The next generation of Bluetooth® audio

Building on 20 years of innovation, LE Audio will enhance the performance of Bluetooth audio, add support for hearing aids, and introduce Audio Sharing, an innovative new Bluetooth use case with the potential to once again change the way we experience audio and connect with the world around us.

Classic Audio and LE Audio

As the names suggest, Classic Audio operates on the Bluetooth Classic radio while LE Audio operates on the Bluetooth Low Energy radio. LE Audio will not only support development of the same audio products and use cases as Classic Audio, it will introduce exciting new features that promise to improve their performance as well as enable the creation of new products and use cases.

LC3 Codec

LE Audio will include a new high-quality, low-power audio codec, the Low Complexity Communications Codec (LC3). Providing high quality even at low data rates, LC3 will bring tremendous flexibility to developers, allowing them to make better design tradeoffs between key product attributes such as audio quality and power consumption.

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. Developers will be able to leverage this 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.

Manfred Lutzky
Head of Audio for Communications at Fraunhofer IIS

Multi-Stream

Multi-Stream Audio will enable the transmission of multiple, independent, synchronized audio streams between an audio source device, such as a smartphone, and one or more audio sink devices.

 

Developers will be able to use the Multi-Stream Audio feature to improve the performance of products like truly wireless earbuds. For example, they can provide a better stereo imaging experience, make the use of voice assistant services more seamless, and make switching between multiple audio source devices smoother.”

Nick Hunn,
CTO of WiFore Consulting
Chair of the Bluetooth SIG Hearing Aid Working Group

 

Broadcast

LE Audio will also add Broadcast Audio, enabling an audio source device to broadcast one or more audio streams to an unlimited number of audio sink devices.  Broadcast Audio opens significant new opportunities for innovation, including the enablement of a new Bluetooth use case, Audio Sharing.

Personal Audio Sharing

With personal audio sharing, people will be able to share their Bluetooth audio experience with others around them; for example, sharing music from a smartphone with family and friends.

Location-Based Audio Sharing

With location-based audio sharing, public venues such as airports, bars, gyms, cinemas, and conference centers can now share Bluetooth audio that augments the visitor experience.

Location based Audio Sharing holds the potential to change the way we experience the world around us. For example, people will be able to select the audio being broadcast by silent TVs in public venues, and places like theaters and lecture halls will be able to share audio to assist visitors with hearing loss as well as provide audio in multiple languages.

Peter Liu
Bose Corporation
Member of the Bluetooth SIG Board of Directors

Hearing Aids

Building on its low power, high quality and multi-stream capabilities, LE Audio adds support for Hearing Aids. Bluetooth audio has brought significant benefits to a large percentage of the global population. Wireless calling, listening, and watching have made people safer, more productive, and more entertained. LE Audio will enable the development of Bluetooth hearing aids that bring all the benefits of Bluetooth audio to the growing number of people with hearing loss.

 

LE Audio will be one of the most significant advances for users of hearing aids and hearing implants. EHIMA engineers have contributed their specialist knowledge to improve the audio experience especially for hard of hearing people. As a result, within a few years most new phones and TVs will be equally accessible to users with hearing loss.

Stefan Zimmer
Secretary General of EHIMA
European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association

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