Bluetooth LC3 codec is about to land on wireless headsets: it can improve sound quality and increase battery life

The Bluetooth SIG, an industry organization responsible for defining standards, has released a new audio codec that is expected to allow wireless headsets to improve sound quality while saving power.

This audio codec is called “Low Complexity Communication Codec”, or LC3 for short. It can transmit audio at a lower bit rate, but it won’t have the same audio quality as the Bluetooth standard SBC codec. The development of this codec was announced for the first time at CES in 2020.

Naija Tech News understands that providing audible audio at a lower bit rate means that the headset can use less power. This is especially important for true wireless headphones, because they must strike a balance between size, weight, battery life, and audio quality. The Bluetooth SIG stated that LC3 can allow audio to be transmitted at half the bit rate of the SBC without a significant drop in audio quality. This increase in efficiency means that the headset can use a smaller battery and become less bulky, or can provide better battery life in the same size.

Even at a speed of 192 kbps, the SBC audio has already started to become very noisy, while the LC3 sound is still clear at a speed of 128 kbps, and it starts to sound very rough at 96 kbps.

LC3 is just one of the new technologies that emerged as part of Bluetooth LE Audio. This is a general term for a new collection of Bluetooth functions. LE Audio also includes the ability to transmit data streams to two audio devices at the same time.

The Bluetooth SIG said that companies are already developing products that use the new LC3 codec, and these products should be available next year.