Earlier this year, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced that the Bluetooth® community would once again be changing the way we connect to the world around us. With the release of LE Audio, the next generation of Bluetooth audio will significantly enhance audio performance. Now, one eagerly anticipated feature of LE Audio is here.

Higher Quality and Lower Power

For years, developers have created some amazing innovations within the parameters of the SBC codec, but the Low Complexity Communications Codec (LC3) is opening new opportunities to expand the limits of wireless audio.

LC3 is a new low-power audio codec that provides high-quality audio even at low data rates. This brings tremendous flexibility to developers, allowing them to make better design tradeoffs between key product attributes, such as audio quality and power consumption.

According to Nick Hunn from WiFore Consulting, the LC3 is more efficient, uses less power, and has lower latency, taking only 20 milliseconds to code, transmit, and decode. “The codec is a really important part of any wireless system for audio,” said Hunn. “It has the job of compressing the audio signal into something much smaller, so you can send it over a wireless link, and then at the other end it decodes it, which turns it back into music without any loss of quality. We’ve been very lucky to have companies that are highly expert in codec design, helping us to develop the new Bluetooth codec.”

“…this new codec is really exciting, because technology has advanced tremendously over the past decade, and we now have a codec with the same quality as SBC but requiring only half the airtime. That brings benefits by reducing the amount of battery capacity that needs to be allocated to the radio, which in turn translates to users experiencing all-day runtime in a smaller form factor or not having to deal with bulky earbuds.” 
– Peter Liu

The LC3 Difference

Fraunhofer IIS’s Head of Low Delay Audio Coding Group Markus Schnell says that LC3 will upgrade Bluetooth® headsets to the latest in state-of-the-art audio quality and has already been deployed in HD Voice+ VoLTE networks. Here, the introduction of the Enhanced Voice Services (EVS) standard audio codec brought a new level of speech and audio quality to mobile services. This level can now be delivered through Bluetooth accessories as well.

It cuts the data rate by half, which leads to longer battery life or the ability to develop smaller devices.

For music, LC3 solves two fundamental quality challenges: All kinds of audio can be transmitted with excellent quality, and it cuts the data rate by half, which leads to longer battery life or the ability to develop smaller devices. “Extensive listening tests have shown that LC3 will provide improvements in audio quality over the SBC codec included with Classic Audio, even at a 50% lower bit rate,” said Schnell. “Developers will be able to leverage these power savings to create products that can provide longer battery life or, in cases where current battery life is enough, reduce the form factor by using a smaller battery.”

A Better User Experience

From power savings to audio quality to improved usability, developers can use LC3 to significantly enhance the user experience. Higher audio quality at half the bit rate translates to half the power. Developers can leverage the power savings to design products that provide longer battery life or, in cases where current battery life is enough, reduce the form factor by using a smaller battery. It will also enable standardized support for Bluetooth® technology within hearing aids and enable people with hearing loss to realize the same benefits of Bluetooth audio enjoyed by users of standard Bluetooth headphones and earbuds, including wireless calling, listening, and watching.

The release of LC3 represents the completion of the second of the three key building blocks. Hear for yourself how LC3 will raise the bar for Bluetooth audio quality.

INTRODUCING

Bluetooth Audio Codec Demonstration

A key component of LE Audio is now available. LC3 is a new low-power audio codec that provides high quality even at low data rates.

HEAR FOR YOURSELF

How LE Audio Empowers Xiaomi to Enhance the Audio Experience

Over two decades ago, the emergence of Bluetooth® technology created the wireless audio market,…

New Core Specification v5.3 Feature Enhancements

One of the key reasons why Bluetooth® technology has emerged as the global wireless…

Bluetooth® Core Specification Version 5.3 Feature Enhancements

Bluetooth® Core Specification version 5.3 includes several feature enhancements with the potential to improve…

Analysts Predict LE Audio Will Drive New Growth for Bluetooth Audio Devices

Thanks to its ability to enhance Bluetooth® audio performance, support a new generation of…

Bluetooth LE Audio Technology: Faster And More Efficient

Bluetooth LE Audio The connection type of the future. What is Bluetooth LE Audio? here are…

How Bluetooth Technology Supports Hearing Accessibility

Wireless audio is the largest Bluetooth® solution area, and, though mature, members of the…

Bluetooth® Technology: The Swiss Army Knife of Low-Power Wireless Technologies

Since its inception, Bluetooth® technology has undergone many enhancements and changes that have allowed…

Revealed: New Trends Driving the Future of Bluetooth® Technology

Watch Chuck Sabin, Senior Director, Market Development for the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG),…

4 Bluetooth Solution Area Forecasts That Will Impact the IoT

Few industries were untouched by COVID-19, and analysts could not have predicted the full…

Bluetooth Technology for Audio - When Technology Meets Market Demand

In this webinar, UL and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group explore the most recent…

The Future of Bluetooth Hearing Aids: How LE Audio Will Revolutionize the Way You Hear the World

Imagine walking into an airport and tapping a prompt on your smartphone. Immediately, your…

The Future of Bluetooth is Faster, More Flexible, and Sounds Great

If it feels like time is spinning faster and faster than ever before, you…

2021 Bluetooth Market Update

Supported by updated forecasts from ABI Research and insights from several other analyst firms, the Bluetooth Market Update highlights the latest Bluetooth trends and forecasts.

What is Bluetooth LE Audio

Thanks to an upcoming evolution of that tech called Bluetooth LE Audio, the experience of beaming…

Bluetooth Market Research Note - Assistive Hearables

Bluetooth Market Research Notes provide in-depth analysis of trends and forecasts highlighted in the…

2020 Bluetooth Market Update

Supported by updated forecasts from ABI Research and insights from several other analyst firms, the Bluetooth Market Update highlights the latest Bluetooth trends and forecasts.

Bluetooth Core Specification Version 5.2 Feature Overview

This document summarizes and explains the three primary updates in Bluetooth Core Specification version…

 Get Help