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Qualcomm’s aptX Lossless tech lets you finally listen to CD-quality audio over Bluetooth

Qualcomm, best known for its Snapdragon smartphone processors, has unveiled the aptX Lossless Bluetooth codec, enabling CD-quality listening over Bluetooth wireless connections.

aptX Lossless is a feature of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound Technology that can deliver lossless 16-bit 44.1 kHz audio that will be scaled based on the Bluetooth connection quality. In addition, users can choose between lossless CD audio at 44.1 kHz and lossy 24-bit 96 kHz audio.

According to Qualcomm, users will experience bit-by-bit exact reproduction of audio, with a potential bit rate of 1 mbps. To reliably deliver this high sound quality, aptX Lossless uses Bluetooth link optimization and adapts to content and connectivity conditions, meaning it can scale smoothly to 140 kbps in busy environments to minimize dropouts. However, a Qualcomm spokesperson told MusicTech that listeners can expect CD-quality audio more often.

Why is Qualcomm’s aptX Lossless codec important? Because despite the fact that streaming services are now able to offer your favorite music in lossless formats, there is currently no codec that delivers uncompressed sound. So while you may be a Tidal or Apple Music subscriber, you can only listen to CD-quality audio over supported wired connections.

And as streaming services roll out hi-fi listening, users are eager to embrace the technology. Qualcomm’s State of Sound report examines consumer listening habits and found that 52 percent of consumers worldwide are looking for high-resolution or lossless sound quality. Additionally, 64 percent of consumers say lossless audio quality is likely to influence their decision to purchase wireless earbuds.

Qualcomm says it plans to make the aptX Lossless codec available to tech manufacturers “later this year.” This likely means new wireless audio devices and Android smartphones will feature aptX Lossless in 2022 – keep in mind that you’ll need to upgrade your hardware to access the codec. If you’re an Apple user, you’ll probably have to wait even longer, as the brand doesn’t currently use Qualcomm technology and only supports AAC.

When it comes to which streaming service to use for lossless streaming, you’ll soon be spoiled for choice. Apple Music, Qobuz, Amazon Music, Tidal and Deezer are some of the services that now offer hi-fi listening. Spotify, meanwhile, has yet to announce the long-awaited Spotify HiFI service – although it may be just around the corner.

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