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Doesn't this support AAC? So if you don't have AptX, just make sure your music files are in AAC format and they won't be recompressed for Bluetooth, right?
Unfortunately, AAC is a compression format like MP3. The difference is that AAC is less lossy than MP3s are.
So what does that mean for audio? Well Aptx can transmit over bluetooth up to CD-quality (16-bit / 44.1kHz) if both devices are aptx. As mentioned earlier, if one of the devices does not have aptx, then it will go back to Bluetooth quality.
AAC can only transmit over Bluetooth up to 256 kbps. Which means that it is much lower quality than aptx. So what are the benefits of AAC? Well the benefits are mainly for compression of audio. So an AAC compressed audio sounds better than an MP3 audio file at similar bitrates.
For wireless, than Aptx is way better than AAC. Which is too bad that Apple doesn't support it.
PLEASE NOTE: AAC does support higher than 256kpbs, but Apple only currently sells music at 256kbps. There are rumors that they will eventually start selling higher quality than that, so in theory AAC can stream higher than that, but we'll have to see in the future.
Thanks for the reply! Good info, but AAC is a boon that will satisfy my portable needs just fine.
Technically, CD-quality (16 bit/ 44.1kHz) isn't lossless either, though to be sure better than AAC. In my situation, I have a modest CD collection, a smattering of HD tracks (thanks Lynn Records 24-bit days of Christmas!), but the vast majority of my music library is AAC anyway. iTunes supports importing CD's into AAC at 320 bkbs already, it would be interesting if those files played natively... but ultimately just having AAC in Bluetooth headphones is a boon for practically my whole music library and portable use (storage/listening environment). When I'm at home to appreciate the finer differences in master-quality audio, I have higher-level wired headphones and a whole DAC/amp setup to support it.
I posit the challenge that almost any background noise (office noise, conference, train, cars, etc) will destroy any benefit from anything encoded at greater than 256 Kbps AAC.