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How to Add Bluetooth to an A/V or Stereo Receiver

Do you need to know how to add Bluetooth to an A/V or stereo receiver? We are hurtling towards a world of total wireless connectivity, and this is no more evident than in the home theater sector. And if you are striving to create the pitch-perfect wireless surround sound system, you will need a receiver that supports Bluetooth.

But be careful when purchasing an A/V or stereo receiver because some models were not intended to be used with a wireless Bluetooth setup. And if not, you will need a Bluetooth adapter to complete the circuit, which could actually the best route to take.

Installing a Bluetooth Receiver

There’s a lot more to choosing the best Bluetooth receiver than most people realize. Although the installation phase is fairly simple, understanding the types of A/V and stereo receivers is a great start. So, check out my step-by-step process of setting up a Bluetooth receiver from inception to installation.

#1 – Choosing the Right Hardware

Choosing the Right Hardware

The first thing you need to do is go through the information below to choose the right stereo receiver that supports Bluetooth. Once you have a Bluetooth receiver that suits your needs, the installation process is similar across the board. But you will need to use a Bluetooth adapter to connect everything, which I will go into in the next section.

So, here are some highly recommended A/V and stereo receiver models that support Bluetooth connectivity to get you started.

#2 – Connecting a Bluetooth Adapter to Your Receiver

Connecting your receiver with a Bluetooth adapter is a simple process. You will need to physically connect them via the red and white A/V cables, which are also known as RCA cables. Match the two RCA cables with the red and white ports on your adapter with the input ports on your receiver.

You will only be able to carry two channels between your receiver and adaptor because Bluetooth has its limitations. I will recommend some of the best Bluetooth adapters later when we discuss this subject in greater detail.

#3 – Connecting Media Devices to your Bluetooth Adapter

Connecting Media Devices to your Bluetooth Adapter

With all the physical connections complete, it’s time to connect your media devices to the Bluetooth adapter. It’s all wireless connectivity from now on. So, turn on your Bluetooth adapter while enabling the Bluetooth connectivity of your media/audio device. To connect them, you will need to navigate the settings of your media device to find the pairing mode.

If you’re using a laptop, a PC, or a smartphone, the process should be similar. Go to the audio settings on your device and choose the ‘Bluetooth’ option. Once there, you should be able to see a list of connection recommendations and see the name of your Bluetooth adapter displayed. When you find it, click to pair the two together.

From then onwards, every time your devices’ Bluetooth is enabled, they should automatically pair.

#4 – Turning On and Testing

Everything should now be correctly connected, so turn your receiver on to see whether the connection worked or not. If you cannot hear the sound coming through your receiver into the speakers, you might need to change the input of the receiver to the channel you have connected with your RCA cables.

Changing the input channels on your receiver is different depending on the model, so please refer to the model’s manual to find the right process if you’re not sure how to do it.

How to Add Bluetooth to an A/V or Stereo Receiver – Choosing the Right Equipment?

If you don’t choose the right equipment, you may end up not being able to make this work. Try to make sure the Bluetooth receiver you buy comes equipped with output plugs that match the input plugs on your stereo receiver or A/V. However, if they are not compatible, you can buy converter cables to fix the problem.

There could be a situation where your A/V or stereo receiver only has digital plugs, but you need a model with analog audio outputs. Again, no worries, because there are wall-powered converter units available. However, most modern Bluetooth receivers have analog audio outputs, so this shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Two kinds of Bluetooth receivers…

There are generally two kinds of Bluetooth receivers, either wall-powered or battery-powered. The battery-powered units can also be powered via a car stereo radio auxiliary input. These are good products that have fewer cables, but they can be troublesome because they constantly need charging, and the batteries need replacing regularly.

Wall-powered Bluetooth receivers are much more suited for your home theater system. You might need to extend your surge protector, but once you have set up everything, wall-powered receivers are easy to maintain.

Choosing the Best Bluetooth Adapter Model

Best Bluetooth Adapter Model

This is just as important as your stereo receiver and A/V choices, if not more so. The lack of Bluetooth signal strength is one of the most common home theater issues. This is literally like Kryptonite for wireless surround sound system builds. Combat this signal issue by purchasing high-quality Bluetooth adapters.

Don’t go cheap with this decision, or the money you spent on your home theater equipment was a waste.

