Bluewave GET Wireless HiFi Headphone Amplifier

Rating:
4.5/5,
  1. Currawong
    Excellent-sounding and cleverly designed
    Written by Currawong
    Published May 10, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent sound for the money. Light. Alternative, position-adjustable clips very handy. Quick power-on. Sound quality-indicating LED. Can be paired with multiple devices. AAC, APTx and APTxHD supported.
    Cons - Output power limited. USB input limited to 48k. Volume control fiddly and lacks position indicator.

    A couple of years ago I got a message from Bluewave asking if I’d like to try their Bluetooth receiver and headphone amp, and I agreed. It took them a couple of years, but now they have a final product, the Bluewave Get. While not the first device of its type on the market, it has a couple of useful features I haven’t seen on other devices.

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    Starting with the design, it has an aluminium barrel on one end of which is the headphone socket and a removable clip on the other, with playback controls in the middle. It’s that clip that makes the Get unique, as it can be either rotated to sit on the other side, or removed and replaced with a special clip allowing it to attach to headphones. The rest of the body is plastic and contains an analog volume control and status light on the clip end, and a micro-USB socket on the other.

    If you have a pair of headphones which have a single 3.5mm cable entry (my picture example is a pair of Noontec Zoro II) then with one of the included cables (right-angle to straight, or right-angle plugs on both ends) it can be easily attached. They also have a cable set for headsets that use a 2.5mm cable entry.

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    The Bluewave Get supports APTxHD, which might seem like overkill given the price of the device itself, but it also supports AAC, making it compatible with iPhones and iPads. I found there was very little in it between the protocols, but with high-end IEMs I could make out slightly better clarity using an Astell&Kern AK380 as the Bluetooth source versus my iPhone X. With the latter, the AAC protocol made cymbals sound slightly less real.

    In usage the Bluewave Get was easy to set up. The play/pause/call-answer button also doubles as the power and pairing button with a long, and longer press respectively. In pairing mode you get the requisite red/blue flash of the status LED. That LED also indicates when streaming is active. It will flash 3 times when streaming starts to show the quality, eg: Cyan for AAC; Amber for AptX HD and Magenta for AptX. It will also indicate the charging status when USB is plugged in using red for charging and green for charged. If the battery level becomes critically low, it will glow red as well.

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    I tried the Bluewave Get with a variety of IEMs and headphones. In general it wasn’t every quite as warm or smooth sounding as the $400+ devices I have here, but even with the bright RE2000s, which can be difficult to drive well, I could get good sound out of it, without any unpleasant harshness.

    With 135mW maximum output I didn’t expect a great deal with full-sized headphones. Indeed there wasn’t quite as much control over even fairly easy to drive headphones as with more expensive devices, but it was fine if you don’t need a lot of volume. I gather that there is a version with higher gain, but personally I’d stick to using it with IEMs for the most part.

    Of IEMs, with Campfire Audio’s Andromedas, there was some degree of hiss, but Bluewave also has an impedance adaptor cable which takes care of this. In this case, less sensitive IEMs like Ultimate Ears' Reference Remastered made for a more straight-forward pairing.

    The trickiest thing was adjusting the volume control. Likely to prevent accidental adjustment it is somewhat firm to move, making it easy to suddenly over-adjust from its minimum position. A couple of times I did just about blow my ears out when it adjusted suddenly as I applied pressure. I ended up resting my finger on the side and using a finger nail to gently adjust the volume.

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    It came into its own as a means to add Bluetooth to my car stereo, where its quick power on, auto-off and small size made it convenient to use.

    Overall the Bluewave Get is a versatile Bluetooth headphone adaptor with good sound and unique features. With a warmer-sounding pair of low-to-mid-range IEMs it would make a good, simple wireless kit to use with a smart phone.

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    images

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    1. seaice
      Thanks for the great review! I bought the Bluewave GET some time ago and I can confirm from my own experience that it is quite usable with the following headphones:

      AKG K701
      Sennheiser HD800
      Shure SE846 (via iFi iEMatch adapter / I do not have the Bluewave impedance adaptor cable)
      Hifiman Susvara

      Source: Mobile LG v20 aptXhd Bluetooth
      seaice, May 11, 2018
      Currawong likes this.