How Do Bluetooth Speakers Work & How To Connect Them


In recent years, Bluetooth connectivity has become more and more prevalent in our everyday lives and how we listen to audio (through speakers and headphones). You may have wondered how exactly your Bluetooth speaker works and by reading this article, you’ll find out.

How do Bluetooth speakers work? Bluetooth speakers receive digital audio wirelessly via the Bluetooth protocol when paired with Bluetooth-enabled digital audio devices. BT speakers accept digital audio via BT wireless transmission; convert it analog audio; amplify it, and convert it into sound just as regular speakers would.

This article was written to help you understand how Bluetooth speakers work and how they connect wirelessly. We’ll dive deeper into Bluetooth speaker functionality and go through several BT speaker examples to further our comprehensions. On top of that, we’ll also list out the steps required to connect (pair) our Bluetooth speakers to our other Bluetooth devices.


Table Of Contents


Primer On How Speakers Work

Before getting into the substance of this article, let’s quickly go over how speakers work.

When it comes down to design, Bluetooth speakers are really no different than most other active speakers (with built-in amplifiers). The big difference is the wireless transfer of audio via Bluetooth rather than the typical wired connection (or other wireless methods).

The main purpose of a loudspeaker is to act as a transducer that converts electrical energy (audio signals) into mechanical wave energy (sound waves). This is true regardless of if the speaker is wired or wireless.

Related article: What Is The Difference Between Sound And Audio?

The transducer element of a speaker is called the driver. Speakers may have many other components (enclosures, crossovers, amplifiers, etc.) but the key component that turns audio signals into sound waves is the driver.

For a comprehensive guide to speaker drivers, check out my article What Are Speaker Drivers? (How All Driver Types Work).

Every loudspeaker works upon this function: an analog audio signal (alternating current) passes through the driver and causes proportional movement in the driver’s diaphragm.

The diaphragm movement pushes and pulls the air around it and effectively produces sound waves that mimic the form of the AC voltage of the audio signal.

This critical action in speaker design is required regardless of the speaker type; the number of drivers; crossover network; enclosure and form factor; how it receives its signal (wired or wireless), or any other specifications that differentiate one loudspeaker from another.

The overwhelming majority of loudspeaker drivers are electrodynamic (otherwise known as “dynamic” or “moving-coil dynamic”).

The moving-coil speaker driver is illustrated and labelled in the picture below:

Moving-Coil Speaker Driver Diagram

The moving-coil dynamic driver uses a conductive coil (tightly-wound wire) connected to a movable membrane. This coil passes the audio signal (AC voltage) and a coinciding magnetic field is induced within and around it via electromagnetic induction.

The varying magnetic field interacts with a permanent magnetic field supplied by the magnets in the driver and causes the coil and diaphragm to oscillate back and forth.

This causes the driver to produce sound waves that mimic the applied audio signal.

To learn more about electrodynamic speaker drivers, check out my article Why And How Do Speakers Use Magnets & Electromagnetism?

Note that the audio signal driving the speaker driver must be a continuously variable voltage. Therefore, only analog audio signals can drive speaker drivers. This will become important when it comes time to explain the digital-to-analog converters (DACs) inherent in Bluetooth speaker design.

Related article: Are Loudspeakers & Monitors Analog Or Digital Audio Devices?

For an in-depth article on how speakers work as transducers, check out My New Microphone’s post titled How Do Speakers & Headphones Work As Transducers?


What Is Bluetooth Technology?

Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard. It is used for exchanging data between fixed and mobile devices over short distances using short-wavelength ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio waves.

More specifically, Bluetooth uses the microwave radio frequency spectrum in the 2.402 GHz to 2.480 GHz range to transmit digital data wirelessly.

Bluetooth technology is a deeply complex subject and we will only be scratching the surface in this article. If you’d like to learn about Bluetooth technology in greater detail, I’d suggest starting with this Wikipedia article.

