Bluetooth Technology Alliance pushes LE Audio’s next-generation Bluetooth audio technology standard

Twenty years ago, the appearance of Bluetooth got rid of the shackles of wired audio transmission and created the wireless audio market. Today, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth Special Interest Group, referred to as SIG) announced the upcoming release of a new generation of Bluetooth audio technology standards-low-power audio LE Audio. LE Audio will not only improve Bluetooth audio performance, but also provide stronger support for hearing aid applications and support Audio Sharing. This is a new use case that will once again change the way we experience audio and connect us to the world in a way we have never seen before.

Mark Powell, CEO of the Bluetooth Technology Alliance, said: “In 2019, Bluetooth wireless audio products shipped close to 1 billion, becoming the largest Bluetooth market. The Bluetooth community has been committed to promoting technology and product innovation to provide better and more powerful products. Bluetooth audio products, the launch of LE Audio this time is the best example.”

Bluetooth audio will soon support two working modes. The latest LE Audio will be based on Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth Low Energy), and Classic Audio will be based on Bluetooth Classic (Bluetooth Classic). LE Audio can support the same audio products and use cases as Classic Audio, while its new features can improve performance and bring new usage scenarios.

· Low Complexity Communication Codec (LC3) can achieve higher sound quality and lower power consumption. LE Audio will use a new high-quality, low-power audio codec LC3. LC3 has the characteristics of providing high sound quality even at low data rates, which will provide developers with tremendous flexibility, enabling them to better balance key product attributes such as sound quality and power consumption during product design.

Manfred Lutzky, Head of Communication Audio Department of Fraunhofer IIS, said: “A large number of sound tests have shown that compared to Classic Audio’s SBC codec, LC3 will be able to provide higher sound quality, even when the bit rate is reduced by 50%. So. Developers will be able to use this advantage to create products with longer battery life, or to optimize product design dimensions by using smaller batteries while meeting current power consumption requirements.”

·Multi-Stream Audio (Multi-Stream Audio) can help create better performance in-ear headphones. The multi-stream audio function will be implemented in a single audio source device (source device), single or multiple audio sink devices (sink device), such as a smartphone, for simultaneous multiple and independent audio streaming transmissions.

Nick Hunn, chief technology officer of WiFore Consulting and chairman of the Bluetooth Technology Alliance Hearing Aid Working Group, said: “For products such as true wireless in-ear headphones, developers will be able to use multi-stream audio features to improve performance. For example, Multi-stream audio can provide a better stereo experience, make the use of voice assistant services more seamless, and make switching between multiple audio source devices smoother.”

·Bluetooth hearing aids bring good news to the hearing impaired. LE Audio provides more powerful hearing aid support based on low power consumption, high sound quality and multi-streaming capabilities. At present, Bluetooth audio has provided great convenience to users around the world in terms of wireless calls, listening and viewing. And LE Audio will boost the development of Bluetooth hearing aids, bringing all the features of Bluetooth audio to the increasing number of hearing impaired people.

Stefan Zimmer, Secretary-General of the European Hearing Aid Manufacturers Association (EHIMA) said: “LE Audio is one of the most important promoters for users of hearing aids and implantable hearing aids. EHIMA is dedicated to contributing its expertise to enhance the audio experience, especially For the hearing impaired. I believe that in the next few years, most of the new mobile phones and TVs will be able to serve hearing impaired users.”

· Broadcast Audio (Broadcast Audio) technology can realize audio sharing function. LE Audio will also add broadcast audio capabilities, enabling a single audio source device to broadcast one or more audio streams to an unlimited number of audio sink devices. Broadcast audio opens up important new opportunities for innovative use cases, including the realization of a new Bluetooth use case-audio sharing.

Bluetooth audio sharing can be based on individual or location. With personal audio sharing, users will be able to share their Bluetooth audio experience with those around them, for example, sharing music on smartphones with family and friends. With location-based audio sharing, Bluetooth audio can be shared in public places such as airports, bars, gyms, movie theaters, and conference centers, thereby enhancing the visitor’s experience.

Peter Liu from Bose and a member of the Bluetooth Technology Alliance’s board of directors said: “Location-based audio sharing is expected to change the way we experience the environment. For example, in public places, even if the TV is in silent mode, it can still broadcast audio. , Allowing people to receive TV audio signals, and places such as theaters and lecture halls will be able to share audio, thereby helping the hearing impaired visitors, while also having multilingual options.”

Specification release and more information

The Bluetooth specifications that define low-power audio LE Audio are expected to be released in the first half of 2020.

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