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Which Bluetooth USB to go with and why?

Paul Rudd
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I bought this bluetooth transmitter within the last week or so specifically to pair my new JLab Go Air Pop wireless bluetooth earbuds to my TCL 43S431 4K TV.

 

It works for the most part but drops the audio around 20% of the time, usually just from moving my head.

 

So now, I'd like to buy a new bluetooth USB adapter for my PC to get a better connection.

 

I've found the following USB adapters and I have no clue which one to buy and why. Or which ones to avoid and why...

  1. $10
  2. $10
  3. $10
  4. $14.16
  5. $14.97
  6. $15
  7. $15.29
  8. $15.97
  9. $16.90
  10. $16.99

I do not need any of them to include WIFI.

 

I guess a bonus would be for it to also work with my 4K TV but this is not super important.

 

Another bonus type of feature would be for it to work with my Xbox One controller. Again, not super important.

 

Range is also not super important but I would ideally like it to be around 30-50 feet or more.

 

What's most important is obviously keeping the connection.

 

I have read in just about all of these products that driver installation can be an issue.

 

I'm using Windows 10.

 

Any other product recommendation are welcomed.

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1 hour ago, Paul Rudd said:

I bought this bluetooth transmitter within the last week or so specifically to pair my new JLab Go Air Pop wireless bluetooth earbuds to my TCL 43S431 4K TV.

 

It works for the most part but drops the audio around 20% of the time, usually just from moving my head.

 

So now, I'd like to buy a new bluetooth USB adapter for my PC to get a better connection.

 

I've found the following USB adapters and I have no clue which one to buy and why. Or which ones to avoid and why...

  1. $10
  2. $10
  3. $10
  4. $14.16
  5. $14.97
  6. $15
  7. $15.29
  8. $15.97
  9. $16.90
  10. $16.99

I do not need any of them to include WIFI.

 

I guess a bonus would be for it to also work with my 4K TV but this is not super important.

 

Another bonus type of feature would be for it to work with my Xbox One controller. Again, not super important.

 

Range is also not super important but I would ideally like it to be around 30-50 feet or more.

 

What's most important is obviously keeping the connection.

 

I have read in just about all of these products that driver installation can be an issue.

 

I'm using Windows 10.

 

Any other product recommendation are welcomed.

There are a bunch of different versions of Bluetooth, just like wifi.  They are backwards compatible, but they generally don’t work as well that way.  Do you maybe have a version issue?

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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3 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

They are backwards compatible, but they generally don’t work as well that way.

What exactly do you mean here?

3 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

Do you maybe have a version issue?

Version issue with what exactly?

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1 hour ago, Paul Rudd said:

What exactly do you mean here?

Version issue with what exactly?

I think the newest Bluetooth is 6.something.  Could be wrong about that.  I don’t keep up.  Might be higher.  For a while now They’ve managing to extend the range while lowering the power..  quite a trick, really. Used to be the range was only a meter. The thing about lower power is it doesn’t go as far when an older version of Bluetooth is being used. If these ear buds of yours want to communicate with an earlier version of Bluetooth it’s what the sender will send. It might even be that some other device that it is paired with is older forcing the same thing.  I don’t know if this IS the problem or not of course.  I’m just thinking of possible reasons why that might happen.

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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USB Bluetooth has much more limited range due to the tiny antennas, you'll generally get much more freedom of movement using the Bluetooth on a PCIe WiFi card due to the bigger antennas, even better if those antennas are on a cable so can be moved to the top of your PC to avoid obstructions.

Router:  Quotom-Q555G6-S05 running pfSense WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (~940Mbit peak)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + VOXI 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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55 minutes ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

USB Bluetooth has much more limited range due to the tiny antennas, you'll generally get much more freedom of movement using the Bluetooth on a PCIe WiFi card due to the bigger antennas, even better if those antennas are on a cable so can be moved to the top of your PC to avoid obstructions.

This is true.  Bluetooth at the end of the day is a radio like wifi or FM, and have the same relationship with antennas the other types of radio do.  The idea radio antenna is one wavelength long.  For older forms of radio this can mean a gigantic whip antenna or as with CB radios a very tightly packed coil of wire (that little bulb at the base of the antenna.  The wire doesn’t have to be straight, but it helps. For antennas that can’t manage that one uses an even fraction of that number: 1/2,1/4 etc.. the military survival guides tend to show making half rhombic antennas by hanging the wire in trees.    I don’t know what frequency it runs at but it’s probably pretty short.  There is a half rhombic antenna several miles long the US navy buried in a field somewhere for special long wave stuff that passes through large amounts of water.  The subs have their antenna on a spool and drag it behind the boat.

