Category: Audio Accessories

Product Review–Denon DHT-T100 TV pedestal speaker

Introduction

I am reviewing the Denon DHT-T100 TV pedestal speaker which is one of the new crop of “soundbars” that is intended to serve primarily as an active external speaker for an LCD TV. Here, most of these TVs have internal speakers that are often considered just “good enough” for casual TV viewing but may not give highly-engaging sound quality which some TV shows really benefit from. This situation is underscored by the fact that these sets use a thin chassis which doesn’t really work well as a speaker enclosure and more of these sets have the speakers placed behind the screen rather than behind a separate speaker grille.

This class of device is intended to be positioned as an alternative to a surround-sound home-theatre system with the many speakers, especially where the goal is simply to improve on the TV speakers’ sound.

For example, some of you may find that a stereo system is good enough for your listening area and want to keep that for music playback but you may want to improve your flatscreen TV’s sound.  Similarly, these devices come in to their own with most of us who have always liked positioning the TV in the corner of the room ever since we owned CRT-based TVs, usually to avoid competing with other views like a fireplace or feature window or make it fit in with other furniture.

Denon DHT-T1000 TV pedestal speaker in use

Price

Recommended Retail Price: AUD$549

Specifications

Connections

TV
Analogue 1 x 3.5mm stereo input with supplied RCA adaptors
Digital SPDIF PCM or Bitstream (Dolby AC-3)
Optical via Toslink socket
Coaxial via RCA socket
Other sources
Aux Input Bluetooth with NFC paring

Sound Decoding

Surround-Sound Codecs Dolby Digital
Stereo PCM

Amplifiers and Speakers

Arrangement Single-piece unit with 2 channels
Amplifiers
Speakers – per channel 2”x5”  oval-shaped midrange-woofer
1 x 1/2” (14mm) tweeter

The unit itself

Denon DHT-T1000 TV base speaker controls

Controls on edge of speaker

The Denon DHT-T100 is shaped like a plinth which an LCD TV up to 40” rests on using its pedestal. There isn’t the need for a separate subwoofer box because the housing’s size and design is able to serve effectively as two rear-ported bass-reflex speakers. The local controls are arranged across the bevelled top of the front of the unit so as to be accessible but look neat.

This design allows for a piece of equipment that looks neat and hardly noticeable where it is meant to be heard but not noticed visually.

Setup

Audio connections for the Denon DHT-T1000 soundbar - 3.5mm stereo line-in, RCA coaxial and Toslink optical for SPDIF digital input

Audio connections for the Denon DHT-T1000 soundbar – 3.5mm stereo line-in, RCA coaxial and Toslink optical for SPDIF digital input

It was a totally simple affair to set the Denon DHT-T100 TV pedestal speaker up, with me just plugging it in to the Samsung TV’s digital output. Then I just had to set the TV up to use the device connected to the digital output as its external speakers and away we went.

This unit is able be be operated with the sound level controls on the TV’s remote control as well as its credit-card-size remote control so you don’t have to think of using another remote control to manage your TV’s sound. This is facilitated with a “learn” mode where you can set it to “capture” the volume and mute commands from that TV remote and act to these commands.

Here, you had to press LEARN then the function you want the device to learn on the Denon’s control surface. Then you press that same function on the TV’s remote control four times so it knows what it is receiving. You have to do this for the “Volume Up” command, the “Volume Down” command and the “Mute” command.

Useability

Once I had set the Denon DHT-T100 speaker up to work with the TV’s remote control, it is so easy to use when it comes to adjusting the sound. Here, we were able to adjust the sound and see a bar-graph of lights to know how loud it was playing at. As well, if we used the MUTE button on the TV’s remote typically to stop the commercials shouting at us, the MUTE indicator on the Denon soundbar flashed to indicate this mode.

When you determine the sound mode by pressing the MODE buton, the controls light up in a manner to indicate the effective stereo separation that you will be noticing from the speaker.

