Bluetooth Headphones with ZERO Audio Lag? Is this even possible??

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by joejoejoe, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. joejoejoe, Oct 6, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016

    joejoejoe macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2006
    I was totally OK with the removal of the headphone jack. It's like the floppy disk! And firewire! And CD drive! Let's progress to the future!

    And then that moment happened.

    I had to get on a call, and I couldn't plug in my headphones to my phone.

    Then I went to get my lightning earpods, and noticed my phone was at 13%.

    It happened again.

    I had to choose. Headphones or charge?


    It's pretty clear I need bluetooth headphones, but I can't stand the audio lag when you're watching video, and I have to watch a great deal of video for work.

    I've been searching and searching and haven't been able to find a single pair of headphones that are perfectly in sync with video.

    Can this even exist? Why is this so hard to find? Is there a pair out there that works?

    Curious to know if this is an inherent problem with bluetooth and why some headphones have more lag than others...


    Eating my own words.

    I just picked up a pair of Bose Soundlink Wireless On Ear headphones and tested with this link:

    Zero lag.

  2. jabingla2810 macrumors 68020

    Oct 15, 2008
    iOS has always compensated for the delay. Audio and video line up perfectly.

    Always been that way.

    Even the Apple TV to Bluetooth headphones works perfectly.
  3. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005
    My experience has been the exact opposite. Audio and video way out of sync.

    This depends on the device you're using to listen to the audio. Not just phone.
  4. elfxmilhouse macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2008
    Northeast USA
    I've been using bluetooth headphones since my iphone 5 and had no issues with lag. I've used JBL and harman/kardon headphones and speakers and they all worked well with my iphones. I also used an amazon basics bluetooth receiver and that worked without noticeable lag either.

    If you want specifics these are some of the models I've personally tried:

    JBL reflect mini BT
    JBL everest Elite 700
    JBL everest Elite 300
    JBL J46BT
    JBL charge

    Harman/kardon esquire

    amazonbasics bluetooth 4.0 audio receiver

    The only time I personally experienced a bluetooth audio sync issue was back in 2008 on my mac mini and a bluetooth speaker.

    I also have a JBL bluetooth speaker paired to my 4th gen apple tv and it has no delay when watching movies.
  5. xaqt93 macrumors 6502


    Jun 17, 2011
    Honestly, I use the Lg Tone Active and I have never experienced audio lag. On older models I definitly have, but not the actives which I have had over a year now
  6. Ntombi macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2008
    Bostonian exiled in SoCal
    I've been primarily using Bluetooth headphones for a few years now. I have never once experienced audio lag that wasn't the video's fault (meaning something weird on YouTube or something).

    I've used mostly JayBird, but occasionally a different brand. Hell, even the cheap Bluetooth speakers I use in my kitchen and bathroom sync perfectly.
  7. ag29 macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2014
    I have powerbeats2. They used to lag when watching videos but then a software update was issued for them and they stopped lagging completely.

    Most of the lag issues with video for bluetooth headphones should be fixed by now. That was a huge problem about a year ago.
  8. tekchic macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2010
    Phoenix, AZ
    My Anker BT earbuds are in sync (e.g. I can play Minecraft and the sound is exactly when the event is happening).

    My Mpow Swift earbuds are WAY out of sync - if I'm playing Minecraft and break a block, I hear it nearly a full second later. They're also the same pair that I have to disconnect/forget and manually re-pair every single time I want to use them now, so I've just stopped using them.

    I'm hoping they get more Bluetooth issues worked out in the next few dot releases of iOS 10.
  9. clerkpalmer macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2016
    Gear IconX do not lag.
  10. jcmeyer5 macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2008
    I am using this POS single ear piece off Amazon (S530 is what it pairs as). $10. The voice prompts are in Chinese. No lag at all.
  11. joejoejoe thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2006
    Not sure how this is possible.

    How are you guys determining ZERO lag? For example, watch a video of someone clapping. Is the sound of the clap and the image of the clap perfectly in sync when you're listening with bluetooth headphones?

    I have a very hard time believing it would be.

    Even if it's off by half a second - that makes them unusable for people that work with video or audio - which is why this is important.

    I'm going to try and get my hands on a couple of these though to try myself... thanks for all the recs!
  12. Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

    Mar 4, 2003
    They won't be perfectly sync'd, but neither will your wired ones. Just has to be close enough you don't perceive the difference. There's a sync problem in movie theaters and music concerts too, because the "video" (light) travels faster than sound. Same reason fireworks flash... then... boom.

    The delay has to be much shorter than half a second for your brain to not notice-- not sure the exact number, but it's probably got to be in the 10s of milliseconds.

    I drove myself nuts with lag questions for a few weeks after getting some Bose QC35s. Video conference calls on my Mac seems mistimed, movies seemed a little bit out of sync, all kinds of things felt weird.

