Best XLR Bluetooth Receiver: Which is best for your PA system?

Best Powered Speakers Under 500

The Search for the Best XLR Bluetooth Receiver for My PA System

I recently found myself needing a good, high quality XLR Bluetooth Receiver for my portable PA system. I purchased the Midas MR12 wireless mixer for my portable rig. It has ultra-quiet preamps, awesome effects, EQ and dynamics capabilities. Two things that it lacks are the ability to act as a USB interface and bluetooth. I’ve recently moved to wireless mics and thought the best solution would be to purchase an XLR bluetooth receiver to go totally wireless! I have also had problems with the various speakers that I own with built-in bluetooth: The Bose S1 Pro’s stereo bluetooth is awesome with an Android phone, or an Iphone or Ipad, but they can’t connect in stereo to a Windows based laptop or tablet. The built-in bluetooth in the JBL Eon Compact is awful. It’s truly useless in stereo mode and it requires an Android or IOS device. The stereo XLR bluetooth receivers all perform much better and sound as good or better! Another issue I had with my speakers with built in bluetooth was that they have frequency conflicts with my wireless mic… Drop outs, noise, etc… In order to eliminate this issue it’s important to locate the bluetooth receiver away from the mic receiver. Knowing that an XLR bluetooth receiver will eliminate my other problems is awesome, but I started running into other questions when shopping for XLR bluetooth receivers: Will I strictly use this receiver with my wireless mixer? Do I want the ability to simply plug two devices into speakers when I go without the mixer? Which one sounds the best? How do I provide power for these devices? What codec is being used in Windows?, etc… I decided to purchase several of these interfaces and put them to the test. Hopefully one will rise above the rest and be the best XLR bluetooth receiver for my purposes.

Switchcraft AudioStix 318BTS XLR Bluetooth Receiver – Stereo

The Switchcraft Audiostix 318BTS Bluetooth Receiver was immediately attractive to me because it is phantom powered! Without a doubt it is the most compact, portable, worry free bluetooth receiver of the bunch. No need to charge the device the night before or carry around a power adapter. Also, because the unit is designed to be installed on a mixing board, it eliminates some of the issues that I’ve encountered with other stereo bluetooth interfaces. Most notably, it’s impossible to install some stereo XLR bluetooth adapters on two consecutive mixing board channels without an extension cable; however, the Switchcraft 318BTS can be easily installed on virtually any mixer on consecutive channels. This is very important to me because the Midas MR12 (or the Behringer XR12 or XR18) has the ability to link two consecutive channels, thus making volume control and dynamics processing extremely easy. If these were the only criteria I used to select a bluetooth XLR adapter, this would be my choice, but this bluetooth receiver suffers quite a bit in audio performance. Upon testing this unit, the first thing I noticed was that the output of the device itself is weak. I had to boost the gain on the mixer a full 20 db to match the output of the other bluetooth interfaces I tested. Also, while the “quality” of the sound is the same (APTX on Windows 10, Apple Ipad and a Samsung S9), there is noticeably less bass response. Fortunately, the gain and the bass response can be accounted for with little to no noticeable noise on the Midas MR12, but that may not be the case on cheaper mixers. Another drawback to this bluetooth receiver is price. At $150 to $160 dollars, it’s the most expensive option of the bunch! I don’t think this is the best XLR bluetooth receiver for my purposes, but your needs may be different than mine. If you need a completely wireless, phantom powered option that installs on two consecutive mixer channels out of the box, this is your unit!
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On-Stage BC2000 XLR Stereo Bluetooth Receiver

The On-Stage BC2000 XLR Bluetooth Receiver was the second unit that tested. This stereo bluetooth receiver is actually two mono XLR bluetooth receivers that link together in stereo! This provides a different level of flexibility in that I can use these with a mixing board – or – with two non-bluetooth equipped speakers! In fact, I’m using them with two bluetooth equipped speakers, because of the flaky bluetooth capability of the speakers themselves. I can kill two birds with one stone with this pick: fix my flaky bluetooth speakers and convert my wireless mixer to bluetooth if needed. As I stated before, these are two mono bluetooth adapters, so they take up more mixing board space and actually require a small XLR extension cable to put them on consecutive mixing board channels (on the Midas MR12, may be different on other mixers, but be at least aware of this issue if you choose to buy this bluetooth receiver). This is a hassle, but may be well worth it for flexibility. Each of these bluetooth adapters (L and R sides) have a built-in rechargeable battery with phenomenal battery life. I’ve easily gotten 5 to 6 six hours use on one charge. With regard to sound quality, these have plenty of power and adequate bass response. They are also APTX codec compatible, which provides near CD-quality sound. I’d definitely classify them as a close second in sound quality to the next bluetooth receiver in my lineup… The Denon DN-200BR. I did actually keep this XLR Bluetooth receiver because of the flexibility it offers. I was very surprised by the ease of use, connection quality, and the fact that it provides a Windows 10 solution for bluetooth connectivity without interference with my wireless microphone system.
Comparison Chart | Read Reviews on Amazon