In this situation, I was able to avoid the need to use the Denon speaker’s remote control at all this avoiding the need to cause any confusion for people who are not patient with consumer electronics.

Sound Quality

I have hooked this up to our Samsung Smart TV and have noticed that the unit came across in a very subtle manner both in the way it looked and the way it sounded. Here, I could hear the sound improvement that it brought to the TV shows that I have watched.

Just after I connected it to the TV and set it up, there was a news bulletin on the ABC and I was able to effectively hear “more” of the news anchor’s voice where there was that bit of extra depth there. Then we watched one of those British “comedy documentaries” and heard the voices and sound effects come through as if they had more “bite”.

Even some of the British crime dramas that I like had come through with a lot more bite from the actors and from the sound effects. For example,  when I  was watching one of the episodes of “The Bill” which opened with a funeral service for a fallen officer. the opening hymn of that service came through in a manner where the organ was given the rich sound that it deserved while the congregation singing the hymn came across very clearly. Another example was an opening scene in another of the crime dramas where a farmer had ambushed someone else with his shotgun and that shotgun blast came across with the “full punch”. I also watched a bit of a highly-produced Hollywood-style movie and the sound still had the full weight.

The Denon DHT-T100 didn’t come across as having a “boomy” or aggressive sound, but I could take it up to 80% without it distorting, clipping or simply sounding “awful”. The Movie Wide effect was able to provide the apparent “increased separation” which came through for both the UK dramas as well as a studio-based game show that the BBC had produced. The key talent for the shows came through as though it was from the TV base speaker’s centre. Here, I could effectively leave it on the “Movie Wide” mode for most of the time to cover all of the TV viewing.

Comments and observations from other people

Other people whom I have watched TV with while the Denon DHT-T100 TV pedestal speaker was in action have not noticed the speaker visually but have noticed the sound improvement that this device has provided over the TV speakers. It is although they haven’t seen this class device in action before I had brought in the Denon speaker.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

The Denon DHT-T100 could benefit from a walk-up 3.5mm jack for use in connecting portable devices that don’t use Bluetooth A2DP connectivity.

As well, Denon could use the DHT-T100 as the start of creating a range of these “TV base speakers”. This could be achieved by creating a variant or “better model” that has at least 2 HDMI connections (HDMI output with ARC + 1 or 2 HDMI input) along with the digital inputs. Similarly, they could offer a variant that has an integrated Blu-Ray player for those of us who are replacing a broken DVD player with a nicer Blu-Ray player but also like the idea of improving the flatscreen TV’s sound. A larger variant that suits the 42” or 50” flatscreen TV could come a long way for those of us who own these sets.

Conclusion

Denon DHT-T1000 TV base speakerI would recommend the Denon DHT-T100 TV pedestal speaker for those of us who want good sound for their TV watching but don’t want to allow the TV and its related equipment to dominate the lounge area. It doesn’t even take away any functionality that your TV, especially your smart TV, or its associated video peripherals have and you don’t have to learn any new procedures or use different remote controls for adjusting the sound while you have the speaker working still at its best.

This is more important when you are intending to set up improved sound for a TV habitually used by people who may find any changes to operating procedures very difficult.

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Product Review–Sony MDR-10RC Stereo Headset

Introduction

I am reviewing the Sony MDR-10RC stereo headset which is a new set of Sony headphones optimised for the kind of audio recording technology that was being put forward for high-quality sound such as the 24-bit 192kHz file-based audio along with the “new-cut” vinyl records.

They are the “compact” base set of headphones for the MDR-10RBT Bluetooth headset and the MDR-10RNC active-noise-cancelling headphones to take on the plane with you. Sony have taken the right steps by designing advanced headset categories based on a good pair of headphones rather than “reinventing the wheel” by designing new headsets for the advanced categories.

