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Grace Digital GDI-BTAR513 100 Watt Digital Integrated Stereo Amplifier with Built-In AptX Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Receiver
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- Stream music via any Bluetooth enabled device such as a smartphone, tablet, PC, or MAC to our high performance integrated amplifier with built-in aptX Bluetooth 4.0 or play music from an additional audio source via the aux-in jack.
- True 100 watt class D digital amplifier powers any standard bookshelf or floor standing speakers and optional powered sub-woofer. We also include line out if you would like to connect powered speakers. THD < 0.1% at50w.
- The Compact size is perfect for your bookshelf, den, or computer desktop stereo system. Stream Pandora, SiriusXM, Internet radio or your iTunes music directly from your smartphone or Bluetooth enabled lap top or desktop computer.
- Front panel: audio source selection, volume, treble, bass, balance, LED indicators and standby button. Rear panel: power, speaker connections, line out, aux in, sub out to powered sub, external high performance Bluetooth antenna
- What's in the box: GDI-BTAR513 100 watt aptX Bluetooth 4.0 integrated amplifier, credit card style remote control, 25v 4.3A power adapter, high performance Bluetooth antenna, Aux in cable, 20' of speaker wire and manual.
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This item Grace Digital GDI-BTAR513 100 Watt Digital Integrated Stereo Amplifier with Built-In AptX Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Receiver
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|Output Wattage||100 watts||100 watts||80 watts||20 watts||50 watts||40 watts|
Enjoy all of your music, games and movies from your Android phone, iPhone, iPad or any Bluetooth enabled computer through our high quality Class D wireless aptX Bluetooth integrated amplifier. Just plug this compact brushed metal Bluetooth receiver with integrated amplifier into any standard bookshelf or powered speakers and pair your Bluetooth device. It's that easy to turn your Bluetooth enabled Smartphone into a wireless sound system for your office, den, kitchen or any room inside or outside your home. Stream music up to 36 feet (actual distance varies with use, settings and environmental conditions). Enhanced noise filtering to minimize noise imparted by any Bluetooth device! There are 2 differences between the GDI-BTAR513 and the GDI-BTAR512:1)The BTART513 removes the USB charging connection for smartphones and adds a volume controllable sub output for powered sub woofers with 500hz Crossover.2)The amplifier on the BTAR513 will power down if there is no Bluetooth audio for 15 minutes.
Top customer reviews
The amp itself, by the way, is a TPA-3116 based board. This turns out to be one of the amps that quite a few gearheads think are very, very good value for money. The DAC (used for the bluetooth, not for the line in) is a good one - a Wolfson 8731s that's a DAC apple has used in some of the early ipod and iphone assemblies.
However, the ROM on my main android device doesn't support aptx but only a2dp - on good speakers, it's obvious that you're not hearing what you might. This, of course, is no fault of the amp.
The other problems with it are the fault of the amp - great components, troublesome execution:
One big issue is the line input. When connected to a battery operated input, there's an audible hissing (white noise) about 20 db below program level - so, not loud, but very audible.
Another is the line in cable supplied with the amp. That was so bad that it also was making clicking noises. I swapped it out for a better cable and eliminated the clicks. I made the mistake of using it in a different connection - and to my astonishment, the clicks came back. I've never heard a 3/8 mini stereo cable done this badly before, and it took me by surprise and nearly prompted the return of the amp.
With the clicking sorted, the white noise remains very audible, and lead me to wonder if Grace isn't doing QA on the line in before shipping? I'll take them at their word that they ID'ed a fault in the design of the units and remedied it, so a properly QA'd unit should be powered on and listened to for artifacts.
If, however, you have a music source with a line out which plugs into power, the amp sounds very good. It looks as if you need both ends connected to the mains to eliminate the hiss.
Unfortunately, if you pause or stop playing audio even over the line in, the system shuts down. It's not a sleep mode, but an actual shutdown. Resuming playback can't wake it, it must be powered back on.
This last is really too bad - the documentation references shutdown on no stream, but I'd hoped the amp would behave differently with the line in connected, where there's always a signal even if the signal is zero - it's a different situation from a broken bluetooth connection.
There is a mod possible which is to tape or otherwise fasten down the power switch. Since the chip itself was designed to be on or off, the shutdown mode is not inherent to nor required by the chip. Holding the switch down keeps the amp up at all times - unless you use the power button on the remote, in which case the amp cycles, which can be helpful to do.
All in all, a nice little amp but far too flaky as delivered. I have mine doing what I want it to do, but I wouldn't be satisfied with the performance at all if I hadn't taken time to test different hookups and different cables, and if I hadn't known going in that I didn't have aptx and so should expect that audio over BT would not be great.
The Bluetooth implementation on these units has a major flaw it seems. On my unit while streaming aptx Bluetooth music the unit would glitch and drop out for a split second every 2 minutes or so interrupting the listening experience. It does not seem to be a bluetooth RF signal dropout problem but rather something in their firmware from what I diagnose. My guess is that the I/O stream buffer fills up with data and wraps itself around continuously (as it should if implemented properly) but I suspect when the buffer fills up and it goes to process the wrap around that's where it must do something wrong and causes it to drop a few data stream packets causing the music stream to hiccup and glitch. This happens every so often usually about 2 minutes apart on my particular unit. So I think Grace Digital has a defective design right now and they need to fix it. I returned my unit solely for this reason alone.
Now as for the rest of the performance rating, I really wanted to love this nicely packaged unit. I bought the one with the sub woofer output so that I can use a subwoofer when needed. The sound quality over Bluetooth was just so so, a bit muddied compared to when using the direct line input feed. Using the line input, the sound was very very good and totally acceptable. The Bluetooth receiver range was excellent as I was able to walk far away with my tablet and it did not lose signal nor disconnect... further than all my many other Bluetooth headphones and transceivers!
The remote control was a bit flaky and did not work out of the box until I removed the CR2025 coin battery serveral times and reinserted it. Also sometimes the buttons on the remote would not respond on first press needing you to press it again several times.
Overall I would have rated this feature rich Bluetooth amp 5 stars if it were not for the fatal Bluetooth firmware flaw. If Grace Digital steps up to fix this major flaw and guarantees and announces it publicly that they have a new improved updated fixed version of this amp, then I would indeed consider buying it again. This is an honest review of a unit I purchased from amazon.com prime myself.