92 of 100 people found the following review helpful
I've enjoyed most Belkin products I've purchased thus far. Overall, I'm relatively pleased with this device, minus the constant cutting out when I'm more than 10 feet away from it. I'll get to that in a second.
The device is tiny, which is nice. It comes with an AC adapter, RCA cables and a coax cable. There is an optical output on the back, but strangely it does not come with an optical cable included. No worries - coax is said to be better for music than optical anyway. So I just connected this directly into my Harman Kardon receiver and away I went.
It was super easy to connect to - just click, and connect. No passwords, no nonsense.
The sound quality is unbelievable! It literally sounded clearer than a direct connection using a 3.5 mm aux input. By far, this produces the best sound quality of any BT device I've used.
Sadly, that's where the positives end. I've read a few reviews saying this BT receiver cut out a lot for some people. I'm in that group, unfortunately. Unless my phone is less than 10 feet away from the device, the audio cuts out constantly. It is super annoying and makes it impossible to listen to music when you hear every 4th word.
In essence, my phone has to be within a cord's length of my receiver in order to enjoy it, which defeats the benefits of bluetooth. This is supposed to be a convenient device, but the constant cutting out made it not so. It's too bad, really, because the audio is fantastic.
The only thing I can think of is potentially some interference from other electrical devices? I have it sitting on top of my DirecTV DVR and next to my HK receiver, which is housed on top of my Roku and PS3. But to be honest, most people have multiple devices in their households, so if that's the reason for the interference, then that's unacceptable.
I have emailed Belkin about my issue and am currently awaiting a response. I will post an update (if any) as I get them.
I have yet to receive a response to my email to Belkin customer support. That is extremely disappointing. I'm dropping it down to 2 stars for this reason.
I've emailed Belkin twice to have them address the issue of this unit cutting out, and they have ignored all my emails. This thing still cuts out, even if my phone is literally sitting 3 feet away from the adapter. Such a shame, as the sound quality is superb. But what a pain to have this thing cut in and out all the time.
I've now emailed them a total of THREE times, and have NOT received a response. So much for Belkin customer service. This is the last Belkin product I will own.
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2014
Belkin should have put the "HD" bluetooth receiver separate from the non-HD version as there are likely major differences between the two and customers would like to review them separately and not combine the ratings. Anyways...
I think Belkin designed this HD receiver so people can connect to higher-end receivers, or powered speakers of higher quality, should be able to listen at higher volumes (where lower quality audio streaming can be easily exposed). Things they have taken good care of:
* when a device pairs (or unpairs) with the receiver (either 1st time, or subsequent times), there is no sound that is sent to the speakers. Just the LED lights up. Thank you belkin. If the speakers are at high volume, this could be very annoying or worse. But the electronics inside this receiver suppress those unnecessary sounds.
* There is barely any audible hiss or otherwise white-noise generated by the device itself - again great job by Belkin putting in some higher quality electronics inside the receiver
* the range is fantastic. Easy 30ft range even when not in line of sight. Great design of the antenna inside the receiver. The range improves further if you alight it a little bit (assume the antennas are designed around the device, it would be better if you happen to tilt it toward the area where the phones/devices would most likely be placed).
* Even with the analog audio out (stereo 3.5mm out), the quality of audio is very high. I have the Belkin plugged into my Yamaha HS7 studio monitors which can reproduce sound very accurately - and I have tried direct plug into my devices (both ipads & android phone) and connected via belkin bluetooth HD, and the sound quality even at high levels isn't distinguishable. The bass, the mid and the highs are pretty well reproduced. So I think the aptx codec (I hope - I don't see the specs mention it anywhere) is used regardless which audio-out is plugged into (optical, coax or stereo-analog).
Here is the only issue I have with this device, and I consider it a big one for my needs:
* Belkin HD stays connected to the last device unless that device goes out of range/out of power etc. This may not be a problem if I only use one device to connect to it. But, idea is that I can use my iPad, wife can use her iphone or I can connect with my android anytime I like. Only problem is, I cannot connect to it because it's LED is ON (i.e., it is connected to the last device...) and I don't know which device that is. Due to its good range, even if the iPad moved from one room to another, it stays connected and I have to find the iPad to disconnect from there (going to setting etc.) before I can play from my phone. This doesn't pass the wife-test either. If she cannot connect when she wants to, she will not use it. The other way to make it would is to remove power from the Belkin and plug it back on - this is disruptive and could cause electrical noise passing to speakers and causing some serious damage (so that means power off the audio receiver/speaker, then power off the belkin, then power belkin back on and then power on the audio receiver/speaker). All of these make it unacceptable to use.