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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5 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

Bluetooth

4 hours ago, Bombastinator said:

Bluetooth

So which of the 10 listed should I go with and which ones should I completely avoid?

 

And why?

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2 hours ago, Paul Rudd said:

So which of the 10 listed should I go with and which ones should I completely avoid?

 

And why?

Like I said, I wouldn't.  I know you don't NEED WiFi, but like I said the best Bluetooth cards are Intel WiFi cards IMO.

I added on Intel AX200 to one of my desktops purely for Bluetooth 5.2 support.

Router:  Quotom-Q555G6-S05 running pfSense WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (~940Mbit peak)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + VOXI 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Paul Rudd said:

So which of the 10 listed should I go with and which ones should I completely avoid?

 

And why?

I personally would find out what version of Bluetooth the devices you want to connect are running and then pick a device with that version.  The complication is it may not work as well with things you want to connect to it later.  If you’ve currently got multiple devices with radically different versions I’d pick the highest number (that being the newest) and accept that the other device won’t connect as well.

Edited by Bombastinator

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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8 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

Intel AX200

So this? And is it compatible with my B150 motherboard and the headphones I posted above? And is there anything cheaper but pretty much the same thing?

 

Also, why is the same kit $36 on Amazon?

Or is this it?

6 hours ago, Bombastinator said:

I personally would find out what version of Bluetooth the devices you want to connect are running and then pick a device with that version.

The wireless headphones are bluetooth 5.1.

 

Are any of the 10 I posted bluteooth 5.1?

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Just now, Paul Rudd said:

So this? And is there anything cheaper but pretty much the same thing?

The wireless headphones are bluetooth 5.1.

 

Are any of the 10 I posted bluteooth 5.1?

No idea.  Are they?

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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8 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

No idea.  Are they?

This one.

This one.

This one.

This one.

This one.

This one.

This one.

 

All these claim 5.0 support. The thing is, I have no clue which ones to avoid and which one to go with.

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Yes the https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07YZ7J8QD?th=1&linkCode=gs4&tag=pcp0f-21 should be fine.  All AX200 devices are basically PCIe+USB adapters to bog-standard Intel AX200 M.2 cards or the chip version soldered onto the card.  The difference in price is merely branding.

 

I had an AX200 I put in my laptop then later upgraded to an AX210, so I put that AX200 into my desktop using a PCIe to M.2 WiFi adapter.  Its all the vast majority of these cards are, they just put a sticker on the RF shield with their branding and/or use slightly different shields to make them look different.

Router:  Quotom-Q555G6-S05 running pfSense WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (~940Mbit peak)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + VOXI 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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31 minutes ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

All AX200 devices are basically PCIe+USB adapters to bog-standard

This USB adapter, does it come with it? Or do I need to buy one separately?

 

As in, how do I hook it up to my motherboard? The B150M BAZOOKA PLUS, does it have all the ports I need?

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3 hours ago, Paul Rudd said:

This one.

This one.

This one.

This one.

This one.

This one.

This one.

 

All these claim 5.0 support. The thing is, I have no clue which ones to avoid and which one to go with.

Everything will “support” it if it’s greater than 5.0 bluetooth is backwards compatible.  The question is do the do it well.  This ironically means a winner may not support 6.0. They dropped energy use a lot in 6.0, so it’s real possible that while it may support 5, it may not do it over particularly long distances.  In particular you are interested in draw wattage, and that the thing can draw as much as the 5.1 spec needs.   You’ll need to look at the 5.1/5.0 spec and the 6.0 spec as well as the spec sheet for a given device.

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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2 hours ago, Bombastinator said:

Everything will “support” it if it’s greater than 5.0 bluetooth is backwards compatible.  The question is do the do it well.  This ironically means a winner may not support 6.0. They dropped energy use a lot in 6.0, so it’s real possible that while it may support 5, it may not do it over particularly long distances.  In particular you are interested in draw wattage, and that the thing can draw as much as the 5.1 spec needs.   You’ll need to look at the 5.1/5.0 spec and the 6.0 spec as well as the spec sheet for a given device.

I may just stick with the original transmitter I got for $7. Reason being, I just unplugged it from my 4K TV and tried it out on my PC and voila... Not a single audio drop and I can literally run to anywhere in my house and no drops whatsoever.

 

What I also did was plug in the adapter into the back of my PC, into the motherboard. And not a single USB port back there would allow the transmitter to work. No audio from any of them.