The complexity of Bluetooth technology is due, in part, to its incredibly wide range of applications. Not only is Bluetooth used to transmit digital audio from digital devices to speakers (or headphones and headsets) but it is also implemented in the following wireless data transferring applications:

  • Contol and communication between smartphones and other Bluetooth audio devices and Bluetooth-compatible car sound systems.
  • Communication between a smartphone and a smart lock for unlocking doors.
  • Communication between smartphones and other Bluetooth audio devices and Bluetooth-compatible wireless speakers.
  • Communication between wireless Bluetooth headsets and intercoms/gaming systems/computers, etc.
  • Streaming of data from Bluetooth-enabled fitness devices to smartphones/computers etc.
  • Wireless networking between computers in close proximity.
  • Communication between computers and their input/output devices (mouse, keyboard, printer, microphonesheadphones, etc.).
  • OBject EXchange transfer of files, contacts, calendars/schedules and reminders.
  • Communications in test equipment, GPS receivers, medical equipment, bar code scanners, and traffic control devices.
  • As a replacement for infrared wireless and wired RS-232.
  • Sending advertisements from Bluetooth-enabled advertising hoardings to discoverable Bluetooth devices.
  • Bridging between two Industrial Ethernet networks.
  • Connecting wireless controllers and other accessories to gaming consoles such as the Sony Playstation.
  • Dial-up internet access using data-capable Bluetooth-compatible smartphones as wireless modems.
  • Short-range transmission of health sensor data from medical devices to smartphones and dedicated telehealth devices.
  • Allowing Digital enhanced cordless telecommunication (DECT) phones ring and answer calls on behalf of Bluetooth-capable smartphone.
  • Real-time location systems (RTLS) used to track and identify the location of objects in real-time.
  • Personal security application on mobile phones for the prevention of theft or loss of items.
  • Prediction of travel times and road congestion for motorists.
  • Connection between motion controllers in virtual reality (VR) and computer

Bluetooth Versions

Though originally developed in 1989, the first iteration (version 1.0) of Bluetooth only came about in 1999 after the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, the managing body, was formed in 1998.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group continues to improve upon the standard and releases new versions periodically. With each new version, the BSIG improves on three key factors (range, data speed and power consumption) along with whatever peripheral factors they see fit for improvement.

Every version of Bluetooth supports downward compatibility. This means that the latest standard will work with all older versions. The capabilities of a Bluetooth connection will be limited to the standard of the device with the oldest version of BT.

That is to say, a speaker with Bluetooth 5.0 will work perfectly fine with a Bluetooth 4.2 audio device. However, the connection will only be as good as the limitations of the 4.2 standard.

Bluetooth Classes

There are 3 classes of Bluetooth to be aware of (appropriately named Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3).

The class of a Bluetooth device determines the wireless range of the device as well as the maximum power limitation. The classes are described in the table below:

ClassTypical RangeMaximum Power
Class 1100 m
328 ft
100 mW
20 dBm
Class 1.520 m
66 ft
10 mW
10 dBm
Class 210 m
33 ft
2.5 mW
4 dBm
Class 31 m
3.3 ft
1 mW
0 dBm
Class 40.5 m
1.6 ft
0.5 mW
-3 dBm

Bluetooth Profile

Bluetooth profiles determine the kind of data that is exchanged using Bluetooth technology.

In order for two Bluetooth devices to be compatible, they must support the same profiles. These profiles allow for each of the applications mentioned above.

The profile that sends audio to Bluetooth speakers (and headphones), for example, is the high-quality audio A2DP transmission profile. This profile has its own codecs to properly transmit audio signals wirelessly.

The A2DP Bluetooth profile is discussed in greater detail later in this article. Click here to skip ahead.

The profile that allows wireless communication between a computer and its Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, as another example, is the HID profile. The HID profile is not for sending audio and so Bluetooth speakers would not be designed to use the profile.


How Do Bluetooth Speakers Work?

Bluetooth speakers work just like typical wired speakers except for the way in which they receive audio signals.

Wired passive speakers receive their speaker level audio signals via hardwired speaker cables. Wired active speakers may receive speaker level signal through speaker cable or line, mic and instrument level signals through thinner audio cable.

Bluetooth speakers, as their name suggests, receive their audio signals wirelessly via Bluetooth.

Actually, to be more precise, the built-in power amplifier of the Bluetooth speaker will receive the audio signal wireless via Bluetooth.

As it is, Bluetooth protocols will carry typical line level signals with ease. This level of signal, like in wired setups, requires amplification from a power amp before it can properly drive the driver(s) of a loudspeaker.

In order to function properly with an audio device, a Bluetooth speaker must be paired (wirelessly connected) to the Bluetooth audio device. We’ll discuss how to pair Bluetooth speakers to various devices in the section titled How To Connect (Pair) Bluetooth Speakers To Bluetooth Audio Devices.

Once paired, the speakers and digital audio device form a Piconet in which the audio device may effectively send its audio signal to the speaker via Bluetooth.

Note that smart speakers with voice assistant technology and pause/play controls will also send information back to the audio device via the Piconet.

