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Kali Audio MV-BT Review (Balanced Bluetooth Receiver)

HionHiFi

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In the end I find that looking at a few of them, they might be all the same, “audiophile” tagged or not. It’s the Qualcomm reference design, feeding trouh IIS a choice of mid tier DAC at the output. with or without an optical digital out. It’s basic stuff but we seem to be seeing here with the balanced one a problematic design. To me, assuming the analog output is to be used, that would be the differentiator. THey are all around 80$. I’d pay maybe 40 more for care given to get a real 2V, and noise optimized, a complete specification sheet that show it’s been measured, not just trow around of a bunch of google friendly keywords like “ess sabre dac”, then, maybe with this type of documentation available we maybe able to assess the performance a bit better. I’m not being snarky here and trying to tell you your product is a dud, It may be good it just seams that this class of product is marketed as a commodity, and we are not really expected to worry about specs. So the audiophile thing is marketing.
Oh, I'm well aware of the loose use of the term "audiophile", or should I say ambiguous. I have no illusions as it's quality. I expect it be passable. That's it. If it tests well, I'd consider it in the minority.
 

restorer-john

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Aside from the Bluetooth mouse on my laptop, I utterly avoid BT altogether.

I went back to trusty wired mice and keyboards ages ago, except for the HTPC which has a BT logitech KB/TP wich works well. No batteries, no lag, no droputs and most importantly, no RF interference around sensitive test gear.
 

direstraitsfan98

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Logitech makes some great wireless mice. They use the 2.4Ghz bandwidth. If they’re good enough for me for competitive gaming they’re certainly good enough for you guys.
 

dougi

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Oh. Sure. Do you have a recommendation?
IFi Zen Blue. Supports APTxHD and LDAC. Balanced out via an adapter. Digital out as well. Affordable! Shows sample rate and codec being used.
 
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amirm

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amirm

amirm

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IFi Zen Blue. Supports APTxHD and LDAC. Balanced out via an adapter. Digital out as well. Affordable! Shows sample rate and codec being used.
Ah, that is good then. Let me see if I can get one...
 

Guy.G

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I registered here after this video showed up in my YouTube feed. This was a great, insightful review, and I look forward to more content from the channel.
I would be very interested in seeing results from similar devices.

I don't know if it's of interest, but I've been chasing after AirPlay rather than Bluetooth, as it seems to have a number of advantages.
  • It supports lossless 16/44 audio.
  • AirPlay 2 supports multi-room audio.
  • It runs on 2.4 or 5 GHz WiFi so there are no range issues.
  • Apple devices on the same network see the receivers automatically, without having to go through a pairing process (but devices can be password-protected, if desired).
Used AirPort Express v2 receivers go for about $50 these days, which seemed like a great deal compared to the nearest alternative I could find - the much larger and more expensive Sonos Port, at $450.
Except for the AirPort Express, AirPlay 2 receivers seem to be uncommon/expensive compared to original AirPlay devices for some reason. It's built into devices like TVs and AVRs now, but not stand-alone receivers.

Unfortunately, I found that the firmware updates which added AirPlay 2 support (7.8.x) seem to add significant distortion to the output.
I'm frankly shocked that Apple would push out an update like this, because it's so bad; but the devices are discontinued now, and I can't find any way to get in touch with them about it.
I wonder if adding an inexpensive DAC would be the solution (they have a combination 3.5mm analog/optical output) but have heard that the problem is bad enough that the digital output may suffer from intermittent drop-outs with many DACs.

I don't know if these devices are something which may be interesting for you to look at, since they're only available on the used market now (but widely available).
These measurements are not taken from a proper analyzer, but I have tested several of them now, with the same results:

I've never seen anything like that before.
 

LTig

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Aside from the Bluetooth mouse on my laptop, I utterly avoid BT altogether.

Sounds like crap to me and even when it works painlessly, I still generally feel that a wired connection is more convenient.
Streaming FLAC coded audio files from CDs I own from my Samsung S5neo to the Auvisio and from there via SPDIF to the Classé AVP sounds identical to the CD playing in a Kenwood CDP connected via SPDIF to the same Classé, at least for my aged cloth ears. Can't complain at all.
 