Sony MDR-10RC stereo headphones

Price

RRP: AUD$179

Type

Headphone Assembly Traditional over-the-head
Driver Positioning Circum-aural (over the ear with sound-containing foam wall)
Driver Enclosure Closed Back
Microphone Position In-line on headset cord
Connectivity
Headset 3.5mm four-conductor jack plug on headset cord

The headset itself

Connectivity

Sony MDR-10RC headphones - detached cord

Sony MDR-10RC headphones with cord detached

The Sony MDR-10RC stereo headphones have single-sided connection but they also have a detachable cord which is a feature that I desire of headphones. I remember the countless times that I have had to write off headphones because the cord has become damaged near the equipment plug and the detachable cord means that I can easily repair or replace the headphone cord if it becomes damaged.

Like the previously-reviewed Denon MusicManiac AH-D600 stereo headphones, these headphones come also with a separate “headset cable” with inline microphone which turns it in to a stereo headset as well as a 3.5mm stereo jack cord for use with other equipment.  This can make these headphones earn their keep with smartphones and similar devices when you do a lot of the travelling.

Comfort

For this class of headset, the Sony MDR-10RC felt very lightweight. This, along with the padded headband, made the headphones very comfortable to wear and less fatiguing to use.

The earcups on these headphones don’t feel excessively sweaty thus being able to be worn comfortably for a long time even on hot days.  This is compared with the way some headphones that use leather or vinyl ear surrounds or cushions can feel sweaty after a significant amount of use.

Sound

The Sony MDR-10RC headphones yielded a fair bit of “kick” from the bass but it wasn’t too boomy or dominant. I could also hear the rest of the music clearly and effectively hear a lot more of the quieter parts of that music. It has meant that this pair of headphones could come in to their own if you love your music. As well, the sound wasn’t in any way fatiguing to listen to.

Even for non-music content, the Sony MDR-10RC headphones were able to come through well with this content. Here, you could hear the voices clearly and effects from home video were able to come through clearly without being “muddled”. The bass response had also given life to various voices from YouTube videos I have seen using my phone.

Noise reduction and handling in noisy environments

In the CBD environment, I had noticed a significant amount of noise reduction with some of the essential sounds from outside coming through. As well, I used the Sony headphones in a transit bus and was at the back of that bus yet I noticed significant reduction with the engine noise even when the bus was at speed. This means that these headphones could work well for transit users who do a lot of commuting on buses or diesel-railcar trains.

Other Comments And Observations

Previously I had let a friend of mine who is in to funk, soul and related music try out the Denon UrbanRaver AH-D320 headphones that I was reviewing and he was impressed with them offering the bass response. This time I let him try out the Sony MDR-10RC headphones and he was impressed with the bass response where the bass was there but not dominant.after listening to Earth Wind & Fire’s “September” and Daft Punk’s summer anthem “Get Lucky”. He mentioned that these weren’t the “studio grade” headphones but were much better and lighter than a set he used in the 1970s.

I shared the Sony MDR-10RC headphones with a fellow commuter on the train who was using his own pair of Audio-Technica headphones in order to hear how he thought of the headphones compared with his “cans”.  He noticed a lot more of the noise reduction as well as a deeper bass response compared to what he was used to with the Audio-Technica “cans”.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

One feature that the Sony MDR-10RC headphones misses clearly is a supplied 6.35mm plug adaptor which allows you to use the headphones with hi-fi and professional-audio equipment that has the larger 6.35mm “jack” for the headphones connection. This can easily be rectified by you having many of these adaptors floating around from headsets that are or were in use and the fact that an increasing number of home audio and AV equipment uses the 3.5mm jack.

There isn’t much else that is lacking with these headphones when it comes to having these as an all-rounder set of “cans”.

Conclusion

I would position the Sony MDR-10RC headphones as a high-quality “all-rounder” circum-aural headset. This is whether as an entry-level “monitor” headset for people starting to show an interest in audio or video recording or DJ mixing; a pair of headphones to listen to your hi-fi system, smartphone, tablet or MP3 player while loafing on the couch or travelling on public transport; or simply a high-quality laptop accessory.