Denon Professional DN-200BR

The Denon Professional DN-200BR definitely has the best range of the four bluetooth receivers in the line-up. I’m not sure if you can actually get the stated range of 100′, but I’m sure you’d be good at 50 to 60 feet if needed. If you’re looking for a bluetooth receiver for a permanent professional installation, this is the receiver for you. It comes with a separate antenna and a long cable to allow for placement up high above the crowd if needed! When it comes to sound quality, this is just slightly better than the On-Stage BC2000, but still not the best of the bunch. I was able to connect with the aptX codec in Windows 10 and re-connection was always a snap. A wired power connection is required which is a big downside for my purposes. If portability is a concern, this would not be the unit for you (or for me for that very reason), but it’s an extremely high quality professional XLR bluetooth receiver. At roughly $100, it’s the cheapest solution in my lineup. Even though this bluetooth receiver does not meet my specific needs, I can highly recommend the Denon Professional DN-200BR XLR bluetooth receiver for range, ease of connection and sound quality for permanent installations – no doubt about it!
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Fiio BTR5

The Fiio BTR5 is actually more of an audiophile bluetooth receiver and USB DAC! I can actually use the aptX-HD codec (24 bit / 48 kHz) when used in conjunction with the MaedHawk Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter / Receiver. The Maedhawk bluetooth transmitter can be connected to my Windows 10 Professional tablet via USB2.0 and transmit higher quality audio wirelessly to the Fiio BTR5! I simply connect the Fiio BTR5 to my wireless mixer via a 2.5mm balanced stereo XLR cable adapter for pristine audio quality at 24 bit / 48 kHz, actually better than CD quality. I can also directly hook up the Fiio BTR5 to my Windows tablet via USB 2.0 and obtain up to 32 bit / 384 kHz audio resolution! I haven’t attempted this resolution, but I have obtained 32 bit / 192 kHz when used in conjunction with Amazon Music (actually a really nice Windows, Android and IOS high resolution audio solution. This solution is roughly the cost of the Switchcraft AudioStix 318BTS, but you get much higher audio quality and flexibility! I paid $110 for the Fiio BTR5, $32 for the Maedhawk bluetooth transmitter and $32 for the 2.5mm balanced stereo XLR cable adapter! Both the Fioo BTR5 and the Maedhawk Transmitter are rechargeable, in fact, the Maedhawk is powered by the USB2.0 port when connected. I haven’t tested the battery life of the Fiio BTR5, but the literature states that it gets 9 hours on one charge, even half of that battery life, would provide more than enough for a long show! As a Windows 10 user, I’m most concerned about audio quality when using my Windows laptop and tablets, but I’ve been able to obtain higher resolutions using my Samsung cell phone using the LDAC codec. This is not of much use to me, but might be useful to some users. I’m keeping my Fiio BTR5 and Maekhawk transmitter for the ultimate in bluetooth audio quality and flexibility!
Comparison Chart | Read Reviews on Amazon

The Best XLR Bluetooth Receiver Is:

After using each of the bluetooth receivers in my line-up, I believe the Fiio BTR5 is the best XLR bluetooth receiver for my needs. It provides the best bluetooth audio quality when used in conjunction with the Maedhawk bluetooth transmitter and can also be used wired to my mixer as a high resolution audio interface! I’m able to stream wirelessly using aptX HD and play ultra high quality audio files up to 384 kHz when directly connected to my laptop as a DAC. The Fiio BTR5 also provides both a 3.5 mm stereo connection and a balanced 2.5 mm stereo connection for high resolution, ultra quiet sound reproduction. The unit provides 9 hours of battery life and the most codec support of any of the other bluetooth receivers in the line up – a no brainer in my book! Running a close second is the On-Stage BC2000 XLR Stereo Bluetooth Receiver. It provides added flexibility with the ability to correct the bluetooth deficiencies of some bluetooth powered PA speakers.best in pro audio!

XLR Bluetooth Receiver Feature Comparison

Switchcraft AudioStix 318BTSOn-Stage BC2000Denon Professional DN-200BRFiio BTR5
RangeUp to 30′Up to 30′Up to 100′Up to 30′
Codec SupportaptX, FLAC
16-bit / 41.1 kHZ
aptX, FLAC
16-bit / 41.1 kHZ
aptX, FLAC
16-bit / 41.1 kHZ
aptX, aptX-HD, aptX Low Latency, AAC, LDAC
24-bit / 48 kHZ (Windows)
Bluetooth Version4.04.04.05.1
Separate AntennaNoNoYesNo
OutputsXLRXLRXLR2.5 mm Balanced Stereo
3.5 mm Stereo
PowerPhantom PoweredRechargeable Battery
5 Hours
Standard Power SupplyRechargeable Battery
9 Hours

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