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Bluetooth: LE Audio and Low Complexity Communication Codec (LC3)

RickSanchez

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#1
Gizmodo has folks at CES right now, and posted this article about upcoming features announced for Bluetooth:

I don't know that I agree with the title of the article but still some good info. Some quick highlights ...

LE Audio (w/ Multi-Stream Audio)

"The new Bluetooth standard will be known as LE Audio and one of the biggest improvements it will include will be a feature called Multi-Stream Audio. ... it will allow a single device, such as a smartphone, to stream flawlessly synced audio to multiple audio devices at the same time. The most obvious benefit is that it will be much easier to make wireless earbuds work more reliably, without any audio lag issues."

Low Complexity Commuication Codec (LC3)

" ... the new spec is introducing the Low Complexity Communication Codec—or LC3, for short—which promises better audio quality at lower data rates. Hardware makers will be able to adapt the codec as they need, but LC3 promises to require about half the bandwidth of the audio codecs Bluetooth uses now with improved sound quality. It’s doubtful most users will be able to hear a difference, but they’ll definitely notice improved battery life ... "

Sounds like the improvements are hardware dependent so might be a while before we see capable devices in market.
 

Wes

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#2
How much does Bluetooth degrade SQ right now?
 
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RickSanchez

RickSanchez

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Thread Starter #3
How much does Bluetooth degrade SQ right now?
@Vincent Kars linked to a good article on another thread, it's worth a read:

It's not a simple Bluetooth-only answer; it really depends on the implementation. And it gets even murkier when you consider the DSPs that manufacturers add which will "color" the sound that you hear. From the article:

"People who do not hear the difference between codecs while testing via a web service claim they hear it when listening to music with Bluetooth headphones. Unfortunately, that is not a joke or a placebo effect: the difference is really audible, but it is not caused by difference in codecs.

The vast majority of Bluetooth audio chipsets used in receiving wireless devices are equipped with a digital signal processor (DSP) that implements an equalizer, compander, stereo extender, and other things designed to improve (or change) the sound. Bluetooth hardware manufacturers can configure the DSP for each codec separately, and when switching between codecs, the listener will feel that they can hear the difference in the performance of codecs when in reality they are listening to different DSP settings."
But as of today I believe the overwhelming majority of implementations (between transmitter and receiver) are going to result in less than 16 bit/44.1kHz (i.e., CD quality) transmission -- sometimes far less -- to the point where it is likely an audible degradation of SQ.
 

Asylum Seeker

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#5
Gizmodo has folks at CES right now, and posted this article about upcoming features announced for Bluetooth:

I don't know that I agree with the title of the article but still some good info. Some quick highlights ...

LE Audio (w/ Multi-Stream Audio)




Low Complexity Commuication Codec (LC3)




Sounds like the improvements are hardware dependent so might be a while before we see capable devices in market.
As an user of BT buds, I can tell you there are no lag or connection issues with BT5.0 and AptX. A solution for a problem that has been cracked, I am afraid.
 
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RickSanchez

RickSanchez

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Thread Starter #6
As an user of BT buds, I can tell you there are no lag or connection issues with BT5.0 and AptX. A solution for a problem that has been cracked, I am afraid.
I assume you are referring to the LE Audio feature. If your hardware implementation works great, that's a win. Not everyone has the same hardware as you however, nor the same environment. (e.g., distance between source and receiver.)

The article goes on to state (regarding LE Audio):

But the feature promises to also benefit those who want to use their wireless headphones with multiple devices at the same time, such as a tablet, phone, and a laptop, streamlining the process of switching between each audio source without having to go through an annoying disconnect/reconnect process each time.

Bluetooth LE Audio will also make sharing a music stream with others possible. Users should be able to easily share audio from their smartphone with friends, as multiple sets of wireless headphones can be connected to a single source device at once, and each should receive the exact same audio stream in perfect sync with all the others. Further expanding on that idea is another new feature known as Broadcast Audio which allows a single audio source device to broadcast several audio streams to an unlimited number of wireless headphones, without any private pairing required. Imagine sitting in a waiting lounge at the airport and instead of TVs blaring the news over their speakers, they’d instead allow anyone with wireless headphones to connect to the audio broadcast, even in multiple languages.
 
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