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What is LDAC? [Music and Audio Codec]

What is LDAC? [audio codec]
As our world immerses in wireless technologies, the demand for high-quality audio over Bluetooth has never been greater. In this article, we consider LDAC. It is one of the groundbreaking Bluetooth codecs.
We address common questions that audio enthusiasts are concerned about LDAC. We try to offer valuable information for readers considering adopting LDAC for their audio setups.
We'll review LDAC's ability to transmit high-resolution audio over the wire-free connection between devices. Is LDAC capable of sending high-resolution audio? Is LDAC a true lossless codec? Is LDAC better than other popular codecs like AAC, aptX, and FLAC? Study our comparison of their features. Keep reading to explore the technology abilities for sound.

Author: Yuri Korzunov,
Audiophile Inventory's developer with 25+ year experience in digital signal processing,
author of the articles that make audio easy for beginners



Watch and share video: Hi-Res Audio [How it works. Real advantages. Myths]
video about hi-res audio


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What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a radio protocol and equipment to transmit audio data.

To send certain data kind, a profile is used. Profile is a protocol. It's implemented as a driver software between Bluetooth's and audio drivers.

There are several profiles.

Bluetooth audio profiles
Bluetooth profile Description
A2DP Advanced Audio Distribution Profile
to stream multimedia audio to qualitative listening
AVRCP Audio/Video Remote Control Profile
to audio/video remote control
GAVDP Generic Audio/Video Distribution Profile
It is basis for A2DP and VDP(Video Distribution Profile) for distributing audio and video streams


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What is LDAC codec?

LDAC is an audio codec that uses A2DP profile. It provides up to 24-bit/96 kHz with 990 Kbps bitrate. The codec is created by SONY.

It allows send compressed hi-res audio signal.

The author can't found what LDAC abbreviation means.

What is LDAC codec in Bluetooth audio
What is LDAC codec in Bluetooth audio

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Does LDAC sound better?

Stereo CD-audio bitrate is 1411 kbps (uncompressed). Known-us lossless codecs compress up to 50%...60% of original music data size approximately. I.e., for CD we expect about 776 kbps of compressed audio.

LDAC promisses 990 kbps for stereo 24-bit/96 kHz. It is 4608 kbps of uncompressed audio. For famous FLAC, we expects 2534 kbps of compressed stream. It is 2.5 times more than the FLAC can.

The new Walkmans also support Sony's LDAC Bluetooth wireless audio streaming, which doesn't provide fast enough data speeds to support true Hi-Res Audio but is "very near", says Koji Nageno, Chief Sound Architect for Sony Video and Sound.[1]

"True hi-res audio" may be defined as lossless stream with bit depth over 16 bit or sample rate higher 48 kHz. The author considers LDAC as lossy codec that is high-resolution audio capable. Because high resolution is available, and lossy or lossless doesn't play a significant role at high bit rates. See details...


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Is aptX better than LDAC?

The aptX codec by Qualcomm includes 24-bit aptX HD and aptX Adaptive.

AptX HD supports 24-bit resolution up to 48 kHz with 576-Kbps bitrate.
AptX Adaptive provides 24-bit resolution up to 96 kHz on bittrates 330 Kbps, 660 Kbps, and 990 Kbps.

So, AptX Adaptive and LDAC are technologies similar by features. However, sound quality comparison is subjective primarily. Individual lictening comparison is recommended.


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Is LDAC better than AAC?

Is LDAC sounds better than FLAC? It's important to note that the "better" audibility between LDAC and AAC codecs can be subjective and context-dependent. Both ones are hi-resolution capable. But, these codecs are lossy in "true lossless" (bit-perfect) meaning.

AAC provides 16-bit resolution. LDAC supports 24-bit one.

AAC provides and widespread compatibility. You are need listen to both codecs on your music samples to understand what is better AAC or LDAC for you.


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Is LDAC good for FLAC?

FLAC is true lossless codec providing bit-perfect compression/decompression from/to LPCM. Also, FLAC resolution achieves 32-bit and 384 kHz.

The author doesn't sure, some losses of the LDAC compression are audible for significant case number. Also, for target device advantages of 96 kHz may be more than the losses.


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Does my device support LDAC?

The LDAC is supported by SONY and other audio manufacturers, including Audio Technica, FiiO, Oppo Digital, TEAC, Xiaomi,...

Here you can find list of LDAC compatible devices...


Sometimes people ask: where are LDAC music downloads? LDAC codec is intended for transmittion between smartphone or digital audio player and wireless speaker of headphones. The codec doesn't used for audio file compression. The LDAC works inside the A2DP profile of Bluetooth protocol. See details above.

Therefore, your attempts to find and download files, and to test the difference between LDAC and regular songs, have encountered some issues. These issues prevent you from obtaining music in this format.


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LDAC on Windows

If you want to connect Windows 10/11 with music devices via Bluetooth and LDAC, you can look for "Alternative A2DP Driver" software.


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Frequently Asked Questions


How do I know if my phone has LDAC?

On your phone, at the Settings > About phone, check Android version. LDAC codec is available at Android 8.0 and above [*].


Can LDAC play FLAC?

LDAC is Bluetooth protocol for wireless speakers or headphones. An audio player decodes FLAC to lossless audio stream. The stream may be transmitted thru Bluetooth via LDAC protocol.



Is LDAC really lossless?

LDAC operate on Bluetooth at bitrate up to 990 kbps 24bit / 96kHz. CD quality is about 1411 kbps.

Looks like, CD quality is transmitted losslessly. 24/96 is transmitted with losses but in high quality.

See details...


Is LDAC better than aptX HD?

LDAC codec for Bluetooth provides bitrate (24bit / 96kHz, up to 990 kbps).

aptX HD provides 24-bit / 48 kHz with maximum bitrate 567 kbps.

In the first approach, 990 kbps give more abilities for the sound quality. But, practically, we anyway discuss system contains recording and given equipment.



Is LDAC better than aptX?

There are several aptX codecs. It defines result of comparison with LDAC. See details...


Where can I buy Ldac songs?

Sony LDAC is a type of a Bluetooth audio codec to improve sound quality. If the codec is available for your mobile phone, DAP, etc., you can choose it in the device's Bluetooth settings.





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