What are head-fi members views on apt-x lossless codec (over bluetooth)?
Mar 28, 2015 at 12:02 AM Post #181 of 460

unbiased

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Hello fellow Bluetooth headphone enthusiasts. I've recently purchased the Sony MDR-1RBTMk2 headphones and then bought the AZIO Bluetooth 4.0 APTX USB BDT-401 dongle, all from amazon.com here in the USA.
I also purchased the Avantree Priva aptx capable transmitter. I can say that the MDR-1RBTMK2 sounds pretty good and balanced overall both wireless aptx and wired.
 
I just received the AZIO USB 4.0 BDT-401 APTX adapter today and installed the CSR drivers on my Samsung laptop which runs Windows 8.1 Pro 64 bit OS.  I loaded the CSR software and drivers from the provided mini CD before I plugged in the USB adapter. The software install went fine without a hitch. After the software installed, I immediately rebooted the laptop to make sure all the new things get loaded properly.  Then I plugged in the USB dongle and let it detect and find and load all the CSR drivers.  After that I had a Bluetooth icon in my task tray which I then used to add devices... namely my Sony MDR-1RBTMK2 headphones and it paired successfully and the APTX logo popped up in the lower right part of the screen telling me it paired in APTX mode.  That was all great.  But when I started to play my music files whether using iTunes or Windows Media Player, the sound was just terrible. The audio quality was not even close to what it normally is using wired output or compared with my Avantree Priva aptx Bluetooth transmitter.  The sound I am getting from the AZIO adapter paired in aptx mode just sounds washed out with diminished bass and just no liveliness to it.
So for all you that have the AZIO BDT-401 aptx adapter, don't you notice that the sound quality is not as good?  I suspect a poor quality A/D converter or poor CSR CODEC.  It just does not sound rich and full like it should.
 
The Avantree Priva aptx Bluetooth transmitter however has excellent audio sound quality.  The AZIO Bluetooth USB adapter while working just fine in all other respects and has good signal strength trashes the audio quality and I don't enjoy listening to my headphones while paired through it.  I wonder if it is the CSR stack codec and if there is a way to change it. 
 
Mar 28, 2015 at 1:20 AM Post #182 of 460

turbobb

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Updated my post:

Re: Azio, it might have inadvertently set your Sony as the Default Communication Device. Right-click on your speaker icon and select Playback Devices and ensure that your Sony (Bluetooth Audio Renderer) is the Default Device. I have the Azio as well as the Orico BT adapters and they both sound really good.
 
Mar 28, 2015 at 5:51 AM Post #183 of 460

Giogio

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I've tried both adapters, and also the Sennheiser.
They all sound the same to me, and have same range.
The Avantree should eventually sound a bit worse due to the more passages (d to a, a to d, d t bt).
But it sounded as good as the others, and if there is a difference it needs an orchestra director with super ears or an instrumental test to notice it.
I also think it may be that the Sony were set as headset and not as headphones. You can check it from playback devices in audio, control panel (at least in win7), there should be two voices for the bt audio. See which one is active.
And also in the bt icon of csr, click on the mdr and see which profile is active.
 
Mar 28, 2015 at 12:21 PM Post #184 of 460

Class D

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Unbiased,
 
I think Giogio and turbobb's advice only applies if you are running Win 7.  Audio rendering does not exist in Win 8 as it does in Win 7.  Win 8.1 will load all the drivers necessary for BT 4.0 A2DP (given your PC has BT 4.0 radio hardware).  The Azio website posts some usage notes about your BDT-401 dongle, namely, Windows 8: Please make sure .NET 4.0 is installed prior to installing CSR Harmony software.  There is a good chance that your laptop manufacturer, Samsung, provided you with the latest .NET 4.0.  However, this is worth checking.  You may have to get the software from Microsoft's website and install it.  Nevertheless, you should uninstall/re-install the CSR software on your laptop once you have verified that you have the latest .NET 4.0 from Microsoft.  You may also have .NET 3.5 running simultaneously with .NET 4.0, this is permissible.
 
