OnQ Blog

Qualcomm aptX HD breaks down barriers to high-res audio over Bluetooth adoption

This past January we launched our answer to the growing demand for high resolution wireless audio: Qualcomm aptX HD. This enhanced codec supports 24-bit music quality over Bluetooth.

Although top-quality audio was previously seen as something only the audio-elite care about, demand is now growing among all consumers, particularly among headphone shoppers. We commissioned a consumer research study this past summer, and nearly 90 percent of respondents said that sound quality is important.

In addition to supporting a greater dynamic range than other codecs, aptX HD is engineered to improve the signal-to-noise ratio, resulting in lower background noise*. This means listeners can hear even the smallest details in their music.

Manufacturers are steadily embracing the technology, and momentum for aptX HD has been building ever since the launch. In March at Mobile World Congress, LG launched the LG G5 smartphone, one of the first to support high resolution wireless audio playback. The G5 is twinned with the LG Platinum Tone headphones, a futuristic looking headset also enriched with aptX HD technology.

The buzz that surrounded the LG devices sparked the interest of the audio community, and at the IFA event in September more exciting new products have previewed: 

  • BeyerDynamic, a globally respected high-end audio manufacturer, launched a fully featured concept study in Berlin showing high-end headphones with Bluetooth transmission in high-resolution audio quality. Created in cooperation with Astell&Kern, BeyerDynamic demonstrated the first full-size headphones to feature aptX HD audio. 
  • Astell&Kern also showcased their AK-XB10 device, a lifestyle companion with aptX HD to support high resolution audio – what they describe as a whole new listening experience, without compromises.

Since the IFA show, LG has released its second smartphone with aptX HD technology, the LG V20, and luxury British audio brand NAIM has incorporated aptX HD in their Uniti2 product.

In Japan, Audio Technica has launched two new wireless headsets, the ATH-DSR9BT (pictured above) and the ATH-DSR7BT. Early reviews are full of praise for these products, and they’re likely to be available worldwide in 2017.

Some ODM companies are also now including aptX HD in their development solutions, making it even easier for device manufacturers to meet customer demands for high resolution audio with aptX.

With these advances in high-resolution audio, aptX HD is helping break down barriers to widespread wireless audio adoption. aptX is continuing to transform the Bluetooth stereo audio ecosystem, driving better sound quality without the need for wires. It was one of the first audio technologies to bring pro-audio quality to wireless consumer devices and has become synonymous with superior sound quality. With an increasing number of aptX HD enabled devices available, music lovers have even more options to fulfil their desire for the most premium listening experience possible.

For manufacturers aiming to deliver superb wireless audio experiences, aptX HD is available as part of the CSR8675 Bluetooth audio system-on-chip (SoC) platform, designed to support 24-bit audio end-to-end. 

*This sentence originally stated a “decrease” in signal-to-noise ratio in error. It has been corrected. [11/3/16]

Qualcomm aptX is a product of Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd.

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