Relay H-Fi Bluetooth Receiver by Mass Fidelity- Review
The Relay H-Fi Bluetooth Receiver is the first product to hit the market from Canadian hi-tech start-up Mass Fidelity, and what a way to start! The Relay is an elegant looking, brushed aluminum box that allows you to stream from any Bluetooth enabled device such as your iPhone, iPad, Computer or Android device, to any audio system. There are other products on the market that do this, but what makes the Relay stand out from the crowd is that it is a true high fidelity component, and that it is really simple to set up and use. I have been using the Relay for the last month and have been truly impressed by its quality, performance and simplicity.
When the Relay arrives it is packaged with everything you need to set it up, and an impressive claim that you can set it up and be ready to play in a minute! It can be used worldwide, as it is compatible with 100-240v and comes packaged with 3 different power plugs: for use in the USA, Europe, Britain and Ireland. It is also packaged with 2 high quality audio cables – RCA to RCA and RCA to 3.5mm, both of which have gold-plated connectors. The RCA to RCA allows it to connect to traditional stereo system amplifiers, and the RCA to 3.5 mm allows you to connect to high quality compact stereo systems.
To set it up:
- Screw in the antennae.
- Connect the Relay to your stereo system with the included cable.
- Plug the Relay into the power source
- Pushing the button on the front to switch it on and put it in pairing mode.
- Turn Bluetooth on your device and select Relay.
- Play your music!
That’s it – nothing complicated at all. I decided to put it to the time test it took me exactly 52 seconds to set it up and stream music from my iPhone!
Once it is set up, it is really easy to switch between Bluetooth devices powering it – it has Party Pairing™ technology so if you have friends over you can easily let everyone take turns at being the DJ using their own music. It also means I can control it via my iPhone, iPad or computer and my son can play his choice from his iPod Touch too (in another year or two I might not think that such a good idea!)
I’ve set this up with two different stereo systems and it worked great with both of them. One of my projects this summer has been to finish digitalizing my CD library (about 600 CDs), I’ve been using Apple Lossless to record my CDs and save them in iTunes. By utilizing the Relay I can listen to my entire music library over our current high quality but vintage stereo system, from my iOS device or computer. It can also be used with your favorite music streaming service such as Pandora or Spotify; or Apple Radio when it launches. My current favorite way to use the Relay is with my stereo system linked to my Definitive Technology AW5500 Outdoor speakers. We spend a lot of time playing and relaxing outside in the summer months and with this system I can listen to my entire music library, and control my stereo system, without even having to get up from my chair! I can control the volume, skip tracks, and choose a new album or artist all from my iPhone on the patio with the Relay connected to the stereo in my living room. The Bluetooth on the Relay works incredibly well – it works through an exterior wall with a TV cabinet, bookshelves and other objects in its path, the stated range is 10 meters but I have used it at longer distances.
So, the Relay is quick to set up and easy to use but what about the sound quality? – It performs beautifully in this respect too – Mass Fidelity have used very high quality components in the manufacture of the Relay, and it shows with impressive sound quality. The Relay uses a professional grade Burr-Brown PCM5102 Digital to Analog Converter (24bit/48kHz), an aptX enabled CSR Bluetooth Radio, gold -plated RCA connectors and a solid, milled, aerospace -grade, aluminum enclosure. The unit has 3 separate ground domains, an internal low noise power supply and system clocking. Mass Fidelity reports about 30% less system noise than their nearest high-end competitor and a range that is 50%+ more than the competition (as a direct result of less system noise). In non-technical terms: it sounds amazing! When listening to a CD played on my stereo system I really can’t hear the difference between the original CD, and the CD recorded with Apple Lossless and played via the Relay.
Overall, I highly recommend the Relay from Mass Fidelity – it looks beautiful, is really quick and easy to set up and use, the Bluetooth works amazingly well even with exterior walls and obstacles in its path, and the sound quality is amazing. A Bluetooth streaming device for the discerning music-lover, I’m truly impressed by its quality, performance, style and simplicity.
The Relay is available from Mass Fidelity.com for US$249 including free shipping to USA and Canada.
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.