When searching for audio equipment, it can be tough to figure out what you’ll get. There are so many different types of headphones and other accessories. Many companies are quite explicit about what they’re offering, while others presume you’re familiar with all of the latest technical terms.
As a result, many product descriptions resemble a technical spreadsheet. The wall of technical jargon might be perplexing, specifically if you don’t spend your time researching high-tech equipment.
We won’t be able to answer all of your questions at once. But today, we’ll clarify one of the most frequently asked questions: what is aptX? We’ll go over everything in detail and explain all you need to know.
What is aptX?
AptX is an audio codec for compressing and decompressing music while streaming through Bluetooth at its most general level. It serves as the packing for your audio product, with Bluetooth A2DP (the most widely used Bluetooth profile) acting as the courier.
It was initially created in the 1980s and commercialized in the 1990s before being purchased by Qualcomm, a chipset maker, in 2015. aptX was first used in consumer devices in 2009, and hundreds of top audio companies have now embraced it.
It’s a step higher than the basic lossy SBC (Subband Coding) codec, which typically supports Bluetooth A2DP music delivery at 256kbps.
Even if your device sends out high-quality audio files, you won’t be able to hear anything higher than MP3 quality on the other end.
AptX was created as a response to this. It employs an enhanced custom compression to shrink the audio to a size similar to SBC but with more of the actual frequency range preserved.
This claims a “CD-like” transfer of your music. However, the compression it employs means it won’t quite match the 16-bit/44.1kHz quality.
However, as compared to SBC, it does help to reduce latency to a minimum. When watching a video, this is very important for maintaining speech in sync, and it also sounds better.
What is aptX Bluetooth?
To comprehend what aptX HD is, we must first define ‘classic’ aptX. It’s an audio-coding method developed in the late 1980s and is widely used by film studios and radio stations.
Steven Spielberg was an early user, working with others to use aptX to capture sound for 5.1 digital playbacks in movies.
aptX is now associated with Bluetooth, which may be found on a wide range of laptops, cellphones, AV receivers, and other contemporary electronics devices. Its main feature is the ability to broadcast full-bandwidth audio.
It’s also made to sound better than traditional Bluetooth. The compression ratio of classic aptX is 4:1, with a data rate of 352kbps.
What is aptX Low Latency?
Although aptX has always been somewhat lossless than the competition, it has always had a drawback. Earlier versions of the aptX codec took a lengthy time to decode, sometimes up to 100 milliseconds.
If you were a radio announcer, this wasn’t a huge problem. It was also not an issue for the entertainment industry. Nobody noticed if your audio track had a delay of 100 milliseconds? Things are always possible to correct in post-production.
aptX Low Latency is meant to have a maximum delay of 40 milliseconds. If you recall what we mentioned before, this is a small delay that is barely apparent. It’s somewhat more lossless than normal aptX, but only the most ardent music lovers will notice.
Qualcomm launched aptX Adaptive in 2018, a third new codec. When the connection is steady enough, aptX Adaptive assures minimal latency but changes to more miniature lossy versions of the codec. We haven’t yet seen any earphones with this functionality, but it’s coming.
The Future of aptX Technology
Updated versions of aptX are beginning to appear in devices, and they have the capacity to be much more exciting.
While using Bluetooth headphones, you may have observed a lip-sync issue when the sounds don’t line up with vocal inflection. The additional processing necessary to send the audio to your ears through Bluetooth causes this. Low Latency lowers the duration from 200-300 milliseconds in SBC to about 40 milliseconds in Low Latency.
Lip-sync problems should be resolved as a result of this. The aptX Adaptive codec will have a comparable delay of about 80 milliseconds.
Another thing to keep in mind is that iPhones do not yet support the aptX codec. Instead, they’ve been concentrating on W1, their own proprietary codec. As a consequence, using aptX Low Latency earphones with iOS devices will not improve your experience.