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Drop + THX Panda -- Bluetooth Audio Clipping Whenever Resumed from a Pause of More than 2 Seconds

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I don't have much experience with Bluetooth headphones and figured I'd ask here to help set my expectations a bit. I just bought some Drop + THX Panda headphones. They're well reviewed for sound quality and supporting higher-end audio codecs, some of which Macs support (eg: aptX) and some of which they don't (eg: LDAC). Anywho, upon unboxing them and pairing them to my 2020 iMac running Big Sur, I noticed that audio over bluetooth sounds totally fine until it's been paused for more than 2 seconds. When I unpause, it almost feels as if maybe the headphones are coming out of some standby or low-power mode and are rushing to start a new bit stream. The sound is clipped / distorted for a second or two until it "catches up". This is particularly annoying for things like notifications and other sound effects which, by nature, are essentially really short audio clips. I can't find anything online explaining if this is normal behavior or just a shortcoming of bluetooth or these specific headphones. I did a few tests:
  • Tried enabling aptX codec then AAC codec in Bluetooth Explorer, a developer tool for Macs, which some people claim helps performance, but it didn't help.
  • Tried using a cheap $20 earbuds / AirPods ripoffs. It didn't have the same issue and played even short, intermittent sounds like notifications fine.
  • Tried using Bootcamp to use Windows. The audio was clipping like crazy, even during sustained audio playback, and was unusable.
  • Tried using Bootcamp with the cheap earsbuds. It also had extremely bad clipping. I think the Bluetooth stack for w/e chipset Apple uses must just have horrible drivers in Windows?
  • Tried pairing with my iPhone and iPad. If I go to the Sounds preferences and play some of the demo sound effects for things like text message notifications, it's badly clipped off too.
  • Tried pairing the cheap earbuds with my iPhone and iPad. There are no audio issues, and every playing back short clips like notification sounds work fine with no clipping.
  • Factory reset the headphones multiple times. Reset to original firmware. No improvement.
Any ideas? My only other option before returning these headphones is to visit Best Buy and see how they sound paired to other non-Apple machines. And to state the obvious, yes, I did try both wired (3.5mm and USB-C) and those sound fine with the same headphones. Thanks
100% upvoted
Takuro
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