One of the problems with Bluetooth and audio devices is the limitations that it presents to audio, but those look to be in the past with the latest version of the standard – Bluetooth LE. This one’s different from other flavors of Bluetooth in that it was created specifically for audio.
LE stands for “low energy” and that’s one of the byproducts of the standard. It employs a new codec that not only ups the quality but consumes much less power than in the past.
LE Audio also enables what’s known as Multi-Stream Audio, which allows the transmission of multiple, independent, synchronized audio streams between an audio source device, such as a smartphone, and one or more audio devices. This means that it will be easier to share what you’re listening to with your family or friends, although it also makes location-based sharing in places like airports and museums a viable possibility rather than a theoretical one as well.
At the very least, LE Audio should provide a better stereo experience with wireless earbuds as the stereo can be transmitted as 2 separate streams instead of a single interleaved one.
One of the beneficiaries of the technology might not be so obvious though. A big drawback of home audio has always been the wiring that’s inevitably exposed. That led to poor placement of speakers which resulted in a degraded surround experience in the case of 5.1.
Bluetooth LE consumer speakers would eliminate the unsightly wiring problems while enhancing the audio quality over current Bluetooth specs. That could be a boon to the new immersive audio formats that are quickly coming to pass.
LE Audio promises to make high-quality wireless audio a reality that goes far beyond what we’re currently used to, all without the burden of excessive power consumption. That’s good news to just about every corner of the audio industry.