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Bluetooth Headphones

peter312

Active Member
I’m thinking about purchasing some Bluetooth headphones but am somewhat confused as to what specification to go for.

I have an iPhone 11 Pro Max and understand that uses AAC for transmitting Bluetooth. However, I was wondering would I get better audio if I bought a DAP (eg Sony NW-A55) or even a PAYG android phone (there are cheaper deals available on a Huawei Y6 2019 or some older Sonys for example but I have no idea how each might perform via Bluetooth).

Would something that can transmit Bluetooth via APTX or LDAC be a decent improvement over the AAC my iPhone can do?

Many thanks
 

JayCee

Distinguished Member
Would something that can transmit Bluetooth via APTX or LDAC be a decent improvement over the AAC my iPhone can do?
In theory, yes, but only if you're of an age that you could hear a difference.
As you age your ears gradually lose the ability to hear high frequencies clearly so bear that in mind.
Have a listen to this.
I couldn't hear anything above 9232Hz
 
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Steven

Senior Moderator
Different Bluetooth codecs support different bit rate i.e. more data and in theory better quality.

Bit rate is different to sound frequency, which Jay is trying to refer to. On that test site I am averaging 16,000 to 16,500. But being able to hear the sound frequency is separate to bit rate and whether one can hear a quality increase

Edit: fixed my rubbish spelling and grammar
 
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peter312

Active Member
Thank you both for your input. It’s the bitrate I’m mostly concerned about. I appreciate that Bluetooth will be a compromise, particularly compared to my main headphones, but it is the convenience I am looking for.

Does anyone have any experience of comparing AAC with APTX and LDAC?

Many thanks
 

Jules Tohpipi

Active Member
Does anyone have any experience of comparing AAC with APTX and LDAC?

Many thanks

So, reading your posts, I tried out an AAC vs aptX HD comparison tonight.

Now, for anyone who knows anything about these things, then there's a million-and-one caveats to the following. But here goes anyway.

Source material
Tidal's own app playing on an iPhone 6s Plus

Headphones
Sony WH-1000XM2 with ANC turned off and EQ flat

AAC test
Bluetooth from iPhone to Sony headphones

aptX HD test
Tidal app on iPhone controlling streaming to a Chromecast Audio. Optical out of the CCA to an Avantree Oasis Plus Bluetooth transmitter. Headphones connected to BT transmitter in aptX HD mode

Result
Both sounded good. But each and all tracks sounded appreciably better via the aptX HD routing. Stand outs were more air, cleaner, better dynamics.

However, the codec alone is no guarantee of anything. Plenty of other ways for an over-zealous designer to mess up a product.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I have a Sony NW-A55, I have Sony WH-1000XM3s and an iPhone 7. Generally my DAP sounds better than my iphone playing the same files. There is a little more clarity and resolution. Not a huge amount but enough to notice the difference in a side by side test.
 

peter312

Active Member
Thank you, both. My Bluetooth headphones should arrive tomorrow so I’ll try them with my iPhone first. I think my Macbook does APTX so maybe I can try that too as a comparison.
 

Jules Tohpipi

Active Member
Thank you, both. My Bluetooth headphones should arrive tomorrow so I’ll try them with my iPhone first. I think my Macbook does APTX so maybe I can try that too as a comparison.
Out of interest, is your headphone listening mainly around the house or outside?
 

wizball1974

Active Member
I have the Sony NW-A45 and Sony WH-1000XM3s. I have Bluetooth configured to use LDAC - prioritise quality and find that to be very good and it gives a consistently rock solid connection.

If you go down the Android phone route, you may find connectivity less reliable. My current phone won't do LDAC even though it's Android 10 and I have enabled Developer Options. My previous phone would do LDAC, but was far more prone to little dropouts.

Amazon were doing NW-A45 for £100 recently and often do discounts on products over Easter so that price may return. Alternatively, centresdirect.co.uk sometimes have refurb models for about £80ish.
 

peter312

Active Member
Out of interest, is your headphone listening mainly around the house or outside?
Certainly mostly inside with the headphones I’ve just purchased.

I do want to sort out something for when washing the car or working outside at some point but that’ll be something a little cheaper. I used to use a USB stick walkman with cheapish earphones for that!
 

Jules Tohpipi

Active Member
Certainly mostly inside with the headphones I’ve just purchased.

I do want to sort out something for when washing the car or working outside at some point but that’ll be something a little cheaper. I used to use a USB stick walkman with cheapish earphones for that!
OK. And what are your music sources? Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz or stored on the device or a NAS? Which headphones are you buying and what codecs do they support?

All this will help recommend a way of best shunting the music around :)
 

peter312

Active Member
In theory, I have FLAC files on a NAS and use Both Amazon HD Music and Apple Music Available to me. My sources will alternate between ipad, iphone and macbook and a DAP if I buy one.

I have purchased the B&W PX5 headphones as I got a good offer and I like them in blue. They seem to do AAC, APTX and APTX HD but I’m not sure about LDAC.

Thanks for your help :)
 
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