Once the digital audio signal is received by the speaker’s Bluetooth receiver, it must pass through two key components before it can drive the speaker’s drivers.

First, because Bluetooth transmits digital audio, the received audio signal must be converted into an analog audio signal. This is done via a built-in digital-to-analog converter.

Next, as we’ve previously discussed, the converted analog audio is sent through a power amplifier. The amplified output signal will have low enough impedance and high enough current to properly drive the speaker driver(s).

Once the signal is passed through the driver, it is the driver’s job to produce sound waves that represent the audio signal. This is how we hear the information of an audio signal via Bluetooth speakers.

If you’ve skipped over or need to re-read this article’s primer on how speaker work, click here.

Before we get into the details of how audio is transmitted via Bluetooth, let’s have a broader look at how audio is transmitted from the digital audio device to the Bluetooth speaker and how the audio is then converted into sound waves for the listener to hear.

The signal flow from a Bluetooth audio device to a paired Bluetooth speaker to the listener’s ears is as follows:

  • The Bluetooth-capable audio device plays a digital audio signal.
  • This audio signal is encoded by a codec (typically SBC “Low Complexity Subband Code,” which is supported by all devices) in the A2DP transfer standard.
  • This encoded audio signal is used as the modulating signal that modulates the Bluetooth UHF radio carrier signals.
  • The radio carrier waves are transmitted wirelessly as per Bluetooth standards between the audio device’s BT transmitter and the Bluetooth speaker’s BT receiver.
  • The Bluetooth receiver then decodes the modulation signal from the carrier wave.
  • The A2DP encoded signal is then further decoded back to the intended digital audio signal (compression losses apply when encoding and decoding the signal).
  • This digital audio signal is then converted into an analog format by the speaker’s built-in digital-to-analog converter (DAC).
  • The analog audio is then amplified by a built-in amplifier circuit.
  • This amplified audio signal is then sent to the speaker drivers (note that, for stereo and surround codecs, the audio signals will be split at this point to drive their respective drivers).
  • The drivers their analog audio signal(s) into sound waves.
  • The listener(s) hear the sound waves.

That’s quite the signal flow for a technology that is so user-friendly. That’s part of the beauty of Bluetooth speakers and Bluetooth technology in general: the engineers and inventors take care of the complexities and we can use the technology without thinking too deeply about it.

That being said, it’s good to have an idea of how audio is transmitted via Bluetooth technology in order to better understand Bluetooth speakers.


How Is Audio Transmitted Via Bluetooth Technology?

Let’s get a bit more technical in explaining how audio is transmitted via Bluetooth technology.

In this section, we’ll go into the following topics in more detail to further our understanding of Bluetooth technology and its role in transmitting audio wirelessly:

  • The Piconet connection (pairing of the devices)
  • The A2DP, AVRCP & Bluetooth Audio Codecs
  • Continuously Variable Slope Delta Modulation
  • Pulse Code Modulation
  • Pulse-Shift Keying Modulation
  • The RF frequencies of Bluetooth & frequency jumping
  • Bluetooth range
  • Battery usage

Please note that this is, by no means, a complete in-depth guide to Bluetooth technology.


Piconet

A Piconet is a network that links devices wirelessly using Bluetooth technology.

Any given Piconet has two or more devices synchronized to the same Bluetooth channel. They share a common clock and frequency jumping sequence.

A piconet will allow one master devices to connect with up to seven active slave devices. Essentially this means in any piconet (in which there can be virtually unlimited in a give space) will have one device sending information and up to seven devices receiving information.

A common example of this is the computer, which will act as the master to multiple devices. We could have a mouse, keyboard and speaker all connected to a computer via Bluetooth. In this piconet, the computer would be the master and the other devices (whether input or output) would be slave devices.

So then, it would make sense that up to 7 different Bluetooth speakers could connect to a single audio source device in a piconet.

Well, unfortunately, there is more confusion to come. The technical reasonings are beyond the scope of this article but we’ll get into the philosophy behind why we cannot easily connect two BT speakers to a device at once.

First, we must remember that the Bluetooth standard is designed to be backward compatible. Therefore, the newest version of Bluetooth must be able to connect and work proficiently with the first version.

When Bluetooth was first designed, however, mobility wasn’t a huge concern and playing audio from smartphones would only come much later.

The original philosophy of Bluetooth was simply to remove the wire from common electrical connections between household devices. It aimed to rid of the wires in close-proximity device connections like the computer-keyboard and computer-mouse connections. It was designed to do so while consuming as little power as possible.

