Geeks adore it. Audiophiles, not so much.
Allow me to set a scene for you .. (music plays in the background) .. while enjoying some good food, drinks, and conversation with friends, someone says “I heard a great song today and saved it on my phone, can we play it on your system?”. Always happy to oblige my non-audiophile friends, I have her engage bluetooth on her phone, pair it with my Wyred 4 Sound bLINK, and voilà!
The convenience and simplicity is hard to ignore.
Clean your clock
In the digital audio world jitter is a 4-letter word. What does jitter sound like? Harsh. Grating. Irritating. It sounds like listener fatigue. Ya’ll know about listener fatigue, right? After 20 minutes or so you just want to shut it off. Can we play some vinyl now, please? Bluetooth, along with other digital sources (Apple TV, Google Chromecast Audio, etc.), can do that to you. Re-clocking to the rescue.
The bLINK re-clocks a bluetooth stream to 24/96kHz with a femto-grade oscillator and outputs via Toslink or coaxial to your DAC. Femto-grade? Certainly buzzword-y enough, but does it sound better? Absolutely. And it’s easily discernible. In a nutshell, the sound quality is more relaxed and organic. Any lower-quality lossy stream (i.e., AAC, MP3, Ogg) I throw at it sounds significantly better. No more fatigue.
The bLINK can also be used in a hard-wired configuration for those interested in re-clocking their SPDIF coax stream. Depending on source, I’ve heard some nice improvements with lossless rates from 16/44.1 up to and including 24/96, but said improvements are more subtle with the higher rates. One caveat, files with bitrate/sampling frequencies of 24/176.6 or 24/192 will be decimated (down-sampled). Some will tell you decimation will always degrade the sound. My experience tells me otherwise .. as with all things audio, it depends.
I’ve enjoyed my bLINK for over a year now and even though my Bluesound Node 2 has built-in bluetooth capability, I still prefer the bLINK in comparison. BTW, all digital signals passing through my Node 2 are re-clocked with a bit-perfect iFi SPDIF iPurifier re-clocker before hitting the DAC. What does that tell you?
Kudos to Wyred 4 Sound for bringing a niche product like the bLINK to market.