Amped Wireless BTSA1 Bluetooth Speaker Adapter Improves Wireless Performance
The BTSA1 (MSRP $70) is a powered Bluetooth adapter with an extended-range antenna. The beauty of the BTSA1 is that not only can it be used to stream music to a system that doesn’t already have Bluetooth, but it also extends the signal for a system that does have Bluetooth.
The unit is kind of attractive, actually—the glossy black case can sit just about anywhere, and its stubby antenna gives it a certain tech ambiance. Amped Wireless claims that it doubles the range of a typical Bluetooth system (more on that later). The device is simple to set up and use. Power it, and connect its audio outputs to your playback device. It has both stereo RCA and a 3.5mm outputs and comes with appropriate cables. The Bluetooth pairing button is on the front panel (my Sony Xperia AcroS smartphone found it and paired quickly). Currently, the BTSA1 includes a coupon for two free months of Rhapsody service.
A few weeks ago I reviewed the iLoud Bluetooth speaker. I enjoyed the sound of the iLoud, but noticed an annoying problem. Further research revealed that it suffered from a dirty little Bluetooth secret. While listening critically, I noticed pitch shifts, along with corresponding slight tempo variations. The pitch would shift slightly flat and the tempo wouId slow down ever so slightly. A few moments later, it would speed up, and the pitch would bend upwards. The audibly flat and sharp pitch variations were more noticeable on acoustic tracks, but they were annoying no matter what the music genre might be. What’s going on? Some kind of buffering problem?
I plan on delving into this further in the future, but my initial impression of the Amped Wireless BTSA1 is that it overcomes this problem. And in my opinion, it’s a big, big problem. Until then, let me know if you’ve heard this Bluetooth problem on your system. I know many people hear this in their cars, but let me know what home equipment you’ve been using with this problem.
By using the BTSA1 as a dedicated Bluetooth receiver, the quality and range were consistently good. I didn’t notice the pitch artifacts, or any other dropouts or glitches. Also, as advertised, the range was extended, although in my experience it didn’t double the range; in my house it added about 10 feet before the signal began to degrade. Your exact mileage may vary but the high-gain antenna and Bluetooth amplifiers definitely made the signal more robust than without.
The Amped Wireless BTSA1 is a solid Bluetooth adapter, and its range extending capability adds to its attractiveness. Further, at least in my listening tests, it apparently does not suffer from Bluetooth pitch problems. It’s late to the party, but it it’s better late than never.