2018 Bluetooth Audio Codec Comparison Guide


Hi-Fi Guy

I have started using Bluetooth to transmit LDAC Quality Priority to ordinary headphones and to 2 separate home stereo systems. I transmit from a Shanling M5s in HQ Priority LDAC to a Fiio BTR3 plugged into an old HK power amp and 10" JBL Northridge speakers. The sound is so good, I can't begin to describe it. I just replaced a bluMe receiver @ std aptX with the Fiio BTR3 after studying everything. First I tried the EarStudio ES100 but it sounded worse than the bluMe at standatd aptX. In this configuration, the Ear Studio sounded more metallic than the Fiio or the bluMe. Actually, the bluMe with the standard aptX and the AK DAC inside does an excellent job, but I do hear a difference between LDAC Quality Priority and aptX in general.

I also have a Fiio BTR3 connected to a Yamaha old school 100 wpc stereo receiver and some 8" JBL bookshelf speakers. The player is the HiBy R3 also transmitting in Quality Priority LDAC. I can fine-tune this system to blast away all night if I want, and the sound will not penetrate a concrete wall so I am happy and so are my neighbors at 4am when I am not sleepy, at all! The Fiio BTR3 does a remarkable job. The build quality is great, the sound is great. The reception is not as good as with the EarStudio ES100. I use the EarStudio for workouts with a pair of Pioneer SE-MS5T headphones which cost a whopping $40. The Pioneer headphones and EarStudio combination, in LDAC Quality Priority, will work all over the ground floor of my densely populated home, even through walls with plumbing and electric (lots of electronic activity, air conditioners, all kinds of wi-fi, etc.). I use LDAC Quality Priority, the phones are really comfortable, sound so good I workout for 70 minutes and love every second of the experience!

I am a sucker for the Bluetooth wireless sound transmission technology ever since I discovered it can sound so good and work so well. I started with digital music in June of 2016. I started by ripping my 900 CD collection to MP3. I wasn't listening any more. It's a pain to listen to a CD collection. Digital music sounded terrible to me, but I had to start somewhere because I wasn't listening. My computer in 2016 only had variations of MP3 and one lossless program, WMA. So I re-ripped everything into WMA lossless. That sounded OK, but then the new players that I had just started collecting would not work with the WMA lossless program, so not being a computer geek, and not wanting to get stuck in the middle of a snag, I re-ripped my entire library into FLAC when I got a new computer and it had FLAC.

I am thrilled with the newer music players and those EarStudio and Fiio Bluetooth receiver/ amps.


I own a Sony Xperia XZ Dual F8332 and the Sony MDR+1Abt with LDAC in both and I do notice an improvement in the music spatial cues and more depth in the audio.


I forgot to add that it most notable in the classical music I listen to.

But my rock collection like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, AEROSMITH, The Grateful Dead..... Just name 4 I notice a great amount of difference for the better to what it is without LDAC.

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