Bluetooth sound quality

Are there any like better/later BT versions that have less-butt audio quality, or is it just all butt unless you pay Apple an extra infinity dollars to sacrifice Shenzen virgins or whatever?

Because man, it’s butt. Especially when paired with the godawful sound chip in my cheapo Motorola Chonkaphone.

Bluetooth kinda blows for sound quality. C’est le vie in our brave new anti-headphone-jacks world.

I finally pulled the trigger on some AirPods (the Pro model - the noise cancelling was a lot of why I wanted it, for when I mow the lawn or am at the gym and don’t want to hear the dumb music they are blasting over the speaker system) and it was probably the best investment I made in 2020 with the stimulus funds. The sound quality is excellent, I’d say the reliability is something approaching 95% in terms of “take it out, put them in, they are auto connected and working” with only occasionally do I have to maybe put them back in the charger and try again (it happens - I only mention it to set expectations, they aren’t flawless or anything, but far, FAR better in this regard than any other bluetooth device I’ve ever used). Anyway, I’m not quite an audiophile like my Dad and brother are (I’m more a visual/graphics guy) but I think they sound freaking awesome, compared to my previous ($20-30) blue tooth and wired options I’ve used in the past, and compared even to the Beats my daughter was using for a few years (until the third pair she had fell apart and she gave up and now has her own airpods).

Super worth the money, I use mine daily between music, podcasts, watching streaming TV on my phone, and again, the noise cancelling is incredible.

There are (I believe but cannot recall) some cheaper options with the same features but these just work and work almost perfectly and immediately. Some of the reviews I watched for these before I bought them brought up alternatives in almost every review, so if you are interested maybe check some of those reviews out.

I mean I flatly refuse to engage in commerce with Apple of my own volition, so that’s a non-starter ;)

I’ve not had any quality issues streaming music via my work MacBook Pro or my OnePlus 5’s BT. I’m using some closed-back Taotronics headphones I picked up some years back to test out affordable active noise cancelling. I only use that for travel (and it’s good for train and plane drone) but the wireless BT quality has otherwise been spot on for me and I’m pretty fussy.

Edit: I get the distinct impression my PC mobo BT is ass but I’ve got a proper pair of cans and an AV receiver hooked up to that so no BT necessary.

Yeah, I think it’s mostly the BT chipset on my cheap Moto that’s the problem. Currently they’re BT into a little powered amp on my desk, which drives a pair of decent Micca shelf speakers. The PC over its 3.5mm out sounds great, but the phone sounds like it’s, well, a cheapo phone streaming whatever shitty bitrate the Spotify app is putting out.

My problem with Air Pods is they lack the over ear attachment. Which given my use is heavily exercise related makes them a non starter, even aside from price.

Honestly that is one thing that irks me to no end about most earbuds. The fact the market is entirely dominated by ones lacking ear loops.

That definitely sounds like a double whammy. Could you use a dock to get a line signal out from the phone?

I listen to mp3s on my phone via bluetooth in my car, and it’s actually… OK. But in such a terrible listening environment, high fidelity is pretty much out of the question from the get-go.

I have no idea if I could convince the dumb phone to output audio over its USB jack. Though it strikes me that it actually has a headphone jack that I could conceivably use, haha. I do value the wirelessness of the situation right now, though.

Yeah, wireless is awfully convenient.

If you do explore a wired solution, note that the output from the headphone jack isn’t actually a line level signal; you ideally want line out from your phone (or whatever), via USB (or whatever).

Pinning down how exactly to get line out from a particular device can be a hassle in itself, of course.

The whole thing may be solved with my work laptop having its DNS unfucked (ugh, don’t ask) so I can just Spotify from that over USB to the amp.

I work out with my iPods (weight lifting, jogging, kayaking) and they stay in fine. If you’re doing something where they are directly being jostled, they would pop right out. Your ears may vary, but I see a ton of them at the gym.

Well you need a better sound chip to start with. :P

And then high quality source files. But even then you’ll never get true lossless quality over Bluetooth.

But you can get close to CD quality using a higher bitrate codec like aptX HD.

The proprietary Sony LDAC codec should sound even better as it goes even higher than aptX HD, with 900kbps bitrate and 96kHz sample rate. It’s tougher to find a pair of devices that support it though.

I guess the costs of the hardware that use these better codecs is what you mean by ‘extra infinity dollars’. :)

I mean they may work for some people but

A) I do a heavier intensity workout (5-6 miles at sub 7 minute pace), and do so outdoors year round
B) my ear shape is such that no earbud without over ear has ever stayed on, especially when I’m sweaty.

So anything lacking the over the ear loop is an automatic non starter for me. They simply never work.

Looks like there’s some aftermarket stuff you might explore.

I’m with @CraigM I wear standard iPhone headphones and they don’t fall out all the time, but they do fall out randomly often enough that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with AirPods without some sort of retention. That’s particularly true since usually I wear them when I’m walking the dog, and the last thing I would want to happen, is going down to pickup after the dog and have the AirPods decide to fall out as I leaned over.

I assume it’s all based on ear shape, and for whatever reason, mine clearly don’t match that well with whoever’s ear Apple designed them for.

Powerbeats, I have read, are perfect for runners. Basically AirPods for exercising.

I have Power Beats Pro, after years of a Bose Soundsport, and they’re one of the best purchases I’ve made. The Bose has the wire connecting the two buds and fell out of my ear all the time. The battery life sucked and they basically disintegrated after a year. I stubbornly kept using them for another year because they cost a fortune.

I feel bad for Bose. Apple has soundly defeated them.

Get em while they’re on sale

If I were a runner (which I’m not; it’s undignified) I would listen to music with this:

The Sansa Clip series is long-running now but have all been ultra-light-weight players that clip to your clothes (if you don’t have a pocket) and actually sound really good, esp in relation to their price. I have one that still works fine but that I stopped using because it took a long time to start up with many gigs of music in the microSD.

Don’t use Bluetooth like some fucking square. Those wires aren’t in your way. Plus you’re irradiating your head, which spoils sound quality by causing antler-like growths to come out of your ear canals.