Make a hand-held Bluetooth music jukebox

Don’t hire a DJ for your next party – for less than $5, you can turn your home-theatre or Hi-Fi system into the ultimate jukebox, all driven from your old Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or tablet.

What you’ll need:

  • Android device with Android 2.3/Gingerbread or later, Bluetooth
  • iOS device (iPad or iPhone)
  • Bluetooth audio receiver
  • Total cost: $5 to $50
  • Total time to complete: 10 minutes

Bluetooth Audio

logbtBluetooth is a low-power peer-to-peer (P2P) wireless networking standard commonly used to connect headsets and keyboards to devices and more recently, thanks to A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), it’s spawned the proliferation of portable Bluetooth speakers.

But for many of these speakers, the problems can be a lack of output power and average audio quality, particularly insufficient or soggy bass. Throw in prices heading well north of $100 and they’re hard to choose.

But if you already have a decent audio system, all you need is a Bluetooth audio adapter/receiver, which grabs the Bluetooth signal transmitted by your phone or tablet, extracts the audio from it and gives you a 3.5mm stereo socket output you can connect straight to your audio system.

How it works

iosThese Bluetooth dongles look like USB flash drives, but instead of connecting into your PC, you just plug it into your phone’s USB power adapter and connect a 3.5mm stereo cable into the back-end of the dongle. The other end of the cable goes to your audio system.

Next, you power up your mobile device, make sure Bluetooth is switched on, go to Settings/Bluetooth and connect or ‘pair’ it to your Bluetooth receiver.

From here, fire up your favourite audio player on your device and when you choose to play a track for the first time, it’ll either ask if you wish to transmit the audio via Bluetooth or just do it automatically.

Turn up the volume on your sound system and your device and enjoy the music.

Available options

dongleBluetooth audio receivers/adapters are available from major retailers in Australia starting from around $30. However, the option described above we picked up from eBay for $4 including shipping.

We had no trouble pairing it to any of our Android Bluetooth-ready or iOS devices and the audio quality was surprisingly good.

If you’re a connoisseur of valve amps and Origin Live turntables, you might turn your nose up at it, but most people won’t tell the difference.

But the real benefit is, load up your device with your favourite music and provided you stay within 10 to 20 metres of your Bluetooth receiver, you can dial up the music with no cables attached or any gizmo hanging off your phone or tablet.

Free music!

panDon’t have a great music collection? No worries – download Pandora, SoundCloud or Spotify (among other alternatives) from Google Play or Apple App Store and stream free online music through your Bluetooth audio receiver.

What’s great about most Bluetooth audio options is that they’ll even work with older devices going back to Android 2.3/Gingerbread and iOS 5.0.

So, if you have an old HTC Wildfire S or iPhone 3GS phone doing not very much, pull it out for your next party and use it as your communal wireless music jukebox.