I have a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 running Win 8.1.  In my case, after booting up, I have to go to BT "settings" and disable the Surface Pro 2's built-in BT temporarily.  I can then insert the Azio BDT-401 dongle and select the CSR version of BT from the system tray.  You can then pair and connect any of your BT A2DP sink devices using the CSR BT stack.  Only one BT sink at a time.  Verify that your Sony MDR-1RBTMk2 is the connected device.  If you have another BT sink device on, and in range, the Azio dongle may connect with it and lock out your Sony MDR-1RBTMk2.  So, be sure other BT sink devices are switched off.
 
Once you have the CSR BT software running and you verify it works well with your BT sink devices, you can go back to Win 8 "settings" and re-enable your laptop's built-in BT radio to get back your normal BT profiles for your mouse, keyboard, printer, and etc.  Any audio A2DP from iTunes, MS Media Player, YouTube, or system sounds will play through the Azio BT dongle to your BT sink device previously selected.  This will remain so until you shutdown.  You will have to go through the tedious process above each time you re-boot.
 
There is a good chance that your built-in Samsung BT radio is not the same as the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 built-in BT 4.0 hardware.  If so, then you'll need to seek help from Samsung Support to prevent their BT drivers from interfering with the CSR BT stack.  It's my opinion that you are getting muddled audio in your Sony MDR-1RBTMk2 because of conflicts in your BT A2DP streams.
 
Let us know if you have any success getting your Sony MDR-1RBTMk2 to work with your Azio BDT-401 dongle and your Samsung laptop. 
 
Mar 28, 2015 at 12:33 PM Post #185 of 460

turbobb

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I'm on XPS8700 running 8.1 64bit and the BT Audio Renderer applies here as well (might be different on laptop/tablet?). Based on the symptoms @unbiased described, it seems he has already connected successfully via aptX thus I still have a strong feeling that it incorrectly set his Sony as Default Communication Device vs. just Default Device (playback). When this happens, the poor sound quality as he described will occur (at least that's been my experience with every single BT device I've ever paired regardless of aptX or not). Hopefully he can chime in when the opportunity affords. ^_^
 
Mar 28, 2015 at 1:27 PM Post #186 of 460

unbiased

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Updated my post:

Re: Azio, it might have inadvertently set your Sony as the Default Communication Device. Right-click on your speaker icon and select Playback Devices and ensure that your Sony (Bluetooth Audio Renderer) is the Default Device. I have the Azio as well as the Orico BT adapters and they both sound really good.

 
 
I've tried both adapters, and also the Sennheiser.
They all sound the same to me, and have same range.
The Avantree should eventually sound a bit worse due to the more passages (d to a, a to d, d t bt).
But it sounded as good as the others, and if there is a difference it needs an orchestra director with super ears or an instrumental test to notice it.
I also think it may be that the Sony were set as headset and not as headphones. You can check it from playback devices in audio, control panel (at least in win7), there should be two voices for the bt audio. See which one is active.
And also in the bt icon of csr, click on the mdr and see which profile is active.


Thanks for confirmation replies, but the default setting was already set to the CSR Bluetooth Audio Renderer it seems.  But I found out why the CSR Bluetooth stack sounded thin and weak compared to playing same music files through the 3.5mm headphone jack connection. My Samsung laptop PC has the Realtek sound device drivers and software which had Dolby Digital software enhancement turned on. That really enhanced the sound out of the 3.5mm headphone jack making the sound fuller and richer almost 3 dimensional sounding.  That's why the Avantree Priva transmitter which gets its feed from the 3.5mm jack sounded way better than the AZIO CSR aptx Bluetooth connection.  When I turned off the Dolby Digital sound enhancer, then both sound about equal in quality now.  So that was the cause of the sound quality difference that I was noticing before. 
 
Apr 6, 2015 at 8:34 PM Post #187 of 460

Giogio

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When I turned off the Dolby Digital sound enhancer, then both sound about equal in quality now.  So that was the cause of the sound quality difference that I was noticing before. 
now i wonder why you kept the azio if with the Priva you can get better sound by enabling the Dolby...

Anyway i was thinking, here James make these tests to understand the contribution of the APTX...
Maybe the best way to find out what the APTX gives is a Sony headphone like yours and the test I've just asked you to do in as another thread, to see the difference in sound between aptx and sbc modes.
No other headphone or adapter can do this.
With this test we have same source, same receiver (the headphone's chip) and same headphone, just different codec...
Now there are good and bad sbc, so the difference can be much or few, but there should be one...
 
