Best bluetooth speaker under $300?

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by Quadman2, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. Quadman2

    Quadman2 Super Member

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    Working with a budget of $300 and wonder what is the best BT speaker in this area of cost.

    Would like to approach BT 4.0 and I'm sure that that spec or the equivalent is out there, but not sure if there's one on the market worth this cost, or even if I could obtain one for the money range I want to stay within.

    Suggestions?

    Q
     
  2. E.Auer

    E.Auer Well-Known Member

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    Why not just plug a CCA to any powered speakers of your choice?

    Eric
     
  3. benricci

    benricci Active Member

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    E.Auer likes this.
  4. benricci

    benricci Active Member

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    I find it's far superior to Bluetooth (I'm on iPhone but I'd imagine results on Android would be roughly equivalent). Chromecast can do lossless, which Bluetooth can't. Bluetooth compresses everything. And Bluetooth is much more prone to audio dropouts, which sucks. I like streaming over wifi with the Chromecast device because you can also control it from anywhere in your house. Bluetooth range, at least from my experiences, is too short and useless if you're not right near the damn receiver. Bluetooth is also a big battery hog on your phone or tablet :(

    In fact, I'm having a hard time coming up with anything in the "pro" column for BT streaming.
     
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  5. hi*ball

    hi*ball Records & Coffee Subscriber

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    Thanks @benricci!

    I actually deleted my post once I read about Chromecast in the link provided.

    Ordered mine today. 30 bucks.

    Thanks!
     
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  6. E.Auer

    E.Auer Well-Known Member

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    Switching to a CCA from BT will leave you impressed.

    And don't forget to enable "High Dynamic Range" in the settings for the CCA.

    Eric
     
  7. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    Just be aware that Bluetooth doesn't require wifi and most of the time the speakers can be battery powered. Casting, Airplay, DLNA, etc.. all require wifi, so they aren't always a good substitute for Bluetooth. As an example, at work, I use Bluetooth because I can't setup a Casting/Airplay device at the office. When I am at the beach and want to take a speaker out with me, Casting/Airplay isn't a substitute.

    If you are using the device inside and can use wifi, I think Casting or Airplay, depending on other factors, are definitely better options.
     
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  8. E.Auer

    E.Auer Well-Known Member

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    CCA doesn't require WiFi from a router ETC. https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/6109286?hl=en&ref_topic=6109288

    Some dudes over at Head-Fi used it on the go as a DAC of sorts, streaming to it from the phone and running it off a battery.
    Plugged in to headphones.

    Eric
     
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  9. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    Interesting. I hadn't seen that. Still not ideal since now you have another battery and device to worry about, in addition to the battery in the speaker, but I am curious enough to look into it. Could be interesting to see how that would work in a car with the aux input while charging off the USB port.

    Since my Chromecast Audio goes mostly unused in the house, I could move it out there and have the option to use it with Google Play.

    Note: As a side note, I believe Airplay can work without wifi, as well. There is some sort of board room setting on the AppleTV. I still think these are cumbersome alternatives to using a simple Bluetooth speaker, but to each their own.

    Also, do these work if you don't have your phone setup as a hotspot or when you are outside of cellular range...ie streaming from the hard drive of your phone in Airport mode?
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  10. Quadman2

    Quadman2 Super Member

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    Had not considered this other option using "chromecast". They have come down in price and offer more than one model...I think?

    Looking for outside use, but as good a sound as I can capture. We get spoiled if there's a decent sys in the basement and when on the deck, that quality just isn't there.

    Thanks for the shares to date.

    Q
     
  11. E.Auer

    E.Auer Well-Known Member

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    I don't see why not. Just the phone sending a wifi signal to a receiver (CCA).

    Eric
     
  12. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    I am going to test it in the next couple of weeks with the car setup I mentioned (not sure I will have time this weekend). However, it is definitely more interesting to me if I can just get in the car and send it a signal from the phone without pairing anything for hotspot use. I mainly use Bluetooth for car audio, but I am curious to see how this would sound.
     
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  13. Raynald

    Raynald AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Here's another curve, if you do have a 110v plug handy on the deck one of these with a little pair of used bookshelf speakers will kill any BT speaker and you can be up and running for under $100:

    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/302187122111?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

    I use one at the office, sounds very good with a small pair of Mission M70, tried it here with some PSB Alpha B1 and it was incredible. Plays BT from your phone or just load up a USB key or micro SD card with FLAC files for hours of lossless playback. You even get a remote!
     
