MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I never thought about rolling my own 3.5mm cable with right angle plugs - might be the answer to getting things sorted in the car

If it's anything similar to my car, it is the only option.

In my Mazda the 3.5mm jack is neatly hidden away inside the driver's armrest/storage bin, but it's mounted so close to the top that when you close the armrest "lid" there is just about no clearance for anything but a right angle terminated cable.

The Neutrik NTP3RC-B plug I chose is both high quality and also really small/low profile, however in most cases the even sturdier Switchcraft 35HD Series right angle plug could be substituted, if using a larger gauge of wire for instance, and the Switchcraft plug is even easier than the Neutrik is to solder/assemble.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled Bluetooth speaker programming, with our sincere apologies to the OP (oh wait... that's me). ;)
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
On Friday afternoon a colleague of mine showed me his new Sony Noise Canceling headphones, the WH-1000XM3, which he bought to tune out the noise on flights. He has a trip to Florida next week:

1000XM3.jpg

While noise canceling was the primary reason he bought these headphones, he came to me to ask about their Bluetooth spec, something he was unfamiliar with called LDAC. This Sony custom implementation was originally only available on the Sony Experia range of Android phones, and certain Walkman source players. But since the release of Android 8.0 Oreo it has quietly flown under the radar as available for other OEMs to implement should they choose to, as a core piece of the Android Open Source Project.

My colleague's phone is a Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and after pairing the new 1000XM3 with his phone's Bluetooth connection, an LDAC On/Off switch appeared in his Settings menu. Apparently Samsung has elected to bake the Sony LDAC version of the Bluetooth codec into their Oreo 8.0 implementation.

It's an impressive spec, if adoption takes off with other OEMs both on the source and speaker/headphone side of things, it will be safe to answer this thread's topic with an emphatic NO, not all Bluetooth sucks. This Sony codec handles Bluetooth wireless transmission of PCM up to 24-bit/96kHz (or 990kbps). You can even feed it 24/192 and the track still plays, however it will be downsampled (half the samples are simply discarded). This seemingly trumps the competing Qualcomm standard known as aptX HD, which tops out at 24/48kHz.

I listened to these headphones for about 15-20 minutes and came away quite impressed, though that's not to say some wouldn't prefer various good ole' fashioned passive 'phones that tether you with a wire to a source. But the world is changing quickly, and normal people (read: non-audiophiles) want the convenience as well as noise canceling. These run approximately 30 hours on their integral USB-C rechargeable battery.

Stowed.jpg

Nice travel piece for sure, I'll be curious to see if Sony's strategy of open-sourcing the codec gives them a real leg-up on aptX HD, or for that matter entices any large number of OEMs to include this tech in other headphones and Bluetooth speakers.

If Samsung is any indication it looks like it is happening, as Samsung is a direct Sony competitor, however their motivation there is differentiation with iOS and grabbing mobile handset market share from Apple, so that could be an example of a unique/special circumstance. But with Samsung's acquisition of Harman International in March 2017, there is at least the potential for licensed use of this LDAC codec in various other high-end brand equipment, both AKG and JBL come to mind.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
After hearing the above mentioned Sony WH-1000MK3 Bluetooth headphones with the 24-bit/96kHz capable LDAC codec, I also tried that at home using a Samsung Tab A Android tablet as source with the LDAC codec compatible Sony SRS-X88 speaker, which I already own and use in my desktop system.

LDAC.png

Those headphones and the SRS-X88 in LDAC mode are really the only impressive Bluetooth I've ever heard, though the AAC codec at full bitrate is at least acceptable in non-critical listening environments, as is the non-HD version of the aptX codec.

But the standard SBC codec used by nearly all Bluetooth speaker manufacturers really does suck. Faced with the SBC choice only, as with my Marshall Kilburn portable speaker, I'll be going to the time and trouble of rigging up a wired source every time.

But what if I gave that LDAC codec a real chance, and without the limitations of a very small powered speaker being integral to the setup?

I've decided to give that a whirl with the FiiO BTA30 Bluetooth transmitter/receiver, arriving sometime this week:

BTA30-Front.jpg
BTA30-rear.jpg
I'm thinking with my increased use of Qobuz to stream PCM, this unit might provide Bluetooth performance via the LDAC codec that is more than just a convenience option. Small gamble at $89 with Prime shipping.

