Bluetooth is finally getting a major update with a feature that many users have been waiting for and that will enable completely new areas of application. For the new Bluetooth LE will not only be more power efficient and sound better than before, but also offer the possibility to send the sound of a single source to any number of destinations - so, for example, a "silent" concert via Bluetooth will be possible, where the audience is all supplied with sound via Bluetooth headphones from only one transmitter.
Bluetooth LE audio quality and bitrate comparison
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), which is responsible for the Bluetooth standard, had actually announced the development of the new Bluetooth LE generation at CES 2020 and expected the first devices by the end of the year, but Corona has delayed finalization until now. Before the end of 2022, technology that supports Bluetooth LE should now be on the market - to distinguish it from the new standard, the previous Bluetooth Audio is referred to as "Classic Audio".
Bluetooth LE Audio
The two biggest innovations are the LC3 audio codec and Auracast. The LC3 codec is supposed to transmit sound more efficiently than before with the current SBC codec, i.e. according to SIG a slightly better sound quality should only require half the data bandwidth than before or the audio quality is much higher than before if sound is transmitted with the same bit rate. If sound is transmitted at a lower bit rate, power consumption is reduced, which should translate into longer battery life. The LC3 (Low Complexity Communications Codec) supports sampling rates of 8/16/24/32/44.1 and 48 kHz and data rates of 16-320 kbps.
The new Bluetooth Auracast enables audio broadcasting, i.e. the reception of a sound source via Bluetooth on many devices. Auracast allows users to select an audio source similar to a WiFi network, users can also select between multiple audio sources, similar to a radio station. Likewise, a Bluetooth audio source can be activated via QR code or NFC tag. Thus, Auracast can be used to pair two headphones with a smartphone or many headphones with a TV (for example, in a gym or pub).
Bluetooth LE Audio - Auracast source selection
Other features include better support for true wireless in-ear stereo headphone pairs, which do not have a wired connection to each other. Per Bluetooth LE Audio, both the left and right in-ear stero headphones have their own separate (mono) connection to the source device, each of which transmits the appropriate audio track in sync, rather than one, which then had to establish its own energy-consuming connection to the other. Bluetooth LE Audio is also expected to enable the development of Bluetooth hearing aids that provide all the benefits of Bluetooth Audio for the large number of people with hearing loss.
Bluetooth LE Audio - two connections for in-ear stereo headphones
Fortunately, it will be possible for some devices that use the current version of Bluetooth to upgrade to Bluetooth LE via software (it is even partially supported in the beta version of Android 13), but in most cases an upgrade of the hardware will be necessary to fully use Bluetooth LE. more infos at bei www.bluetooth.com