It basically comes down to the fact that most electric audio playback devices only had one output and Bluetooth was designed to allow that same single output only without wires.

Even today, the mobile devices we use to send audio to our Bluetooth speakers that still have only one headphone/audio output jack (if any audio jack at all). Bluetooth is simply a short-range, low-power, wireless connectivity designed to do the same job as the single jack.

Of course, we have the technology today to change this but the bottom line is that changing basic features will negatively impact backward compatibility of Bluetooth.

That being said, there are definitely workarounds to allow multiple speakers to connect to a single audio device. More on these workarounds in the section How To Connect Multiple Bluetooth Speaker To A Single Audio Source.


The A2DP, AVRCP & Bluetooth Audio Codecs

The Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) is the Bluetooth standard profile for the transfer of high-quality stereo audio signals.

This profile is used between an A2DP source (the Bluetooth-enabled audio device) and a recipient. The recipient, in the case of this article, is the Bluetooth speaker but it can also be a BT headphone, car stereo system or another Bluetooth-enabled playback device.

A2DP allows for 2-channel (stereo) audio transfer. It has mandatory support for the low-complexity SBC (Low Complexity Subband Code) codec along with many other codecs to effectively transfer audio.

A codec (a portmanteau of coder and decoder) is a device or program used to encode and/or decode a digital data stream or digital signal.

Digital audio is simply a digital representation of analog audio (which is an electrical representation of sound).

Digital audio can be stored in a wide variety of file formats. It is the codecs that are required to encoded and decoded these files. Codecs can effectively reduce the storage space and the bandwidth required for transmission of the stored audio file.

So while the mp3s, .wavs, FLAC, or other audio files on your audio device could certainly be used as the digital modulating signals in Bluetooth wirelss transmission, they are actually encoded according to one of the A2DP standard codecs (often SBC) before being transmitted wirelessly.

SBC compresses the audio signals and so it always worsens the quality. However, with a high data transfer rate of up to 345 kbps and a perfected algorithm, the loss is barely perceptible.

SBC has been a required codec in the Bluetooth A2DP standard since its introduction in 2003. Newer codecs have been introduced since then but for the sake of backward compatibility, SBC has been a requirement.

Other A2DP codecs include:

  • aptX (Digital Audio Data Reduction Technology)
  • aptX HD (Digital Audio Data Reduction Technology – High Definition)
  • AAC (Advanced Audio Coding)
  • LDAC (Lossy Digital Audio Codec)

The digital audio of a Bluetooth audio device will generally be encoded by one the above-listed codecs before being sent wirelessly to the paired BT speaker.

This A2DP profile is often used along with the AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile). This profile allows remote control of media playback on paired device devices. Supported functions are play, pause, stop, next, and previous.

Note that the Generic Audio/Video Distribution Profile (GAVDP) provides the basis for A2DP. It defines the roles of the Initiator and an Acceptor in the pairing of two Bluetooth devices.

The Initiator is the device that initiates a signalling procedure and the Acceptor is the device that shall respond to an incoming request from the Initiator.


Tempow Audio Profile (TAP)

Tempow is a small Paris-Based startup that have been developing their own Bluetooth protocol known as TAP.

With this protocol, multiple Bluetooth speakers can be connected to a hub and act as discrete speakers in a surround sound setup. Once paired through the TAP protocol, it is up to the user to position the speakers in their appropriate surround sound positions.


Pulse Code Modulation

PCM is the form of digital audio and so it makes sense that it would be used in some Bluetooth applications as well.

PCM effectively samples the amplitude of the analog signal at fixed intervals and quantizes the amplitude to the nearest value within a range of digital steps.

The resolution of PCM digital audio is defined by the sample rate (how many samples per second) which is measured in Hz (typically in the kiloHertz range) and the bit-depth (the number of potential amplitude values).

Bit-depth is described exponentially with base 2 so that 16-bit has 65,536 distinct values and 24-bit has 16,777,216 distinct amplitudes.


Pulse-Shift Keying Modulation

Unlike the CVSD and PCM types of analog-to-digital modulation, PSK modulation has to do with the wireless transmission of Bluetooth audio. In this section, we’ll describe how the audio signal modulates its wireless carrier signal.

As mentioned above, BT sends digital info wireless. Bluetooth audio is sent via pulse-shift keying modulation (PSK).

The PSK modulating signal is the digital audio of the paired device. This modulating signal modulates the phase of a fixed-frequency carrier wave. It does so by varying the sine and cosine inputs at a precise time.

