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Article: Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Receiver review


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Chris: you wrote "Plus, in an office setting Bluetooth may be the only acceptable means of connecting to stream audio. Devices such as the Apple AirPort Express that supports AirPlay may not be allowed in a corporate setting."

 

Actually, in a corporate office with a bunch of people using Bluetooth headsets and mice, the B1 receiver may be problematic. I have been in offices with a lot of Bluetooth "confusion"/interference.

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Apple gear is not Bluetooth aptX compatible. Regardless, the previous generation of the Bluetooth codec is good quality. Testing with Apple gear is good to reflect the baseline consumer experience for the Audioengine B1.

 

Still, my curiosity leaves me wondering if the review would produce stronger impressions if done with aptX compatible gear... I'd suggest borrowing a colleague's aptX compatible phone for future tests of aptX Bluetooth gear.

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I'd assume that the Bluetooth audio quality when using Apple gear + AudioEngine B1 equals a max quality AAC VBR at ~ 265kbps, i.e., identical to the audio quality of music purchased from the iTunes Store (if i remember correctly). Likely aptX performs a bit better with a bit less lag.

 

Each manufacturer's documentation says they support the non-standard bluetooth format MPEG2-4 ACC, for the reason that it performs with better audio quality than Bluetooth's previous generation SBC codec.

 

 

Apple says:

 

AudioEngine's B1 FAQs says:

 

"What if my source doesn't support aptX®? Can I still use B1 and if so, how will it sound?

You can absolutely still use the B1, and it will sound great. aptX® is a high quality Bluetooth audio codec that works really well. With that said, in addition to mandatory support for SBC, Bluetooth also includes optional support for many other codecs, like MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and AAC, all of which have their own advantages, and some of which sound very close to aptX®."

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Hi Jason - Good catch, and yes you're probably 100% correct that the review would produce stronger impressions if done with aptX compatible gear. To be honest, I'd say I blew this one by assuming Apple had finally incorporated aptX into its products. When I reviewed a different Bluetooth product I purchased an aptX adapter for my iPhone 4 back in the day. I wish the adapter has the lightning connector because I still have it in my desk drawer.

Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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I have aptX wireless headphones, and I think they sound very good. Don't feel like I'm missing out.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Chris, as you know, I use the B1 with a power inverter in my car to breathe new life into my car audio system. I plug the analog outputs of the B1 into the aux input of my car audio receiver and voila, I have Tidal or TuneIn Radio streaming on the road out of my iPhone 6+. A perfect application because the lossy nature doesn't affect enjoyment with the natural background noise. JCR

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I am saving this for next project. I have a 7.1 system based on Onkyo TX-NR609. For movie, its fine, but for music, even I direct source it from a bluray player or an USB drive, I see the lower frequencies emphasized and the high and middle, almost muffled. I have the bluray connected via HDMI. I wanted to use something else to connect via tos link and see if I get a different result, as I heard(not confirmed) that the in built DAC in Onkyo supposed to be good. In my media closet, I have two receivers (onkyo and denon). The denon powers the dining area and a bedroom. With the audio engine, I should be able to power both the receivers( I am hoping). I do not need to have concurrent connection, as I never use them together, infact, I barely use these other systems, since I got hold of CA and just working on my music listening system. What do you think? Would using this and pair it up with a Samsung Note 2 and play Tidal work?

Reference -> Lenovo TS140(XEON E3-1225 v3 3.2GH) Win 2012 R2 4GB RAM RoonLab Audio Optimizer PPANG USB Card Larry's HDPlex-> CA DacMagic Plus -> AudioResearch DS225 Audioquest XLR -> Sonus Faber Olympica 2 Kimber Speaker Wire

Family Room -> ALOO DIGIONE -> SPDF-> Onkyo TX-NR609 -> 7.1 In Wall Polk Audio SVS Sub (Home Theatre)

Living Room-> BlueSound NODE Gen3-> Carver THX Amp -> NHT Zero + SVS SB-1000 (LivingRoom)

 

 

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I am saving this for next project. I have a 7.1 system based on Onkyo TX-NR609. For movie, its fine, but for music, even I direct source it from a bluray player or an USB drive, I see the lower frequencies emphasized and the high and middle, almost muffled. I have the bluray connected via HDMI. I wanted to use something else to connect via tos link and see if I get a different result, as I heard(not confirmed) that the in built DAC in Onkyo supposed to be good. In my media closet, I have two receivers (onkyo and denon). The denon powers the dining area and a bedroom. With the audio engine, I should be able to power both the receivers( I am hoping). I do not need to have concurrent connection, as I never use them together, infact, I barely use these other systems, since I got hold of CA and just working on my music listening system. What do you think? Would using this and pair it up with a Samsung Note 2 and play Tidal work?

