Qualcomm is bringing CD-quality sound over Bluetooth through aptX Lossless

jsilva

Posts: 197   +1
Staff
Forward-looking: With music apps like Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music now offering CD-quality audio as an option, it was only a matter of time before Qualcomm updated aptX to support lossless audio through Bluetooth. After all, the alternative was using a USB DAC attached to your phone, which doesn't seem very practical.

When Tidal launched in 2014, it was the first music app to stream music at CD-quality. Five years later, Amazon followed Tidal's footsteps and introduced a premium subscription including lossless audio. Earlier this year, Spotify announced it would introduce a CD-quality option to their apps later this year, followed by Apple, which already released a lossless audio option in its Music app.

Many were pleased to hear the news that their favorite music apps would receive lossless audio support. However, 24-bit 96kHz lossy was the best Bluetooth solutions offered, leaving the lossless audio option limited to a fraction of users.

Now that's changing as Qualcomm introduces aptX Lossless, a new aptX Adaptive technology and Snapdragon Sound feature that delivers CD-quality 16-bit 44.1kHz (lossless) audio streaming over wireless, allowing you to listen to music with a maximum bit rate of 1Mbps.

Despite the new 16-bit 44.1KHz audio option, the existing 24-bit 96KHz lossy mode will still be relevant. With that in mind, Qualcomm will allow users to manually switch between both streaming modes or automatically through Qualcomm High Speed Link, detecting the source and enabling the most appropriate accordingly.

The first headphones and earbuds supporting this technology are expected to launch sometime between later this year and early 2022, so you still have to wait a bit before rocking your favorite songs in Hi-Res on the go without a DAC.

Images credit: bruce mars, Minh Pham

Permalink to story.

 

koblongata

Posts: 439   +247
There is no way to use Aptx Adaptive on a PC, and Adaptive is not even backward compatible with Aptx Low Latency, took me a while to realize, and money wasted. If you are a PC users, just get wifi headphones like Razer Barracuda X, fast connection, hassle free, no lag, no compression, exciting accurate sounds, costing only 1/2 ~ 1/5 the prices of the Bluetooth headphones I owned.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 541   +417
So was this actually hard to do ? or was it a stds thing holding it back ?, or QC just being lazy and slow ?
Anyway opus vbr say 192kbps is 99.9999% transparent with 75 million song catalogues.
Oh but I have a electronic sample - that it's transients or some other trendy word is so bad is unlistenable . Oh you better ecode your portable collection at 44-192 so you don't have a bad day - like those sad folks dancing at the beach house in the 70s to a tinny AM radio .
Or rolling day route 66 listening to your partners mixtape - realising the dolby button is crap ( killed the transients or something to reduce white noise ) and singing along
 

Fearghast

Posts: 437   +337
Razer and "exciting accurate sounds"
What a joke mate :-D
Sure Windows is stupid, no question about it, but you can still use external device like FiiO BTA30, to bypass any restrictions and not having to use subpar sound equipment by Razer.
BTA30 is an example, it most likely does not support AptX LL, but many others do.
 

Fearghast

Posts: 437   +337
So was this actually hard to do ? or was it a stds thing holding it back ?, or QC just being lazy and slow ?
Anyway opus vbr say 192kbps is 99.9999% transparent with 75 million song catalogues.
Oh but I have a electronic sample - that it's transients or some other trendy word is so bad is unlistenable . Oh you better ecode your portable collection at 44-192 so you don't have a bad day - like those sad folks dancing at the beach house in the 70s to a tinny AM radio .
Or rolling day route 66 listening to your partners mixtape - realising the dolby button is crap ( killed the transients or something to reduce white noise ) and singing along
I bet it was really hard to do, when you are working with Bluetooth limitations and requirements for continuous, preferably dual stream for left and right, the lowest possible latency etc. :-D
Gotta love the term "transparent". I have probably never heard a more meaningless description of "I personally can't hear the difference, therefore it's fine I guess". ;)
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,153   +194
Top phones today have 5G, wireless AX, wireless payments, flexible screen and sh** but apparently no phonemaker could figure out a way to make wireless audio sounds as good as wired audio?

 

Fearghast

Posts: 437   +337
Top phones today have 5G, wireless AX, wireless payments, flexible screen and sh** but apparently no phonemaker could figure out a way to make wireless audio sounds as good as wired audio?
Not going to happen any time soon and not just because of Bluetooth ... you have to pack amplifier and DAC in wireless headphones as well.
Try to integrate that, isolate and not end up with a $2000, 500+g brick on your head ...
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,153   +194
Not going to happen any time soon and not just because of Bluetooth ... you have to pack amplifier and DAC in wireless headphones as well.
Try to integrate that, isolate and not end up with a $2000, 500+g brick on your head ...

as I understand it with bluetooth audio transmission, it's the codec that is being sent from the phone to the headphones. old one is SBC newer one is aptX, etc. that means the receiving end, technically the headphone already has some sort of DAC to convert that codec into analog signal.