JohnBooty

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Streaming FLAC coded audio files from CDs I own from my Samsung S5neo to the Auvisio and from there via SPDIF to the Classé AVP sounds identical to the CD playing in a Kenwood CDP connected via SPDIF to the same Classé, at least for my aged cloth ears. Can't complain at all.
That makes sense. For those who've standardized on lossless audio already, BT represents a single lossy compression step so, not much of a hit assuming all of the stars and codecs line up. Lossless storage --> Reasonably lossy transmission --> happy years :)

I have a mix of lossless and lossy audio, so I go the "other" route. Lossy/Lossless storage --> Lossless wifi transmission over Airplay --> happy ears. Or, I just use a cable lol. Of course wi-fi can bring its own headaches but I don't find it half as finicky as BT.
 

Mnyb

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That makes sense. For those who've standardized on lossless audio already, BT represents a single lossy compression step so, not much of a hit assuming all of the stars and codecs line up. Lossless storage --> Reasonably lossy transmission --> happy years :)

I have a mix of lossless and lossy audio, so I go the "other" route. Lossy/Lossless storage --> Lossless wifi transmission over Airplay --> happy ears. Or, I just use a cable lol. Of course wi-fi can bring its own headaches but I don't find it half as finicky as BT.

yes thats a forgotten issue going from one lossy codec to another lossy codec thats not a good idea.
 

dougi

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Ah, that is good then. Let me see if I can get one...
I'd offer to ship mine but there and back in a reasonable time would cost almost as much as what the Zen blue did. (A$199 from a bricks and mortar retailer online)
Re sample rate and codec display, you need to decode the colour. On connecting, a voice says the codec.
 

Steve Dallas

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Question about aptX (especially aptX HD): even with the compromised FFT, does its less lossy compression outweigh the higher noise floor?
 

Propheticus

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Compared to which other codec? And in general or for this device's implementation? (in combination with this phone) Because aptX's noise floor does not have to be higher than SBC for instance.
Soundguys article on aptx(HD)
It's differently shaped though, with more noise towards higher freqs >5KHz where our hearing is less sensitive. SBC also shapes noise, but it rises above 2.5KHz already.
 

quantum_wave

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I registered here after this video showed up in my YouTube feed. This was a great, insightful review, and I look forward to more content from the channel.
I would be very interested in seeing results from similar devices.

I don't know if it's of interest, but I've been chasing after AirPlay rather than Bluetooth, as it seems to have a number of advantages.
  • It supports lossless 16/44 audio.
  • AirPlay 2 supports multi-room audio.
  • It runs on 2.4 or 5 GHz WiFi so there are no range issues.
  • Apple devices on the same network see the receivers automatically, without having to go through a pairing process (but devices can be password-protected, if desired).
Used AirPort Express v2 receivers go for about $50 these days, which seemed like a great deal compared to the nearest alternative I could find - the much larger and more expensive Sonos Port, at $450.
Except for the AirPort Express, AirPlay 2 receivers seem to be uncommon/expensive compared to original AirPlay devices for some reason. It's built into devices like TVs and AVRs now, but not stand-alone receivers.

Unfortunately, I found that the firmware updates which added AirPlay 2 support (7.8.x) seem to add significant distortion to the output.
I'm frankly shocked that Apple would push out an update like this, because it's so bad; but the devices are discontinued now, and I can't find any way to get in touch with them about it.
I wonder if adding an inexpensive DAC would be the solution (they have a combination 3.5mm analog/optical output) but have heard that the problem is bad enough that the digital output may suffer from intermittent drop-outs with many DACs.

I don't know if these devices are something which may be interesting for you to look at, since they're only available on the used market now (but widely available).
These measurements are not taken from a proper analyzer, but I have tested several of them now, with the same results:

I've never seen anything like that before.
The optical outs of 2nd gen airport expresses work great. I have several, all feeding optical to Soncoz DACs (with their excellent ESS jitter cleanup), powering multi-room audio that everyone in the house can easily use. They have solid reliable streams and never drop.
 

Guy.G

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The optical outs of 2nd gen airport expresses work great. I have several, all feeding optical to Soncoz DACs (with their excellent ESS jitter cleanup), powering multi-room audio that everyone in the house can easily use. They have solid reliable streams and never drop.
If they're running on the latest firmware (7.8.x) that's great news.
I suspect it's the ESS chip's jitter reduction which enables them to work well in your system, and that other DACs which lack such a feature that are suffering from the drop-outs.
At that point, however, the Apple units stop being such a good value proposition - though I suppose it's still the cheapest option for AirPlay support, and you will likely have better audio performance than most if not all other all-in-one Bluetooth/AirPlay receivers.
 
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