Bluetooth Speakers for MP3

Samsung is showing off their new YA-SBR510 Bluetooth stereo speaker. This little beauty is designed for Samsung's lineup of MP3 players, providing wireless playback from a docked player. The speaker features Bluetooth 2.0, with an advertised range of about 30 feet (10 meters). Interestingly, it also apparently has a motion sensor that switches on the system when you come within a distance of about 15 feet (5 meters). This could be especially useful for startling pets and small children.

The Samsung YA-SBR510 features 30 watts of power over 3 channels. Digital signal processing is used to create a surround-sound effect from the cabinet. Currently, this speaker has only appeared in Samsung's Korean media, but hopefully it will find its way to the U.S.

Of course, a Bluetooth audio product always raises the interesting question....

300pxbluetoothsvg Can Bluetooth audio deliver satisfactory audio fidelity? The definitive answer is, maybe. The key here is that this speaker uses Bluetooth 2.0, which has the potential chops to provide enough bit rate for excellent audio fidelity (bearing in mind that the audio source material probably has reduced fidelity to begin with). 

Version 2.0, approved in 2004, features an Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) for both data and voice packets. The nominal signalling rate of EDR is about 3 megabits per second, although the practical data transfer rate is 2.1 megabits per second. This additional throughput is obtained by using a different modulation scheme for radio transmission of the data payload. According to the 2.0 spec, EDR provides the following benefits: Three times faster transmission speed - up to 10 times in certain cases (up to 2.1 Mbit/sec); Lower power consumption; Simplification of multi-link scenarios due to more available bandwidth.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group published the specification as "Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR" which implies that EDR is an optional feature. In some cases it is not clear whether a product (such as the YA-SBR510) claiming to support "Bluetooth 2.0" actually supports the EDR higher transfer rate. Incidentally, the even newer and even more improved Bluetooth 2.1 standard was approved in 2007.

More details on the YA-SBR510 speaker are available here (Samsung site in Korean). -Ken C. Pohlmann

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