Pulse-Shift Keying Modulation

The carrier wave, in the case of Bluetooth audio, is a radio frequency wave within the range of 2.4 and 2.485 GHz.


Bluetooth RF Range & Frequency Jumping Protocol

Bluetooth transmits digital information via short-range radio frequencies in the frequency band between 2.400 to 2.485 GHz. In the case of Bluetooth speakers, this information is the digital audio signal from a paired device.

Bluetooth uses 79 distinct frequencies within the 2.400 to 2.485 GHz to transmit information. It is capable of changing this frequency 1600 times per second in order to avoid interference with other Bluetooth connections.

It is unlikely that two transmitters will be on the same frequency at the same time. This minimizes the risk of interference between Bluetooth devices since any interference on a particular frequency will last only a tiny fraction of a second.


Bluetooth Distance Range

The range of Bluetooth connectivity is largely depending on its class. We’ve discussed the Bluetooth Classes earlier in this article.

Bluetooth speakers typically belong to either Class 2 (typical) which allows a range of 10 meters or 33 feet or Class 1 (less common) that allows a range of 100 meters or 328 feet.

There are other ranges available in Bluetooth technology (up to 244 meters/800 feet or more) though speakers generally have one of the two ranges listed above.


Battery Usage

Most Bluetooth speakers have battery lives long enough to get you through a full day of listening. 6 – 20 hours of battery life is about the typical range. Of course, this varies from model to model.

As for the batteries of the audio devices, Bluetooth audio connectivity will drain the battery life of these audio devices. How much of an effect the speaker connection will have on the device battery depends on the device itself and its battery strength.

The Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology is not capable of sending audio.

Note that the shorter range Class 2 mentioned above has a maximum permitted power of 2.5 mW. The longer range Class 2, on the other hand, has a maximum permitted power of 100 mW.

The lower power consumption of the Class 2 speaker, in general, allows for longer battery life.


Bluetooth Speaker Examples

It’s always good to have a look at real-world examples of the topics we discuss. Let’s go through a few Bluetooth speaker examples.

The Bluetooth speakers we’ll discuss are:


JBL Charge 4

The JBL Charge 4 (link to compare prices at select retailers) is a popular portable Bluetooth 4.2 speaker with an IPX7 waterproof rating. It can connect to and take turns between 2 different devices and has additional connectivity via JBL’s Connect+ technology that allows it to connect to over 100 other JBL Connect+ devices.

JBL Charge 4

JBL is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top 11 Best Home Speaker Brands You Should Know And Use
Top 11 Best Subwoofer Brands (Car, PA, Home & Studio)
Top 11 Best PA Loudspeaker Brands You Should Know And Use
Top 10 Best Loudspeaker Brands (Overall) On The Market Today

The Bose Soundlink Micro (link to compare prices at select retailers) is another portable Bluetooth speaker with an IPX7 waterproof rating.

Bose Soundlink Micro

Bose is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top 11 Best Home Speaker Brands You Should Know And Use
Top 11 Best PA Loudspeaker Brands You Should Know And Use
Top 10 Best Loudspeaker Brands (Overall) On The Market Today

Electro-Voice ZLX-12BT

The Electro-Voice ZLX-12BT (link to compare prices at select retailers) is a compact and versatile 12″ active 2-way speaker with Bluetooth connectivity.

Electro-Voice ZLX-12BT

Electro-Voice is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top 11 Best Subwoofer Brands (Car, PA, Home & Studio)
Top 11 Best PA Loudspeaker Brands You Should Know And Use

Definitive Technology Studio Advance 5.1

The Definitive Technology Studio Advance 5.1 (link to compare prices at select retailers) is a virtual 5.1 system with a soundbar and subwoofer. Its Bluetooth connectivity allows Stream music directly from your smartphone, tablet, or other compatible devices.

Definitive Technology Studio Advance 5.1

Definitive Technology is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 10 Best Loudspeaker Brands (Overall) On The Market Today.

Klipsch R-51PM

The Klipsch R-51PM (link to compare prices at select retailers) is a 2-Way powered Bluetooth bookshelf speaker generally sold as a pair. The pair features Bluetooth wireless connectivity plus stereo RCA, optical, and 1/8″ aux inputs, and a USB Type-B input.

Klipsch R-51PM

Klipsch is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top 11 Best Home Speaker Brands You Should Know And Use
Top 11 Best Subwoofer Brands (Car, PA, Home & Studio)
Top 10 Best Loudspeaker Brands (Overall) On The Market Today


How To Connect (Pair) Bluetooth Speakers To Bluetooth Audio Devices

What good are Bluetooth speakers if they aren’t paired to an audio device? In this section, we’ll go into detail about how to connect your Bluetooth speaker to a wide variety of audio sources.

