Roughly a year ago, for anyone who wanted to stream lossless quality audio tracks to their mobile phone, there was basically only one option: Tidal.
However, a lot has changed since then, with Apple recently releasing support for lossless streaming in June, and Spotify promising to do the same later this year. But unless the user is willing to connect a USB DAC to their mobile phone, more streaming services adhering to high resolution motion doesn’t help much, as Bluetooth headphones can only stream lossy audio. Fortunately, that is about to change.
Chipmaker Qualcomm is injecting a new upgrade to its aptX Bluetooth codec, and it’s a lossless codec that, ideally, the company promises to enable CD-quality 16-bit audio streaming at 44.1 kHz through a Wireless.
Qualcomm claims that it has made improvements to its Bluetooth High Speed Link technology to provide the data transfer rate needed to transmit a lossless band wirelessly, but the codec can also compress a 24-bit 96kHz quality signal to ensure the user does not experience any interruptions.
Indeed, there is also the possibility to manually switch between 16-bit 44.1 kHz and 24-bit 96 kHz transmission modes, although the codec automatically switches to the first option when detecting a lossless source.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets come with support for their built-in aptX codecs. This means that almost every Android phone that is purchased in North America or Europe supports the standard. As with all Bluetooth codecs, it’s not enough just your mobile phone, tablet or computer to support the technology. The user also needs a pair of compatible headphones or earplugs. Qualcomm says that the first to support aptX Lossless will arrive here this year.
Before that, the closest you could come to a lossless Bluetooth connection was Sony’s LDAC and DSEE technologies. They work fine, but again, the user needs a pair of Sony headphones to take advantage.