Always make sure you buy an adapter that has Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity or higher. This is because it is critical to the signal strength. If you are looking for a cheaper Bluetooth adapter that works great, I would suggest the Esinkin Bluetooth Wireless Audio Adapter. However, check out these other market-leading Bluetooth adapters that are also ideal for this type of connection.

The Limitations of Bluetooth

Home theater builders and surround sound aficionados have only recently started to use Bluetooth for their wireless audio systems. And this is mainly because of the limitations of Bluetooth functionality. Bluetooth was initially intended to wirelessly broadcast a signal between two devices. This technology was originally introduced for connecting media devices with headsets.

To be completely honest, Bluetooth should probably be the last method you use for wirelessly sending audio transmissions. This is even though most modern theater systems support it. However, sometimes we have to make do with the only options we have. So, here are some of Bluetooth’s more glaring limitations…

Range Issues

A major drawback with older Bluetooth technology is that it had a range of approximately 30 feet. This could be a problem if you are pairing your phone with your home theater system via Bluetooth.

If you like to wander around your home with your phone while playing your playlist through your receiver, it could cause you some signal issues. It’s not so much a problem if you are using your laptop or PC in closer proximity to the receiver.

A great way around this problem is by ensuring your devices support Bluetooth 5.0 because it has a wider range of up to 40 meters indoors and up to 240 meters outdoors in perfect conditions.

Channel Issues

Bluetooth only allows you to connect two-channel stereo sound, which could cause issues. Obviously, if you only intend to use stereo audio, you will be fine. However, if you are using 3.x or 5.x audio, you will either need to compress the audio into two channels, which defeats the point of having a multi-channel system, or use a hybrid wireless/wired system.

Sound Quality Issues

Sound Quality Issues

The sound quality is affected by using Bluetooth receivers and wireless circuits. Currently, no Bluetooth receiver can transmit the digital signals that the majority of home theater systems can receive.

The issue is caused by taking a digital signal from your media device and then translating that into a Bluetooth signal. This is then transmitted and then translating that into an analog signal. And then translating that back into a digital signal for your home theater system and then back to analog via your speakers.

Sound quality is understandably affected during this somewhat clumsy multi-conversion process.

Planning on Building a Home Theater?

Then check out our comprehensive Sonos Wireless Amplifier Review, our Sony STRDH590 5.2-ch Surround Sound Home Theater Receiver Review, our Sony STR-DN1080 7.2-Channel AV Receiver Review, or our Denon AVR-X4400H AV Receiver Review for awesome audio currently on the market.

Also, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best AV Receivers Under $500, the Best Desktop Headphone Amplifiers, the Best Yamaha AV Receivers, the Best AV Receivers Under $1000, or the Best Portable DAC/Amp Combo you should buy in 2021.

And don’t miss our guides on the differences between Receivers vs AmplifiersHow to Connect a Power Amp to an AV ReceiverDenon vs. Yamaha ReceiversCan you Connect a Soundbar to a Receiver, and How to Connect an iPhone to an AV Receiver for more useful information.

How to Add Bluetooth to an A/V or Stereo Receiver – Final Thoughts

Learning the best way to add Bluetooth to an A/V or stereo receiver is not that difficult. Understanding how receivers and Bluetooth adapters work together is the important thing. Ensuring you have the correct equipment before you even begin will eliminate any confusion or potential frustration.

I would strongly recommend that you purchase a high-quality Bluetooth adapter for the best results. You would ideally use a device that supports Bluetooth 5.0 because that will rapidly increase your connectivity range and functionality.

Connecting everything together is the easy part. Bluetooth does have its limitations, but as more modern devices are starting to support it, the more accepted it will become for home theater builders.

Happy listening!

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About Jennifer Bell

Jennifer is a freelance writer from Montana. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and English, as well as an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Games and Simulation Design.

Her passions include guitar, bass, ukulele, and piano, as well as a range of classical instruments she has been playing since at school. She also enjoys reading fantasy and sci-fi novels, yoga, eating well, and spending time with her two cats, Rocky and Jasper.

Jennifer enjoys writing articles on all types of musical instruments and is always extending her understanding and appreciation of music. She also writes science fiction and fantasy short stories for various websites and hopes to get her first book published in the very near future.

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