Radial Engineering has announced the BT-Pro, a Bluetooth direct box designed to capture the wireless transmission from a Bluetooth enabled device and convert the signal to a balanced line for use in a PA system. This direct box can have a myriad of uses in a live setup or DJ rig, and is a compelling new release from the Canadian company.
“In recent months, we have had a number of requests to bring [this product to market],” reveals Radial President Peter Janis. “The BT-Pro employs a T-shaped access cavity behind which we located the antenna. This is protected by a milled Sintra insert made from rugged closed-cell PVC that allows the wireless transmission signal to pass. This innovation allows reception distances to 20 meters (65′) under normal conditions.”
The BT-Pro is made from 14-gauge steel with an I-beam frame that makes it impossible to torque the sensitive PC board, eliminating outside stress and the chance of solder joints failing. A unique book-end cover creates protective zones at each end that keep the volume knob, switches and connectors out of harm’s way. Connecting to the BT-Pro is easy. The BT-Pro is powered by an external supply, either with a USB power adapter or a USB port from a laptop. Once powered, two top-mounted LEDs will toggle as it awaits paring. Turn on your Bluetooth device and its transceiver sends an initial pairing message to identify the BT-Pro. This will show up as Radial. A connection pass code is then used to initialize the connection. This important safety feature ensures other nearby Bluetooth devices cannot ‘pollute or hijack’ the system. Once paired, the BT-Pro’s red LED will remain illuminated and flicker to let you know the two Bluetooth devices are talking to each other.
The BT-Pro audio signal path itself takes advantage of the latest Bluetooth wireless A2DP interface over 2.0 EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) for higher speed transmission and best audio quality. This employs a 16 bit wireless compressed format with the actual bit rate determined by the source material. Inside, the BT-Pro converts the data to a stereo analog signal, producing up to +4dB at the output. The signal level is controlled by a front panel potentiometer that is shared with the built-in headphone amp. This features a standard 3.5mm mini TRS and is used for trouble shooting.
For greater flexibility, a stereo-to-mono switch is provided that sums the input for dual-mono operation to reduce input requirements on the mixer or split the signal to the PA and monitors. Should noise be encountered, two side-mounted isolation transformers may be inserted into the signal path. This is augmented with a ground lift switch for the XLRs to further help eliminate ground loops. Frequency response is 20hz to 20Khz.
Radial Engineering’s BT-Pro costs $229.99 and will start shipping this month.