Noble BTS Aptx receiver - high-res bluetooth experience -impressions by Ta-ke


Noble BTS Aptx receiver - high-res bluetooth experience 
-impressions by Ta-ke

There is slight mention of the Noble BTS in the Shanling M1 review I put up recently, which I acquired for months but did not put to good use due to Aptx limitations.

Frankly I hate using Bluetooth, in the majority of the cases the sound is muffled and there is often a strong hiss with sensitive IEMs, not to mention the congested sound and huge roll offs.

The BTS looks classy, feels light in the hand, and more importantly I received it as a gift.



*I am always reluctant to use bluetooth headset, from time to time you see people talking to themselves on the streets. You can save $99 if you are talking to you imaginary buddy though*

The BTS is measured to have low output impedance (1-2 ohm). While I find the output relatively more powerful than many other bluetooth devices, out of the box it sounds clean and later on I paired with Aptx devices including the recently reviewed Shanling m1 that really makes it shine.

As you may notice there are more cheap devices that feature Aptx and a DAP like the M1 will serve at the same quality like any other transmitter.

Upon opening the  box I am quite surprised to hear voice guides like ipod shuffles on this device.

There is a bit of trouble trying to get it paired first time (it takes quite a long time holding the power button to put it into pairing mode, like most bluetooth devices the red/blue light flashes alternately), but later on it is swift and the device will match automatically with devices it has paired with before.



Navigation
On the website it states '' Advanced Smartphone Commands'' and the user guide is in a separate page
https://nobleaudio.com/en/support/user-guide/

Normal controls are similar to other BTS dongles, and if you want to skip tracks you will have to hold the up and down button for a second or two. '' Advanced Smartphone Commands'' that is, as put on the official site. Easy.



On the official site it states that the playback time is around 7-8 hours and in reality, after using the device for 20+ times in half a year the playback time (at Aptx rate) is over >~5 hours.

I haven't tested the multipoint connection since it will be killing the battery time on either device to keep it idling. I turn off bluetooth connectivity most of the time to save power and the connection is quick and smooth the second time when it is memorized, so it isn`t any trouble.

The on board microphone is clean and loud enough, if you clip the BTS on the right side of your jacket the mic will be facing upwards and pick up your voice nicely, however you will have to talk near the mic in a crowded situation.

More about the sound output
I listened to the BTS using half a dozen of different IEMs.
Testing with the Dita Answer gives a pleasing sound signature.The combo may be good on a train ride as the bass presence is strong.
Another handy IEM is the SE846, well known for the low impedance, ideal for noise testing. Further listening proofs that the BTS does control noise well, hiss is the lowest I have heard on Bluetooth devices.
The overall sound under Aptx is well controlled and the vocal presentation has good body. However switching to non Aptx devices it sounds quite congested.

Pairing the BTS with the Ocharaku co donguri has good synergy, good separation and extended treble thanks to the cleaner tuning on the co donguri.
As aforementioned in the M1 review I enjoy it more than having M1 paired with the co donguri, however the M1 is roughly the same price as the BTS and just to state it clear I am not suggesting M1 to be inferior.



The overall sound from the BTS is quite neutral, the device is outputting the sound you will expect from a modern chip (CSR 8645) and turns out that it surprises me the quality isn't much inferior to a phone's output or even some low-end DAPs.

I originally thought that this $99 device is overpriced, and the perception that higher res bluetooth device would be way more power consuming, now it is proved wrong.

It is a fun experience to listen to high res music and having no need to unplug the earphone and put it in the phone for a call.
Being said, if you text a lot and seldom do calls, think twice before purchasing a bluetooth device. And remember, your iPhone doesn't have Aptx support.

You can learn more about Aptx here:



 



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