Why can’t we connect multiple Bluetooth speakers to a phone and play them all?


I was thinking of WiFi and how it is possible to connect multiple devices and use the internet. Why is it not possible with Bluetooth? I mean the same song from one phone being played in multiple connected speakers.

Edit: Thanks everyone for the clarifications.

In: Technology

Bluetooth was designed for a single connection. So think of it as a single wire between two devices like amplifier and headphones. It can power two devices but the signal needs to be split digitally. There are speakers that allow multiples to be connected and some phones allow for the signal to be split between say 2 headphones. So it’s a single connection but they have created work arounds to handle customers requests.

With Bose Connect and multiple Bose speakers you can do this. The reason you can’t do it with any generic speaker is that Bluetooth is a 1 to 1 connection, so you need some middleware to manage multiple connections.

You can also play one song over two Bluetooth headsets with this function too, so you can listen to the same song as your partner.

The bluetooth protocol doesn’t have anything built into it to handle multiple devices like that.

While in theory it could handle sending a signal to multiple speakers, the most important thing when you’ve got that many speakers is that they are in sync with one another, and that is a significant technological problem that can’t just be shoehorned in to the protocol.

The fundamental problem is a lack of consistent rules for Bluetooth connection. Bluetooth is basically a protocol, it tells you what frequencies to talk on, how much signal, (how loud to talk on it.) but without rules about how each device connects, it makes things like having one another be able to talk to each other harder because they don’t have any idea how the other one speaks, where it is coming from, how often it can speak etc. this is all negotiated when the devices connect, so it makes it almost impossible without rules to get them all working together.

Some devices (vendor side) allow that utilizing a different technology, either a master slave configuration, where the phone is connected to the main device and the main device redistributes it, or by using newer Bluetooth protocols that allow connection to multiple devices.

Bluetooth just is not well cared about, most android phones don’t run on the latest version, many vendors don’t consider implementing new version, just because the consumer does not know about the benefits.

Bluetooth is also a very difficult protocol IMHO, but maybe I’m just dumb.

Bluetooth 5.0 actually does allow two speakers/headphones to be connected to a single phone. It has been in iPhones since iPhone 8, and presumably the newer Android phones too.

You can on some modern devices. Not sure how it works technically, but on my Galaxy S20 I can connect at least two different headsets. I think I can connect more.
Same thing was possible on my previous phone.

I only have a Samsung j5 yet I can connect to multiple Bluetooth speakers & headphones at the same time and play music through them all. I thought this was a standard thing these days?

Bluetooth apps engineer here. Many have touched on why it isn’t widely seen, mainly because of synchronization issues. There are many devices that now have their own proprietary method for handling this. The Bluetooth SIG understands the current limitation and future specification will handle this more gracefully. Particularly, in Bluetooth Low Energy’s implementation (Bluetooth classics younger brother, think sensors and wearables). If you’re interested in more info, here they describe LE audio and broadcast mode – https://www.bluetooth.com/learn-about-bluetooth/recent-enhancements/le-audio/. This will take some years for mass adoption but will handle exactly this scenario.

Ultimate Ears offers this feature on most of their speakers.

“No matter how big your party gets, use the Ultimate Ears BOOM App to connect as many BOOM, BOOM 2, BOOM 3, MEGABOOM, MEGABOOM 3 and HYPERBOOM speakers.
PARTYUP is not compatible with WONDERBOOM™, BLAST & MEGABLAST line of speakers.”

Depending on your phone you can do this already. I know my samsung is able to do this. The problem lies in that if the speakers are different makes then each processes the signal in a slightly different time. When I tested this with a speakers I had on hand from different manufacturers the music was out of sync.

Bluetooth isn’t a wire, there is a lot of lag in the compression, sending (and resending dropouts), decomposition, device processing and finaly pumping it out.
If the two devices aren’t in exactly the same time it will sound shit. So until recently no one has spent the time to enable such a feature.

Manufacturers are starting to add meshing between their own brands, Bluetooth 5 is adding some delay info to potentially allow this between brands.

I,ve done it before but you gotta mess around with it to get them exactly synced like once they are both playing you gotta pause it then start again so they both start together.

I actually bought a Bluetooth speaker for my truck because the speakers in it don’t work. And the speaker I bought said you can link up to 100 of them together. So… I guess technically the phone is only connecting to 1 and then each speaker is connecting to the next one.

you can there is already a solution provided by multiple brands that do this.
one company is ultimateears
the other is Sonos

Does bluetooth 5.0 solve all of this?

Pairing…to pair a pair of devices…is this a hint? /s

Thinking about that: if you could pair multiple Bluetooth earpieces to a single phone, it would allow to easily speak together when you’re out in a bike ride.

Same reason you can’t listen to multiple people speaking at once in a crowded room; you only have one receiver in your ears.

Speakers can only tune to one source at a time unless they’re designed to accept multiple, though few will because…well, when is that ever needed.

My old Samsung S10 did dual audio via bluetooth. My girl and I used to use it when we went jogging.