For people who love music, listening to music is not only a hobby but also a life enjoyment. After all, a busy life rhythm, only music makes people feel relaxed. Especially with a good pair of wireless headphones or earphones, you can enjoy the freedom of listening. However, there is a wide variety of wireless headphones on the market, and it is not easy to choose a wireless earphone that suits you.
When choosing wireless headphones, if you like sports, it is recommended to select neck-mounted wireless headphones or in-ear earphones that can quickly meet the needs of daily sports and fitness. It also has an excellent waterproof and dustproof performance.
If you are watching TV at home, listening to music, etc., choosing headphones or wireless earbuds is a good choice.
If you frequently travel to other places, it is recommended to choose wireless earbuds. Not only convenient to store and carry, but also meet the wearing and driving needs of driving and attending business occasions.
According to the Bluetooth version: When choosing a wireless headset, it is easy to find that one of the parameters is about the Bluetooth version, such as Bluetooth 4.1, Bluetooth 4.2, and so on. Although it seems that there are only slight differences in the numbers, the differences are not small. So how do you choose the Bluetooth version of the wireless headset?
Whether the sound is good or not depends on the Bluetooth encoding. And let’s recognize the encoding used for Bluetooth transmission.
SBC is the earliest Bluetooth encoding under the A2DP audio transmission protocol. All true wireless headsets will also support SBC. It is a lossy compression encoding with a more significant output bit rate of 320kbps in mono. The two-channel is 512kbps. Under the A2DP protocol, the two-channel transmission rate is only 328kbps, which also needs to be converted by SBR Codec. Details will be lost during the process, and the sound quality will naturally be compromised.
As early as the Apple iPod era, it has been exposed to AAC, and all iPhones or iPads support AAC encoding. So many people think Apple developed it. But this is a lossy compression format jointly developed by Fraunhofer IIS, Dolby Laboratories, AT&T, Sony, Nokia, and other companies. It has a high compression ratio coding algorithm, which can compress the audio file to be smaller than the SBC file. The high-frequency part can retain more sound details than SBC so that the hearing will be better than SBC.
The original name was apt-X. CSR changed its name to aptX after acquiring it in 2010. Subsequently, CSR was acquired by Qualcomm in August 2015. Therefore, aptX became Qualcomm’s patented audio coding. aptX has always advertised that it can achieve sound quality close to the CD. Although it is more efficient than traditional Bluetooth encoding, the transmission rate is only 352kbps. To stream high-resolution audio (Hi-Res), the sound quality is still a long way from the way of connecting wired headphones.
In 2016, Qualcomm announced the evolution of aptX, called aptX HD. It can transmit Hi-Res music signals wirelessly. aptX HD can achieve 576kbps. The music signal is compressed at a ratio of 4:1, and currently supports 24bit/48kHz music, which is higher than the 16bit/44.1kHz of CD sound quality. aptX HD is compatible with the old aptX at the same time. Even if the phone supports aptX HD and the headset also supports, you can enjoy high-quality wireless listening songs after Bluetooth connection.
The full name is apt X Low Latency, which is a low-latency transmission technology that can simultaneously listen to wireless audio while watching videos. It needs to be used with devices that support aptX. It is said to provide an ultra-low latency of 32ms, ensuring the simultaneous transmission of sound and image, and improving the quality of game and video content.
AptX Adaptive is a newer specification of aptX encoding. Qualcomm’s current QCC303x and QCC5100 series of Bluetooth chips already support aptx Adaptive, which can bring higher efficiency Bluetooth sound transmission. Qualcomm said that the encoding supports a higher sampling rate of 24bit/96kHz. The transmission rate reaches 420kbps, and the sound delay can be less than 2ms so that when playing videos or playing games, the sound can be more synchronized with the picture. Even if the phone does not support aptX Adaptive, it is backward compatible with aptX and aptX HD.
LDAC is a Bluetooth encoding developed by Sony. It has a transmission rate of 990kbps and can wirelessly transmit Hi-Res Audio signals of 24bit/96kHz specifications. LDAC provides 3 transmission modes, which are divided into sound quality priority, normal, and connection priority. They are 990kbps, 660kbps, and 330kbps transmission rates of three different speeds. Even the lower connection priority transmission rate is still better than SBC. If streaming CD-quality music, LDAC encoding can achieve uncompressed playback. While streaming Hi-Res Audio high-resolution audio, LDAC has a higher transmission rate of 990kbps, and the sound effect must be better than SBC or AAC. Streaming CD-quality music, LDAC encoding can achieve uncompressed playback.
After introducing the Bluetooth coding, the core of the headset is its Bluetooth chip. It can be said that it is the core of the headset, which significantly affects the headset’s endurance, the connection distance, the stability of the connection, and even the sound quality.
Three Major Bluetooth Chip Manufacturers
In addition to the true wireless earphones of major manufacturers such as Apple and Sony, which use their own R&D chips, most other earphone brands are sourced from chip suppliers. There are three major chip manufacturers, including Broadcom, Realtek, and Qualcomm.
Broadcom’s BCM43752 and BCM43751 both support Bluetooth 5.0 transmission and low power technology, which can improve the endurance of true wireless headphones. These two chips also correspond to the Mu-Mimo function, which can enhance the headset’s connection speed. One interesting point is that the chip has FM radio capability, which is a rare feature of true wireless headphones. According to the report, the chips of Samsung Galaxy Buds series of true wireless headphones have found Broadcom as a research and development partner.
As early as 2017, Realtek has launched the RTL8763B series of chips, supporting Bluetooth 5.0 transmission technology, with high-resolution playback, and can be called the world’s most power-saving Bluetooth chip. Following the launch of the new RTL8773B series of Bluetooth chips, while retaining the advantages of listening to stereo ultra-low power consumption, it integrates environmental noise reduction (ENC) and hybrid active noise reduction (Hybrid ANC) functions, significantly improve the sound quality performance. Generally, cheaper real wireless earphones, such as Cowon CX5, Sabbat E12, and QCY T1, can like to choose the Realtek Bluetooth chip.
Speaking of the most famous chip factory is Qualcomm, it can be said that the leader in the chip industry. Nine out of ten real wireless headphones available on the market also use its chips, including 1MORE, Nuarl, Master & Dynamic, Jabra, Plantronics, Klipsch, Audio-Technica, Jaybird, SOUL, Cambridge Audio and Sennheiser, etc. Wait. The most common chips are the QCC5100 and QCC30xx series, which support Bluetooth 5.0 transmission technology and are compatible with TrueWireless Stereo Plus technology. The left and right earphones can receive signals independently, without the need for primary and auxiliary earphone transmission, and can achieve the effect of fast connection and power saving. Both chips have aptX / aptX HD encoding and call noise reduction.
The Bluetooth chip built into a truly wireless headset can affect connection stability, battery life, and supported encoding formats. That’s right, but let’s talk about the stability of the connection. The development of the current chip is mature. However, whether the connection is stable or not, it is not just the chip. The built-in antenna materials and placement are also important factors. As for battery life, most Bluetooth chips advertise that they have low power consumption, so the continuous playback time of the headset depends on the headset itself. Some earphones will have the function of automatically stopping the music when the earphones are removed to achieve the power saving effect. When it comes to compatible Bluetooth encoding formats, you need to know that even headphones that support aptX high-quality encoding playback are not necessarily good, because the sound depends on the earphone manufacturer’s sound perception and tuning style.