    The Bose also come with a wire, so you can wire them up or use BT and compare back and forth. Eventually I just decided that I everything seemed weird because I was suddenly paying attention to it-- I never actually tried watching an actor's lips before, and video conference quality is generally crap.

    Once the neurosis passed, everything's been good.

    :D I love that the first sentence of the product description is "Note: please do not over charge !"
  13. ag29 macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2014
    You should just give it a try.Believe me things have gotten better. Less than just a year ago I had a problem with bluetooth headphones giving off some major lag, but there have been software updates for the headphones made specifically to fix those kind of issues.

    If you're an audiophile, you will notice a teensy bit of lag but it's nothing like how it was before.
  14. Travisimo macrumors 6502a

    Dec 22, 2009
    Using Beats Solo 2 Wireless headphones and have never noticed any lag. I wonder if the newer headphones with the W1 chip are relevant in this regard?
  15. beernut macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2016
    i'm glad this was brought up again. i still have video/audio bluetooth sync issue in my car -- prius C (and other cars like rentals) / iphone 6s ios 10.0.2.

    i always thought this was just a thing to live with or work around as it's always been happening. that's why on long trips i always double check to make sure i have the aux cable as there's never lag/sync problem when using that.

    so you guys are saying this SHOULDNT be an issue anymore? i wonder why some of us are still experiencing it o_O
  16. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    It's a basic media technology problem. Whether it's acoustic delay (speed of sound vs. speed of light) or electronic delay (the need to buffer either audio or video in order to correct faults prior to display/sound transmission), there's potential for an out-of-sync condition.

    For example, in the case of arena sound systems, if there are speakers at the stage and other speakers on towers nearer to the audience, the audio to the tower speakers may be delayed so that it's in sync with the audio from the stage. In either case, there will be no lip-sync with the live performers on stage (though the arena video system may well delay the video to match the delayed audio).

    The standard assumption is that the casual observer can't perceive less than a single-frame offset between sound and picture. I'd certainly hope that a Bluetooth headset in close proximity to the transmission source wouldn't induce more than a single-frame delay. However, if it uses buffering to make up for poor transmission and that there's enough buffer capacity that it can routinely exceed a single frame's delay...

    I'd think this is the kind of variable that's determined by a combination of product design and radio transmission/reception quality. A combination of poor design and poor reception conditions could be a killer. On the other hand, when all the stars are aligned, there should be little or no problem.
  17. xaqt93 macrumors 6502


    Jun 17, 2011
    Just tried it mate! All the sounds works perfectly. I use my Lg Tones Active to watch Netflix and listen to music. I have done it for over a year now with those headphones and I would have definitly noticed by now. In all honesty, I would try and restore your iPhone or whatever device is causing the lag...
  18. eclipse01 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2011
    Eau Claire, WI
    I have experienced lag with my LG tones
  19. elfxmilhouse macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2008
    Northeast USA
    Theres no such thing as "zero" lag. All signals will have some latency. Even a wired connection has latency. Either the protocol itself or the processing in between will cause lag.

    What everyone here means is that there is not enough latency to be able to tell there is a sync issue. In my opinion I cannot tell the difference in my experience. I'm sure if I measured the latency it would be there.
  20. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Never had a delay problem. When "that moment happened" why did you not just pick up your phone and answer it!
  21. xaqt93 macrumors 6502


    Jun 17, 2011
    That bites man! I hope I never run into problems! Its been a long time now and I use them daily for Netflix and music. If I ever experience a delay in the audio, Ill be sure to post back!
  22. joejoejoe thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2006
    who says I didn't pick up my phone. and that's beside the point.

    my essential question was whether or not it was possible to have perfect sync between audio and video while using bluetooth headphones. in my experience, there's always a noticeable delay, but i'm looking forward to finding a pair of headphones that get around the problem.

    very curious to know if it's even possible with bluetooth or if the underlying technology is not capable.

    this is not a question of sound and video traveling at different speeds, or latency on wired headphones that's not noticeable to the human eye - i'm talking specifically about what's noticeable or not.

    for all those that claim their bluetooth headphones are in perfect sync, i'd be curious if that's the case when you watch someone clap their hands once, for example. that's where it's always been most noticeable
  23. ProphetX macrumors 6502

    Feb 8, 2011
    Bluetooth audio lag? Is that even a a thing? In 2016?
  24. eclipse01 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2011
    Eau Claire, WI
    I will admit, my LG Tones are the very first model of them (and cheapest)
  25. SRLMJ23, Oct 10, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016

    SRLMJ23 Contributor


    Jul 11, 2008
    In between Syracuse, NY and Albany, NY
    I use Beats Studio 2's and I have never noticed any lag with my Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV (4th Gen.).


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