Wish your stereo was bluetooth capable, so you could beam music from your computer, tablet or smartphone? Amped Wireless has ya covered with the tiny BTSA1 unit.
The best devices are often those that work so well, so reliably, that they fade into the background and you stop even paying much attention to them. When you need them, they work, and otherwise don’t bug you, don’t require constant updates or tweaks, and are discrete enough that you don’t even notice them. You know what I mean if you constantly have to struggle with your Blu-ray player, clock radio or docking unit.
Worse, sometimes you just give up on the additional functionality entirely, just using a multi-function device for a single purpose. It’s the clock radio that’s, well, a clock, or the multi-function printer that’s a copier because you can’t get it to show up on your computer and the fax line doesn’t work (and what’s a fax anyway?)
While we have been enjoying the splendid audioengine P4 speakers and N22 amplifier for years in the office, having them accessible via a first gen Apple Airport Express meant that there were constant drop-outs, static interference, and other artifacts that often characterize Apple’s Airport system. Not good at all.
So when Amped Wireless offered to send the BTSA1 bluetooth audio adapter, it seemed like a perfect match: swap out the Airport Express for the bluetooth unit and regain full enjoyment of the audioengine setup.
And it’s small. Really small:
As you can see in the photo, it’s a small, sleek unit that sits neatly atop the amplifier. The light is red if it’s unpaired, solid blue if it’s paired to a device, and with a push of the button on the face, flashing blue if it’s in pairing mode. Simple enough.
There are two ways to connect the BTSA1 to your stereo system, either via a 3.5mm plug (same as you find on smartphones, computers, etc) or dual RCA plugs (old school stereo components). With the audioengine setup, it was the 3.5mm plug, which I literally just pulled out of the Airport Express and plugged into the back of the BTSA1.
To pair the unit with my MacBook Pro laptop was easy with the bluetooth icon already displayed on the menu bar. A push on the front button on the BTSA1 to put it in pairing mode, then it showed up on the bluetooth device menu on the Mac. Select it, wait a few seconds and the BTSA1 light turns blue. Done. Ready to go.
And it works flawlessly. Better, it’s actually a long range bluetooth adapter, so we have tested having it play music from a device over 100 feet away without stalls, hiccups or stutters. This is not a common configuration, of course, but it’s nice to know that the BTSA1 is that reliable.
For $69, this is a great way to upgrade your existing audio system to add reliable bluetooth connectivity. It’s one of those “install and ignore” devices, and that makes it a winner in our book.
The Amped Wireless BTSA1 long-range bluetooth adapter. 1-inch tall by about 4-inches wide. Retail: $69.99 from Amped Wireless.com or local retailers.