Something for Belkin product designers:
* introduce an automatic timeout - if no sound is received from a source device for sometime (may be 1hr, may be 2), auto-disconnect from the device
* introduce a single "disconnect" button on the device. This is better than powering off a whole bunch of devices or going to multi-levels within a source device to disconnect/turn-off the bluetooth...
For this specific reason, I may return this nice receiver - hoping they would fix this in an upcoming h/w refresh...This product has been out for a year now? I am hoping an update is due now. And also Belkin, please publish some technical details: what bluetooth version is supported (4.0?), aptx?, is aptx supported on all audio output connections...etc.
44 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2013
All in all a decent BT Music Receiver, though I do not think it is superior to other similar (and cheaper) devices.
It works. If the music is playing in High Quality on your device, it will be high quality coming through your speakers. There is zero lag in the transmission. I watch Netflix using this device to send sound to my stereo and the words always match the lip movements. It's pretty remarkable how well it syncs compared to devices I've tried in the past (like the Blackberry BT gateway).
2 things frustrate me about this receiver but I am not sure either of them are its fault. These could be problems with Windows 8 (Windows 8 with problems? I know, shocker!) but the volume will not go very high no matter what I do with the volume or settings on my laptop. It's fine for just me and if I am in the same room, but it does not get to even half the volume of plugging my speakers directly to the laptop. The other things is it says it stores up to 8 profiles, but it is a nightmare to have more than one device within range of the BT Receiver--they essentially cancel each other out and confuse the heck out of it. So if you are using it exclusively with one device (which I am), it's fine.
The NFC connection is dumb. First, it is useless with any Samsung device. You must download the Belkin NFC app and launch it every time you wan to connect. The NFC already on-board my Note 2 won't work with it. (I've checked the discussion boards; this appears to be a Samsung thing, not a Belkin thing). Also, you can only use one or the other, bluetooth or NFC. Ideally, I would have liked to have my phone paired with the device via NFC and my laptop via Bluetooth so the thing wouldn't freak out whenever I try to switch from one device to the other, but no dice.
It's a good device. It does work. The instructions and support on the website are about the worst I have ever seen. You might have technical issues with Windows 8 and Samsung devices that can not be solved. All in all, I would say, go a little cheaper. The "HD" is a nice title, but I have noticed no difference between this and other devices I have tried as far as sound quality goes.
One last note:
I got this initially because I kept experiencing "choppy" sound with my other BT Receivers. I thought they were just cheap and old and needed to be replaced. I tried 3 different receivers/gateways and the issue kept happening. It turns out, it was never the Bluetooth Receivers; it was Google Play Music. The same issue occurs with this device. If I play Slacker, Netflix, YouTube, etc... it sounds flawless, but something about the way Google Play streams their music (lower quality maybe?) causes the choppy sound. If you are having the same issue, try to pinpoint the issue before swapping your device!
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
This is a great way to get quality sound on your stereo without hooking up cables to your MP3 player, smartphone, etc. each time. The quality of the streaming music via Bluetooth from my Samsung Android smartphone & iPod Nano was excellent.
I tried both the optical digital out and the digital RCA out connections. Both were excellent and on my system they are treated identically in the amplifier/etc. The sound quality will vary depending on your audio components. The difference mostly will depend on precisely how and where the digital to analog conversion is occurring and how it treats different inputs. I have a fairly good audio system and the sound quality is almost imperceptible from the direct iPod USB input. On my system this is complicated by a slight volume difference between the inputs due to how the preamp works.
Setup and pairing the Bluetooth (BT) with my Android smartphone was a breeze. The printed instructions that it comes with are basic and have few words, bordering on cartoonish. But for many medium to advanced users they will be adequate, since it is pretty obvious how to set it up.
Like with any BT connection, if you get far enough away the sound drops out, but I would say this unit's BT connection was excellent. I can get about 70 feet away with about 5 walls in between before it starts to drop out. This connection is obviously dependant on your phone/player also, but the Belkin device seems to be top notch compared to other BT connections I've experimented with.
One important note,this unit does NOT come with a digital optical cable, even though this device has an optical digital out (Belkin does NOT claim that it is included). This is the optical cable with TOSLINK connectors and is labeled "S/PDIF" on some devices
Included with the unit:
BT Music Receiver, Power adapter, 3.5-millimeter-to-RCA Cable, Digital Coaxial HD Audio Cable and Quick Install Guide.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This is a review for the HD model.
