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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. james444 Contributor
    It's mentioned in the user manual. Most user manuals are downloadable these days and often more informative than the tech specs.
  2. Justin Hu
    I own a pair of BT over-the-ear headphone, the Sennheiser Momentum wireless 2.0. The iphone6s+ doesn't support the APTX codec, so I could only stream music from spotify premium and TIDAL HIFI through the SBC codec with it. In the second scenario, I have also a APTX CSR certified BT dongle, so I also tried to stream from my PC for comparison, though it might cause some bias since the PC may induce some noice interference in itself side by side to the iphone setup. But according to my resilent though less than perfect comparisons of the two set-ups using BT streaming, I found that the premium Spotify streaming itself may not suffer much from the SBC codec since its bitrate/sec is within the bandwidth of the BT's range (<345 kbps for stereo), provided that Spotify streams at 320 kbps. However, when I use the HIFI streaming service from TIDAL, since the the bitrate per sec surpasses the bandwidth that BT could provide, that is severe distortion in sound when trying using the SBC codec, and some but not so severe distortion and loss of spatial orientation with the APTX codec. Also, I believe the IP6S+ has a pretty decent BT dongle or chipset likewise so the SBC codec itself may not cause real problem when streaming over the top streaming premium 320kbps music. In conclusion, the APTX codec is not supported in the iphone but only the imac (some kind of hidden feature), the SBC codec streaming is more than enough to handle everyday music streaming unless you are trying to stream your FLAC music with BT wireless, even though with the APTX codec, you suffer some decent portion of the music inevitably. Moreover, the dac chipset and the BT receiver in your BT headset also make a difference in the listening experience, there maybe less than noticible difference if you are just using some low quality BT headset since the sound quality is less than appreciable in the very first place
  3. Roseval
    No, this has nothing to do with the Codec and/or the bit rate.
    I can play 24/96 on my PC and listen to it over Bluetooth.
    First any Hires has to be down-sampled to 16/44 otherwise the Bluetooth receiver can't stomach it.
    The raw PC is send to the BT dongle and there the SBC or APT-X applies the lossy compression.
    Your problem give the impression that something is going wrong in the transmission to the dongle, say CRC errors on the USB 
  4. reginalb
    Unless the transcoder in use is garbage for the format it's fed from Tidal.
  5. Justin Hu
    The CSR chipset in the BT dongle is responsible for the APTX coding providing a better algorithm for tje inevitbale compression . However, APTX codec provides a more authentic playback when decoding this special codec instead using the SBC coding, 
  6. 329161
    This is a bit off topic, but can anyone confirm if the Sony XA is aptx capable?
  7. thekash
    Yeah the A series all have aptx. but from my testing of the NW-ZX100, A17 and pioneer XDP-100R aptx makes a big difference but the player makes just as big a difference. So far the XDP-100R has the best detail, soundstage and clarity with aptx followed by the ZX100 then the Z17 from what i can tell. I initially was under the impression that it wouldn't matter what player i was using since aptx is a encoding codec and will depend on the headphones decoding the info, however the players EQ combination effects with aptx make a substantial difference at how well the aptx performs in real life. 
  8. ClieOS Contributor
    It is listed on its white paper, so yes.
    329161 likes this.
  9. StanD
    Are there any proper scientific studies that prove apt-x is definitively superior to a good non-apt-x Bluetooth 4.0 implementation? I am not too confident in anecdotal experiences.
  10. thekash

    Sound quality is and always will be subjective... but yes if you go over to the aptx website there is 'some' scientific information on how it's better... but as far as it being tested I don't know...
  11. StanD
    I'd like to see the results of a proper blind test, ABX would be nice.
  12. DJ The Rocket

    This is a case where perhaps you should be. For example, do you need to see DBT methodology/results to know if an HD650 is really better than a Beats by Dre? No, because the difference isn't subtle. There's no mistaking the difference there, no bias is going to be that strong.

    It's the same with apt-x vs sbc or whatever else

    (I've never heard anything using the straight mp3 codec, which I've always presumed would be the best, since as long as you're using an mp3 file, I gets transmitted verbatim, no extra step compressing an already compressed file. But for some reason nobody uses it. Maybe I understand wrong, who knows.)
  13. PaulQinUSA
    I can't start a new thread yet but this question seems to fit right in here. I have read many pages of this thread but there is so much!
    I am trying to determine if I would even potentially benefit from getting an apt-x player. At what bitrate/quality of file does Bluetooth start to cause a degradation in sound? I am trying to figure out, for example, if I have music MP3 encoded at 256kbps, does Bluetooth degrade that or transmit all of the information so it's relatively equivalent to wired? Does Bluetooth handle a 320kbps file? When does Bluetooth start to negatively impact your music file?
    If it's at something like 192kbps, I am certainly missing out on a lot of the music's qualities.
    (I am a novice here - forgive me if that is a misinterpretation of this whole situation)
  14. watchnerd
    Regardless of protocol, I have never heard wireless headphones that sound as good as well-regarded wired cans.
    Until that changes, I regard wireless headphones as something suitable for convenience, like when I go to the gym.
  15. StanD

    I have a Bose QC35 that I use when commuting which doesn't have apt-x and sounds scary good despite being a Bose. Tyll Hendersen at Inner Fidelity is putting that headphone on their Wall of Fame. Perhaps at faster bluetooth 4.x connections SBC doesn't compress as much as to completely crappify the audio. I do have rather good Planar Mag headphones, not Beats, to compare with using wired as a reference point. I've tried other Bluetooth headphones that were very disappointing.
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