Are you setting up a wireless home theater or creating a listening room? You can accomplish these goals with Bluetooth technology.
If you have a reliable old-school AV or stereo receiver and don’t want to update your equipment, you’ll be happy to know you can buy a wireless Bluetooth adapter.
When you add Bluetooth to your receiver, you can connect to devices through radio waves. It’s like WiFi but on a smaller scale.
We’ll discuss everything you need to know about adding Bluetooth to a receiver.
- How to Install a Bluetooth Receiver
- How to Set Up a Bluetooth Receiver
- Bluetooth Drawbacks
How to Install a Bluetooth Receiver
Installing a wireless Bluetooth adapter on an AV or stereo receiver isn’t difficult. In fact, you’ll spend more time choosing the right option for your needs.
While the adapter can provide a wireless connection, it’s important to note that it is not a wire-free gadget. You’ll need to plug the adapter into the receiver with a cable, cord or other connection.
Here’s how you can install a Bluetooth receiver.
1. Choose the Right Equipment
What’s the best Bluetooth adapter? Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all option. The right adapter is the one that fits your needs.
To help you target those needs, ask yourself the following questions:
- What equipment will I connect via Bluetooth to the receiver?
- Which adapters are compatible with my operating systems?
- How much transmission range is needed?
- Which version of Bluetooth works best with my setup?
- What do I need the adapter for? Streaming music or a home theater setup?
That said, knowing how you want to use your adapter is the main question.
If you want to connect your receiver to a smartphone, tablet or laptop, you will need to understand what version of Bluetooth your device uses.
Let’s say you want to stream Apple TV from your Mac to your home theater system. If you use Apple TV HD, it uses Bluetooth 4.0. However, Apple TV 4K uses Bluetooth 5.0.
In this example, you will want a Bluetooth adapter that is compatible with the version your device uses. This will cut back on issues with connectivity and pairing.
If you want to play music from your smartphone through your receiver, the same guidance applies.
Carefully read the specifications that come with the Bluetooth adapter to make sure it will work with your setup.
You don’t have to buy the most expensive adapter. However, you get what you pay for.
High-quality equipment offers more functionality. These options can cost $100 or more and offer a laundry list of features and multiple connections, such as a 3.5mm jack (AUX), RCA or USB.
Ultimately, if you want high-quality equipment, it’s available. Just be sure to research reviews and customer feedback to get an idea of what to expect before you make a purchase.
Ideally, you’ll want to speak with someone who is knowledgeable about the device. Check with professionals at brick-and-mortar electronics stores or call the brand’s customer service line to get all your questions answered.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to connect your AV or stereo receiver to your devices. However, functionality will be limited.
There are a number of low-cost options that work well. Plus, if this is your first time adding Bluetooth to a receiver, you might want to start at a lower price point.
No matter what device you purchase, learn what the return policy is just in case the device doesn’t work as expected.
2. Connect the Bluetooth Adapter to Your Receiver
Connecting your Bluetooth adapter to your receiver is simple. First, make sure your receiver is powered off. Then, plug the adapter into the correct ports on the receiver.
Some common connections include RCA and AUX. An RCA cable has red, yellow and white connectors and supports audio and video. The AUX is a 3.5mm audio-only cord.
For an AV receiver, locate the audio input port jacks and plug in the adapter. For stereo, you can use the headphone jack.
Once you connect your adapter to the receiver, you’ll need to pair your devices.
3. Connect a Device to the Bluetooth Adapter
To pair (or connect) your devices, make sure you have Bluetooth enabled on your smartphone, tablet, headphones or other compatible technology.
You can find the Bluetooth on/off toggle in settings. Sometimes it may be a switch or button on a device.
When Bluetooth is enabled, the blue icon lights up on devices with screens. Alternately, it may show as a flashing light on screenless devices, such as wireless headphones.
When Bluetooth is enabled, you can see all compatible devices from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.
4. Power On the Receiver and Test
Turn on your receiver. This will also cause the Bluetooth adapter to power on.
The adapter will transmit a signal so that you can see it in a list of Bluetooth devices and choose it to connect with your smartphone, tablet or other devices.
Select the adapter and tap pair. The devices will connect.
If the devices fail to connect:
- Try powering everything off and restarting after a few minutes
- Make sure the devices are close to each other
- Try turning off a nearby WiFi connection to avoid interference
You may have to try pairing a few times to establish the connection. However, once the devices are paired, you rarely have to reconnect them.
How to Set Up a Bluetooth Receiver
Now that your receiver has Bluetooth, you can decide how you want to use it.
Depending on the model you purchase, you might be able to connect it to more than one device simultaneously. Plus, high-end devices have additional features, such as a home theater bypass.
If your Bluetooth supports separate channels, you can pair multiple devices.
For example, a dual-channel adapter can connect two devices. If you want to use a different device, you can always unpair one device to add a new one.
If you have a home theater bypass feature, you can connect an external dual-channel stereo system directly to your speakers via Bluetooth in a home theater sound system.
You might want to use it when you connect a hi-fi system with your home theater setup. This will allow your home theater to play stereo music.
Even though Bluetooth technology makes it convenient to connect devices wirelessly to stream music or video and audio combined, there are some downsides to consider.
One of the biggest drawbacks is the lack of flexibility with channels. Bluetooth features single or dual-channel capability.
This means that even if you connect it with a multi-channel AV receiver, Bluetooth can only deliver up to two channels.
If you want to connect another device, you’ll need to disconnect one of your paired devices to add a new one.
With Bluetooth, you can run into quality issues with connectivity, playback and compatibility.
For example, it’s possible to have trouble pairing devices. Even when the devices pair properly, you can experience a poor connection because Bluetooth isn’t as powerful as a WiFi connection.
In turn, this can cause audio playback to not be as rich and full as wired connections.
When your connection drops frequently, you’ll find it hard to enjoy listening to streaming music or watching a video from your smartphone.
If you plan to use a Bluetooth adapter with a home theater setup, you’ll want to choose one that is designed for home theater use.
That way, you can be sure it has the built-in tech to function at a high level. Otherwise, you’ll experience a lack of performance in what you see and hear from connected Bluetooth devices.
Finally, although the technology is universal, sometimes you’ll run into compatibility issues.
It’s a good idea to research options and ask questions to find a suitable Bluetooth adapter for your brand of receiver.
Each Bluetooth adapter will show the range it covers in the specifications.
This range might be impacted by walls, doors or large objects. Or, the range might be extremely limited, requiring the devices to remain close to each other.
To get the best signal, go with the latest technology, which includes Bluetooth 5.0 and upward.
It is possible for a Bluetooth connection to get hacked. To prevent this issue, you can change your Bluetooth settings to not-discoverable and avoid pairing devices in public.
Also, make sure you always keep your technology current with the latest updates to maximize device security.
To choose the best Bluetooth adapter for your AV or stereo receiver, think about how you want to use the device. This will help you determine which features you need and which you can live without.
If you want to listen to music from your smartphone through speakers on your home stereo system, a simple, budget-friendly device can get the job done.
Or, if you need an upgraded option for connecting your computer with a home theater system, expect to pay more.
Make sure to take your time and research the highest-rated options to make the best decision for your unique usage needs.