New Bluetooth LC3 Codec Will Make Wireless Audio So Much Better


Bluetooth SIG, the standards group that oversees the development of Bluetooth standards has announced a new codec that will make wireless audio so much better.

They claim that their new LC3 codec will have a “big impact” on the next generation of audio. Thanks to Apple, we have seen a transition to wireless audio by ditching the headphone jack. This codec will be important for this cause and it is exciting.

Bluetooth’s SIG Hearing Aid group developed LC3 in conjunction with Ericsson and it has its perks over SBC codec.

They claim that LC3 cuts the data rate by 50 perfect while transmitting in excellent quality. This will lead to longer battery life or ability to develop smaller devices. LC3 upgrades Bluetooth headset to audio quality deployed in HD Voice+ VoLTE networks.

The new LE audio based on the LC3 codec will improve the performance of Bluetooth audio. It will also introduce audio sharing that will allow the ability to stream to two audio devices simultaneously.

Bluetooth SIG has a neat comparison audio guide where they show you the differences between SBC and LC3. In the demonstration, they have a classical music file where you can play it with no encoding, with SBC encoding and with LC3 encoding.

In the demonstration, the ‘no encoding’ format is full and vibrant and you can hear every detail. That changes horribly on the SBC codec demonstration. Even at 248kbps, the SBC codec sounds dreadful with missing mids and is worse at 192kbps. However, the LC3 demonstration at 248kbps is superb and has almost the same quality as the 1526kpbs no encoding one.

I am stoked for this development because I’ve never been a fan of wireless audio. It has always been inferior to traditional audio via the headphone jack. However, companies like Sony have their LDAC codec which sounds better than the SBC codec.

Bluetooth LC3 codec will change everything

The new LC3 codec has the ability to change everything in wireless audio. Video conferencing calls via Bluetooth will sound better. Listening to music via wireless headphones will be so much better. Also thanks to interoperability, the standardized LC3 codec will enable us getting great audio on all platforms.

Bluetooth SIG says companies are already getting LC3 codec implementations ready for the market. These products could be available next year so 2021 will be a good year to buy Bluetooth headphones.