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Audioengine B1 Bluetooth DAC
Audioengine B1 Bluetooth DAC
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AptX is a lossy codec, correct? Doesn't that make this kind of 'mid-fi' audio solution a bit silly?
Whether or not it is lossy depends on the signal and bandwidth. AptX is capable of lossless compression but if the bandwidth drops below what is needed to support the lossless compression, for example due to range or interference, AptX will automatically switch to lossy compression rather than cut in and out.
That's probably the right thing to do for everyone except those people who claim they will literally die if they have to stoop to listening to lossy compression of any kind. But those people won't even be looking at this in the first place because it says "bluetooth" in the title.
I'm greatly considering this for my at work ipod. We have a bluetooth speaker set right now but I want to bring in something beefier, a wireless DAC seems to be the perfect cure.
According to the Audioengine FAQ page, this should support AAC over Bluetooth. So if you have an iPhone or other AAC compatible device, you should be able to stream your AAC encoded music directly to the DAC without losing any further quality than the lossy AAC encoding.
"What if my source doesn't support aptX? Can I still use B1 and if so, how will it sound?"
"You can absolutely still use the B1, and it will sound great. AptX is a high quality Bluetooth audio codec that works really well. With that said, in addition to mandatory support for SBC, Bluetooth also includes optional support for many other codecs, like MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and AAC, all of which have their own advantages, and some of which sound very close to AptX."
The FAQ entry above is a little ambiguous, as it says bluetooth includes optional support for the AAC codec, but it doesn't specifically state that the B1 supports AAC. So I sent a email to AE support to clarify, and got a (slightly less ambiguous) answer "The B1 supports any file format."
Also, I have searched all over but could not find a definitive answer to whether an iPhone will stream AAC music directly without re-encoding. So it may decode the AAC music file, then re-encode it at a different bit rate to stream it over Bluetooth AD2P using AAC again, effectively double encoding it. Not sure who to ask about this, since AE would probably not know, and Apple doesn't usually respond to questions like this.
But all the reviews I read said that the B1 sounded really good with an iPhone/iPad, which doesn't support aptX, and probably transmits using re-encoded AAC instead of the lower quality SBC codec. It also gets high marks for range (up to 100ft), which is the main complaint I have against the HomeSpot unit (barely 6ft) I'm using now.
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