 

But when I plug in the transmitter into my front top USB ports, the transmitter works, with zero audio drops. The weird thing is that there's different ports on the back of the case, including USB 2.0, 3.0 and another one labeled A. I tried all of them and the transmitter did not work.

 

The two ports on the front top of my case are both USB 3.0.

 

What do you think this means?

 

Also gonna add that there's only one USB port on my 4K TV and it's not USB 3.0. It's USB 2.0. This is the port that does work, but drops audio.

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5 hours ago, Paul Rudd said:

But when I plug in the transmitter into my front top USB ports, the transmitter works, with zero audio drops. The weird thing is that there's different ports on the back of the case, including USB 2.0, 3.0 and another one labeled A. I tried all of them and the transmitter did not work.

 

What do you think this means?

Not weird at all, the PC case itself will easily block a Bluetooth signal, its not great for WiFi either.  This is why sensible manufacturers like ASUS include an antenna NOT stuck to the back of the PC with their WiFi motherboards.

Router:  Quotom-Q555G6-S05 running pfSense WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (~940Mbit peak)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + VOXI 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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4 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

Not weird at all, the PC case itself will easily block a Bluetooth signal, its not great for WiFi either.  This is why sensible manufacturers like ASUS include an antenna NOT stuck to the back of the PC with their WiFi motherboards.

But what is causing the audio drops when using the transmitter on my 4K TV?

 

The 4K TV is on the wall, around 10" above my dual monitor setup. My PC case is to the right of my dual monitor setup.


There's a reason the transmitter drops audio on the 4K TV but works flawlessly on my PC directly below the 4K TV.

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5 hours ago, Paul Rudd said:

But what is causing the audio drops when using the transmitter on my 4K TV?

 

The 4K TV is on the wall, around 10" above my dual monitor setup. My PC case is to the right of my dual monitor setup.


There's a reason the transmitter drops audio on the 4K TV but works flawlessly on my PC directly below the 4K TV.

Is it behind the panel on the TV itself, it could be deflecting?  Also the direction the transmitter is facing can alter how the antenna is performing.

Router:  Quotom-Q555G6-S05 running pfSense WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (~940Mbit peak)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + VOXI 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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3 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

Is it behind the panel on the TV itself, it could be deflecting?

Yes.

3 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

the direction the transmitter is facing can alter how the antenna is performing.

I see. There's really nothing I can do about that.

 

I also just read that bluetooth speakers and/or a wifi router can cause interference. Both my Pebble V3 and wifi router are literally to the left of my PC case. Maybe they're the culprit. I'll move them around next time I plug in the transmitter to the TV. See if it does anything.

 

Thanks to everyone that's helped me within this thread. I'm actually happy with the recent headphones and transmitter purchases. Using them quite often and at this very moment to hear the Yankee game I have streaming on my PC no matter which room of the house I'm in. You guys are super helpful.

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5 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

Is it behind the panel on the TV itself, it could be deflecting?  Also the direction the transmitter is facing can alter how the antenna is performing.

Blue tooth is both very high frequency and very low power.  As such it can be blocked by things that might not otherwise block stuff.  The steam controller actually came with an extension thing to get it out from behind the machine.

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Paul Rudd said:

Yes.

I see. There's really nothing I can do about that.

 

I also just read that bluetooth speakers and/or a wifi router can cause interference. Both my Pebble V3 and wifi router are literally to the left of my PC case. Maybe they're the culprit. I'll move them around next time I plug in the transmitter to the TV. See if it does anything.

 

Thanks to everyone that's helped me within this thread. I'm actually happy with the recent headphones and transmitter purchases. Using them quite often and at this very moment to hear the Yankee game I have streaming on my PC no matter which room of the house I'm in. You guys are super helpful.

They make what are effectively USB extension cables.  male usb on one end and female on the other.    They’re not great for data rates, especially if they’re long, but if you got a short one it might be enough to get the thing a better vantage point.  It’s not like you’re running an external drive.

Edited by Bombastinator

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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2 hours ago, Bombastinator said:

They make what are effectively USB extension cables.

So this right?

 

Here is one that's 15 feet. This one should be what to go with right? I read in a review that the fact that it goes 15 feet it might present a signal loss though.

 

Here is one that comes in all kinds of lengths, and it's 3.0.

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The first one has a white tip so there’s a decent chance it’s usb1.1.  The other has a blue tip so it should be 3.0.  USB color coding has gotten full of BS and wonkiness though so that can’t be trusted anymore (looking at you razor.  Green?! Really?!) 

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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