Qualcomm’s aptX Lossless promises CD-quality audio for wireless headphones

2021 was a huge year for lossless music, now that Apple has embraced higher-quality streaming and Amazon doesn't charge an additional premium. Lossless audio has many challenges. It is difficult to stream it wirelessly, at full fidelity, using wireless headphones or earbuds. Qualcomm believes it has found the solution to this problem with the new aptX Lossless, part of its Snapdragon Sound program. It was announced earlier in the year.
Qualcomm claims that aptX Lossless, which is technically an extension to aptX Adaptive, will allow it to stream CD-quality audio over Bluetooth at 16 bit / 44.1kHz lossless. In early 2022, the first devices that will feature this new technology will be available. Snapdragon Sound relies on the entire hardware chain to provide optimal performance, so your Android smartphone and your headphones will have to support it.

Qualcomm claims that Snapdragon Sound will detect lossless audio sources and allow them to play them at higher data rates than with aptX HD. In terms of bandwidth, the company managed to surpass Sony's LDAC: aptX lossless can reach up to 1Mbps, compared to LDACs limit of 990kbps. Some compression is still being used; CD-quality music has a typical sample bit rate at 1.4Mbps. Qualcomm uses lossless compression to reproduce audio mathematically bit-forbit.

The bit rate can dynamically drop to 140kbps in environments that have a lot of wireless congestion. This allows for the best audio performance and a good connection quality. LDAC can be difficult in real-world situations if you push it to its limit. Qualcomm offers a solution to improve the experience.

CD quality is where aptX lossless excels. Although you can play high-resolution audio tracks, it will result in lossy streaming. If you are big on 24-bit 96kHz files, you'll want to have a wired solution.