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A Bluetooth cassette adaptor that meets current standards

Article

Easily Update Ancient Stereos With ION Audio’s Bluetooth Cassette | Gizmodo

From the horse’s mouth

ION Audio

Press Release Product Page

My Comments

Cassette adaptor in use with a smartphone

A smartphone playing through a car cassette player courtesy of a cassette adaptor

Some of you may be maintaining a 60s-80s classic car and decide to keep a cassette player in place as part of the appearance for that car, or you may own a late-90s car with a highly-integrated sound system that has a cassette player and CD player.

A smartphone accessory that I have given a bit of space to on this site, especially in the “Essential Smartphone Accessories” article, is the cassette adaptor which uses a tape head in a cassette-shaped shell using inductive technology to pass the sound from a connected device to a cassette player’s audio playback chain. These have been known to provide a more reliable audio-playback connection for today’s portable audio in vehicles without an auxiliary input socket than most of the cheaper FM transmitters sold for use with portable audio equipment.

Ion Audio's new Bluetooth cassette adaptor

Ion Audio’s new Bluetooth cassette adaptor

A few manufacturers have offered a variant of this device that integrates a battery-powered Bluetooth A2DP receiver in one of these adaptors and wired to the “supply” head with some offering a full handsfree kit in the cassette shell. ION Audio are now taking advantage of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show to launch one of these “Bluetooth cassette adaptors” and are offering this not just as an up-to-date A2DP device but as a full handsfree kit with you using the phone as a control surface to make and take calls.

Of course, I see these devices serve well more as an A2DP audio-player device rather than a full handsfree kit due to the way the cassette is mounted in different tape players such as most auto-reverse car players having the tape drop completely in the unit or people using these adaptors with “ghetto-blasters” and “music-centre” stereos that have no external inputs. These setups wouldn’t work well with the microphones that are physically integrated in to these adaptors due to proximity to the noisy mechanism or sound-obstructing parts like tape doors.

Personally, I would like to see increased awareness of these Bluetooth cassette adaptors as a smartphone accessory and those units that offer “hands-free” speakerphone functionality to be able to work with an outboard Bluetooth microphone module. On the other hand, a Bluetooth audio adaptor that has integrated headset / hands-free abilities like the Nokia BH-111 or Sony SBH-20 used with a regular cassette adaptor can provide full hands-free abilities with that legacy tape player.

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Android comes to a pair of headphones near you

Article

Streamz Reveals Android-based Smart Headphones | Tom’s Hardware

My Comments

Denon UrbanRaver AH-D320 headphones

Headphones like these could become like the current crop of smartwatches

Streamz are exhibiting a proof-of-concept headphone system that is effectively the headphone equivalent to a smartwatch. Here, these headphones have the Android operating system and an app platform along with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to provide access to online and network-hosted music sources.

They will be managed via a control-surface app for most regular-computing and mobile-computing platforms in a similar vein to what Samsung, Sony and others are doing for their smartphones. As well, they maintain their own 4Gb onboard storage and a microSDHC card slot for additional storage.

One of the goals provided by these headphones is to provide hi-fi-quality digital-analogue converters in the headphones where the DAC in these headphones works to CD-quality (or should I say DAT-quality) 2-channel 48khz 16-bit standards along with hi-fi-grade drivers and amplifiers.

Being the first product of its kind, there will be issues with compatibility with other “smart headphone” software and the headphones missing certain functions like the ability to exploit Wi-Fi Passpoint technology. Similarly, as far as I know, they aren’t really a stereo headset with a built-in microphone which you can use also for communications purposes.

It is an example of increasing the functionality in the peripheral devices that augment a smartphone’s operation leading them to become standalone smart devices rather than become totally dependent on other devices.

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Another cost-effective utility amp from Lepai this time more powerful and with Bluetooth

Article

Lepai’s tiny powerhouse amplifier won’t break the bank | The Audiophiliac – CNET News

My Comments

Previously, I commented on the Lepai LP-2020A+ midget stereo amplifier which was a utility stereo amplifier that could be connected between a computer or other stereo equipment and a pair of low-powered small bookshelf speakers.

