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Summary:

Thinking about a set of Bluetooth Stereo headphones for your mobile handset with A2DP support? I don’t blame you. I really enjoy listening to wireless stereo music on my Palm Pre with the Altec Lansing BackBeat 903 headset. Those got me to sing and dance, but […]

bluetooth_iconThinking about a set of Bluetooth Stereo headphones for your mobile handset with A2DP support? I don’t blame you. I really enjoy listening to wireless stereo music on my Palm Pre with the Altec Lansing BackBeat 903 headset. Those got me to sing and dance, but the exact same headset on an iPhone 3G has Sascha Segan singing a different tune.

In his review of the iPhone 3.0 software on PCMag.com, I noticed this tidbit about using the very same Altec Lansing’s on an iPhone 3G with the latest firmware:

“One new feature, stereo Bluetooth, bombs. Music on our Altec Lansing BackBeat headphones was so full of hisses and distortion it was laughable—almost as if Apple was saying, “This is why we hate stereo Bluetooth.” The headphones weren’t the problem, as the same music files sounded much better on a BlackBerry Storm.”

On the other hand, James is thoroughly enjoying the new AD2P support using his Plantronics Pulsar 590E headphones. So what gives?

If I were in the market for pair of Bluetooth stereo headphones, I think I’d be looking for reviews and tests of it with my particular handset. I wouldn’t think that different combinations would produce different results, since A2DP is profile of a wireless specification, but obviously there’s some hiss-tory of differing results.

  1. I’m using the same combination, iphone 3g, 3.0 OS, Altec Lansing BackBeat 903’s and they sound great! No problems at all.

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  2. +1 for the Led Zeppelin reference.

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  3. My new Motorola S805s sound good to my ears, although I have only just begun testing.

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  4. I found I got hiss with my iPhone 3G and the HBH-IS800’s if I didn’t have pure line-of-sight. Today I’ve found that my spiffy new iPhone 3Gs works rock solid even when I have it in it’s belt holster with my arms folded over it.

    I’d also get skips and other ummm phenomena with the 3G and A2DP. With more RAM and a faster CPU and more offload tot he GPU the 3Gs has delivered zero hassles with A2DP so far today. I can email, take pictures and email them, text message, all with no affect on the A2DP sound.

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  5. Sasha Segan has never been a fan of A2DP. Thus I’ve never had confidence of his reviews on that topic. Maybe he lives and works in some sort of a2dp wormhole of interference.

    jkontherun’s review of the Altec Lansing BackBeat 903 headset has given me 90% in confidence to save up for it. The 10% is left for lust over the Jabra Halo. Both of those headsets charge over microUSB and are compatible with my N97.

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  6. JayBird Bluetooth headphones are king in my world … jaybirdgear.com

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    1. what kinda phone do u use with the jaybird and do u know if they work with the iphone3gs? please email me back i really need to know thanks :)

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  7. Sounds like another of those “audiophiles” that claim to hear the difference between analog and digital formats, or that claim monster cables make music sound better.

    I’ve been using both my 3g with 3.0 AND my new 3Gs with the A2DP and they both sound awesome over my Lubix NC1’s, mind you this is in a heavily populated gym a good 30-50 feet away with iron and/or my arms over my ears a good quantity of the time.

    Good stuff, thanks Apple for finally getting around to it.

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    1. I second the Lubix comment! My LC1’s suffered over the past few years, but Lubix has been kind enough to replace them for free (even out of warranty!) Their “Bass Boost” like sound profile thing gives the headsets a deeper more “full” sound that most other A2DP headsets out there (or at least the ones I’ve tried).

      I will agree with the heart of this post though. A2DP with the exact same headset and the exact same sound file played through my WM6 phone and my WinXP PC make slightly different, but noticeable changes in the music. But then again, with different post decoding processing, it should be a little different. Otherwise it’d be saying that my $150 Sony MP3 player should produce the exact same MP3 DAC as a $10 one from Walmart! And before someone goes and yells at me about how bluetooth is not an analog protocol, let me remind them that A2DP is not a “MP3″ streaming protocol, but in fact it’s own audio data protocol. DAC to ADC then over bluetooth. There’s bound to be a bit of differences with those given all the bluetooth chip manufacturers now days!

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  8. That’s all better than you get if you own any Philips headphones. Iphone apparently doesn’t recognise them as A2DP even though they work on any other A2DP device even my Macbook. No fair Apple … fix it please!

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  9. My Moto s9 head set works great with the 3GS….all-be it, for some reason it semas to get disrupted very easily compared to my touch 2g with 3.0…or when I used to use my bluetooth doggle

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  10. I had much the same with the sony ds-220 adaptor, some times fine, some times a tiny odd glitch, other times unlistenable (on a train last night).

    The same system on a laptop works perfectly, and I had the same effect on a blackjack whilst trying to do other tasks so I think it’s processing power required to multi task that is the root cause.

    Might work better with the ompf of the 3gS?

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