Bluetooth Audio Codecs | Which is better: AAC, aptX, LDAC or LE Audio?

Bluetooth Audio Codecs |  Which is better: AAC, aptX, LDAC or LE Audio?

The arrival of Bluetooth LE Audio under the new LC3 codec has piqued the interest of consumers to learn more about the different types of audio encoders on the market. And to better understand which are the most popular current options and which ones are worth using, FreeGameGuide gathered in a single article everything you need to know in a simple way.

  • What is Bluetooth? Know how it works
  • New Bluetooth technology promises to revolutionize wireless content

We already have an article dedicated to Bluetooth in case you want to know more about how the wireless connection works. We will detail here the different types of codec, their specifications and which is the best current format.

Bluetooth audio codecs

  • SBC: is the standard codec used in Bluetooth devices and the most widely supported, being compatible with the vast majority of devices.

  • LC3: is the current successor of the SBC with better sound quality, low latency, lower energy consumption and higher transmission rate.

  • AAC: is the codec developed by Apple and used in devices such as iPhone, iPad and Mac, with superior audio quality than SBC.

  • ALAC (Apple Lossless): is the best sound quality codec for Apple devices.

  • aptX: is a codec developed by Qualcomm that offers better audio quality than SBC and is already widely used.

  • aptX HD: is an improved version of aptX that offers superior audio quality for more demanding users.

  • LDAC: is a high quality codec developed by Sony that offers a data transmission rate of up to 990 kbps and is compatible with Android devices.

  • LHDC: is an improved version of LDAC developed by Hi-Res Audio Wireless that offers superior audio quality.

Bluetooth Codec Specifications

Before listing the technical data of each Bluetooth codec, it is important that you understand the details of each specification.

  • Bitrate: is the measure of the amount of data transmitted per second between the device and the Bluetooth equipment. In short, in general, the higher the bit rate, the better the sound quality.

  • Bit depth: is the measure of quality of the audio sample. The greater the bit depth, the better the audio resolution and the greater the sound information capacity.

  • Sample rate: is the measure of audio samples recorded per unit of time, so at 44.1 kHz there are 44,100 sound recordings per second. The higher the sampling rate, the better the sound quality.

Now that you know what bit rate, bit depth and sample rate are, get to know the specifications of each Bluetooth audio codec listed above.

  • SBC: up to 328 Kbps bitrate, 16-bit bit depth and up to 48 kHz sample rate

  • LC3: bitrate up to 345 Kbps, bit depth up to 32 bits and sample rate up to 48 kHz

  • AAC: 256 Kbps bitrate, 16-bit bit depth and up to 44.1 kHz sample rate

  • ALAC: Bitrate up to 256 Kbps, bit depth up to 24 bits and sample rate up to 192 kHz

  • aptX: bitrate up to 352 Kbps, bit depth up to 16 bits and sample rate up to 48 kHz

  • aptX HD: 576 Kbps bitrate, 24-bit bit depth and up to 48 kHz sample rate

  • LDAC: up to 990 Kbps bitrate, 24-bit bit depth and up to 96 kHz sample rate

  • LHDC: up to 900 Kbps bitrate, 24-bit bit depth and up to 96 kHz sample rate

What is the new Bluetooth LE Audio?

The new Bluetooth LE Audio with LC3 codec lets you listen to better quality music than the SBC codec for a longer time on wireless devices.

The new specification is now available on headphones, speakers and devices with Bluetooth 5.2 or newer and delivers more efficient audio compression and decompression for wireless streaming.

Compared to the SBC codec (above) we see that LC3 still delivers superior audio quality not only at comparable bitrates to SBC (from 240 to 345 Kbps), but now also supports lower bitrates with higher quality. All this while still consuming less battery.

Which is better: AAC, aptX, LDAC or LE Audio?

With the information above, we can see that current Bluetooth codecs are optimal depending on their purpose. So:

  • LC3 is ideal for those looking for a low power headphone and performs better than SBC at similar bitrates

  • AAC and ALAC are the best options for users of the Apple ecosystem, delivering excellent connectivity, low latency and ample bandwidth on compatible devices such as iPhone, iPad and Mac.

  • aptX and aptX HD are the best options for Android devices, delivering great versatility with excellent bitrate and bandwidth superior to Apple’s AAC.

  • LDAC remains the benchmark in Bluetooth audio transmission, delivering the best sound quality, with the best audio resolution and highest bitrate among competitors.

The LC3 arrives only as a successor to the SBC and is still a simple codec to deliver better cost-effectiveness to consumers despite the excellent advances.

Apple AAC and ALAC and Qualcomm aptX and aptX HD can be positioned as more advanced codecs, offering excellent performance for all, even the most demanding consumers.

But audiophiles looking for the best possible sound quality from Bluetooth headphones or headphones should still look for devices that support Sony’s LDAC, and remember to look for not just a headset that supports the codec, but also a smartphone and streaming app that supports it. decoding technology.