- Page 1 Sony SRS-BTM30 Bluetooth Speakers Review
- Page 2 Sony SRS-BTM30 Review
The main problem is that there’s no ‘pair’ button, or even a button with a Bluetooth logo on it. Apart from the on/off button and volume buttons, all you get is a key labelled, obscurely, ‘ID set’. Even if you figure out that this is the pairing button you’ll be hard pushed to work out exactly how to use it. Normally, you’d simply press and hold for a number of seconds, then enter a standard passkey; here you have to first switch the speakers off, then hold the ID set key down for seven seconds before it enters pairing mode.
It’s bad enough that Bluetooth is so darned un-user friendly to begin with, but this is just plain barmy; why manufacturers can’t simply label such buttons sensibly, I’ll never know. And it’s surely not beyond the wit of man to put simple instructions on a label somewhere discreet either: ”Turn off device. Press and hold for seven seconds until lights flash to pair with a new device. Enter 0000 on your MP3/player/phone if it asks for a passkey”, wouldn’t exactly take up much space.
With the significant hurdle that is pairing dealt with, you’ve got to contend with the SRS-BTM30’s rather average Bluetooth reception. I tried pairing it with three different mobiles and a laptop with Bluetooth built in and at a mere two metres distance I had dropouts with each and every device. If you put your body in the way it gets worse and annoyingly, once you experience a gap in the music, the speakers then speed the music up in an attempt to catch up with the player instead of just rejoining the track at a later stage. There is at least a 3.5mm audio input jack on the rear – for when you get frustrated with the reception.
Unfortunately sound quality doesn’t remedy any of this either. The SRS-BTM30’s output may be clear and well-balanced, and at moderate volumes it actually sounds pretty good – they’re much better than the Gear4 BlackBox in Bluetooth mode, for instance. But the 3W per channel output just can’t cope when you pump the volume right up: they first start to buzz and then distort rather disturbingly. Reaching top volume is categorically out of the question. On the flip side, there’s also no mute button anywhere on the speakers. Instead, you have to simply turn off the unit if you want a moment of quiet, but this then requires you to repeat the pairing process with your player once you turn the speakers back on again.
All-in-all Sony’s attempt at producing a decent Bluetooth speaker system is a big disappointment. They’re not easy to set up and use, sound quality is distinctly average at loud volume and Bluetooth reception is also nothing to write home about. You might be able to forgive all this if they were cheap, but here you’re in for yet another disappointment: at £75 the SRS-BTM30s are expensive and definitely not worth the price.
Score in detail
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