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AudioFiles: Beating the Bluetooth Blues

Bluetooth is hard to escape these days—but there are ways to make it sound better

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Cambridge Audio’s Alva TT turntable features aptX-HD Bluetooth audio.
Cambridge Audio’s Alva TT turntable features aptX-HD Bluetooth audio.

With headphone jacks disappearing from all Apple phones and many Android phones, listening to audio on the go often demands that you use wireless Bluetooth headphones. Although it’s possible to use wired headphones if you attach a headphone amp dongle, headphone makers tell me almost no one bothers—and that’s why they’re switching their headphones to Bluetooth as fast as they can. Bluetooth is more convenient because it’s wireless, but it also reduces sound quality. This prospect bothers serious listeners. But thanks to the technological advances being implemented on new products, going Bluetooth doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing quality.

Playing the Standards

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Brent Butterworth

Brent Butterworth has been a professional audio journalist since 1989, and has evaluated and measured thousands of audio products. He is currently a writer at Wirecutter and editor of the SoundStage Solo headphone site; served as an editor at such magazines as Sound & Vision and Home Theater; and worked as marketing director for Dolby Laboratories. He also plays double bass with several jazz groups in Los Angeles.