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Portable Bluetooth receiver/amplifier

  • This is a review of the XDUOO XQ-23 portable bluetooth receiver/amplifier.
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    The unit receives bluetooth signals from smart phones or bluetooth enabled smart devices, and allows the user to listen to headphones that were previously only usable as wired headphones. So for example, I have an old pair of Sennheiser PX-100 headphones that I keep in my gym bag. Those certainly do not have bluetooth capabilities. With the XQ-23, I can plug the Sennheisers into the XQ-23 and broadcast music from the iphone to the headphones.

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    Wait, you say, why not just directly connect to the phone? Well since I am talking about Apple its never so simple as all that. I would need an Apple dongle, and then I have all kinds of cords connecting myself to the phone.
    With this device, I can have some distance between the phone and myself. So it becomes a DIY bluetooth solution. I like to listen to music while at the gym, and its nice to have the phone on the elliptical or the ground and just have this device in my pocket. I can tell you that its pretty easy to get the cords caught up in the exercise equipment, and this really helps.

    Pairing the unit is super easy. Just slide on the power switch and for first time use it automatically goes into pairing mode. And something I can appreciate is that after that, just turning the unit on automatically pairs the device. Apple does that with its own Airpods, but not with most other bluetooth devices I have used.

    I tried it out with a number of older headphones that I have lying around and the sound was what I would call "good bluetooth". Now I don't love compressed music, but with the phone that is pretty much what you are working with. This sounds about the same as playing a native Apple AAC file right from the device, but that makes sense as the unit has Aptx, AAC, SBC, and MP3 courtesy of the CSR8670 receiver module. Power is rated at 32 mw. Range is rated up to 15 meters; I tried about 15 feet and it worked just fine. I think that if you have the unit behind your body and the phone in front your might get interference, so be aware of that. I kept it in my front pocket (well my gym shorts don't have a back pocket) and it worked great. It also has blue and green lights to give the status of the unit.

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    I think the unit is good looking and easy to use. It has a microphone, so you can make calls with your old headphone though I did not test that. The microphone is to the left and underneath the XDuoo logo in the above picture. Its rated for 5 hours usage, I never ran it to zero at the gym, but that seems reasonable.

    I suppose if you had fairly inefficient IEMs or over the ear headphones that power may not be adequate, but for what I was using it was great. But then again I dumped my inefficient IEM (like my Phonak's) a while back because they were...inefficient.

    So this is a fairly clever way to repurpose your old headphones. I suppose you could also use this to feed your old computer speakers to make a cheapo bluetooth speaker replacement.

    How does it sound? About the same as the iphone's built in amp. My expectations for bluetooth aren't super high; and this unit was a perfectly good bluetooth solution. So if you can live with the limits of bluetooth (in my case I am much more tolerant at the gym) and want to reduce your wire clutter, this is a pretty cool solution.

    Note: The review unit was provided to me at no charge by Xduoo based upon their request. I am quite willing to write a negative review if merited, but I had no issues with this unit and can positively suggest it for the intended use case.

    Addendum: Here is a retailer that sells this unit; per the company:

    https://www.xtenik.com/product/xduoo-xq23-bluetooth-dac-headphone-amp/

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