How Does Wireless Bluetooth Listening Affect Headphone Sound Quality

How Does Wireless Bluetooth Listening Affect Headphone Sound Quality

March 15, 2018 by Mixcder


In this modern society, there is an increasing number of people choosing to buy Bluetooth headphones because of the portability. However, some people would be curious about some questions such as: Is the audio quality of wired headphones better than the Bluetooth headphones? And how much do Bluetooth headphones affect the sound quality of my music? There is no regulated numeric scale for audio quality, of course. Some folks have extremely high standards of quality and some have lower standards. Hence, Does wireless Bluetooth listening affect headphone sound quality?


Codecs

I first want to explain a few fundamentals of Bluetooth. Bluetooth senders and Bluetooth receivers must support the same codec in order to work properly. A codec is a device that compresses data and decompresses received data. All Bluetooth listening devices support SBC codecs (the original audio codec for Bluetooth). SBC codecs are made to have medium bit rates and only relatively small data can travel Bluetooth’s narrow bandwidth to your headphones.

But research and technology, as I am humbly aware, are solving problems they never could before. Which brings us to the codec, aptX.


aptX

The algorithm for the aptX codec was derived from research done at Queens University Belfast in the 1980s. Eventually the developers found a way to decrease the bit rate without losing audio quality. AptX can reproduce a 16bit/44.1kHz audio file accurately. It isn’t able to reproduce audio at higher qualities, but for normal consumer CD quality audio, it is great!


Sound Quality Elements in Your Sound System

Environment

The first thing to consider about sound quality is how many components affect it. First, reflect on your listening environment. If you are using a pair of Bluetooth headphones, maybe you are commuting, flying, or exercising. There is probably a fair amount of noise afoot (bustling traffic, children, and wind). Environment plays a role in the quality of our listening experience, like it or not. This affects how closely we should be judging the other elements in our listening system.


File Format

Your file format or streaming quality is another important sound quality factor. We all know that FLAC or WAV files sound better than MP3s or AACs which are made smaller by “lossy” data compression. They literally lose data. We’ve all heard how streaming music immediately loses sound quality. It might be unfair to judge other elements harshly if we are only streaming music or listening to MP3s.


Headphones

Headphones have the power to affect the sound in a variety of ways. This fact is reflected in the wide range of headphone prices. Headphones are available from $5 to $5000. They can make or break your sound.


Digital to Analog Converter

The digital to analog converter (DAC) is another element that affects sound quality. It would be a whole other article to describe how these can affect your audio quality. To keep things short, if you are just using the DAC on your phone, you are substantially hindering the quality you can experience.


Conclusion

Does wireless Bluetooth listening affect headphone sound quality?

If you’re listening to bigger, lossless files, your headphones are top of the line, and you apply a high quality DAC in a quiet environment, then yes, Bluetooth is going to significantly damage the quality of your sound. To listen wirelessly, check to see if your headphones or audio player support aptX. In that case, you will be all set. If not, it is worth researching other options.

You will bepleasedby using Bluetooth headphones when you are streaming from your phone andtraveling or exercising. However, you might need to address one of the other elements in your sound system to see if it improves the listening experience when you are not satisfied with the audio quality.

Original Article: How does wireless Bluetooth listening affect headphone sound quality?