Satechi ST-SX200 Connections, Setup, and Bluetooth
Obviously, you can connect to the Satechi ST-SX200 AirBass Active Bluetooth Speakers via Bluetooth. In addition, there is a 3.5mm port labeled Audio 1 and stereo analog RCA inputs labeled Audio 2. A USB port is also located on the back but that is for charging only. Not for charging the speakers, mind you, but for charging your device. Lastly, there is a subwoofer output but there is no indication in the manual or elsewhere if there is any sort of crossover or if it just sends a full range signal to the sub.
The left speaker is connected to the right by a set of small, five-way binding posts. Satechi included some very thin speaker cable though there is no reason you couldn't use your own. I grabbed some of my standard speaker cable from Blue Jeans with the compression-type banana plugs and verified that the binding posts will accept them. This is a nice feature as it allows for the most diverse types of connections and the most secure connections.
While there are two audio inputs on the back of the Satechi ST-SX200, they are hierarchical. The 3.5mm input is the top level while the stereo RCA input is secondary. This means that if you have something plugged into the 3.5mm input, even if it isn't playing anything, the RCA input will be ignored. This gives you, functionally, two inputs - Bluetooth and one analog input. This may confuse some users at first. You may use all three inputs (Bluetooth and both analog) if you don't mind manually unplugging the 3.5mm input when you want to access the RCA input.
Back of the left speaker - note the five-way binding posts, unusual at this price point
The single dial on the front is to control the volume and input selection. The volume control is quite fine and isn't just from one side of the dial to the other. Instead, you can spin the dial a number of times before you get to the top level. There is nothing to stop the it so the dial will continue to spin though the volume will no longer increase. The same is true when decreasing the volume - it will continue spinning even though the volume is at zero. Conveniently, when you turn the other direction, the volume immediately increases and doesn't require that you reverse the number of turns.
There are really two reasons to have Bluetooth speakers - either you want to take your music with you to share with others or you want to be able to connect to a set of speakers around your house without wires. Bluetooth is the main reason for these speakers so it must work well. If it doesn't, you could have saved your money and got regular speakers without the wireless connectivity.
The Satechi ST-SX200 speakers are perfectly set up to replace your computer speakers. They are small, they have one usable input on the back, and the Bluetooth allows you to connect your (or your friend's) phone or portable device without wires. This is, in my opinion, the best possible scenario for the Satechi ST-SX200 speakers. The reason for this is because the Bluetooth doesn't automatically reconnect.
Many Bluetooth solutions will constantly search for a former connection when disconnected. How many people do you know have disappeared from a phone call because they walked too close to a Bluetooth device? Everyone I know that has a Bluetooth receiver in their car has to take precautions for fear that the call will jump. Unfortunately, the Satechi ST-SX200 isn't like this.
On the plus side, the Satechi ST-SX200 speakers were very easy to connect to and the connection was very stable. Once I connected my device (computer or phone), I had no problems with dropouts or interference. Bluetooth promises 30 foot line-of-sight connection and the Satechi ST-SX200 provided as good a connection as I've experienced.
The binding posts may be thin but they accept full-sized banana plugs
The downside was that the Satechi ST-SX200 speakers would power off the Bluetooth connection after a period of inactivity. The light on the front of the right speaker would shine a solid blue when Bluetooth was connected, red in a low-power mode or when connected to one of the physical inputs, and blinking blue when searching for a Bluetooth connection. Putting the Satechi ST-SX200 into search mode was as easy has holding down the volume knob for a few seconds (a quick press switched between Bluetooth and physical input). This limits the places you can place the Satechi ST-SX200 speakers. If you want them to be a pseudo-zone 2 solution, you'll need to locate the right speakers somewhere where you can access the volume control so that you can put the speaker into Bluetooth searching mode when you want to connect your device.
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I ordered the Satechi bluetooth speaker that was on the AH gift guide for 2013. For the MSRP of $50, that one is a pass, but for the Amazon price of $25 that I paid, it was worth it.