All things stereo bluetooth and iPhone thread

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ajpprc, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. ajpprc macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2006
    I haven't found a good resource online for this so I figured I'd start a thread with information I've found.

    As we all know the new 3.0 version of the iPhone OS supports stereo bluetooth, specifically the A2DP profile. This will work on both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S, but not on the original iPhone.

    Unfortunately there does not seem to be support for the AVRCP profile, which allows you to skip tracks from a bluetooth device. Hopefully this will be added in the future.

    Also there is a bug with the volume controls when paired with stereo bluetooth headphones. The iPhone assumes that you will control volume via the headphones, but not all headphones have volume controls, for example the Sony HBH-IS800Z's are a beautiful simple set of stereo bluetooth headphones, but the lack of volume controls on the headphones make them very difficult to use with an iPhone.

    At this point I've ordered the Jabra BT3030, which has the benefit of letting you plug in any headphones you want, I'll update this post with a review of those headphones with my iPhone 3G S when I get them.

    Please add any information and experiences you might have had with Bluetooth stereo headphones and your iPhone. If I've got anything wrong above please also correct it.
  2. zapufast macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2008
    I bought these when they were 29.99 w/free shipping.

    I tried them with my wife's Motorola Hint before we got the update, and loved them... you could advance to the next song and everything.

    So I was disappointed when I realized it wouldn't work with the iphone 3.0 update.
    So now, all day at work, I still have to pull my phone in and out of the holster.

    I wish Apple would catch up to the rest of the market with features....
    I mean... I love my iphone..... not leaving, but a free Motorola Hint has the features that the best phone in the world doesn't have??????
  3. ajpprc thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2006
    Yeah, the failure to implement AVRCP is a joke on a modern cell phone, but then again Apple's implementation of Bluetooth on the iPhone has been a joke from the very beginning.

    I have heard some people say they've been able to get track skipping working with their A2DP headphones, so maybe it's just poor implementation rather than no implementation.

    What I'd like to know is how battery life on the 3G S is impacted by using stereo bluetooth headphones.
  4. Randman macrumors 65816


    Jul 28, 2008
    Jacksonville, Fla
    I picked up a Plantronics Voyager 855 set. Today, went out for a job. 70 minutes using the BT headset with iPod playing and Nike+ enabled. Battery dropped about 8% in that time. Not bad considering the high usage. Oh, and the iPhone wasn't fully charged to begin with.
  5. Coukos34 macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    As much as I love apple, I have to say I am disappointed with the bluetooth support they added in 3.0. Why wouldnt they add control? I was so excited to play tracks from my pocket in my car but they decided to make you use your phone? Why? Thats the same as using an aux cable....terrible!!! I hope they can fix this in the next update. I am so happy with my iphone as a whole (don't get me wrong), I am just sick of apple being slow to support standards that are already out there.
  6. dmweinst macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2007
    Other things that don't work with BT headphones

    * Voice Control
    * Skype, Truphone and any other app that uses a mic
  7. ajpprc thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2006
    Thanks, I was wondering about the voice control. What about audio from Pandora, or any app with audio for that matter?
  8. jonjamesm macrumors regular


    Nov 4, 2008
    the fact ot doesnt work on the original iphone is a joke! Why not - It works for calls but not for music.

    rage! :mad:
  9. Torq macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2009
    The lack of volume control from the iPhone for stereo Bluetooth seems to be a design decision, where as the track-skip issue is, if I recall correctly, a bug that was raised during the 3.0 beta. Not that that helps a great deal, as ideally you want both, but I believe the track control will be fixed (pause/play does work currently) at some point.

    I did get the skip-track button to work accidentally ONCE while adjusting fit with the S9s, but was never able to repeat it and it is possible there was some other factor at play there.

    Anyway, today was my first foray into playing with stereo Bluetooth headsets. I am a music nut and a fairly critical listener; and stick to lossless encoding and high-end headphones even on my iPods/iPhones, so I was figuring these wireless devices were going to sound atrocious.

