How to Connect Multiple Bluetooth Speakers

So you’re wondering how to connect multiple Bluetooth speakers. It can be a little tricky and there’s lots of misinformation out there. Can you send the same audio stream to multiple Bluetooth speakers? I’ll share some interesting Bluetooth speaker “hacks” that you should know about.

The topic of Bluetooth connectivity is a little complicated because there are lots of factors to consider, not to mention multiple versions of Bluetooth.

Understanding Bluetooth Versions:

First, let’s take a quick look at the Bluetooth versions. There are a total of six Bluetooth versions, but most modern Bluetooth dongles use either Bluetooth 4.2 or 5.0. Most modern phones also use Bluetooth 5.0.

Bluetooth 5.0 improves on the previous Bluetooth versions while adding new features, such as low energy modes, and the ability to send the same audio stream to two speakers at the same time. On Android devices, the feature is called “Dual Audio” and on Apple devices, it’s called “Share Audio”.

How to Tell What Version of Bluetooth is on a MacBook?

  1. Open the menu and click on “About This Mac”
  2. Click on “More Info”
  3. Select “System Report”
  4. Click on Bluetooth
  5. The LMP Version is the Bluetooth version.

Most MacBooks designed in the last decade either use Bluetooth 4.2 or 5.0. If your MacBook has an older version of Bluetooth that is not compatible with the Bluetooth device you want to use, what you can do is buy a Bluetooth 5.0 USB radio. 

How to Connect Multiple Bluetooth Speakers:

Dual-stream audio is one of the best features of Bluetooth 5.0 and I’ll explain how it works below. Using dual-stream audio allows you to connect two Bluetooth headphones or earbuds to the same device. Remember, you can only connect a maximum of two Bluetooth speakers. It’s a hardware limitation.

One practical use for this feature is to share music without splitting headphone wires. You can stream the same music to two pairs of AirPods at a time. You can also create wireless stereo audio by using two Bluetooth speakers for each audio channel.

Here’s how to do it:

Connect Multiple Bluetooth Speakers to MacBook:

  1. Pair the Bluetooth speakers or AirPods to the MacBook
  2. Open System Preferences, Sound, and Output
  3. Open Audio MIDI Setup Application
  4. Click on the Plus Icon and Choose “Multi-Output Device”
  5. Select the paired AirPods (or other speakers)
  6. Choose the new audio device in the Sound menu
  7. Your audio should be sent to two Bluetooth speakers at the same time

Enable Share Audio on iPhone:

  1. Make sure your AirPods are paired and connected to your iPhone.
  2. Play some media on your iPhone.
  3. Tap the AirPlay icon on your iPhone’s lock screen. Make sure you’re near your friend’s iPhone or AirPods.
  4. Wait for the “Share Audio” prompt and tap on it.
  5. Your friend’s iPhone will receive a prompt asking to join the audio stream.
  6. Once confirmed, your phone will connect to the other phone’s AirPods.
  7. You can now adjust the volume of both AirPods on your phone.

I used AirPods as an example because they’re the most common Bluetooth earbuds for iPhones. The same steps apply to other Bluetooth speakers. Apple’s Share Audio feature is also available on iPads and the iPod touch 7th generation.

Enable Dual Stream Audio on Android:

  1. Pull down the notification bar on your phone and enable Bluetooth.
  2. Put the speakers in pairing mode, and pair them one at a time.
  3. Open Bluetooth details and tap on “Advanced”.
  4. Toggle the Dual Audio feature.
  5. Connect to the paired Bluetooth speakers you want to use.
  6. You can control the volume of each speaker from the media quick panel.

Bear in mind, dual-stream audio is not recommended for the long term because there can be slight delays between each speaker, which throws the audio out of sync.

Remember, not every Bluetooth speaker is compatible with the feature. Apple only supports the Share Audio feature on certain headphone models, mostly other Apple and Beats headphones that support AirPlay 2. Apple TV can also share audio to multiple Bluetooth headphones.

Use a Media-Streaming App:

Contrary to some resources online, you cannot use apps to connect more than a maximum of two Bluetooth speakers to the same device. The reason for that is because Bluetooth 5.0 only supports two active speakers at a time.

AmpMe

There’s one app called AmpMe which allows users to listen to and control music at the same time. The idea is to have multiple phones playing the same music at the same time to create one loudspeaker. The way it works is you host a party, invite members, and everyone can listen to the same music in sync.

However, AmpMe only supports the older Bluetooth 4.1 and 4.2 protocols, which does not support dual-stream audio. In other words, you can only connect one Bluetooth speaker to AmpMe at a time. In other words, you cannot connect multiple Bluetooth speakers with AmpMe.

“No, one phone can only be connected to one Bluetooth speaker. This is because AmpMe uses Bluetooth 4.1 and 4.2, which only allows for one-to-one pairing. We do not support Bluetooth 5.0 yet!” – source AmpMe FAQ

If you have multiple Bluetooth speakers, you connect each one to a phone and then use AmpMe to sync the music. However, it’s overly complicated and not recommended to use more than one Bluetooth speaker anyways.

Bluetooth Audio Quality:

Bluetooth speakers audio are good but not the absolute best. The reason for that is mainly because Bluetooth has to compress the audio which loses a lot of the data and range. Bluetooth’s transfer speed is not nearly as fast as other mediums, like 2.4 GHz or wired.

However, if you want a gaming headset or another audio device for truly immersive audio, I would go with either a wired or 2.4 GHz wireless headset. The audio quality on 2.4 GHz headsets is much better than Bluetooth headsets, and you can get audio formats like Dolby Atmos.

Conclusion:

To summarize, you can only connect a maximum of two Bluetooth speakers at the same time if your device supports Bluetooth 5.0. It’s an interesting new feature that can be useful when you want to share music with friends.

Try it out some time and let us know how it goes!

Categories Mac
About Tim Gagnon

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