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Logitech Bluetooth Music Receiver review: Forget the aux cord, this little box turns any stereo into a wireless music system

The Logitech Bluetooth Music Receiver is an easy, inexpensive way to add wireless audio streaming to a powered speaker or component audio system.

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Justin Yu
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Justin Yu

Associate Editor / Reviews - Printers and peripherals

Justin Yu covered headphones and peripherals for CNET.

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3 min read

Congratulations: you just bought a brand new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. But it doesn't have a standard headphone jack, and you already misplaced the dongle.

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7.8

Logitech Bluetooth Music Receiver

The Good

The Logitech Bluetooth Music Receiver streams audio from nearly any mobile device to any stereo or powered speakers with an open input. It's easy to connect via either 3.5mm or RCA and you can link multiple devices to it at once. The wireless range extends up to 50 feet (15 meters) away and it holds a strong connection within reasonable distance.

The Bad

The Chromecast Audio offers better sound quality and multiroom options via Wi-Fi, making it a better option for Android users.

The Bottom Line

Forget the aux cord -- this Logitech Bluetooth Music Receiver is the easiest way to stream audio from your smartphone or laptop.

Yes, wireless speakers and headphones are cheaper and better than ever before. But if you want to retrofit an existing stereo system or old boom box to be wireless compatible, the Logitech Bluetooth Music Receiver is just the ticket. This little box makes anything with an auxiliary line-in -- including any old set of PC speakers -- Bluetooth compatible, so you can stream audio from pretty much any smartphone, tablet or Mac -- any many PCs, too. Best of all it retails for as little as $30 (£30, AU$55).

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The Receiver has a small pairing button on top. Hold down to put it in pairing mode, then select it in your device's Bluetooth menu to connect.

Sarah Tew/CNET

This model is the second generation of Logitech's popular wireless streaming accessory. The new one is smaller than the first version so it's easy to hide behind a receiver or a speaker, since Bluetooth doesn't need line of sight with the source to operate. Like the original, the device draws power from a wall adapter that plugs into the back.

The rear also has a 3.5mm port and RCA jacks to output audio, and the box includes a 3.5mm-to-RCA cable so you can run it in whichever direction you want depending on the audio source in use. The convenience of this system is its flexibility -- you can hook it up to anything with a free input, including a stereo, AV receiver, TV or PC speakers.

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The back of the unit has a power port, an RCA jack and a 3.5mm jack for output.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Once you wire the adapter to an input, all you have to do is link it to your Bluetooth-enabled device via the pairing button on top. Press it once to put it in pairing mode, then simply click on the adapter in your device's Bluetooth settings menu to connect. Your speakers should emit an audible jingle to let you know the pairing is successful, and that's it. You can even connect two devices at once so you don't have to keep switching them on and off, but only one source will play audio at a time.

According to Logitech, the range of the Bluetooth connection is 50 feet (15 meters). I was actually able to walk a little farther than that in my apartment without dropping the connection, but your mileage may vary depending on other devices you have in the same room, the thickness of your walls and so forth. But like nearly any Bluetooth device, you'll still get occasional wireless hiccups and dropouts.

Wireless streamers compared

There are a few rival Bluetooth adapters on market, but the Belkin models are now discontinued and the Bose costs twice as much as the Logitech (though it adds digital audio-out.)

That leaves the Chromecast Audio from Google. The Chromecast and the Logitech are about the same price and they accomplish the same goal, turning any stereo with an open auxiliary port into a wireless music system, but with a few key differences in features.

The Chromecast uses Wi-Fi to connect and offers full-resolution 24-bit/96kHz audio resolution playback. You can buy multiple units and add them to several speakers to listen simultaneously in different rooms. It offers universal compatibility on Android devices, but iPhones and iPads are limited to outputting audio from a smaller list of compatible apps. (You can also output audio from the Chrome browser on Mac or Windows.)

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The receiver streams wireless audio up to 50 feet (15 meters) and you can tuck it behind an audio source since Bluetooth doesn't need line of sight to transmit.

Sarah Tew/CNET

In contrast, the Logitech uses Bluetooth for music playback, which compresses audio files to send them over the air. In a nutshell, the music might not sound as dynamic and full as a Chromecast Audio hookup if you're listening through high-quality bookshelf or floor-standing speakers (if you're using TV speakers or PC speakers, you won't notice much difference). On the other hand, the advantage of Bluetooth is that you can output audio from any application on your computer or phone.

For example, I plugged it into my stereo at home and really enjoyed listening to movies and TV shows downloaded locally on my computer using VLC -- I wouldn't be able to do that with a Chromecast.

The decision to buy either the Chromecast or the Logitech Bluetooth adapter comes down to deciding how you'll use them. If the idea of multiroom playback and audio fidelity are a big deal to you, you want the Chromecast.

But if you're just trying to output audio from a single source and don't want to be held back by compatible applications (and don't mind a slight dip in audio quality), the Logitech Bluetooth Music Receiver is your best bet.

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7.8

Logitech Bluetooth Music Receiver

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Sound 7Value 8
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