New Bluetooth audio standard on the way?

Let me apologise in advance, because there’s not much news here and no detail to discuss. It’s just that a subset of this forum has been discussing the future of Bluetooth audio for years and we fully expected an audio standard based on Bluetooth 5 (and onwards) to be here by now.

The Bluetooth SIG held a webinar on 12th November titled “A First Look at the Next Generation of Bluetooth Audio”. It’s for Bluetooth SIG members only so I have no idea what’s in it. We can be fairly confident of two things:

  1. There’s a new Bluetooth audio standard, and
  2. It’s on it’s way.

Sorry for the information overload.

I’ve seen mention of a new Bluetooth audio standard all over the web for a long time, but never anything official. So although this is not an announcement, it’s a sign on Bluetooth’s official website that things are moving forward. Watch this space I guess.

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And then there’s The future of Bluetooth audio: Major changes coming later this year - Android Authority which claims that a new standard should be announced this year. We’re running out of time though…

Apologies if this stuff has been posted before. I haven’t seen it.

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I was aware of Bluetooth 5.1 announced in January, but implementation has been slow (nonexistent?) This is maybe Bluetooth 6? Don’t think I’ll hold my breath. BT 5 was announced in what 2016, and there are still lower end smartphones being sold with 4.2. Will be interesting to see what comes of this though.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think the announcement of a new audio architecture has to coincide with the release of a new version of the Bluetooth core. No, don’t hold your breath! Even if a new audio architecture is announced tomorrow, we won’t be seeing any actual hardware for quite a while. But I’m a little bit excited that we might be getting close to an announcement. I think it could be a game-changer for hearing aid users in the medium to long term.

So are you talking something like aptX or A2DP, but agreed upon by everybody?

Something like A2DP but including support for ble. A2DP is the current audio standard profile. Right now, if you’re using Bluetooth audio, you’re using A2DP (ignoring mfi and Asha which are kind of specific to hearing aids). Once it’s published as a standard, any manufacturer can build to it.

AptX is one of several codecs that can be used within the A2DP framework. SBC is the mandatory codec that must be included. There will be a new profile and probably a new mandatory codec to go with it.

The mandatory codec may well be Opus. It’s open, it can stream high quality audio, it’s efficient and it has low latency. Once you’ve got a standard and a codec that can do everything, it takes a lot of complexity out using Bluetooth. No need for separate high quality and low latency codecs and worrying about what devices work with which.

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I think I’m sort of understanding. Would it be possible that they include ASHA as part of the standard? That seems like it would be big plus for the consumer.

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Technically possible? I honestly don’t know. Would they if they could? Don’t know that either! I’d guess they wouldn’t. They’d probably go for the ‘one standard to rule them all’ approach. The number of mfi or asha users compared to the potential market for a new ‘official’ ble audio standard would be tiny and would probably trend towards zero a few years after the new standard were released. Why would you bother with asha or mfi when your shiny new aids can stream from your phone, your tv, someone else’s tv, airport announcements, cinemas. I’m guessing that the audio quality would be superior too.

I guess I was just wishing for some universal standard that hearing aids could use. Was also reading about WiFi Direct which also sounds cool.

Nerd vs Reality - :rofl:


From a hearing aid point of view my wish would be that they develop a wireless standard that uses a 3.5 MHz carrier frequency instead of the 2.4 GHz used in Bluetooth. 3.5 MHz is what Signia uses in their ear to ear communication system, because they claim the lower frequency goes through body parts better. Then on top of the lower frequency they need to make it capable of two channels. That way like BLE it can go direct to each hearing aid, without a need to relay it from one aid to the other to get stereo.

I think the “universal” standard is USB-C?

For now, maybe. I have far more micro-USB devices and cables than USB-C, not counting the Apple/ lightning “standard”. :upside_down_face:

The only mini-USB device I have is my new Kindle Oasis. I was quite disappointed that Amazon put the old min-USB port on it instead of a USB-C like they should have. Now I have to keep an outdated mini-USB charger and cable just for it.

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Now teejayess has me doing it. :smile:
I said mini-USB instead of micro-USB. :nerd_face:

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Fixd, er, fixt, er, fixdt, er, fixed above… :eyes:

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This would be it, wouldn’t it? It’s a universal audio streaming protocol. Well, hopefully it will be.

You want to be able to stream from the same sources that people that don’t wear hearing aids do, I think. Otherwise you’re stuck in your hearing-aid wearer universe.

Yes. Tws I think it’s called. I’m pretty sure that will be in the new standard.

It seems to me that being able to stream wirelessly with reliability through body parts and not depend on reflective surfaces in the surroundings would be of value to all users sending streaming to their ears, whether or not they wear hearing aids.

You want to change Bluetooth’s frequency? I don’t think that’s going to happen. Btw, with tws, you don’t need one aid to transmit to the other through the wearer’s head.