This model is designed to be connected to a larger stereo system, evident in its optical and coaxial digital connectors, as well as RCA analogue connectors. The near field communication adds to the convenience. However, I haven't been able to verify the justification for the HD moniker, despite repeated and ongoing efforts. Here are my observations.
- Digital Outputs in the form of optical and coaxial. (Note: there's no optical cable included) This would instantly give your home stereo/theater unit bluetooth capability. The 3.5 plug also lets you connect to older stereo units via the included RCA adapter cable, or other speakers. At the time of this writing, the Belkin HD appears to be somewhat unique in its support of digital outputs, even if other aptX enabled HD bluetooth audio receivers are also available on the market.
- Connects up to 8 devices. What it means is that it remembers the pairing of up to 8 devices, but connection can only happen to one device at a time. Connecting to devices has been quick and requires no passwords. Connection has been fairly reliable for me, and I used it with two phones, a tablet and two laptops (Mac and Windows). You must disconnect from one device before another can pair, as expected. The connection is mostly trouble free and reliable, and I haven't had the disconnection problems that others have reported, so far (fingers crossed).
-NFC tag. Now this wouldn't mean much for Apple users or many of the Android users, as it requires Android phone with a NFC tag and at least Android 4.0 to use the Belkin App, or Android 4.1+ to run natively. However, it would enable tap and connect convenience. Based on FCC photos of its internals, it seems that this feature alone is responsible for the size of the unit, as the NFC tag (made by NXP) is about the size of that center patch, with a very tiny circuit board for the rest of the connectors and a microchip. It seems like something of a tradeoff, but could be a convenience if you own a NFC enabled phone. On my Android 4.3.1 phone with NFC, you just place the phone on the base (assuming you have NFC turned on already), it'll ask you whether to pair the BT audio device. Granted, it's only a few steps less (I counted 3 from my home screen. It depends on how yours is set up) than going into the bluetooth menu and select the device to pair, but not having to fight the setup menus can be priceless for many.
While there's been no issues operationally, I have to wonder what the HD really refers to. For those who are familiar with A2DP profile and its default SBC codec(at a maximum of 345kb/s bitrate in stereo): it is adequate, but certainly not HD (assuming it stands for High Definition). It is serviceable codec for casual listening, but when you are marketing it as a HD product, and providing digital connections to home stereo/hifi/theater units, there needs to be something more.
I assumed it must be using some other compression codec. The most likely standard for higher definition bluetooth A2DP audio codec is probably aptX, which can be good for CD quality sound or even lossless streams. While support for this new codec isn't yet widespread, it still would be more than enough to qualify this unit as HD bluetooth audio capable.
However, there's no indication anywhere whether if it's the case. There's no specification page on Belkin's website. In fact, there's little technical information about this unit anywhere, not even the version of bluetooth it's using. I wrote to Belkin's support, and they didn't know about it, but they referred me to their technical support phone number. I called, and after a series of personal info collection questions, the representative had no idea why it's HD. He referred to the same website that's available to public, saying how having those digital connectors qualifies it as HD. However, the audio quality bottleneck is in the bluetooth throughput, and having the best connectors wouldn't change that. After repeated explanations, I basically got a "we don't know." Frustrated at the indifference, I requested to have a senior technical person to call me back on the issue. I haven't heard from Belkin since.
Frustratingly, I can't really verify if the unit really has HD Bluetooth Audio capability. For average, casual listening, this is probably adequate. However, if it doesn't have HD Bluetooth Audio capability, such as with an aptX codec, there's little that separates it from the smaller, cheaper brethren except the NFC sensor and larger footprint. Most importantly, there would be nothing HD about it. I hope it has AptX, as it would really set it apart and completes the product. If I ever get a call from Belkin, I'll update here. As it is, it's a great solution for a wireless audio setup, by itself or connected to home stereo/theater units. However, whether if it really is capable of high quality audio is still unanswered. It would also be better if Belkin's put more effort into its support and documentation.
Belkin finally called back. However, the representative is equally clueless about the HD feature, and again iterated the digital output as the reason for its HD designation. I again explained why it shouldn't be, and he promised another call back by someone even more senior (hmm). Whether it has aptX or BT 4.0 remains unanswered. I'll update if I ever hear from Belkin again.