There is also a competing unit from Topping, the BC3, which is not quite as feature laden being a receiver only (no Bluetooth transmit support), and digital output in the form of a 3.5mm mini Toslink optical, but no coax. The analog output, separate headphone and Line Out, are also on 3.5mm jacks. The BC3 is battery powered, which is said to last 12 hours, and is less expensive, currently $69 at Apos Audio.

If this unit passes muster I'll probably leave it in my living room system, in anticipation of the day I can actually host guests again (imagine that), they could stream from their phone over Bluetooth, a request I've always had to turn down in the past. I could even then play the same song again with my phone, using Qobuz and LDAC for comparison purposes, just so they can assure me they hear little or no difference, and that I really must be out of my mind. 🤪

I relish that opportunity in a post-COVID world, though I guess I'll have to check all guest's NY State COVID Passport first before letting them in the house. :chin
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
I did find a Sony SRS X77 for my wife as well (one for the living room, one for the family room - she likes to listen to podcasts while she's working on her plantings / seedlings). It's even better than the SRS X55, but sadly, no longer available.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
After hearing the above mentioned Sony WH-1000MK3 Bluetooth headphones with the 24-bit/96kHz capable LDAC codec, I also tried that at home using a Samsung Tab A Android tablet as source with the LDAC codec compatible Sony SRS-X88 speaker, which I already own and use in my desktop system.

Those headphones and the SRS-X88 in LDAC mode are really the only impressive Bluetooth I've ever heard, though the AAC codec at full bitrate is at least acceptable in non-critical listening environments.

But the standard SBC codec used by nearly all Bluetooth speaker manufacturers really does suck. Faced with the SBC choice only, as with my Marshall Kilburn portable speaker, I'll be going to the time and trouble of rigging up a wired source every time.

But what if I gave that LDAC codec a real chance, and without the limitations of a very small powered speaker being integral to the setup?

I've decided to give that a whirl with the FiiO BTA30 Bluetooth transmitter/receiver, arriving sometime this week:

View attachment 34736
View attachment 34737
I'm thinking with my increased use of Qobuz to stream PCM, this unit might provide Bluetooth performance via the LDAC codec that is more than just a convenience option. Small gamble at $89 with Prime shipping.

There is also a competing unit from Topping, the BC3, for $10 less and not quite as feature laden, however that one is out of stock. The BC3 is battery powered.

If this unit passes muster I'll probably leave it in my living room system, in anticipation of the day I can actually host guests again (imagine that). They could actually stream from their phone over Bluetooth, something I've always had to turn down in the past when requested. I could even then play the same song again with my phone, using Qobuz and LDAC for comparison purposes, just so they can assure me they hear little or no difference, and that I really must be out of my mind. 🤪

I relish that opportunity in a post-COVID world, though I guess I'll have to check all guest's NY State COVID Passport first before letting them in the house. :chin
It looks nice!
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
After hearing the above mentioned Sony WH-1000MK3 Bluetooth headphones with the 24/96 capable LDAC codec, I also tried that at home using a Samsung Tab A as source and the LDAC codec compatible Sony SRS-X88 speaker, which I already owned and used in my desktop system.

Those headphones and the SRS-X88 in LDAC mode are really the only impressive Bluetooth I've ever heard, though the AAC codec at full bitrate is at least acceptable in non-critical listening environments.

The standard SBC codec used by nearly every Bluetooth speaker manufacturer really does suck though. Faced with that choice only, as with my Marshall Kilburn portable speaker, and I'll be going to the time and trouble of rigging up a wired source every time.

But what if I gave that LDAC codec a real chance, without the limitation of a small battery powered speaker being integral to the setup?

I've decided to give that a whirl with the FiiO BTA30 Bluetooth transmitter/receiver, arriving sometime this week:
View attachment 34736
View attachment 34737
I'm thinking with my increased use of Qobuz to stream PCM, this unit might provide Bluetooth performance via the LDAC codec that is a bit more than just a convenience option. Small gamble at $89 with Prime shipping.

There is also a competing unit from Topping, the BC3, for $10 less and not quite as feature laden, however that one is out of stock. The BC3 is battery powered.

