Do you own a good pair of headphones or earbuds? Don’t want to spend extra cash on a new set? Do you want to use them with your mobile phone that has no headphone jack? Well, you are in luck. Here we show some of the options you can explore to make your headphones wireless. Give more life to your beloved set of cans!
A small disclaimer: Our definition of “wireless” and your definition “wireless” might differ. What we are talking about here is eliminating the need to connect your headphones physically to your music device. What we present here may or will involve a wire somewhere. What you will gain is a decent, robust and good quality sounding pair of headphones. They will also be able to connect effortlessly to the wireless music device of your choosing.
Wireless Headphones or Earphones?
Headphones are the devices that sit over your head with a connecting band and sit on or over your ears. Earphones are the devices that sit inside your ear, and are not connected to a headband. Generally speaking, this method works for any wired headphone or earphone, so the two terms can be used interchangeably.
However, the type of device you choose to modify is personal preference. Very good, high-quality devices exist for both headphones and earphones. Without a doubt the thought of spending more money on an extra set or earphones after buying a good pair of cans just so you can use them with wireless devices can be a struggle.
Certainly there are some of us who may baulk at the prospect of going wireless over wired for fear of the loss in quality. For this, we would say do not worry. Firstly, wireless audio quality is a whole lot better than it used to be. Secondly, wireless technology is so good now, that often connecting your devices is as simple as holding a down a button and watching a light blink.
Evidently if you have read this far then you must be curious as to how to make your headphones wireless or get wireless headphones cheaper than you see on the high street! If that is you then please read on!
What equipment do I need?
Specifically at a minimum, to get this to work you only need one basic item, a wireless Bluetooth receiver, though as we will see there may be a lot to choose from depending on your needs.
However you choose to set this up, the outcome in quality is nearly always better than the cheapest wireless headphones out there. Additionally they will often rival or better some of the more expensive options to!
Bluetooth Receiver Recommendations
When you have determined that your device does have a Bluetooth transmitter, the quickest thing to do is simply purchase a dedicated Bluetooth audio receiver. The only thing you have to make sure of is that it is of the latest version or “flavour” of Bluetooth.
At time of writing this article the latest version was Bluetooth 5.0. For more information on the different Bluetooth versions and why they matter to audio we recommend this excellent article. You don’t even have to ensure that the transmitter you are receiving from is of the same type, as they are backward compatible. For maximum benefit you will want to make sure both transmitter and receiver are of the latest type.
Below is a small review of three Bluetooth receivers we have used or are using. We have included some links to Amazon purchases, these are affiliate links.
There is a plethora of generic Bluetooth receivers on the internet, and as they all share a similar form factor (or identical apart from branding in some cases) we suspect they are all using the same inner circuitry. We even suspect this is true for the slightly more pricey Anker device below. If your main priority is enabling a wireless connection to your headphones, then this may be all you need.
At time of writing this particular one was less than £15 ($20) online at amazon. We think for the money you cant go much wrong.
The Anker Soundsync is a small and capable device, though a little more expensive than the generic devices you see on Amazon. We found that the battery life on our device was as advertised, and if regularly charged with the supplied USB cable we never had a problem with it running out of power.
If you are after a little more reassurance by having a branded item, then the Anker Soundsync will offer that. Anker make a vast array of affordable mobile consumer tech, and generally have very good reviews.
You can pick the Anker Soundsync up for around £25-£40 ($30 – $50) depending where you shop and what deals are on.
Unsurprisingly there will always be a high-end option to, and whilst some of the more expensive Bluetooth receivers have the price tag, they do not have the feature set expected. The FiiO BTR3K Balanced receiver is a completely different kettle of fish, and in our opinion good value for money given its feature set!
The BTR3K has the ability to support not only standard headphones, but also more high-end balanced studio and inner ear monitors (IEMs) too, via the separate balanced output. If you own a decent pair of balanced cans and wanted some wireless connectivity then this may be the option for you!
Currently there are some deals to get the BTR3K for £50-£55, normally £60 – £65, although it does not seem to be available in the US currently.
The more expensive BTR5-2021 model is available nearly everywhere though, but is slightly more pricey at £85 ($99), and offers the same feature set as the BTR3K, but with added USB amplification which might be useful to some.
Bluetooth Transmitter Recommendations
Nearly all mobile devices have Bluetooth audio transmission built in, but not all home audio systems and TVs do. For this you will need to equip your setup with a Bluetooth transmitter. These, like the receivers, can vary in price greatly and come with different features. Some of the receivers you find on amazon and elsewhere have a transmitting mode to. This means they can be used for either streaming music to a Bluetooth device, or receiving. Our recommendations for specific transmitters are below.
The MaedHawk Bluetooth transmitter is specifically designed to add Bluetooth transmission capabilities to your home HiFi or TV. It is reasonably priced to, at only £25 – £30. Unfortunately only a few retailers sell it in the US, but it can be bought internationally fairly easily.
In the US there is an all-in one device (transmitter and receiver) available. The Lendaway/Huet Bluetooth Transmitter 3-in-1 can be bought quite cheaply ~ $12 – $20.
The only drawback to the MaedHawk and Huet devices though, is that they are battery operated, meaning you will need to ensure they are always charged or keep them plugged into a charging port continually.
Sennheiser are known the world over for their quality audio devices, and have the historical prestige to back it up.
The BT T100 Bluetooth transmitter has received nearly 750 five-star reviews on Amazon. This is a popular product!
For us, the ease of set up, optical or analogue audio input selection and neat appearance won us over. Yes it has to be plugged into a power source, but it comes with one, unlike the above cheaper alternatives. The Sennheiser is a very handy HiFi component to add to your setup.
Currently priced between £65 and £75 (also $65 – $75 in the US, so actually cheaper than us Brits!) the Sennheiser BT T100 is not chea. In our testing it was more reliable and had better robust connectivity, and we think quite worth the asking price.
Wireless and Bluetooth audio has been written about many times over on the internet. For the average user who wants to keep things simple we hope that by sharing our small experiences and some of our recommendations you can make a better informed decision about what to buy.
If you have found this information useful, and wish to show some appreciation, then simply using the affiliate links above (cheekily hidden in the images if you click them) will be warmly welcomed. We receive a small commission on the purchase with no extra cost to you.
Thank you for reading this far, don’t forget to check out our other articles below, and remember to stay curious!