Qualcomm Announces AptX Lossless Audio

Posted on September 2, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile, Music + Videos with 9 Comments

Qualcomm claims that its new aptX Lossless audio format does what was thought impossible: deliver CD-quality sound over Bluetooth.

“At Qualcomm Technologies we’re excited about the future of sound, and we’re continually looking for ways to help our customers deliver new and exciting listening experiences.” Qualcomm vice president James Chapman says. “Lossless audio means mathematically bit-for-bit exact, with no loss of the audio file and up to now the necessary bit rate to deliver this over Bluetooth has not been available. With many leading music streaming services now offering extensive lossless music libraries, and consumer demand for lossless audio growing, we’re pleased to announce this new support for CD lossless audio streaming for Bluetooth earbuds and headsets which we plan to make available to customers later this year.”

“CD quality” is defined as 16-bit/44.1 kHz audio quality, and aptX Lossless will give users a choice between that quality and a more bandwidth-friendly 24-bit/96 kHz lossy quality. And it can auto-detect when content supports lossless and enable CD lossless audio automatically.

Qualcomm says that the new format will also minimize audio drop-outs, a key problem with Bluetooth audio today, by working in conjunction with Qualcomm Bluetooth High Speed Link technology to “help deliver the required sustainable data throughput.”

You can learn more at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Sound website.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Qualcomm Announces AptX Lossless Audio”

  1. Lauren Glenn

    Considering we don't even have Apt-X on iPhone now, we don't have LDAC either..... I leave less hope that Apple will do this... although I hope they do.

    • lezmaka

      Don't worry, they won't.

    • bluvg

      According to Wikipedia, Apple seems to be doing its own thing:

      "In 2019, Apple published an extension called HDR which supports data rates of 4 (HDR4) and 8 (HDR8) Mbit/s".

    • rm

      Apple will have to come up with their own tech that requires a different set of earbuds or headphones that make it harder to switch away from their products (because it would be another accessory you would have to purchase to leave Apple).

  2. sykeward

    Bluetooth: Saying the next version will fix everything since 1998!®

  3. bluvg

    I have a feeling there's a latency tradeoff, which is probably just fine. Unless I'm reading it wrong, the announcement also says it's adaptive and scales automatically down to 140 kbps, so you may not be getting lossless at a given moment.

    Beyond a certain bitrate (~300 kbps for 2 ch), though, lossless, 24-bit, etc. is snake oil on the consumption side (not production). You might perceive a difference (perception is unreliable), but good luck consistently guessing A-B which is lossless.

  4. puggsly

    Best you can hope for is not quite 50% compression and a cd is essentially 1.4mb/sec so you are asking for 700kb/sec via bluetooth that has a theoretical max of about 1.3mb/sec. So it is likely that some of your music will get to you lossless, but it is not likely you can sustain without drop outs or buffering.

    This is marketing noise that is not likely to produce anything but theoretical bragging rights. IMHO.

    • epsjrno

      "This is marketing noise that is not likely to produce anything but theoretical bragging rights."

      Pretty much describes so much of the audiophile marketing that exists.

  5. JH_Radio

    I hate Bluetooth! Latency and the phone profile, and compressed to hell.

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