So this is kinda huge. Like the biggest and most important hi-fi announcement of 2021. Qualcomm have announced the debut of Bluetooth aptX Lossless streaming. Everyone run outside and start banging pots and pans. Just kidding.
Compression is the enemy and it would appear that Qualcomm have figured out a way to deliver lossless audio over Bluetooth, yielding quality that should be indistinguishable from uncompressed sources. And it’s calling it Bluetooth aptX Lossless, the next generation of Qualcomm’s proprietary audio format.
Let’s take a step back and deep breath right now.
There still isn’t any hardware using this new technology so we’re going to have to wait until Q1 or Q2 2022 for hardware that supports this.
“Lossless audio means mathematically bit-for-bit exact, with no loss of the audio file and up to now the necessary bit rate to deliver this over Bluetooth has not been available,” said James Chapman, Qualcomm’s vice president and general manage. “With many leading music streaming services now offering extensive lossless music libraries, and consumer demand for lossless audio growing, we’re pleased to announce this new support for CD lossless audio streaming for Bluetooth earbuds and headsets which we plan to make available to customers later this year.”
Will this be huge for the digital music streaming companies like Tidal, Qobuz, Apple Music, and Spotify?
Does this mean a lot better sound quality streaming from your smartphone to a pair of Bluetooth headphones or speakers that utilize Bluetooth aptX Lossless?
Yes but let’s actually try the product before calling this a paradigm shift. Which it probably is. Maybe.
Some key specs so far:
- Supports 44.1kHz, 16-bit CD lossless audio quality
- Designed to scale-up to CD lossless audio based on Bluetooth link quality
- User can select between CD lossless audio 44.1kHz and 24-bit 96kHz lossy
- Auto-detects to enable CD lossless audio when the source is lossless audio
- Mathematically bit-for-bit exact
- Bit-rate : ~1Mbps
We will add more information as we get it — but a very big story for sure.