For better or worse smartphone giants like Apple, Google, Huawei, and HTC have said their last farewell to 3.5 mm audio jacks on phones. Going forward, their customers will have to use wireless audio solutions instead.
Many phones include a pair of introductory Bluetooth headphones to aid with the transition, but for audio enthusiasts, having to say goodbye to your favorite pair of wired headphones is a real slap in the face.
Sure, there are some great options for wireless listening, but why buy a brand new pair when there are other options. Specifically, you can adapt your classic cans to new device standards using a Bluetooth receiver.
It is true that Bluetooth wireless protocol has a bandwidth limit that prevents it from pumping out the same detail of sound as wired headphones, but takes a seriously trained ear to notice the nuances in data bitrate. Trust me, I’ve tried.
It is also true that Bluetooth carries a lot of convenience, mainly not being tied down to your media source as you listen. And for the most part, these devices are pretty cheap.
You can shell out for one of the best bluetooth receivers for headphones and still have money leftover for a decent new pair of wired headphones before you spend the same amount on a good Bluetooth pair.
So when you’re ready to make the switch, you can read on below to browse through our picks for the best bluetooth receiver for headphones.
1. Mpow Bluetooth 2-in-1 Bluetooth Receiver/Transmitter
Mpow’s solution to analog/digital conversion is a pocket-sized device that can act as both a Bluetooth receiver and a Bluetooth transmitter. Using this box as a receiver will allow it to connect to your wireless audio source via the device’s Bluetooth settings.
Once connected, you can plug your headphones into the 3.5mm jack, and enjoy lag-free wireless streaming while you tuck this battery-powered device in your pocket. Keep in mind that this unit is not an amplifier, so this will not work with high-impedance headphones.
At home, you can also utilize the Bluetooth transmitter feature by attaching a wired source with the included 3.5mm patch cable, then converting the signal to Bluetooth for a pair of wireless headphones to receive. Don’t count on making this a permanent wireless transmitter though, as the device has a rechargeable battery and it cannot be used to transmit while charging.
For mobile use, however, the average six hours of battery life in receiver mode is plenty of time to enjoy a day of headphone listening without tying down your new iPhone.
2. TaoTronics Portable Wireless Audio Adapter
TaoTronic’s pocket-friendly Portable Wireless Audio Adapter is exemplary of everything you would want from a wireless dongle for a pair of headphones.
It is compact and form, and minus not having a pocket clip, is pretty much ideal for use with headphones. It is battery-powered and micro USB rechargeable, getting about 15 hours of use out of one charge, and recharging in as little as 2 hours.
It creates a powerful Bluetooth 4.1 signal, with A2DP audio profile enabled for improved streaming with compatible devices. You can even connect it to two devices simultaneously.
Headphones are connected via a 3.5mm port, but the device also comes with a male-to-male 3.5mm adapter (pictured above) to connect to stereo systems.
Yet you won’t get the full utility out of its built in tracking controls and voice call microphone unless you use it with headphones. You’ll be especially glad to have these features when your phone is out of reach.
3. Etekcity Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Receiver
The Roverbeats Unify from Etekcity Wireless is a much smaller Bluetooth receiver than the above choices, and by that grace alone, makes it a great gadget to bring along whenever you want to use your favorite headphones.
The reason the Roverbeats can achieve such a small form factor is that it does not offer transmitter features, which is fine as they are only needed if you have wireless headphones to connect to a wired source. And if you have wireless headphones, you wouldn’t necessarily need a receiver in the first place, would you?
Another benefit that this device has is a ten hour battery life, which is enough extra juice to provide most with another day of use without charging. Combine a longer battery life and a more compact form factor, and you have a highly viable option for wireless freedom.
Price: $19.99 (20 percent off MSRP)
4. Antec Smart Bean Portable Bluetooth Receiver
The Smart Bean from Antec is a stylish Bluetooth receiver that maintains a small profile despite having a full set of audio controls built right in. As a receiver only, this device can pack a lot of value into a small package, and its built-in belt clip helps keep your pockets free of extra clutter.
This adapter is easy to use and gets an average seven hours of use from one charge. And unlike other Bluetooth receivers, this unit has a microphone built in, which solves the universal problem of headphone mics not working through Bluetooth.
As a Bluetooth accessory that can actually improve your user experience with your headphones, the Smart Bean is definitely worth considering.
Price: $24.58 and up
5. Riversong Mini Bluetooth Receiver
The Riversong Mini Bluetooth Receiver is by far the most convenient portable way to convert your old headphones to Bluetooth wireless.
This low profile device is so small that you can roll up your headphone cable and tuck it away in a backpack or a pocket. The only downside for headphone use is that this dongle has a male 3.5mm connector hardwired on, so you will need a female-to-female 3.5mm connector to link it to some cans.
Once you do, though, you will access to clear Bluetooth 4.1 streaming from up to two devices simultaneously.
It offers up to 5 hours of battery life, and recharges in about 1.5 hours via micro USB. This is a good pick if you do not need a second set of controls built into your Bluetooth receiver. But it also has a a built-in microphone if you do still want the ability to take phone calls.
6. Jumbl Bluetooth Streaming Adapter
The Jumbl Bluetooth Streaming Adapter is a small clip-on Bluetooth receiver that has large tracking buttons built for on the go use.
Its compact form factor and 10 hour battery life make it a great tool to use while traveling, and it even has a built-in microphone to add voice call capability to headphones that did not have it before.
Another neat feature is that it has multipoint connectivity, allowing you to wirelessly connect multiple media sources via Bluetooth 4.0. Hook it up to a sound system and you just created a collaborative DJ setup.
For all of these reasons, the Jumbl sits among the best bluetooth receiver for headphones.
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