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Reviews

Short Take: Motorola DC800 Bluetooth Home Stereo Adapter

By Legacy April 24, 2006, 12:00 am




RCA JACKS


The Motorola DC800 Bluetooth Home Stereo Adapter is
designed to extend a stereo system’s functionality
by providing inbound and outbound wireless audio
capability using the Bluetooth standard. The unit can be placed
vertically (Figure 1) or horizontally. The front panel contains a
small power switch and a large "M" button used to
initiate pairing with Bluetooth A2DP compliant devices.

(all images link to higher resolution)

Figure 1:
The front of the DC800 placed vertically.

The rear of the unit
(Figure 2) contains right and left channel  RCA type
connectors for input and output, as well as a standard
mini USB connector for a power adapter.

Figure 2:
The rear of the DC800.



MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN


The Motorola DC800 is the perfect complement to the
Motorola HT820 we reviewed

here.
The pair make an attractive design
package (Figure 3 ).

Figure 3: The Motorola HT820 stereo headphones around the DC800 home stereo adapter.

The combination works great through walls and even
beyond the specified 10 feet (30m) transmission
range. The audio fidelity and volume are excellent.



THE WEAKNESS


Unfortunately the inbound audio functionality has a
major weakness. The pairing sequence requires a pass
key. Therefore, it appears that in order to pair any audio device
with the DC800, the device has to include a
keyboard or other mechanism to enter this pass key. 
Without this ability, it seems
impossible to pair an inbound device.
Motorola seems to have designed this for Bluetooth
enabled PCs, cell phones and PDAs which are A2DP
compliant. The GlobalSat iWAG
(BTA-809), attached to the iPod, we reviewed

here
did not pair successfully with the DC800 (Figure
4
).

Figure 4:
The Apple iPod and GlobalSat BTA809 combination with the Motorola DC800.

PURCHASING



The Motorola DC800 Bluetooth Home Stereo Adapter can
be purchased from Motorola for $99.99

here
. The street price for the Motorola DC800 is
about $68.00.


PROS



  • Eight device Bluetooth pairing memory


  • Bi-Directional A2DP compliance


  • Simple to pair with Bluetooth enabled headphones

CONS



  • Unable to pair an inbound audio stream that does not
    have a keyboard

OVERALL
IMPRESSION



At first glance the Motorola DC800 seems like the
perfect device to Bluetooth enable your stereo
system. However with today’s skyrocketing sales of
Apple iPod’s, it is inconceivable that Motorola
would have designed such a perfect device without
taking into account the ability to pair with iPod
accessories.


I contacted Motorola support and they explained the
pairing process.  Unfortunately they were unable to help
any further since they had no experience with the iPod
together with a GlobalSat BTA-809. The DC800 has two pairing modes:
the first, when the Motorola DC800 powers up, allows
compatible devices to initiate pairing with it. 
This discoverable mode requires the entry of a pass key
on the device requesting the pairing. This is fine for
cell phones, PDAs and PCs, but the iPod does not have a
means of entering the pass key. The second mode allows
the DC800 to initiate the pairing sequence via
discovery. This mode does not require a pass key. I
placed the Motorola DC800 in discovery mode and the
GlobalSat BTA-809 in pairing mode (there is only one
mode). They failed to pair.


The Motorola HT820
and GlobalSat BTA-809 pairing was successful. This
leads me to believe that there is an issue with pairing
inbound devices with the DC800. The inability to use
this function diminishes the value of the DC800 greatly. 
Despite the excellent quality of the outbound audio with
the HT820 headphones,  I can only recommend a
slightly above average rating for this product. Should Motorola resolve the inbound
device pairing issue it would receive a 5 out 5.

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