Bluetooth and WLAN adapters under test. With the help of a small Bluetooth receiver, music from the smartphone can be easily transferred to the old stereo system. (Source: manufacturer) With the help of a small Bluetooth receiver, music from the smartphone can be transferred to the old stereo system very easily.
More and more people in the USA are listening to music from the Internet – and the choice is growing all the time. But that’s no reason to mothball a good stereo system in your living room. Because with just a cheap WLAN or Bluetooth adapter, music can be streamed from the net to the system.
There are two ways to connect the Internet and stereo system wirelessly: Bluetooth and WLAN. For both technologies, adapters from about 20 to 500 euros are available. The connection to the Internet can be established relatively easily with both types of the adapter.
Depending on the model, they have cinch or jack sockets for connection and usually optical and network inputs. For the power supply, they usually need a free power outlet near the system, some models are equipped with a rechargeable battery.
What Bluetooth adapters can do
Bluetooth audio adapters are about the size of a small notepad. They can be easily connected to the stereo system and then connected to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. However, you can’t make phone calls and stream music to the system at the same time, that’s only possible alternately.
In addition, the active Bluetooth connection clearly sucks on the battery of the smartphone or tablet. The Bluetooth version used should be at least 4.0 so that the connection is stable and has a good range. More than ten meters are however rarely inside.
Tip: Do not hide the Bluetooth adapter behind the stereo system, this will reduce reception. Free in the room is the best choice.
How good the sound is, which arrives via Bluetooth on the system, depends on the one hand naturally on the sound of the source material. If you listen to highly compressed music via your smartphone, you will probably not notice any difference.
However, if you are listening to MP3 files in high quality (320 kBit/s) or other, uncompressed music, the Bluetooth adapter should support the codec “aptX”, which is optimized for sound quality. However, this is only of any use if the smartphone also supports it.
For tablets and smartphones with Android 8.0, this is actually always the case; iPhones do not support “aptX”, they use a maximum of “AAC” as Bluetooth codec. An even higher bandwidth than “aptX” is provided by the codec “aptX HD”, but the difference in sound is unlikely to be heard clearly by most users.
Recommended Bluetooth adapters
The very affordable TP-Link HA100 comes with Bluetooth 4.1 and offers access from two devices simultaneously. The system can be connected via a 3.5-millimeter jack or via a supplied jack-to-jack cable.
In addition, the connection from the smartphone to the adapter can be established very easily with NFC, if the cell phone can handle it. The power supply is provided by a small power supply unit.
Stiftung Warentest rated the TP-Link HA100 overall as “good” (grade 1.7); the testers also came to this conclusion in the sub-disciplines of sound transmission and handling.
Sonru 2-in-1 Bluetooth Audio Adapter
The Sonru 2-in-1 Bluetooth Audio Adapter is a transmitter and receiver in one: On the one hand, you can send movies or music from your TV or stereo to Bluetooth headphones. You can even connect two Bluetooth headphones to the adapter at the same time for shared listening pleasure.
On the other hand, you can also use the adapter to receive music and movies from a smartphone or tablet on a stereo system or the car radio. An LED indicator on the top side shows which codec is currently in use by blinking differently.
According to the manufacturer, the built-in rechargeable battery should last up to 24 hours; during charging via USB cable, the adapter can continue to be used normally.