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Qualcomm’s aptX Codec For Bluetooth Gets Upgrade To Higher Resolution

Qualcomm’s aptX codec, designed to deliver CD-quality stereo over Bluetooth, is getting a resolution upgrade to 24 bits from 16 bits in a nod to the audio industry’s move to high-resolution content.

The new codec, called aptX HD, retains its predecessor’s 48kHz sampling rate.

CD-quality audio is quantified as delivering 16-bit 44.1kHz performance, and high-res audio is defined as delivering better-than-CD quality.

aptX HD will compete with Sony’s LDAC wireless technology, promoted as delivering near-high-res audio over Bluetooth.

“aptX HD is designed to enable audio manufacturers to meet the increasing demand for high resolution wireless audio,” Qualcomm said. The technology is available as part of Qualcomm’s CSR8675 Bluetooth audio SoC platform. The enhanced codec retains backward compatibility with all Bluetooth devices containing classic aptX. It runs on Bluetooth version 2.0 and up with EDR (enhanced data rate), which uses a 3Mbps physical layer.

The enhanced codec reduces signal-to-noise ratio and distortion, and it offers increased digital signal processing (DSP) performance, the company said.

The technology can be used in Bluetooth speakers, headphones, soundbars, and AVRs. It will appear first in Android devices such as tablets, personal media players, and smartphones, “but during the course of the next year or so, it will be deployed more widely,” said Steve Graham, VP of product marketing for Qualcomm Technologies.

During the past two years, Graham said, “what started as a niche initiative in the high end audio market—the desire for high-res audio—has gathered momentum across the ecosystem.” Support for higher resolution audio “is now a given across a wide range of products and services.”

With that in mind, he continued, “we decided it was time to build on the existing Qualcomm aptX audio codec platform, which revolutionized the Bluetooth stereo listening experience by supporting CD-like quality audio over a wireless connection, in order to enable audio manufacturers to meet this increasing demand.”