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Blue Tango Classic – Bluetooth Audio

The Blue Tango Classic is an impressive piece of kit that allows you to stream music from the computer to a stereo or a pair of speakers using Bluetooth.

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INTRODUCTION

Bluetooth can be used for many things. We have Bluetooth keyboards, Bluetooth mice and of course many phones today can connect to computers through Bluetooth. Innovation Lab Corp, though, has a pretty cool application for Bluetooth: wireless sound. They are not the first to create a product for wireless sound, but most use other means to transmit the sound (WLAN, RF etc.), and this is the first product I’ve seen using Bluetooth for this purpose.

Today’s review takes a look at what this product can do for your music listening needs.

SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES

The whole package consists of a transmitter and a receiver:

BSD-50 Transmitter

- Bluetooth Core v1.1;A2DP v1.0; max 384 kbps
– Class I, 50+~100 m transmit destination
– USB interface

BSR-51 Receiver

– Bluetooth Core v1.1; A2DP v1.0
– Class II, receiving destinationa bout 10+ m

Together with the VSR-51 receiver, you get a power adapter that supports 100-240V, making it work all over the world.

The Receiver has both a Line-in connector for an external audio-source as well as 2 RCA-connectors for left/right channels.

THE BOX

I’m not sure who wrote the slogan for this product, but I couldn’t help laughing a bit to the slogan “Dances with Bluetooth.”

In the box you find the receiver and transmitter, the power adapter, one RCA to RCA cable, one RCA to 3.5 mm cable and one tiny leaflet manual.

As you might notice there is no CD with drivers included. This is because the transmitter doesn’t need any drivers. While I only could test this in XP, Innovation Lab Corp claims this is true also for Win98SE/ME/NT/2000 as well as Mac OS 10 and later operating systems.

INSTALLATION

Installation is simple. First you hook up the receiver to your stereo system/speakers and turn it on. Next you insert the transmitter into a USB port in the computer. The computer now installs the transmitter as a “USB Audio Device.”

The manual instructs you to pair the receiver and transmitter, but in my case the pairing already was done since the blue light on the receiver already blinked to indicate it was paired and ready. Pairing otherwise is simple. All you do is hold down a button on the receiver for a second and the pairing is done automatically.

TESTING

The system the transmitter was installed in consists of this:

• AMD64 3200+
• 1024 MB PC3200 DDR
• ASUS K8N-SLI Deluxe (nForce4)

The location where I tested this product was our soon to be sold apartment. I actually wanted to test it in the new house we bought but as I expected it still wasn’t finished (isn’t it a universal truth that contractors NEVER are done when they are supposed to be…?).

The layout of our apartment is this:

The outer walls are made of thick concrete and the inner walls are basically wood.

Test 1: Receiver at our TV hooked up to a pair of Creative speakers.

The first test wasn’t especially successful. I hooked the receiver up to the 2.1 Creative I-Trigue 3200 speakers that I have connected to my MediaCenter and then started to play some 192 Kbps MP3 files on my computer. The sound out from the speakers was mostly great but pretty often there were distortions and the music slowed down and speeded up again. In short it wasn’t good enough for listening to music from your computer.

I would consider this a worst case scenario in our apartment since it is almost the farthest point possible between the receiver and transmitter with several walls between the transmitter and receiver. I moved the receiver closer to the kitchen and close to the kitchen I could get a good connection and uninterrupted sound. I just needed to move it a bit further away though or even a bit higher up and I got distortions again.

Test 2: Receiver at my side of the bed hooked up to a pair of headphones

This test worked a lot better. I had no distortions at all and the sound was very good. There’s a door between both the computer room and the closet and between the closet and the bedroom so it is possible this helped the signal (the door between the computer room though is closed and has a full shelf with books in front of it so there still are some objects blocking the signal.

CONCLUSION

When the Blue Tango Classic works it is a very cool product. I’m already using it to listen to some music in the evenings before sleep, and I like not having to burn a CD, instead merely setting up different playlists in the computer.

The bad side, however, is that the use of Bluetooth seems to make this product a bit sensitive to where you can place the receiver. My idea of using this in the new house where our computer room is in the basement and our stereo will be in the first floor probably won’t work.

The price of the Classic version is $169.99 at http://www.iocombo.com/product/showproduct.php?productid=0EFU and there also is a “Rock” version which has a volume knob on the receiver.

 Pros

+ Very good sound
+ Extremely easy to setup
+ No drivers needed

 Cons

– The range isn’t that good
– Sensitive to the placement of the receiver
– A bit pricey

Summary: The Blue Tango Classic is an impressive piece of kit which allows you to stream music from the computer to a stereo or a pair of speakers. The range of the product though is a bit too short for my liking, making it hard to use over a longer range or in a apartment/house with lots of rooms and lots of walls.

A big thanks to ioCombo.com for providing us with the product.

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