Qualcomm aptX Lossless will deliver 16-bit 44.1kHz audio over Bluetooth, but you need the right kit

2 weeks ago 13
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(Pocket-lint) - Qualcomm has announced a variant of its aptX wireless codec that can finally deliver 16-bit 44.1kHz CD-quality audio over Bluetooth. However, there is a catch - you will need devices with the right hardware inside.

Dubbed aptX Lossless, the codec utilises aptX Adaptive technologies to enable a stream to hit up to 1Mbit/s over Bluetooth - this allows the "lossless" audio to be wirelessly transmitted and received as long as the RF conditions are right (ie. phone and headphones are close by and not too many signals are conflicting).

The upshot is that the audio file received and played through compatible headphones (or speaker system) will be identical to the one sent. There will be no compression of note, nor will there be any audible deviation from the source.

This is a first for Bluetooth. Even using existing Qualcomm aptX technologies, there has always been a loss of audio definition somewhere down the pipe - albeit a fractional one in some cases.

The catch is that aptX Lossless will only work on devices built to incorporate new Snapdragon Sound Technology. That means relatively few current devices will be compatible - especially when it comes to headphones.

Qualcomm told Pocket-lint that supporting earbuds and over-ears should start to "come through" in 2022.

Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 2 September 2021.

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