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Video: How Bluetooth® Speakers Work

Ralph Graves is one of Crutchfield's blog editors, and part of the company's social media team. He writes about home audio/video gear, specializing in Apple-related and wireless technologies. Ralph holds a master's degree in music composition, and his works have been released on various labels. He's served as product manager for an independent classical and world music label, produced several recordings, and worked extensively in public broadcasting. Since 1984 he's hosted a weekly classical music program on WTJU, and is also active as a blogger and podcaster.

More from Ralph Graves

Crutchfield A/V writer Ralph Graves takes a trip to the Crutchfield Labs to explain the basics of Bluetooth wireless speakers. These home or portable speakers offer a great way to enjoy the media available on your smartphone or other Bluetooth equipped devices. Check out this video for the basics, and be sure to contact us so we can help you shop Crutchfield for the Bluetooth speaker that's best for you.

Video Transcript

Ralph: Bluetooth speakers are gaining in popularity for in-home use. These wireless speakers let you access the audio content from your Smartphone without having to dock your Smartphone. And that means you can control what you listen to anywhere within the range of the speakers.

Bluetooth speakers come in a variety of sizes and shapes from small portables to large bookshelf-size models. But no matter what size or shape, they all work the same way. Bluetooth is simply a wireless technology that lets two devices talk to each other. In the case of Bluetooth speakers, your smartphone, tablet, or other device transmits to the Bluetooth speaker which uses its built-in amplifier and speakers for playback. This lets you enjoy much better sound quality than what's produced by tiny built-in speakers on your phone.

Connecting, or pairing, your device to a Bluetooth speaker is a simple one time operation. Most Bluetooth speakers will remember and recognize your phone when it's in range. So after your initial pairing, all you have to do is turn the speaker on and you're ready to listen. One thing: even though Bluetooth speakers are wireless, they still need power for their built-in amplifier. Some speakers will always need to be plugged into a wall outlet to work. If you want portability, look for a model with a built-in rechargeable battery.

So what can you listen to on a Bluetooth speaker? Well, anything that you can listen to on your Smartphone. Stored audio, streaming music, movie soundtracks.there's plenty of possibilities.

When you shop for Bluetooth speakers, keep in mind where you might be using them. We've got models that will suit your particular audio and lifestyle needs. Need help selecting a Bluetooth speaker? Chat, email, or give us a call. Our experts are happy to help you find one that's right for you.

  • Mark Summers from Detco Electric

    Posted on 6/25/2015 4:46:53 PM

    some blue tooth speakers come with a 3.5 mm cable. What is this used for

  • Ralph Graves from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/26/2015 3:49:15 PM

    That 3.5 mm cable lets use the Bluetooth speaker with non-Bluetooth enabled portable devices. Plug one end into the headphone jack of your device and the other into the auxiliary input on the Bluetooth speaker.

  • Ralph Graves from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/14/2015 2:19:08 PM

    It's possible, depending on the range. Most bluetooth speakers have a range of about 30 feet. I'm forwarding your question to our advisors. They can get all the details and help you find the best possible solution for your situation.

  • Tom Adams from N. Royalton,Oh

    Posted on 5/21/2016 11:55:50 PM

    We are new to Bluetooth. I want to buy two speakers for the side of the room, I have two in the back that are plug in. I want to buy two sm. speakers that use batteries, do you have to use special type of battieys or just plain one's..Is there any special hookup involved ?

  • Paul Mann from Mississauga, Ontario

    Posted on 12/4/2016 3:00:40 PM

    Is it possible to use 1 or 2 bluetooth speakers with a Wurlitzer OMT(One More Time) vinyl jukebox? If so how would I do so? I am definitely not an electronics techie, just a guy that loves his jukebox(es). Thank you

  • John Chang from Los Angeles, Ca

    Posted on 12/9/2016 5:21:50 PM

    I read that bluetooth speakers have built-in lithium batteries. What if the lithium batteries are dead? Can you replace them? Will the speakers still work if connected to your computer via usb although the lithium battery is dead? I know usb speakers can play but don't know if they have a built-in battery.

  • Calvin Pleasant

    Posted on 1/1/2017 12:45:22 PM

    Why does my Bluetooth speaker connect with my ipad but not my iPhone when both are paired?

  • Ralph Graves from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/5/2017 9:40:10 AM

    While some Bluetooth speakers allow for multiple pairing, usually you can only stream from one device at a time. The advantage of multiple pairing is to let you quickly connect from the devices you use most without going through the whole pairing process each time. But if you're streaming music from your iPhone, you won't be able to connect through your iPad. When you turn your iPhone off or unpair it, then you should be able to pair your iPad.

  • Bev Cutler from North Vancouver

    Posted on 3/20/2017 3:27:06 AM

    I have a Bose Soundlink bluetooth portable speaker and an iPhone 6S. I would like to know if I can answer incoming phone calls - hands free, on my iPhone through my bluetooth speaker?


    Posted on 4/7/2017 1:56:11 PM

    can you hook up Bluetooth speakers to an old TV?>

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