5 Audio Streaming Solutions Under $99

Some of us have a lot of time on our hands these days, as we hunker down at home to follow the advice of epidemiologists who have spent their lives studying how viruses work. But remember that Isaac Newton (he wasn’t a “Sir” yet) came up with the theory of gravity, and continued work on the early calculus papers he wrote, while sitting out the plague at home. While our working at home may not produce the same kind of lofty results, it does give us time to think about how we can improve our business, and how we can hit the ground running when—not if—life returns to normal.

EZ Audio Everywhere

Whether you need music or audio for school and gym classes, Houses of Worship, aerobics, weddings, restaurants, karaoke, pre-show music, theatrical sound effects, or whatever, ditch the CD player, forget about your iPod (if you even remember it), turn off Spotify, and take advantage of the audio library on your smartphone. Stream audio to the Galaxy Audio JIB/BT4R mono Bluetooth receiver, plug it into any convenient XLR input (like what you’d find in a mixer or powered speaker), and you’re ready to go. Charge its internal, rechargeable battery from the micro USB port (with either an AC adapter or computer USB output), or leave it plugged in for permanent installs.

1_Galaxy XLR mono
The Galaxy Audio JIB/BT4R can’t wait to play back your mono Bluetooth audio.


Two-Way Rapid Transit

The VocoPro Transit RST-01 does Bluetooth streaming as a transmitter or receiver, in stereo. Operating at 5.8 GHz, you can either patch audio into its input and stream to a Bluetooth receiver, or stream Bluetooth to the Transit, and connect its audio output into a playback system. But the coolest feature here is that one Transit in transmit mode can send audio to another Transit in receive mode. So if you want to connect a non-Bluetooth audio source to a non-Bluetooth audio playback system, no problem—just tell two Transits to talk to each other. The Transit RST-01 has a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery that gives about 8 hours of runtime, but the same mini USB input that’s used for charging can also accept power from a USB power supply (not included) for continuous operation.

Send Bluetooth, receive Bluetooth…it’s all the same to the VocoPro Transit RST-01.


Music Education and Live Performance—Wires Need Not Apply

There are tons of iOS and MacOS apps devoted to music education and training, as well as live performance. But hooking up a keyboard to control them can be a tangled mess of wires, adapters, and flimsy connectors. Here’s where Yamaha’s expertise in music education pays off: Their MD-BT01 is a wireless Bluetooth-to-MIDI adapter for use with keyboards and other controllers that have 5-pin DIN MIDI connectors. Simply plug the keyboard into the MD-BT01’s DIN connectors, and you’re ready to send note data into any iOS/MacOS device running Bluetooth 4.0 or higher, with BLE (MIDI over Bluetooth Low Energy) compatibility. The MD-BT01 is great for recording practice and study sessions, and because it works wirelessly, an iOS device’s ports are still available for charging or running from AC adapters—you needn’t worry about the batteries running out. The MD-BT01 is compatible with iOS 8 or later, and OS X Yosemite or later.

3_Yamaha MD-BT01
Make music education and performance with iOS apps easier, thanks to wireless MIDI control.


It’s Bluetooth Time: Rack It Up!

So…you know there’s a Bluetooth audio receiver in your future, but you don’t want to mess with adapters and little boxes—you want a permanent install for your university, restaurant, gym, House of Worship, or wherever you need to stream in audio. Technical Pro’s Bluedeck-2 is ideal: its sleek, 1U rack design, exceptional range, low cost, and easy setup make it a no-brainer when you want any audio system to be Bluetooth-compatible. But it’s not just a bare-bones unit; it also has an aux input for wired connections, dual stereo RCA outs, bass/treble controls, and a headphone output. Hook this baby up, and you’ll be streaming audio from your laptop, smartphone, tablet, desktop, or other Bluetooth device in no time.

For permanent installs, the Bluedeck-2 ticks all the boxes for convenience, price, and ease of use.


Speak to Me, O Bluetooth

Sometimes you need to stream audio to a playback system that’s not stationary, for example, to different desks in a classroom, or to a person’s office so that multiple people can hear a streamed telephone conversation (or other audio). For this, the Koss BTS1 has a lot of useful attributes. It’s compact and lightweight—plop it down anywhere, and run it for up to 5 hours using the internal rechargeable battery. It also has a “kickstand” so you can choose between omnidirectional or directional listening, and a 3.5 mm jack in case a wired connection is necessary. You can even daisy-chain units together with the included auxiliary cable for additional coverage. When Bluetooth needs to speak to you…well, here’s the answer.

The Koss BTS-1 will follow your Bluetooth audio around like a puppy dog.

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