Robert Triggs/Android Authority
- aptX Lossless is the first Bluetooth audio codec to support bit-accurate CD quality music.
- This technology will become part of Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive and Snapdragon Sound ecosystem.
- The first batch of aptX Lossless products is expected to appear in 2022.
Put your ears up for audiophiles; you can finally listen to audio with lossless sound quality through Bluetooth headsets. Qualcomm has unveiled the latest version of its Bluetooth audio codec: aptX Lossless.
Going directly into the core details, aptX Lossless is the first Bluetooth audio codec that claims to transmit CD-quality (16-bit, 44.1kHz) audio with bit-precision via Bluetooth. Finally, your wireless headset can support lossless sound. Compression is still used to put the CD’s 1.4Mbps bit rate into Qualcomm’s limited 1Mbps maximum bandwidth, but the company points out that it uses completely lossless compression. Unlike existing lossy Bluetooth codecs, when listening through aptX Lossless, the audio stream at the output exactly matches the input.
With the transition to aptX Lossless, Qualcomm has greatly increased the data rate of its existing aptX (352kbps) and aptX HD (576kbps) codecs. In fact, it can even exceed the 990kbps data rate of Sony LDAC. Nevertheless, maintaining this high bandwidth is a key issue, and Qualcomm said it has solved this problem due to end-to-end control and optimization of its radio stack through its Snapdragon Sound ecosystem. Therefore, Qualcomm pointed out that Snapdragon Sound is a necessary condition for sustainable aptX Lossless, and it intends to let all brand products support future new codecs. Unfortunately, the new hardware requirements mean that existing products are unlikely to be backward compatible.
You can also take a look: Everything you need to know about Bluetooth codecs
Fortunately, aptX Lossless is not another standalone codec in the growing list. On the contrary, it belongs to the aptX Adaptive tool suite, which means that the device will also benefit from Qualcomm’s other codec features. For example, if you wander in an area with severe radio interference, the audio bit rate will drop from lossless to 140kbps without interruption. This means that you should not experience failure or loss. aptX Adaptive also supports 24-bit 96kHz playback, albeit with lossy compression, and a dynamic low-latency mode suitable for gamers and voice calls.
Part of the reason Qualcomm decided to support lossless audio via Bluetooth is that there are more and more music streaming platforms that support lossless formats. Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, and other companies provide high-resolution and/or lossless tracks for streaming and downloading. But to maximize the use of this audio quality through Bluetooth requires new codecs and impeccable wireless hardware and software implementations. Qualcomm’s latest Bluetooth audio codec may become the preferred listening method for audiophiles who want to enjoy the benefits of Bluetooth headsets and earbuds.
aptX Lossless products have completed Snapdragon Sound brand promotion and interoperability testing, and are expected to arrive sometime in 2022.