Luckily, pairing Bluetooth speakers is pretty simple if the audio device in question has Bluetooth capabilities.

Even if the audio device doesn’t have inherent Bluetooth technology, there are adapters available to allow us to connect our BT speakers (more on these adapters later).


How To Put Bluetooth Speakers In Pairing Mode

Bluetooth speakers will have a pairing button that must be pressed in order to make the speaker available for pairing. We must also ensure that the Bluetooth receiver inside the speaker is properly charged.

Some speakers will have a dedicated Bluetooth pairing button. Others will have their power button double as a pairing button. Other designs will automatically go into pairing mode when they’re powered up.

If you’re unsure about which switch/button to hit in order to engage pairing, consult the owner’s manual of the speaker. That being said, the pairing switch should be somewhat obvious if the speaker does not pair automatically.

I own a JBL Charge 3 (the earlier model of the aforementioned JBL Charge 4). This Bluetooth speaker has its own dedicated Bluetooth-enable button (to the far left in the picture below):

JBL Charge 3

Pressing the Bluetooth button all the way to the left (relative to the picture above) will engage pairing mode where the speaker will become discoverable to other devices. While in discover mode, the power button (in blue) will flash.

Now that we know how to make Bluetooth speakers discoverable, we have to look at the various devices that are made to “discover” the speakers.

In other words, how do we get our audio devices to connect to our speaker specifically?

Let’s have a look at the various audio devices that Bluetooth speakers will commonly connect to and how to pair the devices together:


How To Connect/Pair Bluetooth Speakers To A Computer/Laptop Running Mac OS

1. Make Your Mac OS Computer Discoverable

How to make a computer/laptop running Mac OS discoverable:

  • System Preferences>Bluetooth
    • Click “Turn Bluetooth On”

It should read “Now discoverable as “computer_name”

2. Pair The Mac OS Computer With The Speaker

  • System Preferences>Bluetooth
    • Under Devices
    • Click “Pair” next to “speaker_name”

3. Unpair/Disconnect The Mac OS Computer From The Speaker

  • System Preferences>Bluetooth
    • Under Devices
    • Click the “x” next to “speaker_name”
    • Click “Remove”

How To Connect/Pair Bluetooth Speakers To A Computer/Laptop Running Windows OS

The pairing process in Windows 10 is a two-way process. That is to say that both devices have to accept in order to be paired.

1. Make Your Windows OS Computer Discoverable

How to make a computer/laptop running Windows OS discoverable:

  • Settings>Devices>Bluetooth>Manage Bluetooth Devices
    • Click Turn Bluetooth On

It should read “Your PC is searching for and can be discovered by Bluetooth devices.”

2. Pair The Windows OS Computer With The Speaker

  • Settings App>Devices>Bluetooth & Other Devices
    • Click Add Bluetooth Or Other Device
    • Click “speaker_name”

Alternatively

  • Control Panel>Hardware And Sound>Devices And Printers
    • Click Add A Device
    • Click “speaker_name”

3. Unpair/Disconnect The Windows OS Computer From The Speaker

  • Settings App>Devices>Bluetooth & Other Devices
    • Click “speaker_name”
    • Click “Remove Device”
    • Click “Yes”

For more information on speakers and computers, check out my articles How To Connect Speakers To A Computer (All Speaker Types) and Are Speakers (& Studio Monitors) Input Or Output Devices?


How To Connect/Pair Bluetooth Speakers To An iPhone

1. Make Your iPhone Discoverable

  • Settings>Bluetooth
    • Tap “Turn Bluetooth On”

Alternatively, swipe up or down (depending on the iPhone model) to open the Control Center and tap the Bluetooth icon to turn it on (it will light up with a blue background).

It should read “Now discoverable as “iPhone’s name”” in the Settings>Bluetooth page.

2. Pair The iPhone With The Speaker

  • Settings>Bluetooth
  • Under My Devices or Other Devices
    • Tap “speaker_name”

The connected speaker should be labelled as “Connected”.

3. Unpair/Disconnect The iPhone From The Speaker

  • Settings>Bluetooth
    • Under My Devices
    • Tap the “i” next to “speaker_name”
    • Tap “Forget This Device”

How To Connect/Pair Bluetooth Speakers To An Android Smartphone

1. Make Your Android Smartphone Discoverable

Alternatively, swipe down from the top of the screen to open the Notification Panel. Swipe down again to open Quick Settings and tap on the Bluetooth icon to turn it on (it will light up with a blue background).

