Bluetooth LE Audio

Better audio quality, longer playtime and new features

The future of wireless audio

Bluetooth is by far the most recognized wireless standard for audio streaming, with an estimated 1.1 billion devices shipped in 2020. LE Audio and Auracast™ are expected to boost this number, with earbuds as the main contributor.

LE Audio is the next generation of Bluetooth Audio, making audio streaming over Bluetooth Low Energy possible. It enables new use cases and significantly reduces power consumption compared to Classic (BR/EDR) Audio.

Bluetooth LE Audio is developed to enhance performance in power consumption, latency, and bandwidth. LE Audio and Classic Audio standards will continue to coexist and have features that will be supported by both. LE Audio will have a wider set of features, lower power consumption, and better perceived audio quality.

Eabling new audio applications
We ship more than 1 million Bluetooth LE System-On-Chips (SoCs) every day and are the Bluetooth LE market leader. As soon as the required specifications are adopted, we will offer complete solutions for building LE Audio products. Our nRF5340 is a powerful dual-core SoC designed to meet all requirements of LE Audio. If you are planning to build a LE Audio product or have questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Explore the new features of LE Audio

LE Audio not only comes with better audio quality and longer playtime but it also introduces new features and opportunities.

  • Multi-Stream Audio

    Multi-Stream Audio allows for multiple audio streams between an audio source and different sinks. These streams can be highly synchronized to ~10µs. Coordinated device sets can be created where multiple devices are treated as one device. This allows for example truly wireless earbuds to be connected to an audio source with no need to use one of the earbuds to relay the data.

     

    Isochronous channels

    LE Audio was developed with isochronous channels as a design requirement. Some applications were hard to implement with Classic Audio, like truly wireless earbuds. Those are typically designed to relay the information from the source to one earbud. The stereo stream will be split into mono and transmitted from one earbud to the next. In many cases, this led to higher latency and ever higher power consumption. What is hard to implement with Classic Audio is built into LE Audio from the start. LE Audio brings a huge improvement to this and similar use-cases.

     

     

    Multi stream audio

  • Auracast™ - Broadcast and Sharing

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    Auracast™
    LE Audio will add broadcast audio, enabling an audio source device to broadcast one or more audio streams to an unlimited number of audio sink devices. Broadcast audio opens significant new opportunities for innovation, including the enablement of a powerful new capability, Auracast™ broadcast audio. Auracast™ broadcast audio is the new consumer brand that has replaced Audio Sharing.

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    Personal Audio Sharing

    Broadcast Audio allows for one or multiple audio streams to be broadcast to an unlimited number of devices. It enables applications like Personal Audio Sharing where a user can share their audio stream, for example from a phone or tablet, with other user's headphones in the vicinity.

    Location-based Audio Sharing

    On a bigger scale Location-based Audio Sharing can be used. Example applications include a cinema where visitors can watch the same movie with different languages enabled on their headphones. It can be used in a gym with multiple TVs to select the audio from the channel that you want to watch. Further examples are be airports, conferences, museums etc.

  • Low Complexity Communication Codec (LC3)

    The SBC, Low Complexity Subband Codec, that is used in Classic Audio as a well-established Codec works well but is quite old. The new LC3 uses about half the data for even higher perceived audio quality. The low complexity of the Codec leads to low latency and minimal storage requirements. It's possible to reduce the bitrate even lower without losing much perceived audio quality. The LC3 will also be available at a later date as an optional Codec for Bluetooth Classic Audio.

The start of LE Audio

The introduction of Bluetooth in hearing aids in 2014 was one of the biggest advancements in hearing aids. 

a person wearing a maskBluetooth classic allowed users of hearing aids to stream a Bluetooth Audio signal from a device like a smartphone or a tablet directly to their hearing aids. Despite the incredible benefits, this gives to users, actively using Bluetooth on hearing aids drastically reduces the battery life of those devices.

In the development of Bluetooth LE Audio the Bluetooth SIG worked closely with the hearing aid industry. LE Audio cuts the power consumption in half while improving the perceived audio quality. This in addition to the new features like being able to connect multiple devices to one set of hearing aids makes Bluetooth LE Audio another giant advancement in the hearing aids industry.