Bluewave Bluetooth Headphones
by Chuck Brown, Assoc. Editor
July 26th, 2005
There are iPod owners that are at all extremes of use.
From casual and running only use, to those that live and breathe
with their iPods
for hourly music, calendar, contact, news and now “podcasting”.
Where do you find yourself in that mix?
Myself, I use my iPod 3rd Gen when I travel by plane and train for
all compass points far and near, and my old 1st Gen iPod with it’s
nearly double capacity new battery is permanently in my truck plugged
into a six speaker Pioneer stereo.
The iPod accessory market has easily eclipsed the iPod itself, making
up for the many shortcomings of the various iPod versions and generations.
I’ve always hated the OEM Apple “Earbuds” and early
on switched to using a wonderful old set of Sony “over-the-head” in-ear
phones that came with an old expensive CD Walkman model. Fidelity was
great and they didn’t fall out of my little ears canals while
being active, like any earbud design does.
But, if you’re really into your iPod and the music or content
there in, there are times you really want very high fidelity and extraneous
noise isolation that only “closed” headphone types can
give. Like the time you were on the long flight, stuck in crowded Coach
Class seat with three brats around you screaming their heads off for
the whole trip. Or, maybe your little Johnny is blasting his boom box
upstairs and the wife is watching Entertainment Tonight while you’re
trying to enjoy some tunes.
The LED glows blue when sync'd with the headphones (click images to
Not wanting to be limited with wires or position and distance restricted
Infrared, wouldn’t a light and compact high-frequency RF home
stereo like headphones be nice? The trouble is, that any home stereo
RF (radio frequency) headphones will require an 110VAC power supply
and there goes portability for things like car or plane trips.
Designed for "gen 2 - 4" iPods, clip off the small white
tab and they'll work also with a generation 1iPod.
Finish Line is -
Macally was the FIRST to answer that call by releasing a few months ago their
Bluetooth based BlueWave iPod headset. This “Closed Cup” (means your
ears are enclosed inside the padded speaker ear cups) are light, fold up for
portability, use two AAA batteries instead of a 120VAC power and employs a small
self-configuring Bluetooth transmitter module that fits the top on any iPod model
(not including Mini or Shuffle).
the Bluetooth module clearly looks and was designed to match the familiar
white iPod design, it will actually work on any MP3 player with
a standard 1/8-inch Stereo headphone jack mounted on top near the center.
We tried it with several popular competitors to the iPods and it works
Because Bluetooth uses 2.4Ghz frequency, and “frequency hopping” at
that, interference with other devices is nonexistent. We found that you
could walk as far as 25 feet (line of sight) away from the Macally BlueWave
equipped iPod and still get a clear connection. We did experience signal
breakup when a door or wall came between the BlueWave equipped iPod and
the Headphones, even at short distances as low as 15 feet.
"Set up is
pure simplicity, perfect for the Apple (KISS) iPod crowd."
We think that this is pretty acceptable though, considering
that the Bluetooth BlueWave module is only powered by the > 3 Volts
DC of the two AAA batteries. Printers and Notebook computers with Bluetooth
the luxury of a constant a +5 Volt DC power supply.
Volume and Power Switch to save battery power. There's also a 1/8-inch
stereo output to deliver music to a stereo.
Set up is pure simplicity, perfect for the Apple iPod crowd. All you
need to do is unfold the headphones, have two fresh AA batteries (Alkaline
of NiMH Rechargeable) installed, turn the power switch on, plug the BlueWave
module into your powered on iPod, switch the BlueWave module power switch
on and wait about 2 seconds for it to exchange “handshakes” with
the headphones. It’s simpler (and more reliable) than Mac OS X.
Macally BlueWave transmitter module (Macally refers to it as a “dongle”)
has dual color LED that is first redish in color when you first power
on and then turns
blue after Bluetooth
connectivity is made with the BlueWave headphones.
Fidelity was quite impressive and as it should be considering the price.
I have a pair of Sennheiser Studio Pro headphones used for broadcast
and recording studio work, and the Macally BlueWave headphones sound
nearly as good, perhaps a bit short on lower frequencies.