Now Lepai have also released another of these cost-effective midget amps, this time offering a lot more power in its small enclosure as well as being able to work as part of a Bluetooth A2DP audio-playback link. Here, you could have your smartphone, tablet or laptop play through those speakers but move around more freely due to the wireless link. The article mentioned that the Bluetooth implementation wasn’t all that good with the sound but if both the amplifier and the mobile device used the aptX high-quality audio codec, you may have some improvement.

In some ways, the Lepai amplifiers do  pick up from where the low-tier cost-effective small amplifiers that Radio Shack (Tandy) sold through the 1980s – the Realistic SA-102, SA-150 or STA-7. This is where these amplifiers filled in the gap as “utility” or “general-purpose” amplifiers that stood between a turntable, tuner or tape deck in their day or, nowadays, a computer with a sound card, and a pair of small low-cost speakers but those of us who used these amplifiers didn’t expect them to yield high-performance sound.

But the Lepai amplifiers would implement techniques like Class-D power amplification or highly-powerful high-quality “power-amplifier-on-a-chip” technology that improves on what was available through the early 80s to drive the Tandy “midgets”. I also suspect that most of this technology is based on the way the amplifiers used in the “four-wheeled ghetto-blasters” that young men see themselves driving and “ruling the streets in” are designed.

Who knows what Lepai may offer us with utility amplifiers that suit the secondary space like a college dorm room, a den or a small office space.

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A small amplifier to get those bookshelf speakers connected to your computer

Article

Lepai LP-2020A+ Review – Amplifiers/Preamps/Processors – CNET Reviews

My Comments

You may have gone to that garage sale, car-boot sale or flea market and picked up a pair of small bookshelf speakers thinking that they may be good for your stereo or PC. Or you have a pair of these speakers lying around in the cupboard or garage either because the music system that they were bought with had died or you had upgraded the speakers on that music system to some larger meatier ones.

But you really want to then use those speakers with your computer, smartphone, tablet or other similar device to punch out some music. These kind of speakers really need to work with an amplifier and when you are dealing with a pair of small bookshelf speakers, they don’t expect much power to drive them.

Lepai have come out with a midget amplifier that can put up to 20 watts per channel for this kind of application. It only takes up a very small amount of desk space and runs from a 12 volt DC power supply, something which I would suspect is cross-bred from car-stereo technology. Here, the workhorse is a Tripath digital “switch-mode” amplifier that has been rated for a smooth high-quality sound equivalent to a valve-based “general-purpose” hi-fi amplifier of the late 60s.

This amplifier has two line-level connections – one with regular RCA sockets and one with a 3.5mm stereo jack. But these inputs are open at the same time and could benefit situations where you may want to play music from a portable player or hi-fi component yet be able to hear audio alerts or game sound effects from your computer.

What had impressed me about the Lepai LP-2020A+ amplifier was the idea of it being a cost-effective midget utility amplifier that can work with most small speakers made through the decades and can amplify the sound from most audio equipment such as the laptop computer. In this case, this amplifier and a pair of good-quality small bookshelf speakers could become a cost-effective alternative to a pair of cheap computer speakers.

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A Bluetooth audio adaptor with NFC available in different colours from Sony

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Sony

Stereo Bluetooth Headset SBH20 | Wireless Stereo Headset – Sony Smartphones (Global UK English)

My Comments

Sony has raised the stakes with the SBH20 Bluetooth headset audio adaptor in many ways. Firstly, unlike other devices of this class which typically come in any colour you like as long as it is black or perhaps white, you can have a choice of different colours to complement your mood.

The Bluetooth adaptor also exploits the NFC “touch-and-go” standard so you can touch your Android phone to this adaptor to pair up with or immediately connect to it. How quickly amazing and foolproof this setup is.

