Why Can’t I Send Bluetooth Audio to Two Speakers?

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Q Why can’t audio devices be daisy-chained via Bluetooth? I have a NAD Viso 1 speaker dock and a NAD 3020 integrated amp, both with Bluetooth. The units are located in different rooms. Why can’t I send the same signal from my iPhone to both units at the same time?—J. Alan Greer

A Virtually all Bluetooth speakers and other hi-fi components that incorporate Bluetooth—your NAD gear, for example—are designed for two-way streaming from a single source device to a single destination device, or sink. There are some exceptions, including Bluetooth speakers made by Beats. However, these only accommodate dual-mono or left-right channel streaming to a speaker pair in the same room; they are not a whole-house audio solution.

While it’s technically possible to daisy-chain stereo audio among multiple Bluetooth devices, there’s an issue with latency—typically 100ms for Bluetooth, which is enough to create audible delay in the music playing from different speakers. Another problem is range: Bluetooth signals drop out at distances greater than 30 feet.

A better bet for wireless multiroom music is to use components and speakers that can stream audio via Wi-Fi. The Sonos line is one example. Bluesound, from the same company that makes your NAD components, is another. With either of those options, you’ll be able to set up speakers in multiple rooms and have them stream music from the same source with no audible delay.