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What are head-fi members views on apt-x lossless codec (over bluetooth)?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by anakchan, Mar 19, 2012.
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  1. I've noticed there's a slight increase (revival?) in questions about audiophile standard quality over bluetooth. I know apt-x has been out for some time and quite a few manufacturers have started making apt-x compatible bluetooth headsets. Admittedly the headphones themselves may not necessarily be audiophile quality but that's just eventually customer demand and thereafter implementation/execution.
    The base would be in the codec itself. As such I'm curious head-fiers and audiophiles opinion of this apt-x codec. Has anyone tried it and deem it worthy? If so, why has there been no demand to increase the support of this codec? i.e. none of the Apple iDevices support this. One needs to buy a full fledged notebook for this. Similarly, only recently a little more support from portable devices such as Android (Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0, Sharp Aquos SH-01D), and Creative Ziio (but presumably only to support their aptx headphones).
    Is apt-x unsuccessful 'cos it's not delivering? Or is it cos it's expensive to licence?
  2. andrewberge
    From the official site:
    The codec moves to a lossy mode if the audio can't be compressed enough.
    Personally, i don't think bluetooth will ever really catch on unless they manage to raise the bandwidth high enough for truly lossless audio.
  3. kondor-11
    I'm very interested in this topic as well. There seems to be several "lossless" audio technologies in the wild (Kleer, aptX that I know of) but not a lot of end user products.
  4. Mauricio
    How does the Apple Airport system move the data across the ether?
  5. sarthorn
    I work for CSR the company that developed and licensed aptX, so I think I can help with this.There are more and more aptX enabled source devices being launched all the time. I have included a list below:
    1. Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Samsung Note 10.1
    2. Motorola Razr
    3. Sharp Aquos
    4. Mac OS X
    5. Creative ZiiO Tablet
    6. HTC One Series (One V, One X and One S)
    7. Creative ZiiO Tablet
    8. Creative Zen Xfi3
    There are hundreds more peripheral products from manufacturers on the market including products from Nokia, Sennheiser, Monster, Altec Lansing, Cambridge Audio, Arcam, Burmester, NAD, Conran Audio, Gear4 (the list goes on).
    In 2012 we expect to see hundreds more source and sink devices with aptX inside.
  6. jcx
    the aptX literature seems a bit loose with "losssy" - turning it into marketing speak rather than conforming to its actual technical definition
    a aptX device audio channel is lossy at lower bit rates - there's no knowing if a given device implements the highest level of aptX - which still falls back to lossy coding on difficult passages
    is it better than Bluetooh SBC by a lot - yes - "good enough" for "on the go", automotive uses
    is it "Audiophile" quality - arguably no - no amount of market speak will make the tech perfromance equal wired USB Audio Class 2 async and a $$$ DAC
  7. Mauricio
    I wish he had told us more about the codec's capabilities and limitations.
  8. AnakChan Moderator
    Let's not make this about @Sarthorn. I'm hoping we can generate a healthy discussion about the codec itself and its adoption by general associated industries.
    So it seems there's in sufficient information about it. Good info about the HTC models supporting apt-x as I wasn't aware of that. I guess it's making more progress in the Android world than in the iOS. Yes I'm aware of MacOS supporting it but as I initially mentioned, one needs to carry a full fledged notebook (MacAir included in this category).
    So far only @andrewberge has given some potential reason as to why apt-x isn't doing as well as customers (and adopters?) have the impression due to Bluetooth bandwidth, the lossless downgrades back down to lossy. However versions 3.0+HS and 4.0 seem to be improving speeds though.
    P.S. @Sarthorn, hope you don't mind me ignoring the Creative products as I feel they're attempting to provide a more "locked-in" package. Naturally with their headphone supporting apt-x, I can see why they're releasing apt-x capable DAPs/devices. My curiosity about the (lack of?) adoption of apt-x is more as an independent standard by other manufacturers.
  9. ec_na_ton
    My portable rig:
    Sennheiser MM100 + creative zen x-fi3
    look at my impressions:
  10. shigzeo Contributor
    I'm currently listening to lossy music over BT from a BT/toslink/coax/usb DAC for computers and iDevices. The BT option is actually quite good. The item is called MyST 1866. It's come to my office recently. For lossy music, as long as the distance isn't huge, the sound is very good with lossy material, but it is very very constrained in use. In many cases, especially with lossless, the unit must be as close to the DAC as when using a LOD. However, using BT rather than LOD for lossy music is great and for most listening, I can't say that there is any difference at all. 
    Move the iPhone about 1 metre, though, and suddenly music is gone. Same with computer as source. Very very interesting DAC though with otherwise very good sound. I'm only checking the BT connection so far, but will check other connections soon enough.
  11. AstroTurf
  12. johnston21
    I got the Jaybird uSport & the foxl Plats. Awaiting arrival of a Samsung HS3000 and a HTC A100.
    Using the foxl Plats with and without APT-X is noticeable. BT with APT-X sounds really, really good. 
  13. aQiss
    Kleer is the only truly lossless technology for wireless listening, IMO. Unfortunately, there are few devices that can prove me right.
    On second thought, I can mention AKG K-840KL.
    Apt-X is a lossy codec, though it is able to use the bandwidth of a Bluetooth connection very efficiently.
    But Bluetooth was never meant to be a good solution for audiophiles anyway.
  14. AnakChan Moderator
    Apt-X Lossless is lossy??
  15. aQiss
    Well, if you take a quick look at the technology, you may deduce it is lossless.
    However, apt-X uses a max. bitrate of 352 kbps; and the compression algorithm is not even close to perfect, either.
    => Audio track encoded with apt-X for Bluetooth streaming is something like a 128 Kbps ALAC encoding. It may be considered lossless to some extent, but the quality is underwhelming anyway. That is the main thing you can't argue about.
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