Bluetooth 5: what’s new in wireless listening?


Mis à jour le 2 August 2019.

Guide Bluetooth

Bluetooth 5 technology has officially been approved and the first transmitters and receivers should become available in 2017. Where Bluetooth 4 technology notably allowed for very high energy efficiency, Bluetooth 5 will introduce an extended range with four times as much coverage. In other words, the range of Bluetooth wireless communication will now be extended to 40 meters. Meanwhile, the energy efficiency which was a strong point for Bluetooth 4.2 transmitters will be maintained, thus ensuring long-lasting autonomy for mobile devices (hi-fi portable players, for example).

Bluetooth 5: CD-quality audio transmission, here at last?

The new feature which should be of particular interest to the hi-fi community is the bandwidth offered by Bluetooth 5. In fact, with 2 Mbits per second, Bluetooth 5 can theoretically transmit CD-quality PCM stream in stereo, which requires 1.5 Mbps for uncompressed formats or 0.8 to 0.9 Mbps with lossless compression (FLAC or ALAC files, for example). In addition, Bluetooth 5 transmitters and receivers will be able to detect radio frequency interference on the 2.4 GHz band and modify their communication channel in order to preserve high-quality transmission.

Bluetooth Apt-X : la sélection

This ample bandwidth of 2 Mbps will also allow for streaming music without recompression from Spotify, Deezer, Tidal and Qobuz. However, no new codec has been announced for the moment, and lossy compression technologies such as SBC, AAC and apt-X will stay in effect for the time being. Currently, only Sony?s LDAC compression allows for lossless Bluetooth transmission of CD-quality stereo streams. This technology is only implemented by certain Sony devices. To be continued.

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  1. Per the mention of LDAC in this article, according to the specs listed on their website, the Pixel 2 phones support LDAC. Also, various articles show where LDAC support has been integrated into Android Oreo, so any device that updates to Oreo could support it. I haven’t seen it mentioned whether or not LDAC support would require a license fee by the Android device vendors.

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