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Difference Between aptX and AAC

Today Bluetooth is much more ubiquitous than ever, thanks to the demise of traditional headphone jack. Bluetooth has significantly changed the way we enjoy music. Wireless communication has revolutionized the dynamic of how people work and how they communicate. Despite all this, it is still one of the most misunderstood audio technologies around. Audio companies are developing new ways to encode and decode their wireless data stream. Two of the common Bluetooth codecs are aptX and AAC.

What is aptX?

The aptX is an audio codec that provides high definition voice quality over a connection using Bluetooth wireless technology. It is a family of proprietary Bluetooth streaming codec owned by Qualcomm. It is a bitrate efficient technology that makes sure you receive high quality audio from your Bluetooth device for a better listening experience. Qualcomm aptX is the most commonly supported audio codec found in headphones and smartphones. It compresses and decompresses audio as it travels from a source device to a receiving device.

It provides audio equipment the means for enhanced audio quality than what other codecs can offer. The audio codec is used in many devices including Bluetooth headphones, speakers, smartphones, tablets, car stereos, and more. It reduces the audio file size before transmission without hampering the audio quality thereby delivering better sound experience. This means it uses the same bandwidth used by other codecs to fit more data through to the receiving device, which results in a superior sound quality.

What is AAC?

AAC stands for “Advanced Audio Codec” and describes an audio coding standard for lossy digital audio compression. It is one of the most common Bluetooth streaming codecs used in Bluetooth headphones and speakers. It is a file format for storing digital audio and widely used for storing music on the Internet, portable music players, phones, and personal computers. Designed to be the successor of the already-popular MP3 format, AAC offers a slightly better sound quality than MP3 at similar bit rates.

It was first specified in the standard formally known as ISO/IEC 13818-7 and published in 1997 as a new part in the MPEG-2 family of international standards. It is widely used by YouTube, Nintendo, and Apple to name a few. AAC files are versatile and can have Digital Rights Management solutions embedded into them. These files can be encoded in Constant Bit Rate or by Average Bit Rate, which is similar to the Variable Bit Rate that MP3 files use. AAC is the standard audio format for iPhone, iPod, iPad, Apple Music, and iTunes.

Difference between aptX and AAC

Audio Quality 

– The aptX audio codec can stream up to a maximum of 384 kbps with a 16-bit sampling depth at 48 kilohertz; Enhanced aptX supports bit depths of 16, 20, or 24 bit; aptX HD can stream up to 24-bit at 48 kilohertz at a maximum of 576 kbps bit rate; aptX LL is intended for video and gaming applications. AAC is an extremely high quality format that offers sampling frequencies between 8 kilohertz and 96 kilohertz and any number of channels between 1 and 48. It offers a maximum bitrate of 320 kbps for Bluetooth headphones but mostly support 256 kbps.


 – Just about all smartphones with Android 8.0 or higher support aptX audio codec. There is a plethora of options available for manufacturers interested in integrating aptX HD into their wireless devices. It is also natively supported on platforms including Snapdragon 845 Mobile platform and higher. The AAC codec is supported by default in Apple devices, YouTube, and gaming consoles such as PlayStation, Nintendo, etc.

aptX vs. AAC: Comparison Chart


The aptX is a family of proprietary audio codec algorithms developed and owned by Qualcomm and is designed to provide high-definition voice quality over a connection using Bluetooth wireless technology. The aptX codec allows a maximum bit rate of up to 384 kbps at a sampling rate of 48 kilohertz and a bit depth of 16 bit. On the other hand, if you own an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, you cannot take advantage of the aptX codec. The AAC codec is supported by default in Apple devices, which is also the format chosen for iTunes and Apple Music.

Does aptX make a difference?

If you own Apple devices, then you’ll not be able to take the advantage of the aptX codec. The aptX audio codec is a bitrate efficient technology that makes sure you receive high quality audio from your Bluetooth device.

How do I convert aptX to AAC?

AAC Bluetooth audio codec is only acceptable on Apple devices. But it was developed by a group of companies including AT&T Bell Labs, Dolby, Sony, and Nokia.

Which Bluetooth audio codec is best?

The aptX HD audio codec is the codec generally recommended for Android users while AAC is the high-quality codec recommended for Apple users. However, the sound quality also depends on the hardware or actual specifications of the source and receiving device.

What is aptX AAC?

AptX was developed for mobile devices whereas AAC is a general-purpose lossy codec commonly used in Apple devices. aptX puts strong emphasis on wireless audio applications.

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References :

[0]Gupta, Naresh Kumar. Inside Bluetooth Low Energy, Second Edition. Massachusetts, United States: Artech House, 2016. Print

[1]Dutson, Phil. Sams Teach Yourself JQuery Mobile in 24 Hours. Indiana, United States: Sams Publishing, 2013. Print

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