    I was actually pleasantly surprised. Sticking to comparisons with compact/in-ear headphones, no, none of them are in the same league as even the standard Etymotic ER6 or hf2, let alone the ER4S (with a suitable outboard amplifier), but for non-primary listening they were quite acceptable.

    How much of the quality difference was down to limitations of AD2P vs. the physical capabilities of the phones themselves I do not know. But still, I was expecting worse than what I actually experienced.

    I tried several sets, including models from Sony, Samsung, Altec Lansing (rebadged Plantronics units) and Motorola, and finally settled on the Motorola S9s.

    The Sony units sounded the best overall, but were all street-style on-the-ear designs, which is something I do not really care for - generally preferring for IEM style or circumaural (not practical for working out). They were a little bulky in the ear pieces as well.

    The Samsung units were terrible - uncomfortable, awkward, and like most of my experiences with Samsung products in general quite staggeringly average in performance.

    The Altec Lansing units, which are rebadged Plantronics devices were not bad at all - sounding reasonably good and being quite comfortable. However my experience with Plantronics in the past is a littany of prematurely failed devices and warranty issues and once I spotted the Plantronics logo on the box that was enough to steer me away.

    I tried both the Motorola S9 and S9 HD. They sound okay, the different ear-tips actually make quite a marked difference in reproduction.

    The biggest tips were the only ones I found comfortable. Those tips had the effect of improving the ear-seal, leading to much more robust bass. Too robust in fact for me, to the point that I may well, for the first time ever, be making use of the iPod/iPhone EQ settings (treble boost). The smaller tips have a different profile and resulted in a better overall balance to the sound.

    I am unconvinced by the "improvements" of the S9-HD units. The SRS WOW HD feature is irritating to me and definitely not "better" on either setting. The S9 now comes with the same interchangeable ear-pieces, so no benefit to the HD version there, and the claimed improvements in signal retention were not apparent during my limited testing.

    I had no drop out issues with any of the units I tried out to a range of about 20 feet. My home has overlapping wireless networks (A/B/G/N, as well as Sonos Net), about 30 wirelessly networked devices and several persistent Bluetooth connections, so that was also better than I expected.

    I tested with Nike+ active and stopping to run in place and piddle about in Safari and Twittelator and found no interruptions or stuttering in playback then either (this was on a 3GS, I suppose that could be different on a 3G - it WAS an issue there during OS 3.0 beta).

    In short, if I could have had the Sony's sound quality in the Motorola S9s packaging I'd have been very happy indeed.

    As it is, I settled on the standard S9s (I paid $45 locally) as these will primarily be used for running with Nike+ and general working out - and in those cases the lack of a wire far outweighs the loss of sound quality that results.

    Lots of things to repackage and return tomorrow ...
  10. glassjaw420 macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2007
    I just bought a new car stereo to use with my 3gs. Just installed it today so I haven't been able to use the phone features but the music seems to work pretty good. Sound is good. Some background noise but dramatically better than fm transmitter. Some split second dropouts here and there. This may be acredited to the reciever not the phone but I'm not sure. Track skip, pause, etc does not work... Pairing is excellent and as soon as I get in the car the iPhone and stereo automatically pair up. Overall very happy.
  11. Torq macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2009
    In addition to testing with the iPod functions on my iPhone 3GS, I did try the S9s (I assume all other sets would behave the same way) with Pandora, Ambiance, Peggle, Real Racing and various other games and all worked perfectly.
  12. otis123 macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2006
    I got the Sony DR-BT101 headphones and they work great, but the one little thing that bugs me is that there is a slight fuzz while listening to some music, its a minor drawback, i think they are the headphones and not the iphone because its still there when i use them with my macbook, don't get me wrong they are awesome, they even have a mic so you can make calls (and look like a idiot) and they have volume controls/skip and the play/pause works with the iphone! they also charge via mini USB. I would recommend these if your looking for moderately priced bluetooth headphones.
  13. Natesac macrumors 6502a


    May 29, 2008
    I just got the Altec Lansing BackBeat 903. I got them for $69.99 at frys and I really like them. This is my first time with anything stereo bluetooth. They fit in my pocket when not in use and are light and comfortable to wear.