It also supports the HD Voice standard which would complement good-quality headphones and the HD Voice codecs for mobile and VoIP telephony making your caller come through as clearly as an announcer on your favourite FM radio station. This will benefit those of us who communicate with people that have a distinct accent or are in a noisy environment.

For those of you who have a “work” phone and a “personal” phone or are a traveller who runs a phone on a local prepaid SIM card while having another on your regular home-country plan, you can manage both these phones from this audio adaptor. Here, it is just about pressing the same button to answer or hang up that call no matter the phone.

I am not sure whether this headset adaptor has the aptX high-quality music codec but this would come in handy if you use this device with good headphones and a media player that explots this codec.

This is definitely about Sony raising high hopes for this kind of Bluetooth headset audio adaptor so you can use the supplied earphones or a nice set of “cans” of your choice with your smartphone.

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A Bluetooth audio adaptor that can run for 8 hours courtesy of LG

Article

LG outs diminutive Bluetooth headset with 8 hours of battery life

My Comments

I use the previously-reviewed Nokia BH-111 Bluetooth headphone audio adaptor with my Samsung Galaxy Note II Android smartphone so I can use a pair of ordinary headphones as a Bluetooth headset for that phone.

With this device, I can be able to get effectively a few hours of door-to-door music listening and perhaps a half-hour phone conversation out of this adaptor before it says it is out of battery life. But LG have upped the ante on these Bluetooth headphone audio adaptors by just releasing one that can have a net runtime of 8 hours before it needs charging. Like the Nokia BH-111, these will come with a pair of earphones but you could use any headphones, active speakers, line-level connection or cassette adaptor with them to convert the headphones to a Bluetooth headset or make a Bluetooth handsfree setup out of the active speakers or home / car music system.

Here, this could allow for service as an add-on in-vehicle handsfree that connects to a car stereo but can survive a long road trip, or to work with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to entertain you through a long-haul flight. Even just spending the day out and about on the bike, walking long distances or making heavy use of public transport and having your smartphone play music through this device won’t have you worry about the device complaining of low batteries before you get home.

The same situation also extends to using the LG Bluetooth audio adaptor to work with TVs, home-theatre systems, games consoles and the like for a long viewing or gaming time without the fear of the audio adaptor or headset “giving out” in the midst of a game or movie. Of course, this device would work to the best with Bluetooth 3.0 setups and implement the aptX audio codec for best results with devices that support that codec.

It is also an example of the effort being put in to Bluetooth and other wireless technologies to have a device like this run for a long time in an interactive manner before it needs charging.

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Product Review–Sony SRS-BTM8 Portable Bluetooth speaker

Introduction

I am reviewing the Sony SRS-BTM8 Bluetooth speaker which is one of the newer Bluetooth speakers optimised for that music-filled smartphone, tablet or Ultrabook. Here, it allows you to use your NFC-equipped Android smartphone or tablet to facilitate “touch-and-go” setup for that device as well as an easy-to-access pair-up button for other Bluetooth devices.

Sony SRS-BTM8 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Price

The unit itself:

RRP including tax: AUD$129

Connections

Input Count as for a device
Audio Line Input
(connect a tape deck, CD player, etc)
1 x 3.5mm stereo
Digital Audio Input Bluetooth wireless

Speakers

Output Power 2W RMS Stereo
Speaker Layout 1 2″ (50mm) full range speaker

The unit itself

The Sony SRS-BTM8 Bluetooth speaker system can work on 4 AA batteries which are installed underneath the unit, or the supplied AC adaptor. Here, it supports orthodox power arrangement for portable audio equipment where the AC power is more about avoiding the need to compromise battery runtime or allow the unit to run with batteries. The fact that this unit can run on regular batteries can mean that you can safely use it in the bathroom or by the pool.

Useability

Sony SRS-BTM8 Portable Bluetooth speaker controls

Controls located across the top of the Bluetooth speaker. Also where you touch your NFC-capable Android phone when you set it up with the speaker.

