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Could Bluetooth mark the end of the LOD?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I have a provocative question, could the end of the LOD be a Bluetooth portable DAC/Amp?  

 

Of course there would be issues with EMI shielding, R&D and expense costs.  Also, I'm not sure how higher sample rate files would fair but I cannot imagine a better way to seamlessly pair an amp with a source device.  

 

Could Sony, Fostex, iBasso, FiiO and the like lead the way to the next generation of portable amps?


Edited by SoulSyde - 9/3/13 at 5:18pm
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post #2 of 20

It wouldn't "lead the way to the next generation of portable amps"  You can't wirelessly transmit an analog signal :) it would just be sending the digital file to another dac where it would be converted and amplified.  I doubt bluetooth anything will ever catch on as far as auido quality goes.  Bluetooth headphones sound pretty crappy.  I don't see the need for a wireless portable amp/dac... I like the look of epic stacks, who would want to see stuff like this go away:

http://cdn.head-fi.org/b/b4/500x1000px-LL-b46c906a_photo10.jpeg

 

The other problem with bluetooth is the terrible battery life that comes with it.  IMO it's just extremely unnecessary and doesn't have any practical advantages over lod cables.

post #3 of 20

I'll offer an alternate opinion...

 

Cables suck.  I would much prefer everything to be Bluetooth.  While I agree that digital signals are the way to go for wireless transmission, I have no problem (read: would prefer) with my portable DAC/amp doing the decoding for me.  If the amp was also able to have buttons for playback control of my device, there are situations in which I would find this quite appealing.

 

In the meantime, I'll just keep waiting for Android to universally adopt a kernel which includes audio output to an external DAC via USB OTG...

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

@linglingjr, You're missing the point entirely.  You seriously cannot believe that your little cellphone or portable DAP has superior DAC characteristics compared to a Sony PHA-1 or Fostex HP-P1?  I'm not implying that the aforementioned Sony or Fostex are magical devices but you have to admit that the sound quality is at least at "par" with the source device.  

 

Also, saying that Bluetooth "headphones suck" and implying that all Bluetooth audio sucks is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  I can tell you that the custom Alpine stereo in my car that receives MP3/MP4 files via Bluetooth from my iPhone does not "suck."  The Onkyo receiver in my living room that receives the same files via Bluetooth from my iMac or iPad does not "suck."

 

Bluetooth itself does not degrade the sound quality.  It transmits bit for bit.  The DAC is what causes the quality issues.  Do date, I am only aware of one Bluetooth headphone that actually does a descent job... The Sennheiser MM-550X, but there may be more.  The challenge with headphones is that they need to be the source for the battery, the DAC and the amplifier, not to mention the speaker and sound cabinet.  It's tough for a manufacturer to get all of these specifications small enough to meet the needs of the average consumer and still meet the needs of geeky technophile freaks like us who scoff at the mere notion of a slight hump in any part of the frequency spectrum.

 

My proposal was intended to remove the LOD from the equation.  Your headphones still connect to the amp as per usual.  The upside is not having to keep the source and the DAC/Amp connected (or even near) each other.  It also makes pairing completely universal (assuming they have compatible Bluetooth specs).   You don't need to worry about having the right LOD for a Sansa, WM-Port, 30-pin, Lightening, Micro-USB or the like.  It also removes the need to double-amp for those who have a Bluetooth device that does not have an available LOD option.  You can also own the crappiest device in the world with Bluetooth capability (Archos I'm talking to you) and still end up with amazing sound if the Bluetooth DAC/Amp is top-notch.  The source device is nothing more than a glorified Bluetooth hard drive.  At Head-Fi we seem to have weird fascination with cables.  Cut the cable my friend.

 

It's cleaner looking, less parts to manage, more universal and just cool in my opinion.

 

Get it?


Edited by SoulSyde - 9/4/13 at 5:13am
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulSyde View Post
 

At Head-Fi we seem to have weird fascination with cables.  Cut the cable my friend.

 

Yep.  Cables are on the out.

 

I would also agree that a blanket statement that "Bluetooth sucks" is looking only at products past and not towards the future.  If I can transmit data at the MB/s rate via wi-fi, I don't see any reason in the world why Bluetooth doesn't have a role in hi-fi audio.  My phone's DAC sucks and probably always will suck, so bypassing that as elegantly as possible is the way to go.

post #6 of 20

BT doesn't have enough bandwidth to do uncompressed linear PCM, Kleer RF does.

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSheep View Post
 

BT doesn't have enough bandwidth to do uncompressed linear PCM, Kleer RF does.