    The sound quality rivals that of the in-box apple headphones and seems to function almost perfectly. sometimes I have trouble with the track playing silently on the phone and not coming through the headset but I think this could just be a bug with 3.0. I also see a bug with voice control and using a aux jack in the car. sometimes the phone does not want to listen through its speaker. I cant pin down exactly what is going on here but it works most of the time.
  14. jamac427 macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2009
    Before 3.0 i was using an adapter to channel my music to my bluetooth sunglasses was able to use the skip functions flawlessly... now i have only been able to skip using the buttons on the device a few times since i'm always hitting them out of instict but most the time they don't work, so there has to be some way of fixing it hopefully within the next update.

    I've also had a weird instance when using voice control where my music kept playing throughout my call at less than half volume kinda in the backround... wasn't able to do again though.
  15. Rayfire macrumors 68030


    Aug 25, 2008
    Anyone ever tried Jaybird? Sound quality? battery? no skips? Any input about this device would be greatly appreciated as I'm considering it soon.
  16. milk242 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2007
    why can't apple just support all the bluetooth profiles? Does it drain the battery?
  17. chandler99 macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2009
    York, UK
    Would a Bluetooth headset work with an iPhone 3g for iPod playback?

    How have people found the motorola S9 set for running?
  18. gray67 macrumors member


    Aug 6, 2008
    Be careful if you wear glasses. I ordered a pair and had to return them because they were unusable when I wore glasses. I would assume that sunglasses would have a similar impact. The problem is that the electronics are in the part that lie over your ears and you need a bunch of space to stuff the components into there.
  19. Semio1es macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    So I have Bluetooth in my Maxima.

    Phonecalls work great via the iPhone Bluetooth.

    Can I play the music on my iPhone 3Gs thru the stereo via Bluetooth or do I still need to use the AUX jack?
  20. gr8whtd0pe macrumors 6502a


    Feb 21, 2008
    Belle, WV
    I kept expecting Apple to release an "Official" set and block out the rest almost, but nothing.. or did I just miss a rumor?
  21. pkshiu macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2009
    voice control does NOT work?

    isn't this a little crazy that voice dialing does not work with a BT headset for a phone? Or that voice diaing works, but voice control for playback does not work?
  22. sgrizzle macrumors member


    Jun 17, 2009
    Original iPhone is bluetooth 1. You need 2 or better for stereo.
  23. ericvmazzone macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2008
    Kalamazoo, MI
    The Jaybird are great for in a gym, but I've never used them outside. I never thought about using them with sunglasses like in a earlier post, but that could pose a problem.
  24. ajpprc thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2006
    I got my Jabra BT3030 today, here are my quick first impressions:

    The audio quality is good. I noticed a little bit of background noise at first, but quickly found I could ignore it.

    Call quality is also good. My wife has been the biggest credit of various headsets I've used with the iPhone and she said the call quality was excellent.

    I love the form factor. I've attached the clip and just clip it onto my shirt. I also love that I can plug any headphones into it, I've got my Shure headphones plugged in, with the short wire they're the perfect length.

    The headphones that come with the BT3030 were also decent, but I don't like that they're designed to be wrapped around the back of your head.

    I'm still figuring out what kind of impact it will have on battery life for my 3G S. I listen to a lot of audio on my phone so hopefully it will still last me a day. I'll update the post with information about that after using them for a few days.
  25. Rayfire macrumors 68030


    Aug 25, 2008
    Thanks for the input folks, I never realized the glasses would hamper it. Hmm..

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