All iPads Bluetooth A2DP / Apt-X / Bluetooth 4.0 Headsets

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories' started by Cord77, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. Cord77 macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    I would like to buy a set of nice wireless stereo headphones for use with the new iPad 3. However I've been reading some technical articles about the shortcomings of Bluetooth A2DP (specifically lag more than anything). There is a great article from 2008 over here about it.

    It seems the only choice we have currently for low lag, high quality Stereo headsets are to use Apt-X headsets (like Sennheiser PX 210 BT Apt-X) along with a dongle to give the iPad Apt-X compression ability.

    It seems mad to me that the newest iPad and iPhone 4s don't support Apt-X natively yet, although they include Bluetooth 4.0 as standard which hardly anyone else uses yet.

    I'd love to be able to use Bluetooth 4.0 if that enables low lag stereo audio, but of course there aren't any BT4.0 headphones out there yet to test this.

    The reason I need low lag is I want to use them when playing games, and obviously I don't want to be hearing sounds 0.5 seconds later than they occur in-game.

    Does anyone here have any real experience of the Apt-X solutions in relation to lag and sound quality? Also is the dongle a battery drain?
  2. Radio macrumors 68000

    Mar 5, 2012
    Central California
    Ive been using bt headphones for several years and the lag hasn't been a concern.

    What is a concern is the only 128kb stream u get but it's a trade off

    I say get a good pair and see what u think. Amazon has an excellent return policy.

    I have the older Sony bt cans and I love them
  3. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    I wonder if they fixed the problem with audio shifting to the left with Nokia BH-905 headsets.
  4. Cord77 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    The Apt-X standard is capable of 384Kbit/sec, but the lag of A2DP is the most important issue for me.

    After reading the article I linked I can understand why the lag is there and it explains nicely why the apt-x standard was created to reduce this to acceptable levels (basically it should be the same as listening to wired headphones or it's just not gonna fly for me).
  5. Roy Hobbs macrumors 68000

    Roy Hobbs

    Apr 29, 2005
    I've also been using A2DP since the release of the original iPad. I haven't experienced any lag in games, movies, or anything else
  6. Cord77 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    Which headphones or speakers have you been using out of interest?
  7. Roy Hobbs macrumors 68000

    Roy Hobbs

    Apr 29, 2005
  8. whtrbt7 macrumors 65816

    Jun 8, 2011
    Unfortunately there are absolutely no Bluetooth 4.0 headphones right now. There aren't even any Bluetooth 4.0 headsets out there right now. The most unfortunate part of A2DP is the stream rate which just doesn't seem like it can be fixed in any bluetooth standard right now. This means A2DP is only good for casual listening right now. Sony Ericsson/Sony A2DP headphones are normally pretty good sounding and allow you to use your own headphones. This however really doesn't make a difference because you're carrying another thing that needs to be charged very close to the iPhone or iPad you will have with you. So my solution was to go with a single ear listening/communication device: The Jawbone ERA. It's easy to set up, has jawbone tech for isolating my voice in noisy environments, and plays music to a single ear no problem. It works with the iPhone 4S and 2012 iPad really well and it's just simple. Music pauses when I get a call, noise filtration is excellent however it does mean that my voice and the voice DP sounds slightly robotic so you can hear the other person in the noisiest environments. Overall, it's the lightest and easiest solution for me.
  9. GraphicsGeek macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2008
    I've been using BT headphones for years at work for 8+ hours a day so I can move around the office freely. I've never experienced any lag whatsoever with video or audio. Unless you're an audiophile, you won't notice and audio degradation. I used the Sony DRBT22 for a few years and just recently switched to the Creative 300s. I prefer over the ear headphones vs earbuds or behind the kneck.
  10. eagleglen macrumors 65816


    Oct 2, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    I have a pair of BT headphone that support Apt-x but I never splurged for the $50 attachment that must be connected to your iDevice. The quality without it seems fine, no lag that I've noticed. My main reason for not trying out the Apt-x feature was not wanting to be bothered with the adapter attachment on my iPhone or iPad. These are the Jaybird Sportsband These aren't intended for long listening seasons, so they do become uncomfortable after awhile.

    I'm thinking of trying Dr. Dre's recent wireless Beats headphones. They will probably have the same lag you are concerned about. They claim to have high definite audio, but I think that's just marketing hype. I do expect the sound quality and comfort to be exceptional.
  11. GraphicsGeek macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2008
    You shouldn't. Beats are some of the most overpriced headphones on the market for the quality they produce. The get people by pumping out more bass and alot of people associate that with better quality. The bluetooth bandwidth from the device to the headphones isnt any different whether a cheap pair or expensive pair of headphones. This is why Jaybird provides the Apt-X adapter to bypass the Bluetooth bandwidth limitations. Beats are nothing but good looking, bass heavy headphones with a tremendous marketing team behind them.
  12. TwoBytes macrumors 68030


    Jun 2, 2008
    Just thought i'd check in this thread as people are talking about it, has anyone read if the Dre wireless beats are bluetooth 4?

