SBC vs AAC? aptX vs AAC, which is the best bluetooth codec?

aptx logo

Bluetooth audio is currently gaining a large following.

The disappearance of mini-jack headphone ports on some smartphones, such as the iPhone, has meant that audio companies are producing high-quality wireless devices.

AAC vs. SBC? AAC vs aptX? Among Bluetooth audio technology, the Qualcomm aptX code is in a privileged place.

bluetooth codecs

What is a Bluetooth Codec?

The word codec, when talking about wireless audio, means the software method of encoding a stream of audio information that is sent wirelessly between two devices.

In other words, it is the process by which the zeros and ones of binary digital data are formatted.

It is used to transmit stereo audio through a source device, such as a telephone, computer, television, etc., to a receiver, such as wirelessspeakers or headphones.

Different codecs send audio information using different formats and may introduce their own compression technologies to maintain a balance between sound quality and the information packet of the audio files.

Compression may sound like a bad thing for lovers of high quality audio, but it is necessary if we are going to send large files wirelessly.

This means that the variants among the bluetooth codecs are compatible with different audio devices, as well as providing different connection and sound qualities.

All Bluetooth devices support the standardized SBC (Low Complexity Subband Coding) codec, but implementations of SBC have varied in quality throughout the history of this technology.

BCS vs. CSA? aptX vs AAC? To provide greater consistency for users of bluetooth products, several companies have developed their own bluetooth codecs, and then offer the license to other production houses.

AAC is one of these formats, a successor to MP3, used by Apple and others. Sony has its LDAC codec and Qualcomm offers aptX.

bluetooth codecs

AAC vs SBC vs aptX codec which is the best?

Codecs are encoding algorithms that compress audio to handle sound packets for fast wireless transmission.

The codec efficiency determines the quality of the audio information that will be sent.

The SBC code is the standard algorithm for most Bluetooth devices. However, this codec has a relatively high latency and can be somewhat noisy.

BCS vs. CSA? AAC vs. aptX? The three main codecs that most users will encounter are SBC, AAC and aptX. What is the best Bluetooth audio codec? Here are their differences.

  • SBC

The SBC codec is the codec found in most wireless devices and is found in all Bluetooth headsets with A2DP (Advance Distribution Profile).

The Bluetooth SBC is capable of transmitting up to 328kbps with sample rates of 44.1 KHz.

The SBC codec provides very decent quality audio and does not require much processing. However, the audio may be inconsistent in some situations.

This is especially noticeable when using inexpensive Bluetooth transmitters.

  • AAC

SBC vs AAC? codec Bluetooth AAC is similar to SBC but provides better sound quality.

The AAC codec is very popular thanks to the Apple iTunes platform. As a drawback, we should mention that it is not very common to find it in headphones.

  • aptX

BCS vs apX? AAC vs aptX HD? The aptX codec is ideal for demanding audio applications because it encodes audio more efficiently and accepts more information than SBC.

Additional variations, such as aptX (LL) and aptX (HD), drastically reduce wireless latency and improve sound quality.

However, it is somewhat limiting because both the transmitter and receiver must have aptX capability for this codec to work.

BCS vs. CSA? aptX vs AAC? Since Culturasonora does not have a reliable means of measuring the AAC and LDAC formats wirelessly, we have compared the SBC and aptX codes using a Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 headset:

aptX and SBC sound quality

We find that the standard SBC codec works well for most audio applications. It is not particularly noisy, although in the signal to noise ratio, the aptX has a higher optimum loudness range. The audio differences are subtle in the SBC vs aptX fight, but can be noticeable to expert and critical ears.

The resulting measurements, however, for both frequency response and harmonic distortion, are very similar between the aptX and SBS codecs.

aptX SBC codecs

Latency in bluetooth codecs

Latency, or delay in wireless audio playback, is where the aptX codec separates itself. The SBS connection has about 100 ms of delay, which is noticeable when watching videos and can ruin certain gaming experiences.