If this unit passes muster I'll probably leave it in my living room system, in anticipation of the day I can actually have guests over again (imagine that). They could actually stream from their phone over Bluetooth, something I've always had to turn down in the past when requested. I could even then play the same song again with my phone, using Qobuz and LDAC for comparison purposes, just so they can assure me they hear little or no difference, and I really must be out of my mind. 🤪

I relish that opportunity in a post-COVID world, though I guess I'll have to check all guest's NY State COVID Passport first before letting them in the house. :chin
I have the iFi Zen Blue Bluetooth receiver in my system. It only gets used when guests are over (rare these days) or when my wife doesn’t want to remember how the BlueSound server works. It sounds pretty good... certainly listenable and enjoyable if you don’t think about comparing it directly. I had bought it for this place when all the better streaming stereo gear was in our house in Michigan, instead of here.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I have the iFi Zen Blue Bluetooth receiver in my system. It only gets used when guests are over (rare these days) or when my wife doesn’t want to remember how the BlueSound server works. It sounds pretty good... certainly listenable and enjoyable if you don’t think about comparing it directly. I had bought it for this place when all the better streaming stereo gear was in our house in Michigan, instead of here.
Thats probably what I should have bought, very clearly a superior build quality (the BTA30 is plastic), however I went the cheap route knowing FiiO has actually been around a while now, and their portable DAPs are very highly regarded as good value for the money.

The other option also sold on Amazon Prime that was the same price point of the FiiO, but exhibits a similar looking build quality as the Zen is something called an xDuoo XQ-50 Pro, which even has a 1.3" OLED display. But I have no experience with xDuoo, and I have an aversion to strange sounding Chi-fi brands, so I skipped it even though it seems to have similar or identical internals and specs as the FiiO unit, along with a metal chassis.
 

adaug

Awaiting Updated Member Status.
The other option also sold on Amazon Prime that was the same price point of the FiiO, but exhibits a similar looking build quality as the Zen is something called an xDuoo XQ-50 Pro, which even has a 1.3" OLED display. But I have no experience with xDuoo, and I have an aversion to strange sounding Chi-fi brands, so I skipped it even though it seems to have similar or identical internals and specs as the FiiO unit, along with a metal chassis.

i bought an xDuoo headphone amp that's pretty nice for the price ($300-ish). drop carries the brand. unlike many of the cheap tube amps, the xDuoo uses "normal" type tubes (12AU7 and its equivalents), which was the deciding factor for me. based on this experience, i have no trouble with xDuoo at budget price points.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
I get a little bit inhibited by the thought of buying products with brand names I can't even imagine how to pronounce! :confused: :o

... full disclosure: I have a FiiO thing I bought some years back on close-out from PE. Actually, I think I have two FiiO things from PE.
They were cheap enough that I wasn't dissuaded by having no idea how to pronounce.
That said, I can only "talk" about them in the cyberspheres -- since I have no idea how to say the name.
If pressed, I would say FI-oh (long "i" sound), like fido but sans "D"), or sort of like that "HI-oh!"sound Ed McMahon used to make on The Tonight Show but with an "F" sound at the beginning instead of an "H" sound

I mean... really.
xDuoo
. How is that pronounced?

1617133789448.png
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Oh and I do have an actual Bluetooth speaker. It’s the bedroom “stereo” sometimes but usually in the kitchen for listening to podcasts.

For what it is and what it cost on sale I like it. Sounds decent, about like a nice old boombox, but in a much smaller package.F27161D0-1C77-4A25-9308-859E37966AC6.jpeg
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
Maybe Stoddard and Moffat's next company will use a name taken from one of those click-languages from Africa (!)
... but I digress.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I get a little bit inhibited by the thought of buying products with brand names I can't even imagine how to pronounce!
You know when I wrote that last post, it hadn't dawned on me that both of the brands I mentioned were actually in that same category of strange sounding, or more specifically as you noted, I've really got no idea at all how to pronounce them.

I'd heard FiiO pronounced in online video reviews some years ago as "fee-oh", so that's how I've always said it since then, but I really don't know if thats right or wrong.

The one I referred to as strange sounding Chi-fi was xDuoo, and even after the clarification provided above by @adaug , I'm still not confident I can reliably say it moving forward.

I think these companies need to know that making up some unpronounceable name is not good for their brand if they covet sales in English-speaking territories. Not only is it just off-putting to the prospective buyer, but it also inhibits the ability to search for it on the internet if you can't even remember what the hell the ridiculous spelling actually is.