qualcomm already released aptX HD codec few years ago which goes up to 24bit/48000hz (max 576kbps transfer rate) but obviously not all manufacturers adopted this codec and therefore they now decided to make a new one with max bitrate of 1000kbps but only goes up to 16bit/44100hz?

what they're probably saying is that since an Audio CD has a maximum bitrate of 1411kbps, their solution can carry almost as much bitrate and therefore is now CD-like quality.

what surprises me is the fact that after so many iterations of Bluetooth and proprietary techs, they haven't been able to even get to 3mbps rate which is what TOSLINK could transfer back in 1983 using light (fiber optic). back then TOSLINK must have been like magic.
 

gamerk2

Posts: 600   +524
Not going to happen any time soon and not just because of Bluetooth ... you have to pack amplifier and DAC in wireless headphones as well.
Try to integrate that, isolate and not end up with a $2000, 500+g brick on your head ...

...Wireless headphones already have a DAC. Cheap ones mostly in order to keep costs down, which is why I still use wired as I find the audio quality to be unconditionally bad even on "high end" wireless headphones.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 541   +417
I bet it was really hard to do, when you are working with Bluetooth limitations and requirements for continuous, preferably dual stream for left and right, the lowest possible latency etc. :-D
Gotta love the term "transparent". I have probably never heard a more meaningless description of "I personally can't hear the difference, therefore it's fine I guess". ;)
Cheers for reply - as I get older soon 80kbps opus will be transparent :)
I do spend money on audio - midrange dac , amp , speakers etc at least $2000 each of them - just need probably one more headphone to complete my collection as well
 

Fearghast

Posts: 437   +337
...Wireless headphones already have a DAC. Cheap ones mostly in order to keep costs down, which is why I still use wired as I find the audio quality to be unconditionally bad even on "high end" wireless headphones.
That's exactly my point :)
Even Audeze with Mobius feel into a same trap - decent planar drivers, but DAC and amplifier is integrated so poorly, you can hear constant hiss and other artefacts.
 

Fearghast

Posts: 437   +337
Cheers for reply - as I get older soon 80kbps opus will be transparent :)
I do spend money on audio - midrange dac , amp , speakers etc at least $2000 each of them - just need probably one more headphone to complete my collection as well
Oh, you have my sympathy, I fell into that rabbit hole as well .... and a phrase "One more headphones for reference." is not what my wallet likes to hear :-D
I really hope you won't reach 80kbps "transparency" anytime soon ;)
 
I would be impressed if this tech was full 24bit, but it's not, it's just barely 16.

Why you don't need 24 Bit, 96khz (or: Why 16-bit 44khz is actually more than enough):

The Compact Disc (CD) was going to be 14-bits originally, but they threw an extra 2-bits at it just to make sure the dynamic range (noise floor) was good enough to properly capture the loudest and quietest of audio recordings.
 

gamerk2

Posts: 600   +524
Why you don't need 24 Bit, 96khz (or: Why 16-bit 44khz is actually more than enough):

The Compact Disc (CD) was going to be 14-bits originally, but they threw an extra 2-bits at it just to make sure the dynamic range (noise floor) was good enough to properly capture the loudest and quietest of audio recordings.
For the audio equipment most of you use? Sure. But there is a noticeable difference in audio quality (at least for me) using higher-end gear.
 
For the audio equipment most of you use? Sure. But there is a noticeable difference in audio quality (at least for me) using higher-end gear.
Did you even watch the video? The guy presenting the video wrote an audio compression codec called Ogg Vorbis. He knows far more about digital audio than you'll ever even pretend to know.

In short, 16/44 is all you'll ever need for listening to music... Any difference you think you're hearing with 24/96 or 24/192 is placebo.
 

bviktor

Posts: 492   +822
Dear Qualcomm,

You can shove your yet another proprietary standard upp your @ss.

With thanks,

The whole world.

We need to embrace open formats like Opus.
 

koblongata

Posts: 439   +247
What a joke mate :-D
Sure Windows is stupid, no question about it, but you can still use external device like FiiO BTA30, to bypass any restrictions and not having to use subpar sound equipment by Razer.
BTA30 is an example, it most likely does not support AptX LL, but many others do.
I am talking about the latest Aptx Adaptive standard here, which most modern Bluetooth headphones use, it claims to be low latency but there is absolutely no PC transceiver for it, and it won't even fallback to Aptx Low Latency.

No, Razer Barracuda X is not subpar sounding, I own quite a few flagship Bluetooth headphones over the years and Barracuda X beats them all. I guess Razer's acquisition of THX really upped their game.
 

Fearghast

Posts: 437   +337
I am talking about the latest Aptx Adaptive standard here, which most modern Bluetooth headphones use, it claims to be low latency but there is absolutely no PC transceiver for it, and it won't even fallback to Aptx Low Latency.