    If not, what a waste!
  13. visionar007 macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2012
    You don't understand bluetooth 4.0

    You don't seem to understand bluetooth 4.0 capabilities. What it does is it uses less energy but only with low data rates for devices like heartbeat sensors. Bluetooth headphones have high data rates so they use bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (enhanced data rate) (especially for apt-x).
  14. Cord77 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    So what you are saying categorically is that Bluetooth 4.0 doesn't bring anything new to the table in respect to the higher bandwidth use for stereo audio? That is a shame since there are obviously shortcomings that have been addresses by 3rd parties such as the Apt-X codec in 2.1.
  15. Yetitrician macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2012
    Still looking for an answer to the OP... Jaybird, sennheisers, what.... I too would like a forum recommendation
  16. Phooto macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2007
    Visionar is correct. Bluetooth 4.0 is basically the combination of Bluetooth 2.1 & Bluetooth Low Energy.

    Bluetooth 4.0 is also known as Bluetooth SMART Ready. Bluetooth SMART is the new name for Bluetooth Low Energy. Confused?

    What you are discussing here are the Bluetooth profiles, A2DP is the audio profile, APT-X can optionally be added and included in a product by paying a license fee to CSR.

    I've been doing a lot of work with Bluetooth Low Energy - I've developed a camera timer remote controller using it - and also some work with A2DP & APT-X. AVRCP is another profile that allows you to control the playing device and pause, play, fwd and rev tracks.

    So, I wouldn't expect to see any Bluetooth 4.0 headphones, the feature you will be looking for would be A2DP or APT-X. Bluetooth 4.0 would only add the low energy functions, not a lot of use on a headphone device (but I'm sure someone will come up with something!)
  17. xraytech, Aug 16, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012

    xraytech macrumors 68030

    Mar 24, 2010
    I have a pair of MM 550-X and am very happy with their performance.

    No experience with the dongle. These cans did not come with one and I dislike carrying around extra stuff in my man purse.

    There is a short lag but that is to be expected. I live with it because I rarely use them for gaming.
  18. fryrice macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2012
    Boston, MA
    not sure if this will help OP but I have been using a2dp since 2006 with my motorola e680i paired with these big moto ht820 headset then moved on to sony ericsson bt stereo headsets and back then there was lag.

    now fast forward to 2012, i just recently picked up a samsung gs3 and HTC Car StereoClip CAR A100 which uses apt-x profiles and i definitely notice a difference in sound (bass, clarity, and treb) i dont notice it drain the battery but overall sound quaility is really good and no lag (not like there was since the intro of bt v2.0)

    i use the htc car clip for my civic si via aux jack and sounds great. my mom has a acura tl with bt stream and quality is not all that great...plugged that car clip into her aux and the sound is def better. keep in mind i am using my galaxy s3 where most of the songs are 192kbps and max i have is 320kbps.

    hope that shed some light on the apt-x. im just hoping iphone 5 uses apt-x
  19. DJRumpy macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2011
    The Bluetooth 4.0 standard is not simply Bluetooth 2.1 + low energy. It's far more than that. It takes the potential bandwidth from 2mbps to 26mbps, and it extends the power savings up to 5 to 10 times that of Bluetooth 2.1.

    Can't wait until someone produces a decent set of BT 4.0 stereo headsets as the 2.1's drain the battery too quickly.

    Note that BT 4.0 does not increase the stock range of Bluetooth, but drastically increases the throughput and power savings.
  20. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    Not sure if you are looking for full sized headphones for maximum listening enjoyment, or a compact small headset for the gym and such. But I use the Jaybird freedom BT headphones and they are phenomenal, I am extremely happy with them. Keep in mind I mainly use them in the gym. I did use them this past week on a business airline trip and found them lacking in that they didn't filter out any outside noise at all, so I wouldn't recommend them on an airplane trip.
  21. DJRumpy macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2011
    The jaybirds don't appear to be BT 4.0, which is all I'm looking for. I already have a bluetooth headset. I'm more interested in the power savings but not finding any BT 4.0 headsets yet.
  22. MrPelz macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2012
    The main reason why Bluetooth audio will never suit for audiophiles is the continous re-encoding.
    When you listen to wired headphones on your iPhone, you listen to music, that was encoded once by the music label or Apple itself in one of their data centers. iPhone decodes it and plays it out to the headphone jack. If the music comes from CD, the general mastering for 44.100 Hz occours in the studio. The next quality-decreasing step is iTunes encoding it at maybe 256 kbit/s AAC. iPhone plays it as above. You see: one encoding, one decoding. Everything fine.
    When you decide to buy awesome bluetooth A2DP-headphones, here comes what iPhones does with the audio: instead of taking the AAC or MP3-file and sending its still encoded bitstream to the headphones for decoding, it decodes the file as descibed above and re-encodes it with the crappy sbc-codec. This is the only codec required to call a device "A2DP-ready". So even if the headphones and coming iPhones would support Apt-X, it'd still be en-de-en-de-coding of music.
    Btw there are plenty of low price phones, which support direct transmission...
  23. Phooto macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2007
    BT 4.0 does not provide any advantage for audio, the A2DP profile has not been improved. apt-X is what you should look for, but it's only an advantage if the transmitting device supports it too, otherwise the SBC codec is used. iOS does not support apt-X, OS X does.
  24. macfly4 macrumors member


    Apr 15, 2011
    Ultimate ears 9000. They are sold at apple stores. Work great
  25. TeresaDanzer macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2012
    I use the Azeca non-aptx BT transmitter - - the delay is 350 milliseconds vs aptx 250 milliseconds. You only notice it when you are watching a video but even then it's hard to notice.

    They are coming out with a BT 4.0 headset in Jan 2013

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