If you’re an audiophile, you probably know how crucial lossless audio is. A significant hurdle in the lossless audio experience is Bluetooth, though. Even with the highest-quality files, Bluetooth will cause compression. Qualcomm is looking to change that with lossless Bluetooth audio.
Qualcomm’s aptX Bluetooth Lossless Audio Technology
Qualcomm held an event where it announced that it’s bringing lossless audio technology to Bluetooth as part of its Snapdragon Sound Technology. Typically, audiophiles are forced to use wired headphones and speakers to get the uncompressed audio they desire. However, that’s about to change.
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The company described the issue with Bluetooth in a release. It said, “Bluetooth acts as the ‘last mile’ of delivery, and it’s this last step that can undercut the entire lossless and hi-res process.” It also continued to say, “all Bluetooth connections to date employ lossy compression based on psychoacoustic masking techniques and while bit-rate efficient, more audio data is lost.”
However, Qualcomm’s aptX technology is different because it is based on ADPCM (Advanced Pulse Code Modulation) techniques and is a non-destructive codec. That means it doesn’t strip the quality from audio files in the same way traditional Bluetooth codecs would.
According to the release, you can get CD-quality 16-bit 44.1kHz lossless audio quality over Bluetooth wireless technology. It’s not the highest out there by any means (Apple Music Hi-Res supports 24bit 196kHz audio, for example), but it’s quite a bit better than the sound you’ll get from traditional Bluetooth headsets.
Of course, there are limitations of the devices themselves, but this will at least make it, so Bluetooth isn’t the main hurdle preventing higher-quality audio from reaching your ears. Now you need to decide whether you need an external DAC.