AptX connectivity between Bluetooth transmitter and home stereo receiver

Discussion in 'Music Streamers' started by Sean Powell, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Sean Powell

    Sean Powell
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    I have two Bluetooth devices that I would like to be able to connect wirelessly to my home stereo receiver. One is a Droid Razr Maxx smartphone, which I know is AptX capable. The other is a brand-new Sony VAIO flip laptop computer that I have no idea is AptX capable, but if it isn't, then I may buy a USB AptX dongle for it.

    I picked up a Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter, which I have plugged into my stereo receiver via composite inputs on the receiver. I'm not too satisfied with the sound quality when trying to transmit music from my Razr Maxx to the stereo receiver, and am thinking that I might be able to get a big improvement by switching to an AptX-capable speaker adapter.

    My understanding of how AptX works is that both the "source" and the "sink" have to be AptX capable. I know what the source is in this case (the smartphone, or the dongle for the laptop), but am unclear about what the "sink" needs to be. Is it the wireless speaker adapter, or the Pioneer stereo receiver, or the speakers? In other words, if I just make sure that I get an AptX wireless adapter to plug into my old stereo receiver via the composite inputs, am I good to go, or does the stereo receiver itself need to be AptX capable?

    My stereo receiver is a 7-year-old Pioneer receiver, so I'm pretty sure that's not AptX capable, and I know that the wired speakers aren't.

    The AptX speaker adapter that I am thinking of getting to replace the Logitech is this Rocketfish adapter. If anybody knows of a better one that's less than about US$50, please let me know.
     
  2. Cebolla

    Cebolla
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    Yes, 'sink' in this case is the component that receives the Bluetooth transmission and contains the aptX codec. The codec decodes the received aptX encoded audio contained in the Bluetooth transmission back into standard digital audio. The digital audio signal is then turned into analogue audio, if the component also makes use of a DAC. It is:
    either, built into the music device that supports Bluetooth aptX,
    or, is an aptX supporting Bluetooth receiver adapter to be used with a music device that doesn't support Bluetooth aptX. This adapter will have either digital and/or analogue standard audio outputs to be used with the music device that doesn't support Bluetooth aptX.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  3. Sean Powell

    Sean Powell
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    Thanks very much, Cebolla, than is very helpful! So it sounds then that as long as I have an AptX Bluetooth receiver adapter (like the Rocketfish adapter that I mentioned in my OP), then I will get the full benefits of AptX even if using it with my non-AptX Pioneer stereo receiver. That's just what I was hoping would be the case.

    I'm not expecting this setup to be anywhere near as good as my current wired connection between my laptop and my Pioneer, but I'm getting tired of dealing with the cord always draped across my living room floor.
     
  4. Cebolla

    Cebolla
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    AptX is supposed to near CD quality, however you've got the quality of the Bluetooth hardware to consider too. Unfortunately, I don't know how good the Rocketfish adapter is (nor any other Bluetooth aptX adapter, for that matter). Hopefully it's decent enough not to upset the aptX decoding and you'll get reasonably good sound from it.

    The better quality method would be to network stream, but it is not guaranteed to work well wirelessly as it'll depend on the strength and reliability of your wireless network. However, you can compromise by using powerline homeplug network adapters, if your wireless network is poor and you cannot use a wired network. Of course all of this extra hardware would add to the cost, in addition to the network streaming device that you'll require to playback the music to your existing music setup.
     
  5. Sean Powell

    Sean Powell
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    Thanks for the idea about the powerline homeplug network adapters, Cebolla. My WiFi signal is somewhat weak in the room where I want to do this setup, but that's an option I hadn't considered. I like the idea though of just being able to alternate between my smartphone or my laptop computer in that room to connect to my home stereo easily, so Bluetooth seemed like the way to go, if I can manage to get halfway-decent sound via AptX. I'll try the Rocketfish adapter and see how it works. The main negative thing I've read about it is that it's range is much less than the advertised 33 feet--more like less than 10 feet. That may be just enough though for my purposes.
     
  6. dhutch

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    Why do you say that? Is network streaming significantly better then 'CD quality' in its transmission? I was under the impression that Wifi was also a long way from being a fully developed technology or standard.

    Bluetooth V4 and Wifi 802.11g have very similar maximum data rates so there is no reason why Wifi should be any better.


    Daniel
     
  7. Cebolla

    Cebolla
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    Hi Daniel,

    Firstly, network streaming can mean using wired (ethernet) as well as WiFi.
    Secondly, the transmission medium's maxmum data rate means nothing if the actual data it is carrying is a low quality audio signal in the first place. The 'near' CD quality aptX codec is currently the highest quality audio format available to Bluetooth, period. Using your example of WiFI 802.11g a whole multitude of audio formats can be transmitted by it, via UPnP/DLNA streaming, including 'proper' standard audio CD/red book (16bit/44.1kHz) resolutions and much higher, eg FLAC at resolutions of at least 24bit/96kHz.

    John
     
  8. dhutch

    dhutch
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    Ok, I mean obviously the OP was asking about wireless connection which is what I am also looking into. I have no idea who close aptX to the max data rate and perhaps it is not where near and hence and you say not overly relevant but if is it using a decent chunk of it which I suspect it is its a consideration. Other considerations being latency, and range, and how easy it is to setup and sync/pair devices.

    I will read up on Wifi audio receivers, seems 'WiFi-Direct' is also starting to gather pace along side bluetooth devices but again I dont yet know the details of this.


    Daniel
     
  9. lokyc

    lokyc
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    TCP/IP support lossless transmission. Wifi uses TCP/IP. Weak signal = dropouts.

    Aptx is a codec. There is still some compression going on. It is not full-fledged 16/44, but still better than 128kbps of A2DP.

    BT supposedly has lower power consumption, shorter range but more robust.

    All Aptx devices in theory are the same when it comes to the Aptx bit. The difference in quality still depends on the DAC inside. ie just because 2 devices receive the same information, they may not translate them equally.

    If your receiver doesn't have aptx BT capability, then you have to use its analogue inputs from the receiver. The DAC in the Aptx receiver then becomes crucial.

    The 2 which are well-regarded are the Arcam rBlink and Musical Fidelity V90 Blu.
     

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