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Blue Tango Classic Blue Tango Classic: Looking to broadcast your tunes around the house? We look at a product that does that without the hassles of wires.
Date: August 10, 2005
Supplied By:
Written By:

    Sound cards are something that many people don't think about with their systems.  For the most part people are happy with the integrated sound that comes with most motherboards/systems.  There are those that wish to get higher quality sound from their systems, for either listening to music or watching DVD movies in 5.1 sound.

    This is were Creative Labs has made their mark for many years, and they seem to have few real competitors for this market.  The push now is toward those who use laptop computers, which is a faster growing market than desktops.  Since the sound included on these systems are basically lower quality to save power/space in the system.

    Bluetooth is a standard that hasn't been used too much over the past few years, with few products being made that use it apart from PDA's.  However the A2DP specification allows for audio to be transmitted between Bluetooth devices.  This has been part of the . 

    Since sound cards for laptops and their associated speakers have been smaller and lower quality, for the most part, external sound cards and speakers are best.  Since most laptops are designed to be used on your lap and not stuck within a couple of feet of a set of speakers a wireless signal is a logical theory.  We will look at one such product today.

Innovation Lab - Blue Tango Classic

    The guys at sent us this interesting piece of technology, the Blue Tango Classic.  For some specifications please follow .  We will look at parts of this system as we go, but before we do lets take a look at the actual unit(s).

    What do you get in the package:

  • BSD-50 USB transmitter
  • BSR-51 receiver
  • AC power brick
  • Stereo RCA cable
  • 1/8" to Stereo RCA cable
  • Manual

    There are actually two versions of the Blue Tango, the classic, which we are reviewing; and the Blue Tango Rock, which adds speakers to the package.  So most of what we say can be applied to either device.

    The actual receiver is fairly small at 3.5"x4"x1" (w/l/h) and really the cables and the power adaptor provide most of the weight and space for this unit.  The transmitter is basically the same size as most USB memory drives, perhaps just slightly wider.  The power adaptor is the biggest device and heaviest of this package.  Including the cables was a nice touch here as it doesn't cost much more but can be very useful.

    Installation of this device is extremely easy.  The hardest part is connecting the receiver to your speaker system.  Once this is done you connect the transmitter to the computer and wait for it to blink four times in quick succession which means its paired up to the receiver.  After that it takes over as the primary sound device in most of your programs, though you might have to choose it in some programs such as Winamp.

    I was hoping to use this device with my newer PDA which supports Bluetooth, but alas it doesn't see the devices at all.  This is because it doesn't support A2DP as standard but if your device does it should work.  Apart from that there are very few problems with this unit, though occasionally it does stutter with higher processor loads or when its not able to get the signal to the receiver.  Also since it works on similar frequencies as 802.11x it can cause problems in communication from cross talk, though its fairly rare.

    This brings us to one of the annoyances with this device, range.  According to the specifications the receiver, as a class II device, is able to get a signal from about 10m away, and the transmitter, as a class I device, can send to about 100m.  However I was only able to get the signal to work reliably from about 12' away, in a mostly line of sight location.  This is far less than the stated 30+' mentioned in the specifications.

Benchmarks

CPU:

AMD Athlon 64 3000+ 1MB L2 PowerNow! enabled

Laptop Model: eMachine m6805
Memory: 2 * 256MB Samsung PC2700 2.5-3-3-7
Hard Drives :

60GB Hitachi DK23FA

Video Card: ATi Radeon Mobility 9600 - 64MB
Operating System: Windows XP Home SP2 - DirectX 9c
Drives: LG GCC-4241N
Cards: VIA VT8233/A Sound Card Blue Tango Classic - Bluetooth Sound Card
Software: Winamp 5.08d Half Life 2
DivX 6.00 Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646
PowerDVD 5.0

    For our testing we looked at the CPU usage of the sound card during the music, DVD movie, and AVI video tests.  For Half Life 2 we looked to see if there was any performance loss at lower resolutions, as this system doesn't have the best video card out there currently.  So lets see if this sound card can do well against the integrated sound of the laptop.  Wireless networking was disabled in all the tests.

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