  14. Quadman2

    Quadman2 Super Member

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    Now there's an interesting approach!

    Would just to keep one eye on the sky in case of a sudden downpour or go with some quality outdoor speakers...then there goes the low cost factor, eh? I do like the 4.0 BT aspect as well.

    Q
     
  15. Raynald

    Raynald AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    It's a slightly radical approach, but it works for me. I tried a small BT speaker at the office, it was fun and surprising for the size but by no means good sound. My little $50 or so combo sounds as good as I could hope for in an office setting.

    You just add a laptop power supply, a female plug like this:

    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/222238729822?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&var=521074918394&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

    and you are all set. Put some banana jacks on the ends of the wires going into the board and you are ready to dash in case of rain!
     
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  16. +48V

    +48V hi-fi or die

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    As I have before, just tossing this out as a great and very utilitarian option. The Fugoo XL is a most worthy and sturdy piece of audio gear.

    BT 4.0, extremely friendly & flawless connectivity, with "large" & distortion free sound... all the way to "eleven". (97db @ .5 meters) :) Google Now/ SIRI Compatible. Supports aptX. Real world 30+ hr. battery @60% volume.

    After much sleuthing, I snagged one with a sport jacket last year for beach and firepit use. But as I've become accustomed, it goes nicely anywhere/everywhere. Indoors, it easily fills a large room with surprisingly pleasing omni-directional sound. It's also extremely boob/clutz/whoops proof with with an IP67 rating.

    Last year MSRP was $299; I happily paid $249 via Amazon. Presently, it's $229 direct from Fugoo. Amazon, at the moment, has it for $179. Grab one now...and drive it around the block. No hassle 30 day return if not blown away. Big bang for buck.
     
  17. +48V

    +48V hi-fi or die

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    As for the CCA option. Yes it's very affordable, streams audio, and doesn't use the God forbid "audiophile dreaded" Bluetooth protocol ...but that comes with some significant caveats. I have two CCAs going on two years. One is in a drawer and the other serves duty as an 'emergency use only' device. For me, the CCA and/or the related app inter-operational intricacies/glitches of late have been a big buzz kill bummer. Connectivity is, politely...sweaty ballz.

    i.e. Latest version (as well as two prior) of the TuneIn app (iOS) is borked as shit. Click the Cast button, hear the "dong"...crickets. In order to kick-start the stream you must select a different station before it plays---Yet, the station & song info is stuck on the previous "dead" channel. WTF...major PITA. Airport Express...relatively flawless.

    On my Androids, while I do not experience the same initial connection foobar, the connection is flaky. Becomes unresponsive for whatever reason. Let the finger pointing begin, but it doesn't really matter whose "upgrade" broke who....the CCA gizmo is busted. I now only rarely use the one CCA in a region of the ranch where it happens to be plugged in and only for continuous (once connected via aforementioned hoops) radio streams. More below...

    But my biggest overall gripe with the CCA via it's method of handing off the stream from the source device is that it rudely breaks/does not support a critical feature. Namely gapless playback. Aside from the obvious faux paux with classical music, I'm a tried and true craft-radio sort where segues both lyrically and rhythmically of any genre is bloody essential. It varies, but who the hell wants up to an 8 sec. pause in the tunage?! So as far as my on-demand streaming needs...the CCA shtick gets kicked to the curb. As a two year veteran of the CCA...ptooey!

    /rant. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  18. E.Auer

    E.Auer Well-Known Member

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    My CCA's have been trouble free. No Issues what so ever.

    Hi-Fi Cast allows gapless playback. Nice little android player app.

    I won't go back to bluetooth for anything audio related.

    [​IMG]

    Eric
     
  19. +48V

    +48V hi-fi or die

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    Thanks. I'll take a look at Hi-Fi Cast. Although it appears gapless playback is for "compatible" (whatever that means) local files only. Locally I have no issues as I have several network players that handle that task handily.

    My issue/gripe is with streaming. Since the CCA does not support gapless playback natively, when it "takes over" the stream it breaks that feature of capable streaming apps. boohiss.

    No Bluetooth ever? That's a tall order for me as I want my tunes with me when and where ever I go with virtually zero hassle and shenanigans. Outdoors and at the beach, the relatively small SQ hit is completely indiscernible. Different strokes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  20. drew_t

    drew_t Well-Known Member

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    The one you want is the Chromecast Audio: https://store.google.com/us/product/chromecast_audio?hl=en-US

    The other models are for audiovisual streaming.
     
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