Bluetooth + apt-X latency (Sennheiser MM 500-X etc)
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MrEvil

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For a long time I've wanted some wireless headphones that are both encrypted and low latency, but I have never found any like that until recently when I noticed that Sennheiser now make some nice looking headphones using the "apt-X" Bluetooth codec, which claims to be low-latency. However, I can't find any good information on whether these headphones live up to this claim or not. Sennheiser themselves won't answer the question, and the headphones are too new to have any reviews yet. Nor can I find much information about real-world experience with apt-X at all.
 
I plan to use these for various things such as gaming, watching movies, and producing music, which all require low latency. I'm not super-sensitive to latency, but I suppose 10ms or less would be good. This seems achievable given the 3ms minimum I have seen quoted for apt-X (compared to the >200ms that I have been told normal Bluetooth is), but maybe that's a wildly optimistic best-case.
 
So, has anyone any experience with these new Sennheiser headphones, or any headphones that use apt-X?
 
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NZtechfreak

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Hi there, nice to see a thread about Apt-X here, being something I'm really interested in too. You may have seen in your reading that you require an Apt-X capable source device, as well as bluetooth headset/receiver, so that rather narrows the field for source devices. From CSRs material (Apt-X developers) it looks like it can handle up to ~370kbps stereo without loss of quality, so while it may not be able to do FLAC without losses it'll still be a big step up in quality for bluetooth audio for 320kbps mp3s.
 
I'm getting my first Apt-X enabled device tomorrow, an HTC One X free from Telecom (well, not quite free, I have to write a review for them), and purchased the Samsung HS3000 to go with it. The HS3000 is a receiver with a 3.5mm jack, which appeals since I can use whichever headphones I like with it (sports ones when exercising, HD25-I IIs on the go, into speakers via 3.5mm-3.5mm jack etc). Will let you know how I get on and whether latency is an issue for me (unfortunately I think I'm a bit less sensitive to that than many, so my impressions may be too limited for people such as yourself).
 
Shame about it is that the One X doesn't look to have particularly good audio quality, so even if the Apt-X works well there will be a pretty significant rate limiting step on the audio quality. Roll on Google incorporating USB Audio in ICS devices I say!
 
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Aeneas

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The One X has pretty good sound quality. I haven't used it a great deal though, and quite a lot of the listening has been via Spotify (160k). The few albums that I have listened to at 320k have been very good.
 
Also, Beats is nothing but one equalizer preset among many on the device (bass boost, rock, classical etc.), but it's quite a dynamic one, and good with certain genres. It causes Spotify to stutter though, but the Spotify app is broken as far as ICS is concerned anyway.
 
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Max OLydian

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@MrEvil: I'd be interested to know the latency of apt-x BT- I've been looking for bluetooth as an in-ear monitor for musical instruments (specifically guitar/bass) but standard BT is way too laggy.  what have you found so far?
 
 
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MrEvil

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I have been waiting to see if some reviews appear; so far I have found one (http://www.jessebandersen.com/2012/04/sennheiser-mm-550-x.html). In the comments on that page, the reviewer does give a figure of 1.98ms for latency, but that's just the number given on the apt-x site. I might contact him to see if he would be willing to actually meaure it.
 
If these were cheaper headphones then I would simply buy them and find out for myself, but it would be an expensive experiment.
 
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bsmokeman

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well, looks like I already have an aptx set.  I bought a beats wireless set at bestbuy, and they are by far the best sounding wireless headphones I've ever owned...a bit expensive, but worth it.  I started researching low latency when these had high latency with a bluetooth transmitter off ebay.  I had not heard about aptx until searching tonight. looks like I'll be getting an aptx transmitter and trying again...I'll let you know.
 
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MrEvil

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Some time ago, Sennheiser finally replied to me, apologising for taking so long, and stating a typical latency of around 30ms. So I decided that I would buy a pair of MM 500-X and see if that was good enough. They arrived today, and I have tested them a bit.
 
The sound is very, very clear, but there is a noticable amount of hiss. Not enough to bother me, but it does affects the sound. There is of course no hiss when using the supplied cable instead of Bluetooth. I don't have any reliable way of measuring the latency, but subjectively it feels ok. I played some games and watched some videos and didn't notice the latency at all. Then I opened Cubase (using ASIO4ALL with the latency turned down as low as it will go) and played on my keyboard a bit, where I can definitely detect that the latency exists, but only just. I'm no professionaly musician though, so others may find it too much.
 
Overall I am satisfied, except with how much they cost.
 
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sovereignty68

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Quote:
Some time ago, Sennheiser finally replied to me, apologising for taking so long, and stating a typical latency of around 30ms. So I decided that I would buy a pair of MM 500-X and see if that was good enough. They arrived today, and I have tested them a bit.
 
The sound is very, very clear, but there is a noticable amount of hiss. Not enough to bother me, but it does affects the sound. There is of course no hiss when using the supplied cable instead of Bluetooth. I don't have any reliable way of measuring the latency, but subjectively it feels ok. I played some games and watched some videos and didn't notice the latency at all. Then I opened Cubase (using ASIO4ALL with the latency turned down as low as it will go) and played on my keyboard a bit, where I can definitely detect that the latency exists, but only just. I'm no professionaly musician though, so others may find it too much.
 
Overall I am satisfied, except with how much they cost.
 
Do have aptX dongle on your computer? Because AFAIK, audio over aptX compression doesn't cause hiss. If you use A2DP (which most aptX headsets also support), it will cause noticeable hiss.
 
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MrEvil

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Do have aptX dongle on your computer? Because AFAIK, audio over aptX compression doesn't cause hiss. If you use A2DP (which most aptX headsets also support), it will cause noticeable hiss.
 
I got a BTD 500 USB. I know it's using apt-X because it has a little purple LED on it to tell me.
 
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bsmokeman

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I got the jaybird set in after posting...sorry for the delay in posting my results.  I tried the jaybird apt-x transmitter with both the beats, and the jaybird headset.  both still have very noticeable latency.  What I ended up doing was getting a wireless gaming headset.  Turtle beach modern warfare 3 set had a usb charing cable, and the transmitter allows me to hook up to alternate sources.
Great sound, and no latency(must be an analog technology)
 
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Hzwwwc2

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Could you confirm one thing?
I've seen many posts saying that IOS device so far hasn't support apt-x.
posts like "http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1442959"
Do you hear a difference in the sound when using OS and IOS?
 
Right now I'm use iphone with px360bt, and my desktop dongle is on the way. I'm still figuring how to make my iphone support apt-x since I used the headphone for mobile solution.
 
 
Thanks
 
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dolgran

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Hi, Can BTD 500 can be paired with multiple headsets at the same time so a couple can hear to the music without disturbing kids when sleeping?
 
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33coupe

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Hi there,
 
Sorry to bring up an old thread but this is exactly the same question I have.
 
Does the apt-x technology eliminate the latency issue when watching tv via a Bluetooth transmitter dongle in the headphone jack?
 
What is the sound quality like?
 
I'm debating on getting either:
 
Sony Pulse headset (wireless technology, but maybe a bit bulky to be portable / take on planes)
 
or Sennheiser MM400x (sound quality and latency issue?)
 
Thanks!
 
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babylon5

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For low latency and APTX, both the source and sink devices must have this feature.
That means if you have a pair of headphones that is APTX & Low Latency but your BT in your mobile phones has only APTX but normal latency , what is reproduce in the headset is just APTX music but normal latency of 100 to 150mS .
 
Low latency is particular useful for musical instrument if it works.
 
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