on March 13, 2013
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.
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.
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.
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.
I own an old Zenith stereo system that was built in the lat 1970's. I hold onto it because it is better quality than the audio components that are currently available. (Do you REALLY think that today's fancy electronics will still be in your home 30+ years from now???) Plus, it has a turntable, and I still like to play my vinyls. Sadly, as technology advances, my old faithful stereo system is getting left behind. Enter the Belkin Song Stream Bluetooth Music Receiver!
This wonderful little item has two different connection wires - a 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm cable that fits standard headphone jacks and will work well with your newer electronics. But there is also an OLD FASHIONED 3.5 mm to RCA red and white plug-in jack that fits into the older electronic systems. I simply plugged the Belkin into a nearby electric outlet, connected the input plugs into the stereo jacks, turned on the amp and speakers, and VOILA! The latest model Mac computer in my study streams sound into the 30 year old stereo system in my den! It isn't just for music either! I get audio books, streaming internet radio, webinars. as well as music, and anything else that is audio based. I LOVE IT!!!
Another thing I like is that it is SO SIMPLE to set up. It comes with instructions, but they aren't needed. This device is intuitive and takes less than 5 minutes to completely install. Just think! It took me exactly 5 minutes to hook it up to my stereo, pair it with my computer and proceed to play whatever I wanted to listen to! WOW! It is so simple to set up that I don't feel stuck using it only with den my stereo system...it is about the size of a deck of cards (a little smaller), and if I want to listen in my bedroom, basement, or deck, all I have to do is take it to the device that I want to use and plug it in. So Easy.
When I review items, I usually include a section of cons, but there is nothing I don't like about the Belkin. It is exactly what I wanted for my audio set up.
This item is a great hit with me and I unreservedly recommend it to anyone who wants to update an older unit to modern bluetooth technology.
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!
on July 6, 2015
Having tried various other models (Monoprice 110248, Satechi, Yamah YBA-11) I can you that this is easily a much better unit. I consider myself an audiophile, having installed various electronics over the years as well has designing and building some audio electronics including solid state and tube audio. I trust my ears and can tell when sound is good or poor, especially considering how terrible some of today's compressed formats sound vs. a higher-quality, higher bitrate audio source.
Note: I use my Belkin SongStream at it's maximum audio capability: I have the unit in a car application, powered by a mini switching power supply, connected via TOSLINK optical cable to an Alpine 24-bit signal processor/EQ/crossover (PXA-H701) for a PURE digital connection from my audio source (Galaxy Note II) all the way to the the audio processor. Analog outputs work very well as well (tested them in the past). I use the Note II as it provides A2DP & APTX Bluetooth support.
With the Belking my set-up sounds GREAT. Very clear, and distinctly better than other music sources except for DVD audio, DVD video, or standard CDs, although it would be hard to compare sometimes.
Unlike other units, the Belkin does not seem to produce random noise artifacts (a harsh BSSHHRRTTT sound at times) and does not appear to have issues with muting the sound output during the beginning of some audio tracks, which on other units causes a near 2-second loss of audio!
Audio is excellent, and I have tested it with good audio sources such as: Lossless FLAC, Dolby Pro Logic II encoded music, 320kbps .MP3, and .CDA files. MX Player allows me to test various formats it supports, including the lossless FLAC and others.
Stereo separation is very nice, and paired with a high-quality amplifier, it is very nice for a Bluetooth signal stream! I remember the days of first using a simple Bluetooth analog-output audio receiver, my how bad that was!
I tried other units and was very frustrated and annoyed with randomly having the first 2 seconds of songs muted, and random clicks and grinding sounds. I no longer have this issue since switching to the Belkin and have been greatly enjoying it.
I can't vouch for the signal range, as my phone is in close proximity to the receiver in my car application. However, I believe these can be modified to improve the range.
[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.
I used to plug my phone into my old school stereo system to stream music via the headphone jack...very limiting as the phone is tethered to the stereo. Then I see the Belkin Song Stream offered on the Vine....I order it and my days of having my phone sitting on top of the stereo are over. I haven't tried it from super far away, but the phone can be on the end table or coffee table and the blue tooth streams great. As someone mentioned the sound quality is awesome. Yes, the unit itself has to be plugged into a power source and the stereo...but my phone - my phone is free to roam the room with me or just sit on the end table or I can play Words With Friends sitting in the recliner while streaming music....it's so simple, so easy! I have not had any problems with interference, so I can't speak to those who have. I use this a lot and I love that I don't have to go through the rigmarole of setting up the phone to play through the stereo anymore, just turn on the stereo, choose my music, hit play.
All the reviews about how easy this thing is to set up are completely accurate. I opened the box, plugged in the tiny device to the power strip, then to the stereo then searched for it on my phone and voila - MUSIC!! Took all of 2 minutes.
I'm a very happy camper! Honestly, especially at the price it is, should something happen I'd buy another one in a heartbeat.
on April 29, 2014
This product is excellent. It seamlessly allows my children and I to easily play music through our home theater from our phones, laptops and computers without a hitch. When friends come over, all they have to do is tap the disk or go into their Bluetooth setting and simply connect. The sound quality is also exceptional. I strongly recommend this product and it is definitely worth the price.