Apr 6, 2015 at 9:24 PM Post #188 of 460

unbiased

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now i wonder why you kept the azio if with the Priva you can get better sound by enabling the Dolby...

Anyway i was thinking, here James make these tests to understand the contribution of the APTX...
Maybe the best way to find out what the APTX gives is a Sony headphone like yours and the test I've just asked you to do in as another thread, to see the difference in sound between aptx and sbc modes.
No other headphone or adapter can do this.
With this test we have same source, same receiver (the headphone's chip) and same headphone, just different codec...
Now there are good and bad sbc, so the difference can be much or few, but there should be one...


I tested between the 2 modes (Standared and AptX) with the Sony MDR-1RBTMK2 just now connected to my AZIO Bluetooth 4.0 AptX USB adapter plugged into my Samsung high end gamer laptop and I can confirm that in AptX mode the audio sound is smoother sounding than when in regular Standard SBC codec mode.  So AptX does improve the sound.
 
Apr 7, 2015 at 1:23 AM Post #189 of 460

Class D

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Unbiased,
 
Some Sony headphones actually have 3 modes of BT using various CODECs which are selectable, i. e., Priority on Sound Quality, Standard, and Priority on Stable Connection.  I have the Sony MDR10RBT Wireless Headphones with V3.0 Bluetooth and NFC.  The Help Guide on the Sony website provides the directions below to switch between the 3 CODECs.  Switching between the 3 CODECs isn't graceful, but you will definitely hear a difference in SQ.  Most people would just set the Priority on Sound Quality and leave it there.  I'm not sure if your Sony MDR-1RBTMK2 headphones have this same capability, but it would be easy to find out using the Sony instructions below.
 
 
Selecting the sound quality mode of music playback
The sound quality is set to the “Standard” mode (SBC high quality mode) as the default setting.
  1. When using an AAC or aptX compatible device, select the “Priority on sound quality” mode.
  1. If the connection is unstable, such as when producing only intermittent sound, select the “Priority on stable connection” mode.

Sound quality and the indicator (blue) of each mode

When the sound quality mode is switched, the headset indicates the remaining battery capacity by flashing the indicator in red first, and then in blue to indicate the sound quality mode. You can check the current sound quality mode by the number of flashes of the indicator (blue).
 
Mode
Sound quality
Number of flashes (blue)
Priority on sound quality
SBC (high quality), AAC or aptX selected automatically
3 times
Standard
SBC (high quality)
Twice
Priority on stable connection
SBC
Once
 
Note
  1. When you turn on the headset by pressing the POWER button only, the headset does not indicate the sound quality mode with flashes of the indicator (blue).

Selecting the sound quality mode

Turn on the headset by pressing the POWER button for more than 2 seconds while holding the VOLUME + or VOLUME – button down.
10rbt_0125.png

To select the “Priority on sound quality” mode

When the headset is in the “Standard” mode, turn it on while holding the VOLUME + button down. The “Priority on sound quality” mode is selected.
From the “Priority on stable connection” mode, turn on the headset while holding the VOLUME + button down. Turn off the headset once, then turn it on while holding the VOLUME + button down again.

To select the “Priority on stable connection” mode

When the headset is in the “Standard” mode, turn it on while holding the VOLUME – button down. The “Priority on stable connection” mode is selected.
From the “Priority on sound quality” mode, turn on the headset while holding the VOLUME – button down. Turn off the headset once, then turn it on while holding the VOLUME – button down again.
Notes
  1. The playback time may become shorter, depending on the sound quality and the conditions under which you are using the headset.
  1. Depending on the ambient conditions in the area where you are using the headset, intermittent sound may still occur, even if the “Priority on stable connection” mode is selected.
 
Apr 7, 2015 at 8:39 PM Post #190 of 460

unbiased

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Unbiased,
 
Some Sony headphones actually have 3 modes of BT using various CODECs which are selectable, i. e., Priority on Sound Quality, Standard, and Priority on Stable Connection.  I have the Sony MDR10RBT Wireless Headphones with V3.0 Bluetooth and NFC.  The Help Guide on the Sony website provides the directions below to switch between the 3 CODECs.  Switching between the 3 CODECs isn't graceful, but you will definitely hear a difference in SQ.  Most people would just set the Priority on Sound Quality and leave it there.  I'm not sure if your Sony MDR-1RBTMK2 headphones have this same capability, but it would be easy to find out using the Sony instructions below.
 
