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Qualcomm’s new tech claims of streaming lossless audio wirelessly, but there’s a catch

By Sanuj Bhatia September 2, 2021, 3:00 am

2021 has been a big year for the music industry. Following Apple’s announcement of Lossless Audio coming to Apple Music, other players like Amazon and Spotify have also realized the significance of CD-quality music going forward. However, one issue still remains — most of the earphones and headphones out there don’t support lossless quality due to the limitation of bandwidth on these devices. Qualcomm thinks it can solve this problem with its latest aptX Lossless technology.

aptX Lossless is a part of Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Sound program announced earlier this year. The tech guarantees streaming CD-quality (16-bit / 44.1kHz) lossless audio over Bluetooth. The chip company says the first devices with the new technology are expected to be available in early 2022.

But what’s the catch? Hardware upgrade. As impressive and exciting as it may ‘sound’ (pun intended), Qualcomm’s new tech requires both your Android phone and earbuds or headphones to support aptX Lossless. So it might be a while before you see this everywhere, but when it does, it might be the same level of revolution as AirPods.

Whenever a supported phone connects with supported earbuds, aptX Lossless will automatically detect it and will be able to play music at much higher data rates — higher than previously possible with aptX HD. Interestingly, the company has managed to outdo Sony’s LDAC — a benchmark in the industry — with aptX Lossless. aptX Lossless can hit up to 1Mbps compared to LDAC’s ceiling of 990kbps. For those of you audiophiles out there, yes it’s still below the actual CD quality, which requires a 1.4mbps bandwidth, but Qualcomm says it is using lossless compression to deliver mathematically bit-for-bit exact audio reproduction.

“At Qualcomm Technologies we’re excited about the future of sound, and we’re continually looking for ways to help our customers deliver new and exciting listening experiences. 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. 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,” said James Chapman, vice president and general manager, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd.

Source: Qualcomm

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