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Qualcomm's new aptX Lossless claims to deliver CD-quality audio over Bluetooth

By Kenny Yeo - on 2 Sep 2021, 11:54am

Qualcomm's new aptX Lossless claims to deliver CD-quality audio over Bluetooth

(Image source: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm has just introduced aptX Lossless which will enable lossless Bluetooth audio transmission over its aptX Adaptive codec and Snapdragon Sound platform.

According to Qualcomm, aptX Lossless will deliver bit-perfect 16-bit / 44.1kHz music over Bluetooth with zero data discarded. This will happen automatically whenever aptX Adaptive detects the user is playing a lossless source file.

Now before you get too excited, Qualcomm says that transmission will scale down to as low as 140kbits/s in congested environments to minimise dropouts.

Qualcomm doesn't specify the minimum bit-rate required but it says aptX Lossless will deliver "rates beyond 1Mbit/s." Remember that CD-quality music typically has a bit rate of 1,411kbits/s.

In other words, true lossless Bluetooth transmission will likely only work in environments where there's minimal or zero interference. Hence, audiophiles should temper their expectations.

aptX Lossless will also support hi-res audio up to 24-bit/96kHz but that uses a lossy compression standard which means it's not bit perfect and which also means data is discarded. Stick to CD-quality lossless. 

According to Qualcomm, they expect the first headphones and earbuds to support aptX Lossless to be available early next year.

Only then we will be able to ascertain just how effective aptX Lossless is at maintaining the high bitrate transmission required for true lossless audio streaming.

As things stand, this is a step in the right direction. Lossless audio transmission has long been the holy grail for discerning listeners. LDAC, which claims to stream lossless audio, only supports bitrates of up to 990kbits/s, which is well below the typical bitrate of CD-quality music.

Source: Qualcomm

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