Foreseeable future of wireless audio quality

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by HermanMunster, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. HermanMunster macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2016
    Location:
    Mexico
    #1
    So it's been confirmed, no analog phone jack on the Iphone 7. For me it's an inconvenience given these 2 reasons:
    1.- It is not a deal breaker but having to use an adaptor for wired headphones is less convenient.
    2.- There were no clear indications of upgrades in the quality of wireless sound transmission in the presentation. Even if a DAC is now going to be present in the headphones themselves, the conversion has to work with the BT wireless signal it receives and that signal is known to have bandwidth limitations.

    However I didn't start this thread to complain about the loss of the analog jack but rather to discuss what to expect, in terms of sound quality, from the wireless reality of the Iphone 7.

    What I would like to know is your best guess as to

    -what steps has Apple taken or could take in the near future to improve the quality of wireless audio?
    -Could aptX or other technology be implemented as a software upgrade to the IP7? is it there already?
     
  2. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #2
    Wireless quality has been awesome on my Jaybird X2's, no complaints here. But I'm not an audiophile, although I tend to think most audiophiles exaggerate. Kind of like those blindfolded wine tasting tests where world class wine critics always pick the crappiest vintage.

    But I would think that wireless audio quality will take a big upturn, especially with Apple pushing to have no more wires. I do think that their proprietary chip is bad for innovation, but the iPhone still has regular old Bluetooth. But either way you can be sure that the entire audio market will improve that much faster now that Apple has thrown down the gauntlet.
     
  3. whtrbt7 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    #3
    Not having 3.5mm will wean us all away from analog. Sound quality can be controlled to each ear or speaker instead of having an analog line to the drivers. For those using studio monitors, it means that we can have multiple drivers in each ear without having to reprocess the signal or split the signal. Now in terms of wireless, the problem with current Bluetooth is that the bitrate and noise to signal ratio can be a little low. This means that we need to compress audio and then decompress it when it comes to our ears. This is why there is a buffer time between the device and our wireless headphones. Depending on what kind of drivers you have in your headphones, the original quality of your music/sound, and the processing of audio between the phone and your headphones, the results can differ. We can't currently get reference quality sound from Bluetooth yet which is part of the problem. We can however get reference quality from WiFi since the bitrate is higher. I think the new inclusion of Apple's W1 chip is going to help change wireless audio to have faster bitrates and also push the envelope for wireless audio protocols. We will know more once we get our hands on the new AirPods. I think that they still use Bluetooth but if I'm wrong and they are using a different type of wireless tech, it could possibly improve wireless audio quality and dependability for the future to where we don't have to worry about connection issues, interference, and even overcrowding.
     
  4. HermanMunster thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 8, 2016
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    Mexico
    #4
    I agree with your comments about audiophiles, there are endless discussions in those forums about the benefits (or absence thereof) of bi wiring speakers for instance, or about very high sampling and bit rates for audio files. Nevertheless, in my car, for example, I can easily distinguish the difference in quality between an USB wired connection and bluetooth. That is why I am concerned that Apple has not provided a better solution than normal BT. If I were Tim Cook I would have pushed for a higher quality wireless audio transmission before removing the analog plug. But, I am not and he didn't apparently.

    whtrbt7, Well, yes. My hopes are on the capabilities of that W1 chip but I will wait for third party headphones, let's say Bowers and Wilkins. I don't think sound quality in their own headphones is Apple's priority, it's never been. (i.e. white bundled headphones are cr@ppy)
     
  5. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #5
    But won't you still use a USB wired connection to get the best sound possible, the lightning port to USB in your car? I have a feeling even the car will be wireless soon enough as Apple Carplay is destined to be wireless eventually. Man I can just picture it, with wireless charging and a much nicer Bluetooth audio format and Carplay. How nice will it be for the phone to never have to come out of your pocket?
     
  6. HermanMunster thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 8, 2016
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    Mexico
    #6
    High quality wireless audio in my car, yeah, that would be sweet! I wouldn't hold my breath for actual wireless charging though. current solution still requires a device wired to the wall, which defeats the purpose IMO.
     
  7. mike1123 macrumors 6502

    mike1123

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    #7
    As it turns out, there is a high quality BT audio codec known as Apt X, which Apple has stubbornly refused to support on its products. Audio quality is fantastic compared to standard BT audio.

    Rather than add Apt X, it looks like Apple would rather add it's proprietary wireless system. Time will tell if it's a suitable substitute.
     
  8. Nozuka macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    #8
    well to be fair, apt x is proprietary too. that's why it's adoption is not going very fast.


    how is it bad for innovation? it should actually push other manufacturers to do better. noone stops them from doing so.
     
  9. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #9
    It's bad for innovation because it only works on iPhone hardware. If there was a universal standard then more effort would be put into that, rather than splintering between other standards and possibly only going with standards which are profitable.
     
  10. boltjames macrumors 601

    boltjames

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    #10
    Very few care about quality, they just don't want to take a step back or be inconvenienced.

    Bluetooth has dropouts and hiss and lower dynamic range than wired (it's a step back) and having yet another thing to charge up every day is a poor consumer experience (it's inconvenient). To date, those who choose Bluetooth headphones (it's less than 15% of the headphone market) tend to be joggers or gym rats, the rest of us are fine with the wire.

    So I think the answer to your question isn't about "quality". The music sounds just fine for those on the go with iPhones. The question is about "convenience" and if I were Apple I'd be working on a new protocol with breatkthru battery life, try starting with 1 month of listening time on a single charge. This 5 hour nonsense isn't going to fly.

    BJ
     
  11. Nozuka macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    #11
    The easy pairing part might be apple device only. But the high efficiency part, which more than doubled beats battery lifetime, should work with any device. And the higher reliability of the connection (which has to be proved yet) most likely too, since it also works with older iOS devices.

    Obviously they won't just share those advancements with others. They will have to do their own work. But they are clearly still using bluetooth standards, except for the pairing.
     
  12. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #12
    I see, thanks for the clarification. Is the W1 chip proprietary to Apple? I find it interesting that one of the main features is pairing ease, but I haven't had the slightest difficulty pairing anything or having dropouts over Bluetooth in years. My Jaybirds connect instantly, as soon as they are powered on. If I want to switch devices I simply go to the Bluetooth menu of that device and click on the Jaybirds, which have already been paired. They won't dropout unless I'm a good 30-50 feet away straight line of sight, or closer to 25-30 feet if there is a wall between us. I do like the battery life part though, but will that be proprietary to the W1 chip?
     

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