No, Razer Barracuda X is not subpar sounding, I own quite a few flagship Bluetooth headphones over the years and Barracuda X beats them all. I guess Razer's acquisition of THX really upped their game.
Razer Barracuda X are incredibly crappy headphones with bad driver pairing (more than 2dB difference) and non-existent highs.
What THX did for them is a nice PR sticker they can now put on the box.
Even Blackshark V2 sounds substantially better.
And I am talking audio in general, where even the ancient AptX LL sounds better than Razer newest wireless offering + almost no headphones on the market use AptX Adaptive; AptX Adaptive is even much slower than AptX LL.

The only headphones, made by Razer, that are even worth of consideration are Blacksharks V2. Sure their construction is standard, subpar Razer plastic, that can and most likely will die in 6 months, but at least they are not worse than similarly priced competition (by a significant margin).

Edit: Samsung owns AKG, Harman Kardon, JBL, B&O and many other audio brands ... does Samsung make good headphones? No, they don't.
Try to assess the product, not the brand.
 
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koblongata

Posts: 439   +247
Razer Barracuda X are incredibly crappy headphones with bad driver pairing (more than 2dB difference) and non-existent highs.
What THX did for them is a nice PR sticker they can now put on the box.
Even Blackshark V2 sounds substantially better.
And I am talking audio in general, where even the ancient AptX LL sounds better than Razer newest wireless offering + almost no headphones on the market use AptX Adaptive; AptX Adaptive is even much slower than AptX LL.

Razer Barracuda X has bad driver pairing? how did you find out? link please. They sound crazy good!

No, Razer Barracuda X is only $99, and it beats my recently purchased (also I think will be the last Bluetooth I ever get for PC) $399 B&W PX7, which widely accepted as some of the greatest sounding.
 

Fearghast

Posts: 437   +337
Razer Barracuda X has bad driver pairing? how did you find out? link please. They sound crazy good!

No, Razer Barracuda X is only $99, and it beats my recently purchased (also I think will be the last Bluetooth I ever get for PC) $399 B&W PX7, which widely accepted as some of the greatest sounding.
It does, check the real measurements ... I don't know, Rtings for example.
PX7 is certainly not widely considered as something special.
Just because you read they sound good on a site that test PSU for a living, and are looking for positive confirmation of your opinion, does not make it a good product.
Lest try something ... €60 Anker Q30 sounds better than Sony WH-1000XM4 or Apple Airpods Max.
 

koblongata

Posts: 439   +247
It does, check the real measurements ... I don't know, Rtings for example.
PX7 is certainly not widely considered as something special.
Just because you read they sound good on a site that test PSU for a living, and are looking for positive confirmation of your opinion, does not make it a good product.
Lest try something ... €60 Anker Q30 sounds better than Sony WH-1000XM4 or Apple Airpods Max.
All the Aptx standards are compressed, and Razer Barracuda X is arealdy lossless... There really ISN'T any comparison, even Aptx HD can't compare.

The latest lossless attempt for Aptx mentioned here will rely on Adaptive standard, which is impossible for PC to gain access to. I don't even know what are we arguing about here. If you want lossless, lag free PC headphones, just, forget about Bluetooth, OK?
 

Fearghast

Posts: 437   +337
All the Aptx standards are compressed, and Razer Barracuda X is arealdy lossless... There really ISN'T any comparison, even Aptx HD can't compare.

The latest lossless attempt for Aptx mentioned here will rely on Adaptive standard, which is impossible for PC to gain access to. I don't even know what are we arguing about here. If you want lossless, lag free PC headphones, just, forget about Bluetooth, OK?
I argue that even an ancient compression on decent headphones sounds better than Razer "lossless".
On low end equipment (and gaming audio) bandwidth is hardly a real issue.
 
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koblongata

Posts: 439   +247
I argue that even an ancient compression on decent headphones sounds better than Razer "lossless".
On low end equipment (and gaming audio) bandwidth is hardly a real issue.
I am so sure you never tried Razer Barracuda X, you are just speaking on top of your head. To me I can confirm Razer Barracuda X sound better than Sony 1000XM3, Drop Panda THX, B&W PX7 (in Aptx HD mode), the clarity is superior because of the lossless-ness, soundstage is huge, the bass goes deep almost feels like it's toe reaching, AND LAG FREE.
 
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Fearghast

Posts: 437   +337
I am so sure you never tried Razer Barracuda X, you are just speaking on top of your head. To me I can confirm Razer Barracuda X sound better than Sony 1000XM3, Drop Panda THX, B&W PX7, AND LAG FREE.
To me, it does sound like mediocre, wireless gaming headphones.
And yes, I try a lot of headphones, including Razer ones.
Gaming equipment is usually one of the worst when it comes to sound quality / price proposition, and Barracuda X is a really good example of it.
Blackshark V2 would probably be groundbreaking for you :D - meaning in a good way.