The Qualcomm aptX Lossless Bluetooth codec has been announced and is expected to be implemented on compatible devices later this year. The new Bluetooth codec is Qualcomm’s answer to Sony’s LDAC and promises ‘CD quality’ audio over wireless transmission with a maximum bit rate of around 1Mbit/second. The new codec is expected to be released for supported devices in late 2021 and will be compatible with source devices and headphones. It is considered Qualcomm’s most advanced Bluetooth codec to date.
Qualcomm’s new Bluetooth codec is declared to support streaming up to 1Mbit/second, just slightly higher than the maximum bitrate of 990kbits/second supported by Sony’s LDAC Bluetooth codec. The company says the bit rate is variable, decreasing to 140 kbits/second in congested environments with a lot of radio interference, in order to maintain the stability of the audio stream.
Qualcomm further claims that the codec can deliver CD-quality audio at 16-bit/44.1 kHz resolution, with bit-by-bit transmission. That said, achieving this level of audio quality over Bluetooth will require a very stable connection with little radio interference, so features will likely only be achieved under ideal conditions. Under most real-world conditions, aptX Lossless will still provide better audio quality over Bluetooth than existing aptX codecs and will likely match LDAC capabilities, but with the benefit of broader product support.
Qualcomm currently has a number of aptX Bluetooth codecs supported on a number of devices, including most Android smartphones and many computers and laptops. The newest codec, aptX Lossless, promises to build on existing technologies, like aptX Adaptive, and theoretically will be able to work with lossless audio streaming from services like Apple Music and Tidal.
While high-resolution audio is best heard over wired headphones or headphones, improvements in Bluetooth features and stability are making it possible to improve the listening experience, even over wireless. Qualcomm aptX Lossless is expected to reach supported devices by the end of 2021 and hopes to somewhat fill the gap in sound quality while continuing to deliver the benefits and conveniences of wireless audio.