In the wonderful world of technology there often hundreds or products and hundreds or ways to do something. For instance, you can use Plex with a Google TV set top box to stream your videos from your PC to the living room. You can use a micro HDMI cable to connect directly to your TV. You can use a Chromecast to play your music and watch Netflix and so much more. For many people there are different needs. While all the options above are great, they all also rely heavily on you having access to a Wi-Fi and a TV that has a HDMI input. What if your use and situation is different. That is where alternate options, such as the Amped Wireless Long Range Bluetooth Receiver (BTSA1) can be a great solution.
What’s in the box
- Amped Wireless Bluetooth Receiver
- Screw on antenna
- Power cord
- Audio Cable (3.5mm to RCA)
- 2 months free unlimited Rhapsody access
On the front you have a one touch connect button to quickly put the device into pairing mode. A flashing blue light will let you know that it is available to pair with your device.
Depending on your need you can use the included cable to go from the 3.5mm jack to an RCA input on your home stereo system or you can reverse that and use the RCA outs and plug it into anything that accepts a 3.5mm headphone in jack.
The box is quite small measuring in at 4 x 2.75 x 1 inches (101.6 x 69.85 x 25.4 mm). Or, just a bit longer than a Bic lighter and about the same width with the antennae attached.
The Set Up
Connecting it from the 3.5mm output jack to my old school Yamaha head unit didn’t take any special work. I plugged the two RCA cables into one of the inputs and flipped the switch over. Plugged the device into an available power outlet for power and then grabbed my phone to turn Bluetooth on. Amped Wireless advertises this as a “Plug N’ Play” device, so keeping it as simple as possible is important. Once everything was connected I opened the Bluetooth menu on my device, hit the ‘connect’ button on the front of the unit and searched for available device. It only took a few seconds for it to locate the receiver and connect to it.
How does the BTSA1 perform
It is a very simple and straight forward little device. Anything you push through Bluetooth, such as Music, Movie audio, Video games, plays straight through to what ever you have it connected to. It relies on a power source to an outlet so there is no fear of a battery dying, other than you smartphone or tablets battery.
The major selling point is the long range claim. Typical Bluetooth range offers 30 feet or so. Sometimes you find yourself getting a little more distance in different environments and with different devices. I hooked theÂ BTSA1 up behind my TV and turned on some tunes from Google Music. Then I went out the front door, down the steps and out to the street. I lost signal to the receiver just past the side walk, which is about 100 feet from the living room. The front door was closed and the street is down a pretty steep hill.
I was able to go to the street with both my Sony Xperia Z and the Moto X without issues. I had my wife on the phone with me while I walked out so that I could hear the music and so she could tell me when it stopped. I am sure it will vary by user, by device, by placement of the BTSA1, various interference factors and too many others to even think about. I seem to have pretty good luck and must have low interference in my home.
The sound quality is a tricky subject. If you are a bookshelf stereo that has a blown speaker this won’t make it sound any better. TheÂ BTSA1Â does use Bluetooth 3.0 with aptX support, so if you have a decent set-up or a high-end system you will find a clear stream at 192kb, and be able to hear the quality degrade if you are streaming lower end bit rates.Â There was no popping or audio issues while I used it other than when I reached the end of its receiving reach. Then it would cut in and out a little as it was picking up and dropping the connection.
What I like about theÂ BTSA1
Set up is pretty simple and really is just plug n’ play. I have used other devices that stated that and turned into quite a headache trying to get them into pairing mode or to connect. It has both RCA and a 3.5mm out port allowing you to connect it to various stereo systems. It is small and would easily travel in a bag or purse. The range was equally impressive with zero issues staying connected anywhere in side my town house.
What I didn’t like about theÂ BTSA1
I do my best to find something that could have been done differently or that isn’t quite right in my book. There are two thing that I didn’t like about the BTSA1.
First is the proprietary power plug. TheÂ BTSA1 has a power rating of 5v 1A, so it could have easily used a micro USB input for power, much like the Chromecast. It would alleviate the possibility of losing the power supply and ultimately make it more travel friendly.
Second, there is no mounting solution on the bottom. Might seem a bit trivial, but getting it elevated would create a better dome of signal. I would have like to see your typical thumb tack hanging holes on the bottom.
I can see a good market for theÂ BTSA1. All the super techy people out there have probably already moved on from this review because they see no point in the unit especially if they have a Chromecast, smart TV or Google set top box. While I can agree that using a Chromecast through your TV with the audio out to your home stereo receiver is pretty awesome, there are a few things to consider for the rest of the general population.
One of these would be great for the garage where you might not have a HDMI connected TV but do have your work bench and a set of speakers. It would be great for the shop, the office, a warehouse or any other less typical location that has power and some sound equipment. I personally know a few auto repair shops and framing companies that use their device connected to stereo systems with audio cables for music during their day. AÂ BTSA1 would let them keep their phones in their pockets instead of half way across the shop. Not to mention how great it would be if you want to DJ your backyard house party from your phone or tablet.
Price always play a factor into anyone’s decision in buying anything. While theÂ BTSA1 isn’t outlandishly expensive, it isn’t less than a Chromecast though. The Amped Wireless Long Range Bluetooth Speaker Adapter will set you back $69.99 on Amazon and their website.Â For the price it is worth looking into, especially if you have been searching for a solid Bluetooth connection solution for streaming audio to your stereo.