 
Selecting the sound quality mode of music playback
The sound quality is set to the “Standard” mode (SBC high quality mode) as the default setting.
  1. When using an AAC or aptX compatible device, select the “Priority on sound quality” mode.
  1. If the connection is unstable, such as when producing only intermittent sound, select the “Priority on stable connection” mode.

Sound quality and the indicator (blue) of each mode

When the sound quality mode is switched, the headset indicates the remaining battery capacity by flashing the indicator in red first, and then in blue to indicate the sound quality mode. You can check the current sound quality mode by the number of flashes of the indicator (blue).
 
Mode
Sound quality
Number of flashes (blue)
Priority on sound quality
SBC (high quality), AAC or aptX selected automatically
3 times
Standard
SBC (high quality)
Twice
Priority on stable connection
SBC
Once
 
Note
  1. When you turn on the headset by pressing the POWER button only, the headset does not indicate the sound quality mode with flashes of the indicator (blue).

Selecting the sound quality mode

Turn on the headset by pressing the POWER button for more than 2 seconds while holding the VOLUME + or VOLUME – button down.
10rbt_0125.png

To select the “Priority on sound quality” mode

When the headset is in the “Standard” mode, turn it on while holding the VOLUME + button down. The “Priority on sound quality” mode is selected.
From the “Priority on stable connection” mode, turn on the headset while holding the VOLUME + button down. Turn off the headset once, then turn it on while holding the VOLUME + button down again.

To select the “Priority on stable connection” mode

When the headset is in the “Standard” mode, turn it on while holding the VOLUME – button down. The “Priority on stable connection” mode is selected.
From the “Priority on sound quality” mode, turn on the headset while holding the VOLUME – button down. Turn off the headset once, then turn it on while holding the VOLUME – button down again.
Notes
  1. The playback time may become shorter, depending on the sound quality and the conditions under which you are using the headset.
  1. Depending on the ambient conditions in the area where you are using the headset, intermittent sound may still occur, even if the “Priority on stable connection” mode is selected.


Hello Class D, yes I am aware of all the settings modes and yes the Sony MDR1RBTMK2 is exactly the same as your MDR10RBT setup.  I also just received my other pair of Sony MDRXB950BT today (from Japan) and they are configured exactly the same way using the power on/off button and the Volume Up/Down button presses sequences.  I always leave mine in High Quality Priority (AptX) mode.
 
Apr 23, 2015 at 7:08 PM Post #191 of 460

josephkarthic

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Hello,
 
I'm also having the Sony MDR-1RBT MK2 and I usually listen to it via a non-aptx mobile phone (Xperia L) , Do you really see a huge difference between aptx and non aptx connection?
 
Especially the low bass? Because I dont get much power(volume) on the low frequencies as much as I get when its wired. How is the low bass when both devices are on aptx compared to wired? 
 
Could you please test this bass song ( Decaf - White Clouds) on an aptx device and a non aptx device and post your thoughts? 
 
It would really help me if someone tests this because I will buy an aptx enabled mobile if the bass power is same as wired connection. thanks..
 
Apr 23, 2015 at 10:01 PM Post #192 of 460

Class D

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josephkarthic,
 
As unbiased has the Sony MDR-1RBT headphones and the capability of turning Aptx on/off from his BT source, he can provide you with the best analysis.
 
Let me say that a wired connection to your source device will always outperform a wireless BT connection in almost all technical areas.  However, the Aptx codec comes very close to the lossless audio quality of a wire.  It also has excellent latency for a codec.  This is important when watching movies on your BT source.
 
If you have a PC, then you can test the frequency response of the Aptx codec with a USB BT dongle having the Aptx BT stack.  There are several available for around $10 USD.  If you have an Apple PC, then you may already have Aptx built-in to your internal BT radio.
 
