What Bluetooth To Choose?

These are some of the audio Bluetooth codecs :

  • SBC
  • AAC
  • aptX
  • aptX-LL
  • aptX-HD
  • LDAC

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What is the difference in audio quality?

  • SBC is the basic with the lowest audio quality.
  • AAC produce better quality than SBC. Use with Apple products, since Apple portable products do not provide aptX
  • aptX produce better quality than SBC. Use with non-Apple products. In theory, better audio quality than AAC.
  • aptX-LL produce aptX quality with little delay. Suitable for watching shows or gaming.
  • aptX-HD produce better quality than aptX.
  • LDAC produce, in theory, better audio quality than aptX-HD. Product support is not as popular as aptX.

What Bluetooth codec to choose?

Right now, the best bet is aptX-HD. (not Apple product user)
For Apple product user, AAC.

Very important, Bluetooth is wireless. It needs two to work, one to transmit the signal, the other to receive it.
If you want to enjoy aptX-HD, you need both the transmitter and receiver that support aptX-HD.

Example,
You want to play music from your smart phone to your earphone, wirelessly using Bluetooth aptX-HD.
You have to make sure that your smart phone is able to transmit aptX-HD signal. And your earphone is able to receive aptX-HD.

If any of the product does not have it, Bluetooth device will automatically switch to the lower quality, in order for it to pair and play your music.

If you are using Apple product, the highest audio quality is AAC. Again, you have to make sure that both product support AAC. Otherwise, it will switch to the lower quality, SBC.

All these switching are mostly automatic, unless the device has the option for you to choose.

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How do I know my product has aptX-HD?

aptX is a license product by Qualcomm. You can search in their website : https://www.aptx.com/products to check whether your product supports aptX-HD.

Or you can rely on the product packaging. Look for the specification stating Bluetooth Supported Audio Formats or Codecs.

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What able LDAC?

LDAC is a licensed product from Sony. It has 3 modes. Quality priority (990kbps) mode, Normal (660kbps) mode and Connection priority (330kbps) mode. Normal mode is better than aptX and Quality mode is better than aptX-HD. Connection mode is not better than SBC.

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Can Bluetooth replace the audio cable ?

Currently, Bluetooth signal is unable to reproduce lossless, high-fidelity audio signal. Depending what you want or desire. Bluetooth aptX-HD or AAC may be good enough for you.

If good enough is simply not enough, then switch to a high quality audio cable. Right now, nothing beats a high quality audio cable.

My take.
If you are Apple product user. Make sure your wireless products (earphone, headphone, speakers etc) are Bluetooth AAC capable. Store all your music in ALAC or AAC (320kbps VBR).
If you are non-Apple product user. Make sure both of your wireless products are Bluetooth aptX-HD capable. Store all your music in FLAC, WMA (q98) or AAC (320kbps VBR) .
You may choose LDAC too. Make sure both the products are LDAC capable and choose either Normal or Quality mode.

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What music (digital  audio format) are you hearing?

If MP3 or AAC (lossy compressed audio) is good for you. Then, Bluetooth is no problem for you.

If you insist on playing only lossless. Then, Bluetooth may not be for you. Bluetooth, no matter how hard it try, right now, it will not be able to present to you the high fidelity music that are stored in the lossless format. Find out more on the 9 popular audio formats here.

But, who knows what is in the future? Step by step, Bluetooth is walking towards lossless (CD) standard-resolution audio. aptX Adaptive is coming and LDAC may be improved for better quality connection stability.

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