Shanling BA1 Desktop Bluetooth Receiver
When it comes to integrating sources such as smartphones, tablets, but also portable audio players into an audio system, Bluetooth is of course the simplest and most elegant solution. The new Shanling BA1 Desktop Bluetooth Receiver is designed exactly for this purpose and is supposed to allow this on a particularly high quality level.
Bluetooth is a fine thing, also in the field of consumer electronics, because it is the easiest way to transfer music, especially from smartphones, but also tablets and portable audio players. No network infrastructure is required, as would be the case with conventional streaming solutions. A direct connection between the source and the audio system can be easily established at the touch of a button and music can be played. This also makes it possible, for example, to quickly play music from friends who are visiting via the HiFi system without having to connect their devices to the network first.
Although Bluetooth has had a rather bad reputation for years because of the lossy data compression used for signal transmission, those days are long gone. More and more manufacturers are focusing on solutions that are even described as particularly high-quality products, such as the Chinese manufacturer Shanling, which is now presenting the new Shanling BA1 desktop Bluetooth receiver. Its task is to enable the simple integration of mobile devices via Bluetooth into any audio system at a level of quality that the manufacturer himself describes as high-end hi-fi.
It is striking that the new Shanling BA1 Desktop Bluetooth Receiver is a solution that is significantly larger than many similarly designed products. Nevertheless, the new Shanling BA1 Desktop Bluetooth Receiver can of course be described as extremely compact, after all it measures no more than 120 mm in width, 100 mm in depth and 26 mm in height. This solution therefore fits easily into any audio system. The discreet little black box does not need to be “hidden”, especially as it has a toggle switch on its front, a small display and a headphone connection in the form of a 3.5 mm stereo mini jack socket.
Let’s stay with the connections, on the back there is a pair of cinch sockets as line out, and also an optical S/PDIF interface as digital output. A USB-C port is used to supply power via a corresponding 5 V 1 A power supply unit, although this interface can also be used to connect to a PC or Mac, so that the Shanling BA1 Desktop Bluetooth Receiver also functions as an external D/A converter with integrated headphone amplifier.
A Bluetooth 5.0 module is used for signal transmission via Bluetooth. This is a Qualcomm CSR8675 which supports AAC and aptX or aptX LL for signal transmission with “CD quality” in addition to the lossy SBC. But that’s not all, Shanling speaks of the new Shanling BA1 Desktop Bluetooth Receiver as a high-end device and refers to the possibility to use “Wireless Hi-res Audio”. This is done here using the codecs aptX HD for signals with up to 24 bits and 48 kHz, as well as LHDC and LDAC for transmission with up to 24 bits and 96 kHz.
For signal processing, the new Shanling BA1 Desktop Bluetooth Receiver is equipped with a DAC of type ESS Sabre ES9218P. This is used for signal transmission via Bluetooth as well as for the already mentioned USB-C interface, via which the Shanling BA1 Desktop Bluetooth Receiver can be used as external D/A converter on a PC or Mac.
In the simplest case, analogue signals are output via the pair of cinch sockets, for example to an amplifier, or active loudspeaker systems, as the manufacturer himself points out. Those who use a higher quality D/A converter transmit the signals via the optical SPDIF interface.
And then there is the headphone jack, behind which is an output stage that can easily drive a variety of headphones, according to the manufacturer’s promise.
Finally, it should be mentioned that the manufacturer also offers a suitable app for the new Shanling BA1 Desktop Bluetooth Receiver, which will be available for Apple iOS and Google Android. This is the Shanling Companion App, which of course also accesses the Shanling BA1 Desktop Bluetooth Receiver via Bluetooth and is supposed to provide control over all parameters.
According to the manufacturer, the new Shanling BA1 Desktop Bluetooth Receiver should be available in specialist shops as early as November 2020. The recommended retail price for the new Shanling BA1 Desktop Bluetooth Receiver is US$ 169,- or € 169,-.
Getting to the point
Bluetooth had a rather bad reputation over the years, because lossy data compression was used for signal transmission, but those days are long gone. More and more manufacturers are focusing on solutions that are even described as particularly high-quality products, such as the Chinese manufacturer Shanling, which is now presenting the new Shanling BA1 desktop Bluetooth receiver. Its task is to enable the simple integration of mobile devices via Bluetooth into any audio system at a level of quality that the manufacturer himself describes as high-end hi-fi.
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