I'm intrigued by why this seems to occur so much with recent Chi-fi brands, when many years ago both Japanese and Taiwanese companies managed to come up with easier to remember brand names that were also somewhat logically or credibly spelled in English.

It's not as if there are no English-speaking people in China, just in Hong Kong alone you'd think there would be firms available that aid others in producing credible sounding and logically spelled English brand names for their wares, sort of like an advertising copy or branding specialist that could advise against anything too hard to pronounce or spell.

There are also distributors in China that do this same thing, have you ever visited the Dilvpoetry Store on Amazon? What the hell is Dilvpoetry? Who made that up and thought it sounded cool? It's very disconcerting or unsettling for me personally, I'm pretty sure I don't want anything from Dilvpoetry.
 

airdronian

Radar Member
You know when I wrote that last post, it hadn't dawned on me that both of the brands I mentioned were actually in that same category of strange sounding, or more specifically as you noted, I've really got no idea at all how to pronounce them.

I'd heard FiiO pronounced in online video reviews some years ago as "fee-oh", so that's how I've always said it since then, but I really don't know if thats right or wrong.

The one I referred to as strange sounding Chi-fi was xDuoo, and even after the clarification provided above by @adaug , I'm still not confident I can reliably say it moving forward.

I think these companies need to know that making up some unpronounceable name is not good for their brand if they covet sales in English-speaking territories. Not only is it just off-putting to the prospective buyer, but it also inhibits the ability to search for it on the internet if you can't even remember what the hell the ridiculous spelling actually is.

I'm intrigued by why this occurs so much with recent Chi-fi brands, when many years ago both Japanese and Taiwanese companies managed to come up with easier to remember brand names that were also somewhat logically or credibly spelled in English.

It's not as if there are no English-speaking people in China, just in Hong Kong alone you'd think there would be firms available that aid others in producing credible sounding and logically spelled English brand names for their wares, sort of like an advertising copy or branding specialist that could advise against anything too hard to pronounce or spell.

There are also distributors in China that do this same thing, have you ever visited the Dilvpoetry Store on Amazon? What the hell is Dilvpoetry? Who made that up and thought it sounded cool? It's very disconcerting or unsettling for me personally, I'm pretty sure I don't want anything from Dilvpoetry.
Dilvpoetry sold me my D10. 👿

Edit: there's always cool brands over at Shenzhen Audio, such as Dunu, Shozy, and crowd favourite Tipsy.
 
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MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Edit: there's always cool brands over at Shenzhen Audio
I struggle there too, for example, why would the brand S.M.S.L use a period to denote abbreviation of some sort after the S, M, S... but not the L?

SMSL.jpg

I need a better understanding of the naming convention before I can buy any S.M.S.L product.

The Dilvpoetry house brand is entirely out of the question, I'd hate myself forever.

Dilvpoetry.jpg
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
i bought an xDuoo headphone amp that's pretty nice for the price ($300-ish). drop carries the brand. unlike many of the cheap tube amps, the xDuoo uses "normal" type tubes (12AU7 and its equivalents), which was the deciding factor for me. based on this experience, i have no trouble with xDuoo at budget price points.
Bringing this thread back on topic (cuz I've never been known to derail my own thread!) it's good to know that the strange brand name and pronunciation are not necessarily a great reason to avoid xDuoo.

I'm glad your Drop purchase worked out well, and I will consider xDuoo in the future based on this. With an all-metal chassis, 1.3" OLED display, and specs identical to the FiiO unit, xDuoo's XQ-50 Pro was probably the pick of the litter here at just $89.
 
Seems that Klipsch has some interesting products in this market. From a small battery powered traditional bluetooth speaker system to the very interesting "The Fifteens" with several connectivity options, built in amps, phono stage, bluetooth, usb and optical and a horn tweeter with 15 inch woofers. These look like some serious speakers and perhaps a representation of what a high end wireless solution will look like.

Best of CES: Klipsch Heritage Wireless The Fifteen 2-Way...
I bought a Klipsch The One when PartsConnexxion had B stock for $149. The One | Battery Powered Bookshelf Stereo | Klipsch

It's very listenable but certainly not HiFi. No regrets.
 
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