Qualcomm aptX Lossless delivers CD quality sound over Bluetooth

Igor Bonifacic


Qualcomm aptX Lossless delivers CD quality sound over Bluetooth

About a year ago, if you wanted to stream lossless audio tracks to your phone, you essentially had one option: Tidal. A lot has changed since then, with Apple recently rolling out support for lossless streaming in June, and Spotify promising to do the same later this year. But unless you’re willing to connect a USB DAC to your phone, more streaming services jumping on the Hi-Res bandwagon does you little good since Bluetooth headphones can only stream lossy audio. Thankfully, that’s about to change.

Chipmaker Qualcomm is adding a new flavor to its aptX Bluetooth codec, and it’s a lossless one that, in ideal conditions, the company claims delivers CD-quality 16-bit 44.1kHz audio streaming over a wireless connection. Qualcomm says it made improvements to its Bluetooth High Speed Link technology to deliver the required data throughput required to stream a lossless track wirelessly, but the codec can also compress a signal down to 24-bit 96kHz quality to ensure you don't experience any interruptions. You can also manually switch between 16-bit 44.1kHz and 24-bit 96kHz streaming modes, though the codec will automatically default to the former when it detects a lossless source.  

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets come with support for its aptX codecs built-in. That means almost any Android phone you buy in North America or Europe will support the standard. As with all Bluetooth codecs, it’s not enough for only your phone, tablet or computer to support the technology. You also need a pair of compatible headphones or earbuds. Qualcomm says the first ones to support aptX Lossless will arrive later this year.

Before today, the closest you could get to a lossless connection over Bluetooth were Sony’s LDAC and DSEE technologies. Those work well, but again you need a pair of Sony headphones to take advantage.

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