Qualcomm aptX Lossless Tech Brings Bit-For-Bit Accurate Wireless Audio To Bluetooth

qualcomm snapdragon sound hero
Audiophiles are a discerning bunch. PC enthusiasts often have a reputation for being extremely particular about what tech makes it into their rigs, but audiophiles can often take that same type of particularity and crank it up to 11. Disagree? Then explain this $60,000 10-foot of speaker wire. Extreme audiophiles actually buy that kind of stuff because sound quality is of the utmost importance to them, regardless of cost. Mainstream consumers may not be quite as particular, of course, but sound quality is still an important consideration for many folks, especially as it relates to Bluetooth devices, like earbuds or headphones. For those people, Qualcomm’s new aptX Lossless Audio technology may be just what the doctor ordered.

Over the years, Qualcomm has enhanced and expanded upon its aptX technology to improve sound quality and lower latency, to the point where some of today’s better aptX-enabled devices can rival the sound quality of many wired solutions. With Qualcomm’s launch of aptX Lossless technology though, the company has raised the bar even further and can now offer mathematically bit-for-bit exact digital audio, with no data loss due to compression, over compatible Snapdragon Sound-enabled Bluetooth devices.

qualcomm aptx lossless audio bits

SBC, or sub-band coding, and Qualcomm’s various flavors of aptX are arguably the most pervasive audio codecs used today for stereo Bluetooth earbuds and headphones. With SBC, there is a significant amount of data lost when audio is encoded/decoded, which degrades sound quality. With the original Qualcomm aptX Adaptive (and older aptX variants), some data is also lost during the encode/decode processes, but it is less severe than SBC. With its just-launched aptX Lossless technology though – which is technically a new capability being added to the aptX Adaptive feature-set – no data is discarded and CD-quality, 16-bit 44.1kHz audio can be wirelessly delivered to listeners.

qualcomm aptx lossless compared

“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,” said James Chapman, vice president and general manager, Qualcomm Technologies.

aptX Lossless Features & Specifications:

  • 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
qualcomm aptx lossless audio

aptX Lossless wasn’t created solely by tweaking the audio codec, however. To deliver CD-quality lossless audio over a Bluetooth connection, aptX Adaptive also leverages Qualcomm Bluetooth High Speed Link technology to deliver the necessary sustainable data throughput, which can creep beyond 1Mbit/s, yet scale down to as low as 140kbits/s to minimize audio dropouts or other unwanted audio artifacts, in environments with lots of RF interference.

Qualcomm expects products featuring aptX Lossless audio technology to be available late this year. No specific product announcements were made, but expect usual partners like Jabra or Master & Dynamic to be on-board.