Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Bluetooth® community, wireless audio has been the largest Bluetooth market for more than 20 years. And, whether it’s longer battery life, smaller devices, higher quality, lower latency, or something beyond, wireless audio continues to grow and demand more.
Now, with the release of Bluetooth LE Audio, developers will be able to meet this demand, creating new and ever-expanding solutions that enhance performance, introduce new audio experiences, and bring the benefits of Bluetooth audio to more people worldwide.
Audio on Low Energy
As its name suggests, LE Audio operates on the Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE) radio. This is made possible by LE Isochronous Channels, a new feature introduced in the latest version of the Bluetooth Core Specification that adds isochronous data transport on the Bluetooth LE radio. Not only does support for audio on LE allow for lower power consumption, but it also enables the development of devices capable of both wireless data transfer and audio streaming using a single-mode Bluetooth LE radio.
“LE Audio opens the doors for so many audio capabilities that were previously extremely difficult.”
Vincent Nallatamby, Tempow
New Audio Codec
LE Audio includes a new, high-quality, low-power audio codec called LC3 (Low Complexity Communications Codec). Because of its ability to provide high quality, even at low data rates, LC3 brings tremendous new flexibility, allowing you to make better design tradeoffs between key product attributes, such as audio quality and power consumption to best meet the target user experience.
“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, Fraunhofer IIS
Multi-Stream Audio is a new feature of LE Audio that enables the transmission of multiple, independent, synchronized audio streams between an audio source device and one or more audio sink devices. Using this new feature, you can improve the performance of truly wireless earbuds, including a better stereo imaging experience, more seamless use of voice control services, and smoother transitions between multiple audio source devices.
“LE Audio introduces multi-stream and broadcast audio capabilities to the Bluetooth® audio product ecosystem. These new features…will unleash innovation and inspire thousands of new ultra-low power Bluetooth audio products.”
John Yi, Packetcraft
LE Audio adds support for broadcast audio, a new feature that enables an audio source device to broadcast one or more audio streams to an unlimited number of Bluetooth audio sink devices. Audio broadcasts can be open, allowing any in-range sink device to participate, or closed, where only those sink devices with the correct passkey can participate. Broadcast audio opens significant new opportunities for innovation, including the enablement of a powerful new capability, Auracast™ broadcast audio.
“Bluetooth® LE Audio will be the catalyst for the next wave of growth for Bluetooth technology. Having the improved audio quality, broadcast capability, and improved power consumption will open up additional applications not easily achievable today.”
Tim Reilly, T2 Labs