Bring Your Music System Into the 21st Century – Audioengine B1

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b1 front
B1 front side

So here’s the problem.  You’ve got this great legacy music system.  A dynamite set of floor standing speakers you’ve had for years.  Maybe you have a top end amplifier like a Macintosh or Citation.  And then you’ve got all this music on your tablet or smartphone that you’ve downloaded from iTunes, Amazon, or someplace else.  Now, how do you get all that music that’s stored on today’s gadgets into a music system that you’ve had since 1973?  And do it with great quality?  The Audioengine B1 Premium Bluetooth Music Receiver is one answer.  It’s certainly not the only Bluetooth device on the market that will let you hook up your mobile device to a legacy music system.  But the Audioengine may be the best.  it couples a high end Bluetooth receiver with Audioengine’s excellent 24 bit Digital Audio Converter (DAC) technology.  And wit will upconvert your mp3 files to get the most from your music.

Here’s how the company describes what the device does:

The audio quality of most Bluetooth products isn’t usually very inspiring and their limited range can be frustrating. The B1 solves these problems by implementing the aptX codec, which is a high-quality audio converter designed specifically for audio. The B1 also has special circuitry and a precision-tuned antenna to extend the wireless range, providing much more versatility than other Bluetooth receivers.

B1 back
B1 rear view

i was able to setup the B1 in a matter of minutes.  I opened the box.  Plugged it into the wall.  Connected the audio cords to the B1 and to my Hi Res Audio Receiver,. Then I paired it to my iphone (a process that literally took only a few seconds).  Once I set the input on my receiver, instant great music from my smartphone.  It worked equally well using the optical output on the B1.  Then I tried connecting it to my Audioengine A5+ powered speakers with equal ease.  There’s no software to install, and no drivers to load.  It’s just plain simple.  And yes, the music quality is substantially better than what I’ve gotten out of my iPhone with other wireless speaker systems.  Price is $189.  Is this good for Boomers and seniors?  A lot better than good.  It enables us to keep using those great legacy systems we love.  Setup is a breeze.  And the quality is terrific.  What am i missing?

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Gary is an award-winning journalist who has been covering technology since IBM introduced its first personal computer in 1981. Beginning at NBC News, then at ABC News, Ziff Davis, CNN, and Fox Business Network. Kaye has a history of “firsts”. He was the first to bring a network television crew to the Comdex Computer Show, the first technology producer on ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, the first to produce live coverage of the Solar Power International Conference, and the creator of the Fox Business Network signature series, “Three Days In The Valley”. Along the way he created the History Channel Multimedia Classroom. He has been a contributor to both AARP’s website and to AARP radio, as well as to a handful of other print and web-based publications where he specializes in issues involving boomers/seniors and technology. He has been a featured speaker and moderator at industry events such as the Silvers Summit and Lifelong Tech Conferences at CES, the M-Enabling Health Summit, and the What’s Next Baby Boomer Business Summit. His column, “Technology Through Our Eyes” appears in half a dozen newspapers and websites across the country.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Gary

    You’ve missed the Arcam $299 rBlink, the original Bluetooth HD component and the $149 miniBlink its affordable portable cousin.

    Have a look http://www.arcam.co.uk

    Both do the job better than any other Bluetooth streamer, happy to send you a miniBlink to verify my claims!

    Tried emailing you via Tech50

    Arcam do a whole range of Hi-Res audio components including airPlay

    Please get in touch

    Cheers Robert

  2. Nice review, Gary – thanks for sharing.

    I was on a search recently for the best aptX Bluetooth receiver and have both the $299 Arcam rBlink and the $189 Audioengine B1. Ended up keeping both – but I have to say I prefer the B1. Sound is incredible(!), range is very impressive (2+ rooms), and BT connection is super-simple.

    Also tried out the Avantree “Saturn” for $40, which was well, worth about $40 (sound was so-so and range was terrible – maybe 15 feet). The Avantree also includes a battery, and while that was nice, I was always forgetting to charge it up so had to leave it on wall-power all the time anyway. So… hands-down I strongly recommend checking out the Audioengine B1!

    Hope my feedback helps.
    Hugh

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