How Bluetooth Stereo Systems Work

May 16, 2017 2 min read

Bluetooth on MotorcyclesMore and more stereo systems are being made with Bluetooth connectivity. This relatively new wireless technology allows consumers to connect portable devices like an iPod or smartphone to their stereo, without the otherwise restrictive limitations of a cord. While most people are familiar with the general concept behind Bluetooth connectivity, few know how it works.

Bluetooth is essentially a wireless technology standard that's used for transmitting and receiving data over short distances via UHF radio waves in ISM bands ranging from 2.4 to 2.485 GHz. The technology was invented by Ericsson in 1994, with its original purpose being an alternative to RS-232 cables. However, Bluetooth has since made its way into many other applications, including hands-free phone devices, building personal area networks, and of course stereo systems.


Bluetooth connectivity between two or more devices relies on a special, self-created network known as a piconet. Rather than using a cable to exchange data, the devices use wireless Bluetooth technology over this network. The devices must “pair,” however, in order for this exchange to occur – and both devices must support Bluetooth connectivity. If only one devices supports Bluetooth, the pairing cannot occur; thus, the connection will not be made.


Once two or more devices have paired over the piconet, one of the devices is assigned the role of master while the other device or devices are assigned the role of slaves. The master is the main device to which the other devices connect. When speaking about stereos, the stereo system is typically the master, while the smartphones, iPods and other portable devices are the slaves.


Although it sounds technical and complex, Bluetooth is actually easy to use – so much in fact that the average consumer can connect his or her smartphone to a Bluetooth-compatible stereo in just seconds. This ease of use has made Bluetooth the de-facto standard for wireless communication.


But there are still limitations to Bluetooth technology, one of which is the range. Bluetooth signals typically have a maximum distance of 10 meters (30 feet). Bluetooth is classified as a short-distance wireless technology, meaning it's not a viable solution for long distances. The good news is that most stereo systems are used in short range of the connected device, so Bluetooth is the perfect solution for this application.


The bottom line is that Bluetooth technology is a powerful form of wireless communication. It allows two or more devices to connect without traditional cords. When used in stereo systems, this is a huge advantage for the consumer. Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of Bluetooth technology and how it works with stereo systems.  Now go check out the Bluetooth motorcycle speaker systems from Steel Horse Audio!