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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 or horizontally. The front panel contains a small power switch and a large "M" button used to initiate pairing with Bluetooth A2DP compliant devices.

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

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

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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

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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