2. Pair The Android Smartphone With The Speaker

  • Settings App>Connected Devices>Pair New Device
    • Tap “speaker_name”
    • Tap the checkbox to “Allow access to your contacts and call history.”
    • Tap “Pair”

3. Unpair/Disconnect The Android Smartphone From The Speaker

  • Settings App>Connected Devices
    • Tap the gear icon next to the “speaker_name”
    • Tap “Forget”
    • Tap “Forget Device”

How To Connect/Pair Bluetooth Speakers To Playstation

Unfortunately, Playstation doesn’t have compatibility for Bluetooth speakers unless they are plugged into the controller.


How To Connect/Pair Bluetooth Speakers To Xbox

Unfortunately, Xbox One does not have Bluetooth functionality.


How To Connect/Pair Bluetooth Speakers To A Smart TV

Televisions have been around much longer than Bluetooth technology. That being said, many of the new “smart” TVs on the market that have Bluetooth technology and will easily pair to Bluetooth speakers.

There are many different smart TV framework platforms managed by various individual companies. Each framework may have a slightly different menu path to connect Bluetooth speakers.

If your TV came with a Smart Remote, it supports Bluetooth. That’s is, after all, how Smart Remotes pair to smart TVs.

If the TV does not have Smart Remote, you may be able to find Bluetooth connectivity options in the menu settings. Otherwise, check the TVs manual.

If your TV has Bluetooth functionality, pairing a speaker can be done by following these steps:

1. Make Your Smart TV Discoverable

Smart TVs are typically always discoverable.

2. Pair The Smart TV With The Speaker

  • Settings>Sound>Sound Output
    • Select “speaker_name”
    • Select “Okay”

3. Unpair/Disconnect The Smart TV From The Speaker

  • Settings>Sound>Sound Output
    • Select “speaker_name”
    • Select “Unpair”
    • Select “Okay”

How To Connect/Pair Bluetooth Speakers To A Non-Bluetooth Device (Bluetooth Adapters)

There are plenty of devices that output audio that could benefit from Bluetooth connectivity. Many newer devices have Bluetooth capabilities built into their design. However, many do not.

So how do we connect out Bluetooth speakers to an audio device that does not have Bluetooth? You’ll need a Bluetooth adapter/transmitter.

These adapters connect to the devices and effectively transmit the devices’ audio signals wirelessly using Bluetooth’s standard protocols.

Let’s have a look at a few examples of Bluetooth adapters/transmitters:

The 1Mii USB-A Bluetooth 5.0 Adapter (link to check the price on Amazon) is a Bluetooth adapter that connects via digital USB-A and works on Bluetooth version 5.0.

1Mii USB-A Bluetooth 5.0 Adapter

The TP-Link USB-A UB400 Bluetooth 4.0 Adapter (link to check the price on Amazon) is another Bluetooth adapter that connects via digital USB-A. It works on Bluetooth version 4.0.

TP-Link UB400

The TaoTronics TT-BA07 (link to check the price on Amazon) works on Bluetooth version 5.0 and the low-latency aptX codec. It connects to analog headphone jacks via a 3.5mm TRS plug. This adapter can act as either a transmitter or a receiver and can connect to two devices simultaneously.

The Aluratek ABC02F (link to check the price on Amazon) is another Bluetooth receiver and transmitter. This device works on Bluetooth 4.0 and can pair with 2 Bluetooth headphones simultaneously in the transmitter mode. It has a 3.5mm; optical in and optical out, and a USB-C connector.


Reconnecting Bluetooth Speakers

Most Bluetooth speakers will automatically re-pair with the device they were most recently paired with when they are powered up, provided that the device is available for pairing and in Bluetooth range.

That being said, there are some speakers that will need to be manually re-paired every time you power them up.

Though this may be annoying, it is quite simple to re-pair the devices.

You just have to follow the steps necessary to pair the speaker to the device in question. See the section above (How To Connect (Pair) Bluetooth Speakers To Bluetooth Audio Devices) to find out how to connect Bluetooth speakers to various devices.

In the odd case that you have to re-pair the speaker, you usually won’t have to put the speaker in pairing mode to reconnect them.

There should be memory of the device after the initial pairing process.


Unpairing (Forgetting) Bluetooth Speakers

Unpairing the Bluetooth speaker could be as easy as turning the speaker off or turning the device off.

