This Cheap Dongle Made My Old Speakers New Again With Bluetooth Audio
There’s an affordable and easy way to turn your headphone jack-equipped, non-Bluetooth speakers into the convenient sound solution you deserve.
I’ve known many dongles in my day, but none quite as useful as Anker’s Soundsync. It’s a simple little gadget that solves what, for me at this juncture in my life, is a critical void; Bluetooth audio.
But before I tell you why I love this little black piece of plastic and why you might too, let's turn back the page just a few chapters first.
When purveyors of smartphones (I’m looking at you Apple) decided to move away from the headphone jack, it seemed like nothing short of sacrilege. How could they? Call the move what you will: Apple says the transition was a necessary engineering choice to make room for other, more important, internal components and detractors call it a shameless attempt to force you to buy Bluetooth audio devices like AirPods. I think it’s a little bit of both.
Whatever you think personally, we’re now approaching seven years without the once-guaranteed headphone port (the iPhone 7 was the first model without a 3.5mm port for plugging in headphones) and not being able to wire audio to your phone is just life — not just for iPhone users, but for pretty much all phones. Don’t believe me? Here’s a picture of the Poco F3, a budget phone from China that assuredly would hold onto the headphone jack... right? Wrong.
And so here I am in 2023, fresh off a move to a new neighborhood, lacking the comforts of living situations past, and nary a Bluetooth audio device in sight. But speakerless, I am not. In fact, I’m still the rightful owner of a set of M-Audio monitors, which while not being the best monitors in the world, definitely suit my day-to-day needs. That is if I had a non-aggravating way of using them.
Enter Anker’s Soundsync.
The Soundsync is a dongle in the best sense. While it’s technically here just to fix the pain of felled ports, it does so in the least painful way possible — with the power of Bluetooth.
In my case, the issue was turning the headphone jack on my M-Audio monitors into a gateway to Bluetooth. In service of that endeavor, Anker’s Bluetooth-transmitting Soundsync uses a small adapter (a double-sided 3.5mmm jack) that plugs into the Aux port on one end and the dongle on the other.
Once the device is plugged in, all you need to do is power the Soundsync on, find the option under Bluetooth devices on your phone or Bluetooth-compatible device, and boom. You’re in Bluetooth business now, baby.
As far as functionality goes, there’s not much there, but then again, there doesn’t really have to be. There’s an on/off button and two volume buttons on the side if for whatever reason you’re some kind of freak who prefers to control volume manually. The dongle is battery-powered so you’ll have to charge it from time to time. The receiver uses Bluetooth 5.0, so my connection never wavers, and if you’re looking to hook up multiple devices, the Soundsync supports two simultaneous connections.
Anker says the Soundsync gets about 12 hours on a charge (not bad for a device as small as this dongle is), and to charge it up, the Soundsync also comes with a micro USB cable. If you’re not into the double-sided adapter, the Soundync also includes a longer 22-inch cable with 3.5mm jacks on either side.
There’s not much to unpack feature-wise, and that’s kind of the beauty of the Soundsync. It truly is a plug-and-play device. Though I’m personally using it at home — I use the aforementioned Poco device as a dedicated media player so that the audio on my primary device remains separate — you can use the dongle in any situation where you need to convert audio from a headphone jack into Bluetooth. Your car, if you drive something older, could be one place you want/need to do that.
Whatever the scenario is, in my experience the Soundsync just works, and that’s really what’s important here. For $30, the Soundsync brought me Bluetooth audio without having to buy an additional speaker or, god forbid, use one of my old laptops with a headphone port just for playing music — I’ve seen this darkness and I wouldn’t wish that world on anyone.
If you’re like me and living in a world with passable speakers but no convenience, do yourself a favor and bring Bluetooth into the fold with the Soundsync.
Photographs by James Pero