 

Good to know.  So you couldn't use WAV or AIFF but ALAC anf FLAC would work?

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSheep View Post
 

BT doesn't have enough bandwidth to do uncompressed linear PCM

 

...yet.  Isn't it speeding up every time they release a new version/protocol?

post #9 of 20

Wait what? I never said that phones on board dacs are good? Other than looking cool I don't see any advantages (schiit battery life, bandwidth, what's the point of having a wireless source when you're still going to have cables from dac>amp>headphone/speaker?)

 

Just my opinion, as the title says "Could Bluetooth mark the end of the LOD?" I don't think so.


Edited by linglingjr - 9/4/13 at 3:17pm
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

Whatever buddy.

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulSyde View Post
 

@linglingjr, You're missing the point entirely.  You seriously cannot believe that your little cellphone or portable DAP has superior DAC characteristics compared to a Sony PHA-1 or Fostex HP-P1?  I'm not implying that the aforementioned Sony or Fostex are magical devices but you have to admit that the sound quality is at least at "par" with the source device.  

 

Also, saying that Bluetooth "headphones suck" and implying that all Bluetooth audio sucks is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  I can tell you that the custom Alpine stereo in my car that receives MP3/MP4 files via Bluetooth from my iPhone does not "suck."  The Onkyo receiver in my living room that receives the same files via Bluetooth from my iMac or iPad does not "suck."

 

Bluetooth itself does not degrade the sound quality.  It transmits bit for bit.  The DAC is what causes the quality issues.  Do date, I am only aware of one Bluetooth headphone that actually does a descent job... The Sennheiser MM-550X, but there may be more.  The challenge with headphones is that they need to be the source for the battery, the DAC and the amplifier, not to mention the speaker and sound cabinet.  It's tough for a manufacturer to get all of these specifications small enough to meet the needs of the average consumer and still meet the needs of geeky technophile freaks like us who scoff at the mere notion of a slight hump in any part of the frequency spectrum.

 

My proposal was intended to remove the LOD from the equation.  Your headphones still connect to the amp as per usual.  The upside is not having to keep the source and the DAC/Amp connected (or even near) each other.  It also makes pairing completely universal (assuming they have compatible Bluetooth specs).   You don't need to worry about having the right LOD for a Sansa, WM-Port, 30-pin, Lightening, Micro-USB or the like.  It also removes the need to double-amp for those who have a Bluetooth device that does not have an available LOD option.  You can also own the crappiest device in the world with Bluetooth capability (Archos I'm talking to you) and still end up with amazing sound if the Bluetooth DAC/Amp is top-notch.  The source device is nothing more than a glorified Bluetooth hard drive.  At Head-Fi we seem to have weird fascination with cables.  Cut the cable my friend.

 

It's cleaner looking, less parts to manage, more universal and just cool in my opinion.

 

Get it?

 

 

 Instead of everything going bluetooth which is very power hungry aren't we more likely to see future phones, DAP's etc simply being built with better DAC's, (think Fiio X3 etc).. & more powerfull amps ?

In this day in age with huge volumes of memory now available in small form factors why would we need a 'glorified Bluetooth' hard drive when it could easily be integrated into a the higher spec DAC, & more powerful amp section phone/DAP?

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

I don't disagree with that option at all.  I haven't been blown away with the UI options from FiiO, HiFiMAN or iBasso compared to Apple, Android and Sony.  Once the smaller players build a more user friendly UI with well equipped amp and DAC I'm in. 

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazirker View Post
 

 

...yet.  Isn't it speeding up every time they release a new version/protocol?

True but the compression kills any details no matter what speed it is at, and this is why you can't really use BT for high end audio no matter what.  However, if the SQ on a speaker isn't good to begin with, like those popular soundbars for iDevices, than BT is fine since a big part of the lost of SQ is from the speakers and not the BT compression.

 

References:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57445372-47/bluetooth-audio-vs-wires/

http://www.edn.com/design/consumer/4326740/Bluetooth-Sufficient-fidelity-even-for-average-listeners-

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSheep View Post
 

True but the compression kills any details no matter what speed it is at, and this is why you can't really use BT for high end audio no matter what.  However, if the SQ on a speaker isn't good to begin with, like those popular soundbars for iDevices, than BT is fine since a big part of the lost of SQ is from the speakers and not the BT compression.

 

References:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57445372-47/bluetooth-audio-vs-wires/

http://www.edn.com/design/consumer/4326740/Bluetooth-Sufficient-fidelity-even-for-average-listeners-

 

As bandwidth of BT (or a similar wireless technology) increases, shouldn't the need for compression decrease or disappear altogether?

post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
My thought exactly
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