However, for the audio device to unpair from or “forget” the Bluetooth speaker, we must get into the Bluetooth menu of the device and hit the disconnect/forget button.

Note that, once forgotten, the speaker will eventually show back up in the Bluetooth device pairing options. It may take some time but we can also reconnect the speaker to the device later.

For more specific advice on forgetting speakers in common Bluetooth devices, check out the previous section How To Connect (Pair) Bluetooth Speakers To Bluetooth Audio Devices.


How To Connect Non-Bluetooth Speakers To Bluetooth Sources

Sometimes we’re in a situation where we really love a speaker that does not have built-in Bluetooth connectivity.

How do we effectively turn an otherwise wired speaker into a Bluetooth wireless speaker? The answer is with a Bluetooth wireless receiver.

A Bluetooth receiver will effectively accept the wirelessly transmitted audio from a Bluetooth transmitter or audio device. By plugging the receiver into our wired speaker, the audio signal can be transferred from the receiver to the drivers of the speaker.

Of course, this isn’t a completely wireless set up but it at least removes the wire between the speaker and the audio device.

Note that the speaker would have to have either its own built-in amplifier of a power amplifier would be require between the receive and the passive speaker to drive it properly.

Turning wired speakers into Bluetooth speakers isn’t an overly popular thing to do. However, I thought it would be important to go over this scenario if you were so inclined to do so.

Most of the Bluetooth audio receivers are designed for headphones and so they have headphone outputs. This is not ideal for a single speaker. However, it could be useful for driving a stereo pair of speakers if a Y-splitter was used to send the unbalanced left channel to the left speaker and the unbalanced right channel to the right speaker.

Let’s have a look at some Bluetooth receivers.

Fiio μBTR

The FiiO μBTR (link to check the price on Amazon) is a Bluetooth reciever that supports Bluetooth 4.1 as well as the aptX, SBC, and AAC audio codecs. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack and a built-in microphone with independent volume control for voice calls.

EarStudio ES100 Mk2

The EarStudio ES100 Mk2 (link to check the price on Amazon) is a Bluetooth receiver with SBC, aptX, AAC and aptX HD codecs. It has a 3.5mm unbalanced & 2.5mm balanced output for different wired headphone connections.

EarStudio ES100 Mk2

How To Connect Multiple Bluetooth Speakers To A Single Audio Source

As we’ve discussed earlier, for the sake of backward compatibility, default Bluetooth connections will not allow a device to connect to two BT speakers simultaneously.

However, Bluetooth splitters allow us to effectively pair multiple speakers to a single audio source. Additionally, there are other technologies that build upon the Bluetooth connectivity to allow for multiple simultaneous speaker connections.

TROND BT-DUO

The TROND BT-DUO (link to check the price on Amazon) is a Bluetooth 4.1 splitter and transmitter/receiver with aptX & aptX Low Latency codecs.

Its 3.5mm headphone jack allows the BT-DUO to connect to a single source and transmit the audio to two paired devices.

TROND BT-DUO

TaoTronics TT-BA014

The TaoTronics TT-BA014 (link to check the price on Amazon) is a Bluetooth 5.0 transmitter/receiver desktop unit capable of pairing with 3 separate Bluetooth speakers simultaneously.

TaoTronics TT-BA014

JBL Connect+

JBL’s proprietary Connect+ technology allows more than 100 compatible JBL speakers to be connected simultaneously via a single Bluetooth connection.

Note that this isn’t necessarily Bluetooth itself. Rather, it’s an extension upon the Bluetooth technology.

Tempow Audio Profile (TAP)

The aforementioned TAP Bluetooth profile allows multiple Bluetooth speakers to be connected to a hub and act as discrete speakers in a surround sound setup. Again, the speakers paired through the TAP protocol should then be positioned appropriately in their surround sound positions.


Can you use Bluetooth headphones on a plane? The official global rule states that Bluetooth devices that are larger than a smartphone and/or unable to function on flight mode are not allowed to be used during flights. The use of short-range Bluetooth headphones and earphones is, therefore, permitted during flight.

Related article: Are Microphones Allowed On Airplanes? (Checking And Carryon)

Will leaving Bluetooth on all the time drain the batteries of my devices? Since the Bluetooth Low Energy was incorporated into Bluetooth 4.0, it has dropped power consumption to the point where many Bluetooth pairings that periodically exchange small amounts of data (tracking apps, for example) use up a negligible amount of battery. Connecting to a speaker, however, takes up more energy and should be unpaired/disconnected when not in use.

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