The near-field-communication setup routine works as expected with the Sony NFC setup ap. But you have to hold the phone or other device to the speaker until the connection procedure is finished, which is indicated by a blue light that glows steadily.

Here, it paired up quickly with my Samsung Galaxy Note II phone. I also tried to pair it up with an iPhone using the standard pairing routine and this was very simple, thanks to the “pairing” button.

As well, I wanted to find out whether this speaker can be reinstated to an existing device without you needing to pair up the device again, a problem I have noticed with some Bluetooth speakers, car stereos and other devices that I have had to help people out with. Here, it didn’t take long for the Sony speaker to reinstate itself with my phone once I used the “connect” function on my phone’s Android user interface.

Like with most Bluetooth speaker systems, you can press this Sony unit in to service as a handsfree speakerphone for your smartphone or Skype-equipped computer. Here, this can come in handy for group calls or if you just want the ability to answer that call while you are undertaking another activity.

There is also a 3.5mm line-input jack that you can use to connect that Discman, DAB portable radio, cassette Walkman or music-full iPod Classic to keep those tunes flowing.

Of course, all the controls are located across the top for volume adjustment and control of Bluetooth devices, including call management when serving as a speakerphone. This makes it easier to locate all the controls when using the speaker such as in a bathroom.

Sound quality

The Sony SRS-BTM8 speaker sound like a small radio yet is able to provide some bass in to the sound mix. It also provides a sound that is more room-filling than the speakers that are typically integrated in a smartphone, tablet or small laptop.

Other usage notes

A teenager who lives with us tried the speaker with his music-filled iPhone and found that it worked well for bedroom or bathroom use and was impressed with the sound for the product’s class.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

Sony could have this as the base product for a variant that has a built-in broadcast radio tuner i.e. as a Bluetooth-equipped portable radio.

As well, Windows and Android could have native support for NFC-assisted Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct setup so there isn’t a need to download applications to set up these devices using Near Field Communication pairing.

Conclusion

I would recommend this as an alternative to a small boombox when you want to use it to amplify the sound from a smartphone, tablet or Ultrabook. As I mentioned before, it would come in handy with use by the pool, in the bathroom or in the kitchen due to the fact that it runs on batteries.

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NFC Touch and go is now the way to set up Sony Bluetooth devices

Article – From the horse’s mouth

Sony Corporation

Be moved with one-touch Sony’s new range of NFC products make sharing content easier than ever! : Consumer Products Press Releases : Sony Australia

My Comments

There are steps taking place to make pairing and connecting Bluetooth accessories to smartphones and tablets much easier. Initially the pairing routine was very convoluted with us having to remember pairing passwords or routines. Now most of the devices use a three-click pair routine where you hold down the Bluetooth button on the peripheral then place your smartphone in Bluetooth scanning mode to show up the device, whereupon you click on the name of the device.

But Sony have taken this further with speaker systems and headphones that you just touch to the NFC-capable smartphone, tablet or laptop to set them up. The Sony XPeria and VAIO tablets and laptops will have the integrated set-up software as part of the deal but those of you with Android devices made by other names will need to pick up NFC Easy Connect from the Google Play app store. Of course, these devices will pair up and connect with other Bluetooth hosts using the conventional method. On the other hand, I would love to be sure that this “touch-and-go” pairing can work with Windows 8 / RT equipment like the HP Envy X2 that I previously reviewed.

This will also simplify the connection of a previously-paired Bluetooth host to the speaker, which with some Bluetooth hosts and speaker docks cam be come a real pain as I have seen for myself with a Bluetooth speaker dock that was paired with an iPhone full of music in an “ad-hoc” manner even though it was normally paired with an iPad. At times, this required the iPad to he “re-connected” when the guest device was finished with. This touch-and-go routine could simplify the reconnection phase for “resident” Bluetooth hosts with the speakers or headphones.

This will also be an improvement as far as automotive setups and hi-fi equipment is concerned because it could cut down the time required to pair-up your device to the car or the home-theatre receiver, thus allowing you to get going with the music.

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