There are other well-reviewed products showing up on the market, with explicit support for aptX and Bluetooth 4.0, or even NFC. On the positive side, it would suggest that: despite the lack of any documented indication, this Belkin HD unit likely shares similar HD audio specs (aptX compression) due to component availability. Belkin HD receiver also seem to be unique in its support for digital outputs. If it's truly aptX enabled, Belkin HD's combination of NFC, aptX and digital out make it a unique and competitive product. On the other hand, we just can't be sure. It might be worth it to research the alternatives, as the Belkin premium hasn't quite translated into better support, yet.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
[5/12/14: I've just raised my rating after having more success with this item than I had anticipated (previously I'd tried a similar Logitech device that I had to send back). The tiny Belkin BT Receiver is seeing and pairing up consistently and almost immediately with the various media targets of my iPods (and now a Kindle Fire HDX7). In fact, I'm able to run a TV (with Roku) or a Sony HD radio (with input) equally well, both on a kitchen counter 20 feet away from my treadmilling. It's even appreciated by my wife, who no longer has to negotiate long cables strung across the kitchen on her way to the laundry room. And the tiny size of this overachieving little puck can as easily be seen as a plus vs. the newer, large-sized model.]
[5/28: Occasionally the wireless can be erratic, not being seen or not pairing up with the transmitting device. I've discovered that simply unplugging the Belkin from AC and, after a second or two, plugging it back in will re-establish the wireless connection,]
Belkin is a name that, in my experience, has nearly always represented value. I don't know what I'd do without the Belkin Caddy that's continually charging all 5 of my mobile devices at the same time. Moreover, Belkin powerstrips--both for heavy-duty home use and for traveling--have proven better designed, more versatile, more dependable than competitors' higher priced products.
This model of the Belkin Song Stream Bluetooth Music Receiver has been discontinued but is also so deeply discounted that the two speaker cables--one employing a single 3.5mm plug for insertion into your non-Bluetooth amplifier; the other with two RCA plugs (which are commonly used on the backs of most traditional stereo amplifiers and receivers)--are alone worth the price.
Since there are so many questions about the exact use of this product, I'll try to answer that up front: it's primarily intended for playing your iPod's or tablets music files or movies wirelessly through a conventional stereo music system that has a separate amplifier (or receiver) but lacks Bluetooth connectivity. If you limit your listening at home to a single BlueTooth Speaker such as a Bose SoundLink, Jambox, JBL OnTouriBT, or practically any other "wireless" self-contained speaker system, it's doubtful you'll have any need for this Belkin Music Receiver or any other brand that's similar to it. It requires an iPhone, iPod Touch or similar device that's capable of transmitting via Bluetooth PLUS a system that is NOT capable of receiving a Bluetooth signal. And that's where the Belkin Receiver enters the picture. My unit came without directions, which could present a problem for even experienced "Blue-toothers."
The steps: I connected the Belkin receiver, first plugging the attached cable into AC and then selecting of the two cables mentioned above to plug into my receiver (if your amp or receiver accepts only a 1/8" Phone plug, you'll need to pick up an adaptor). My two iPods immediately "saw" the Belkin receiver, registering the following on their screens "Belkin Songstream BT." My iPod screen then reported that my receiver was "Discoverable" but not "Paired." And here's where the problem arose. Each time I tried to pair an iPod with the Belkin receiver, I was first presented with a screen requiring a PIN number, something I had never encountered with any of my speakers with built-in Bluetooth. It was then that I went to the Belkin site for help and, upon finding none, went to the internet. Fortunately, Google directed me to the complete step-by-step instructions (mostly unnecessary if you've ever used Bluetooth) and the missing but essential PIN number, which is: "0000".
Simply enter that number and you should be in business, your Bluetooth device (iPod, etc.) PAIRING with the Belkin Receiver. If not, try playing your iPod through your stereo by extending a the appropriate cable to various inputs on the back of your stereo receiver or amplifier. If a wired connection works, then you can be assured that a wireless connection will work simply by disconnecting the cable from your iPod and plugging it into the Belkin Receiver. (Don't give up on either connection too quickly. I finally found an input that would work only after I'd restarted my amp and gone back to it a 2nd time.)
As others have reported, the range and sound quality may not be up to your pristine LP collection. But it sounded as good as any other Bluetooth connection to my ears, and the signal wasn't disrupted as I walked from the kitchen through the dining room to the living room. My only small caveat is that, besides affording me very little advantage over a wired connection, the pictured (now discontinued) receiver is so small that, unless you use velcro or sticky tape, it's unlikely to stay in place for long, regardless of where you decide to put it. Belkin's newer, improved version (more than twice as expensive) is both bigger and heavier--and by most accounts more powerful in terms of range. (On the other hand, there are advantages to a tiny gadget.)
