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W/ BT hedfoans, does source even matter?

  1. Hanafuda
    Hey guys, Hanafuda here. I've been registered at head-fi a long time, but mostly just have stupid questions bi-annually.

    Today's stupid question ... my understanding is that bluetooth cannot transmit an analog stream, so bluetooth headphones must be receiving unconverted digital data from the source, and have their own DAC? Amirite about that? If so, does it even matter what the source is? I mean, it could be a PC, any bt-capable cellphone you like, a high-end DAP like Onkyo DP-X1A ... wouldn't they all be sending the same digital stream via bluetooth to the headphones??

    I know BT is not kosher for SQ, but I'm sure that's changing and besides we're talking portable here.
  2. TheoS53
    Ok, first correction...yes, the data is sent in digital form, but no, it is NOT unconverted. Audio data can only be sent over Bluetooth in specific formats (largely due to the restricted bandwidth). The default is SBC, then there is AptX, AptX LL, AptX HD, and also AAC (for Apple). The various AptX versions and AAC allow for better quality audio, but BOTH devices (i.e the phone and the headphones) must have the ability to actually use the higher quality format, otherwise it'll just default back to SBC. So in that regard, the source DOES matter.

    This leads on to the next issue, which is that, because the original data must be converted into a BT-friendly version), if the player (or whatever transmitting device) applies any sort of DSP, then that would alter the final sound you get at the other end. An easy example of this is if you were to apply an EQ from the source device. That EQ is applied in the digital domain, which means that that data will get embedded into the BT stream too. And so, any other type of DSP will get transmitted along as well.
    Hanafuda likes this.

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