Is AAC better than SBC? Which is better for the best audio?


The world of Bluetooth audio codecs is brimming with choices, but two contenders often steal the spotlight: Is AAC better than SBC Which one triumphs as the superior choice for the finest audio experience?

Let’s embark on a journey to decipher the nuances between these two Bluetooth codecs.

1. SBC (Subband Coding):

Widespread, Yet Basic: SBC, or Sub-band coding, stands as the most prevalent method for transmitting audio via Bluetooth.

It is omnipresent, found in Android and iOS smartphones, and graces a multitude of wireless devices, including the majority of True Wireless (TWS) headphones.

The Downsides: Regrettably, SBC is often considered the weakest link in the Bluetooth codec chain, capable of handling bitrates up to a mere 328 kbps. This bit rate might appear substantial, especially when premium Spotify streams music at up to 320 kbps.

However, the compression method significantly compromises the final sound quality and may introduce substantial delays. In the case of subpar audio devices, the delay can stretch up to a ponderous 400 ms, almost half a second.

This delay might be imperceptible while enjoying music but becomes notably disruptive when watching movies or engaging in computer gaming.

2. AAC (Advanced Audio Coding):

Apple’s Preferred Codec: AAC, or Advanced Audio Coding, takes the limelight as Apple’s Bluetooth codec of choice. It’s the sole alternative to SBC for Apple phone users and offers a bit rate ranging from 256 kbps to 320 kbps, contingent on the end device.

The Pinnacle of Sound: AAC’s claim to fame lies in its superior sound quality, thanks to Apple’s distinctive compression method. The audio exudes vitality and is inherently more pleasing to the ear, even for untrained listeners.

Moreover, AAC boasts lower latency when appropriately implemented, clocking in at approximately 60 ms, and an imperceptible delay for most movies.

However, in the realm of gaming, where every millisecond matters, the 1/4-second delay can be a critical issue.

AAC vs. SBC: The Verdict: As the comparison unfolds, AAC emerges as the preferred choice over SBC. AAC delivers superior audio quality, even at lower bitrates. Nevertheless, audio quality hinges on several factors, including the source material, headphone or speaker quality, and the Bluetooth device’s overall quality.

AAC outshines SBC due to its lower latency, wider frequency range, and more efficient compression. Thus, if your Bluetooth device supports AAC, it is the recommended choice for elevated audio quality.

However, in cases where AAC is unsupported, SBC serves as a dependable fallback option.

Is AAC better than SBC?

A Note on Compatibility: SBC, despite not offering the pinnacle of audio quality, boasts universal compatibility, low power consumption, and variable bit rates, making it a reliable choice for wireless audio transmission.

Additionally, SBC’s mandatory inclusion in the Bluetooth A2DP profile ensures compatibility across a wide spectrum of Bluetooth devices.

On the flip side, not all Bluetooth devices support AAC, rendering SBC the only viable option in specific scenarios. SBC enjoys a broader realm of support than AAC, as the latter is an optional codec for A2DP, meaning not all devices incorporate it.

In the duel between AAC and SBC, the choice ultimately hinges on your preferences and priorities. If you yearn for top-tier sound quality and low latency, and your device supports AAC, this is the superior option.

Conversely, if battery life and broader compatibility are paramount, SBC reigns supreme. The choice is now in your hands, offering the liberty to savor exceptional audio your way.

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