Qualcomm Introduces Lossless Audio Streaming Over Bluetooth: Here’s Everything You Need To Know

aptX Lossless is a new feature of Snapdragon Sound Technology by Qualcomm and is designed to delivered CD quality 16-bit 44.1kHz lossless audio quality over Bluetooth wireless technology.

Qualcomm has recently announced their new lossless audio streaming technology called ‘aptX lossless’ which is a new capability of the proven aptX Adaptive technology. It is a new feature of Snapdragon Sound Technology. It is designed to deliver CD quality 16-bit 44.1 kHz lossless audio quality over Bluetooth wireless technology when a user is listening to a lossless music file and the RF conditions are suitable.

“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,” said James Chapman, Vice President and General Manager, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd.

While this is a great news for many audiophiles around us, we have tried answering some questions that rises in our minds about this technology. Share your questions and we shall try our best if they are not yet answered below!

Image via Qualcomm

So, how does this work?

Qualcomm aptX Adaptive works in conjunction with Qualcomm Bluetooth High Speed Link technology to help deliver the required sustainable data throughput. According to Qualcomm’s recent announcement, these technologies deliver rates beyond 1Mbit/s yet smoothly scale down to 140kbits/s in congested RF environments to minimise any audio dropouts or glitches for a consistent and reliable listening experience. This will make sure that the listener can continue to hear to the audio at the best possible quality although it might not be lossless at that given point in time.

What are the technical specifications of aptX Lossless

  • Supports 44.1kHz, 16-bit CD lossless audio quality 
  • Designed to scale-up to CD lossless audio based on Bluetooth link quality
  • User can select between CD lossless audio 44.1kHz and 24-bit 96kHz lossy
  • Auto-detects to enable CD lossless audio when the source is lossless audio
  • Mathematically bit-for-bit exact
  • Bit-rate – ~1Mbps

Which headphones are currently compatible with this feature?

Qualcomm aptX Lossless codec would need the right Snapdragon Sound hardware, both at source and for reception in order to stream lossless audio over Bluetooth. Currently there are no headphones that are compatible with this technology. The headphones would require new chips with the latest Snapdragon Sound technology which is expected to be made available from early 2022.

Also Read – HIFIMAN Launches True Wireless Earbuds With An Exceptional Bluetooth Reception Of 150 Meters

How is it different from aptX HD?

You might already be aware about aptX HD by Qualcomm which is a high-res audio codec capable of transmitting audio at a higher resolution of up to 24-bit 48kHz. However, the audio being transmitted is compressed.

aptX HD is capable of transmitting upto a maximum of 576kbps while aptX Lossless can stream at 1Mbps. The other benefit is that the aptX Lossless can also stream at 24-bit 96kHz compressed audio if that is what you prefer.

Any luck for Apple users?

Based on the track record we have seen so far, Apple iPhones or AirPods have not supported any other form of aptX audio technology released up to date! Thus, it is highly unlikely that Apple will adopt aptX Lossless in its future devices.

Apple, might in fact, develop its own technology to stream lossless audio over Bluetooth in the coming days. However, we recommend you to take it with a pinch of salt since we haven’t yet come across any leaks or tips regarding such technology being developed by Apple currently! It remains a speculation for now.

If you are interested in understanding more about this lossless audio technology by Qualcomm, we encourage you to read this white paper sponsored by Qualcomm

Leave a Reply