On the other hand. CSR developed the low latency aptX code to fix these connection problems.

The aptX improves the performance of the SBC, but it is the aptX-LL that has the biggest impact in terms of results.

The aptX-LL codecx was excellent when we tested it by watching some movies and playing some games. This makes the BackbeatPro2 and other headphones with this technology ideal for these activities.

Based on our tests, we have found that the best Bluetooth audio codec has a greater impact on latency than on sound quality.

The aptX codec has subtle improvements in sound quality, but the differences are less noticeable than the improved speed of audio playback via Bluetooth.

Do you want to know which are the best Bluetooth Audio Receivers on the market?

Codec aptX, why should we use it?

The SBC codec is configured to operate at low bitrates, such as 200kbps, which does not provide the best sound quality.

In theory, the SBC codec can operate at bitrates up to 345 kbps, and the introduction of A2DP audio profiles enables wireless transfers of audio formats such as MPEG and ATRAC.

However, support for these formats is optional and varies between headphones or wireless speakers.

The aptX codec, on the other hand, offers a better signal-to-noise ratio in important frequency ranges, as well as better performance when it comes to delays in the Bluetooth connection.

This codec exists, in part, to provide guaranteed audio quality in all products compatible with this format.

The aptX audio transfers at a bitrate of 352 kbps/ 16-bit 44.1 kHz. This means 4:1 compression compared to lossless files, and includes enough information to wirelessly carry files equivalent to the best MP3 formats.

In terms of smartphones, the aptX codec standard is found in a large number of devices as well as the improved aptX HD, which has appeared in new wireless equipment.

Another interesting aspect of the aptX codec is that it uses a technique called ADPCM (Adaptive Differential Pulse-Code Modulation).

Essentially, it divides the audio frequency spectrum into four bands, each with its own bit depth and signal-to-noise ratio.

This technology is also superior to SBC when sending audio via Bluetooth that has already been compressed, such as MP3 audio files.

The aptX codec has, as we said, a better signal to noise ratio than the SBC codec, about 5kHz more capacity, so that we can better perceive the fine details of voices and instruments when listening via an aptX codec, if our source material is of good quality.

The Qualcomm codec also features a faster conversion rate than the algorithms used by Bluetooth SBC and can transfer audio packets more efficiently.

This means it handles lower latency, an important factor for wireless audio when watching movies or playing games on our favorite consoles.

Qualcomm’s low latency technology handles a delay in the region of 40 ms, although this can increase to about 150 ms in older codecs.

The SBC is measured with a delay of 100 ms and can increase to 150 ms. AD2P varies between 40 and 150 ms, depending on conversion requirements.

Aptx Qualcomm HD

What is aptX HD?

This new Qualcomm format was introduced to make use of fast bluetooth profiles for better sound quality.

It is an evolution of the same ADPCM technology, but offers some extra bit depth and lower noise at playback.

AAC vs aptX HD? The HD version also improves Qualcomm compressionquality .

Although the company claims that the aptX HD codec supports resolutions higher than 24-bit – 48 kHz, this codec is designed for wireless use, so it will not sound lacking in detail compared to uncompressed material.

However, its bit rate capacity is 576 kbps, which far exceeds that of the SBC.


APTX vs SBC¿ We can say that the Qulacomm aptX codec has a number of advantages over SBC and is supported by more than 70% of current Android devices.

None of these codecs ensure a guarantee of sound quality if our audio files, as well as our headphones or speakers, are not also of good quality, however, they help to achieve the best possible quality when reproducing sound via Bluetooth technology.

We hope we have helped you understand which Bluetooth audio codec is best. If you want to read in-depth reviews about bluetooth technology, as well as wireless audio equipment such as speakers or headphones, feel free to visit our culturasonora page.

We leave you with a video demonstration of the advantages of the aptX codec:

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