You could buy similar cables for $10, but they'll be heavier and less flexible as well as more subject to static and signal breakups. Even if I decide the Belkin Receiver is one more gadget that I don't need, I can always play an iPod through my system with one of the included cables and have a spare. And the Belkin "puck" is just small and heavy enough to be worth saving as a paperweight.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I'm reluctant to give this unit five stars. Now you may notice I did give it five stars, but I'll explain why I had to argue with myself as to whether it was deserved.
Firstly all of the marketing promotional material show a single cable going into this little Bluetooth puck receiver but at no point does this item work this way. It requires a 3.5mm connection to your stereo equipment (usual connection is 3.5 to red/white RCA phono and this cable is supplied which is excellent). *And* it also requires power via the supplied 12v DC power block. So There's always two cables going into it, not one as shown. Ive read reviews from impulse buyers who understandably assumed this was battery operated or used some other means of power that wouldn't need an outlet to juice it. I realize that may be naive but that's exactly what every promo photo is implying that Belkin puts out (aside from package content photos).
So keep that in mind: this one hundred percent needs power and a hardwired connection to your speaker set up.
Secondly, there's a weird piece of metal which it is believed by most is there solely to weigh the puck down and suggest more value for money to the buyer. Heavier equals more well made I guess. When you remove this metal piece (which is insanely easy to do) the signal distance increases by a factor of three or so and therefore to get the most out of it you should ideally perform a tiny amount of surgery before getting the most optimal performance reducing dropouts to zero.
But having said that, this is a stunningly effective unit that delivers high-quality static-free audio without issue and allows modern and ancient thirty year old equipment to connect your device such as your phone or tablet seamlessly and simply.
It really is a five star product that is slightly marred by marketing decisions but do buy with confidence as it's a fantastic tiny gem of an item.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2013
I contacted Belkin technical support to ask a simple but important question. Does the new G3A2000 music receiver run Bluetooth V3.0 or V2.0 ?
Unfortunately Belkin do not know and showed little interest in finding out.
Bluetooth V3.0 offers lower file compression and higher frequency thereby receiving far better sound at longer range than Bliuetooth V2.0. There is more to HD sound than offering coax cable or optical connect to your music system. So before spending an extra $40 over the other device, Belkin F8Z492TTP ($24), it would really help everyone if one of you technical enthusiasts find an answer. Good luck if you need Belkin tech support on 1-800-223-5546.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2013
Many have reported distortion problems. I too had this out-of-the-box experience, yes, even with the HD unit.
If you do get distortion and you're using the coaxial or optical interface, try disabling EVERYTHING on your receiver due to Dolby Volume. I found this cleaned up the gross distortion issue, and this isn't the only product with this "behaviour".
As for subtle distortion, I'm still testing. It "sounds" as though there is "something" in some tracks, but I haven't narrowed it down yet. You would think digital in to digital out, but there is normally some interpretation in between.
As for range issue, I'm at 60ft through walls and floors without issues. The unit is sitting on 60 lbs of power amplifier metal.
Setup was pretty easy. I give it only 3 stars (middle) as I'm still testing the unit and it isn't as sexy as the Sony.
Also, the coaxial cable that comes with the unit fits too loosely. Where is the quality control? I guess for the price you can't expect much.
Do yourself a favour and break away from MP3. Go loss-less. At least it minimizes distortion in the system.
Ok, there is something down at low frequencies, but not all, just some combination down there and jerks the distortion.
Tried through analogue but this jack seems not to be working.
My Alpine BT head-unit in the car does not show these same issues.
Sitting on the fence whether to keep the Belkin...
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2013
The effective range is more than adequate for our house (2300 sq ft; 2 floors and a basement). The sound quality is fine; very enjoyable. We use it primarily with an "extra" iPhone 4 and a 70's Onkyo receiver. Occassionally we have to turn BT off/on to get it connected again. The off/on process seems necessary more frequently when we connect multiple (though only one-at-a-time, of course) BT players to it. Currently, the price seems high, and Amazon is charging ten dollars over list at the time of this writing. Home stereo receivers will all have BT capability in the near future; some already do. The cost of the subject Belkin product might justify the purchase of a new home stereo receiver.
I'm really happy to be able to reliably control music played through our home stereo from anywhere in the house. It's very nice.