That should work just fine.

Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Very timely for my needs.

 

I'm planning streaming for my office system too. But if everything I stream from supports AirPlay why would I choose this direction over a less costly (and higher audio quality??) AppleTV connected via optical to a DAC ? (Chris, enjoyed your visit to Raleigh, NC last year...I sat through a couple of your Q&As...really a pleasure)

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Chris ... any thoughts on how this might compare to Peachtree Audio's BT1 Bluetooth Receiver at $100 or even Monoprice's Home Theater Music Receiver w/ NFC and aptX® Codec Support at just over $50? And as chrisstu asks above how does it compare to using an AppleTV or AirPort Express?

 

Eloise

 

PS. OS X reportedly does support aptX but you may need the Bluetooth Explorer to enable it. This needs you to have an Apple Developer login (free); then download Hardware IO for xCode from https://idmsa.apple.com/IDMSWebAuth/login?&appIdKey=891bd3417a7776362562d2197f89480a8547b108fd934911bcbea0110d07f757&path=%2F%2Fdownloads%2Findex.action (you'll have to use the search function).

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Chris ... any thoughts on how this might compare to Peachtree Audio's BT1 Bluetooth Receiver at $100 or even Monoprice's Home Theater Music Receiver w/ NFC and aptX® Codec Support at just over $50? And as chrisstu asks above how does it compare to using an AppleTV or AirPort Express?

 

Eloise

 

PS. OS X reportedly does support aptX but you may need the Bluetooth Explorer to enable it. This needs you to have an Apple Developer login (free); then download Hardware IO for xCode from https://idmsa.apple.com/IDMSWebAuth/login?&appIdKey=891bd3417a7776362562d2197f89480a8547b108fd934911bcbea0110d07f757&path=%2F%2Fdownloads%2Findex.action (you'll have to use the search function).

Thanks for the tip Eloise. I've now enabled aptX on my iMac.

 

aptX.png

Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Very timely for my needs.

 

I'm planning streaming for my office system too. But if everything I stream from supports AirPlay why would I choose this direction over a less costly (and higher audio quality??) AppleTV connected via optical to a DAC ? (Chris, enjoyed your visit to Raleigh, NC last year...I sat through a couple of your Q&As...really a pleasure)

Hi Christu - Thanks for the kind words about the seminar in Raleigh :~)

 

Using the right horse for the right course is what these devices are all about. Using an AppleTV isn't the most ideal device for an office audio setup because it will require a monitor for setup and for weird issues once in a while. I think the better option is the AirPort Express. If you're at a corporate office you may not be allowed to setup your own WiFi network that the AirPort requires, thus Bluetooth and the B1 will be the best route. If you need the analog output of a network audio device you will want to compare the performance of the two devices before deciding on the best sound quality.

 

The big draw for AirPlay is its ability to stream lossless of course.

Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Hi Christu - Thanks for the kind words about the seminar in Raleigh :~)

 

Using the right horse for the right course is what these devices are all about. Using an AppleTV isn't the most ideal device for an office audio setup because it will require a monitor for setup and for weird issues once in a while. I think the better option is the AirPort Express. If you're at a corporate office you may not be allowed to setup your own WiFi network that the AirPort requires, thus Bluetooth and the B1 will be the best route. If you need the analog output of a network audio device you will want to compare the performance of the two devices before deciding on the best sound quality.

 

The big draw for AirPlay is its ability to stream lossless of course.

 

 

 

Oops. It's a home office and I'll steal a configured but seldom used AppleTV from my daughter ; - ).....thanks for the reply.

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Thanks for the tip Eloise. I've now enabled aptX on my iMac.

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]17112[/ATTACH]

 

The reviews on the Monoprice site points out poor range for the unit. I am thinking AudionEngine is the only one is claiming a higher range then the other two. BTW, monoprice looks like an OEM version of the Peachtree.

Reference -> Lenovo TS140(XEON E3-1225 v3 3.2GH) Win 2012 R2 4GB RAM RoonLab Audio Optimizer PPANG USB Card Larry's HDPlex-> CA DacMagic Plus -> AudioResearch DS225 Audioquest XLR -> Sonus Faber Olympica 2 Kimber Speaker Wire

Family Room -> ALOO DIGIONE -> SPDF-> Onkyo TX-NR609 -> 7.1 In Wall Polk Audio SVS Sub (Home Theatre)

Living Room-> BlueSound NODE Gen3-> Carver THX Amp -> NHT Zero + SVS SB-1000 (LivingRoom)

 

 

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