I listened to Decaf - White Clouds on YouTube from my PC with the Azio  BTD-V401 USB BT dongle using the Aptx codec with my Motorola Buds.  The piano sound was excellent and the bass was powerful with no distortion.  It sounded like a 100 Hz to 150 Hz tone.  Personally, I think that frequency is way too low to add anything to the piano music.  My ears didn't bleed, but I'm sure that listening to that tone using Aptx for a couple of minutes would have given me a headache.  There are a few rap songs that use bass tones very effectively and are easy on your ears.  One such song can be found here on YouTube =>
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sut_q4PhqMA
 
Although the instrumentals may be easy on your ears, the lyrics may make your ears cringe away.  Nevertheless, the bass frequencies have very good "punch" to them.  If you have a 500 Watt sub-woofer connected with the Aptx BT codec to your smartphone playing the YouTube song above, then I'm confident your neighbors down the street will hear the bass tones, even if they can't hear the unsavory lyrics.  
 
If you want to test the sound quality and latency of Aptx, then get the movie Step-up 4 Revolution.  There is plenty of punchy bass tones throughout the movie with the final song in the movie being the best.  You will also note that the Aptx codec provides very low latency for very good lip-synch, including YouTube videos that you watch on your phone. 
L3000.gif
                                    
 
Apr 24, 2015 at 9:03 PM Post #193 of 460

unbiased

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  Hello,
 
I'm also having the Sony MDR-1RBT MK2 and I usually listen to it via a non-aptx mobile phone (Xperia L) , Do you really see a huge difference between aptx and non aptx connection?
 
Especially the low bass? Because I dont get much power(volume) on the low frequencies as much as I get when its wired. How is the low bass when both devices are on aptx compared to wired? 
 
Could you please test this bass song ( Decaf - White Clouds) on an aptx device and a non aptx device and post your thoughts? 
 
It would really help me if someone tests this because I will buy an aptx enabled mobile if the bass power is same as wired connection. thanks..


As far as I have experienced with my MDR-1RBTMK2 AptX connection sounds smoother than non-AptX connections. I don't think it will make a difference in the amount of bass response you hear with AptX vs SBC connection. When I first got the headphones I thought I heard more of a mid-bass hump when listening wired vs Bluetooth AptX connected.  But I will say the sound is pretty darn close to straight wired connection when listening in AptX mode.  They are pretty neutral balanced headphones and sound very good to excellent on most any music genre I play through them. But if you are looking for fun headphone listening with lots of bass, I recommend the Sony MDR-XB950BT headphones.  They sound really smooth and fantastic with deep powerful bass emphasis. Some folks say the bass is too loose and uncontrolled, but I don't think it is.  It is just the powerful boost at a certain bass frequency range that sometimes makes it sound boomy.  Most of the time though I enjoy listening to this headphone over my 1RBTMK2 because it is so mellow sounding and fun. I use it mostly with the bass boost set to off though as the bass boost is way too much for most music I listen to (which is varied to all genre's of music from jazz to lounge to rock to oldies to techno, house, trance, bass, classical, etc.).
For Bluetooth headphones, I think Sony did good on both of these headphones.  BTW, after I bought my 1st brand new pair of the XB950BT from an ebay seller in Japan for $135 and decided I liked them, I took a chance to buy two more Refurbished  for real cheap on and extra 10% off sale for cost of $76.10 each by another USA ebay seller called secondipity. They normally sell them for about $84.99. I got the two and they are like brand new! So happy about that. I took the chance on them because the seller ad said you can return them and they pay for return shipping too! So I jumped on it. Glad I did, I just looked at the ebay site and they took away the 10% off sale now.  Oh well it still a good deal at $84.99.  And free shipping to boot! Plus this seller ships fast and UPS delivered it to me from Texas to NY in 3 days!  Anyway, this is just fyi.  The MDR-1RBTMK2 is a great set of Bluetooth headphones but it is a bit expensive and only from Japan when amazon.com prime does not offer it.  I got mine when amazon.com Prime had it on sale. I am satisfied with both these model of Sony headphones for Bluetooth wireless listening.
 
Apr 26, 2015 at 12:42 AM Post #194 of 460

cityle

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HI,
 
I'm looking to buy a bluetooth audio streaming receiver with the best quality of muisc for not too much money. It's for my K553 which are my on-the-go, replacing the MDR-10RBT which I don't like the sound very much but was loving having it bluetooth. So which ones below is the best option?

MOCREO long name thingy
QCY QY3
Sony SBH20B
Elecom PAR500
 
Thanks
 
Apr 26, 2015 at 12:03 PM Post #195 of 460

cityle

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Double post sorry
 

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