply is often possible directly via the television, on the other hand, a power bank can also be used. The battery must last long enough for exclusively mobile use. A model like the Bluetooth Transmitter & Receiver BT0024 from Logilink is recommended here.
In order to use several smartphones or output devices at the same time, the adapter needs the so-called dual or multi-link function. The NFC function for setting up the system is practical, but is rarely used in practice, which is why it is not an important criterion for us.
If you want to know more about a specific model, you should read our article Five audio Bluetooth transmitters and receivers in comparison.