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Introduction of new generation Bluetooth Audio (LE Audio) – Audio Rendering Control Release Time:2020-07-15

Bluetooth SIG introduced and demonstrated new generation Bluetooth Audio – LE Audio in CES 2020.  

LE Audio 

Bluetooth SIG introduced and demonstrated new generation Bluetooth Audio – LE Audio in CES 2020.  Classic Audio operates on the Bluetooth Classic radio while LE Audio operates on the Bluetooth Low Energy radio. LE Audio will not only support development of the same audio products and use cases as Classic Audio, it will introduce exciting new features that promise to improve their performance as well as enable the creation of new products and use cases.




New Audio Codec LC3

LC3 means Low Complexity Communications Codec. Bluetooth SIG organized members including world class audio codec R&D companies to develop the new codec by using state of art audio codec algorithms and finally LC3 codec was adopted and released by Bluetooth SIG on 15 Spec 2020.  All LE Audio Profiles will be required to implement the advanced LC3 codec. 
LC3 is an efficient Bluetooth® audio codec for use in LE Audio profiles. It is capable of encoding speech and music at various bitrates and can be incorporated in any Bluetooth audio profile. To increase the audio quality, it is strongly recommended to implement PLC (Packet Loss Concealment) at receiving ends of audio connections. The role of PLC is to conceal the effect of unavailable or corrupted frame data for decoding (an example of PLC is provided in the LC3 codec specification).
Some of the technical properties of LC3 include:
●It is a block-based transform audio codec
●It provides a wide range of usable bitrates
●It supports a frame interval of 10 ms and 7.5 ms
●It supports the following bit depths: 16, 24, and 32 bits per audio sample
●It supports an unlimited number of audio channels
●It supports the following sampling rates: 8 kHz, 16 kHz, 24 kHz, 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, and 48 kHz
The new LC3 provides higher quality at the same rates as SBC, or even better quality at a much lower data rate.


LC3 supported codec parameters are listed in following table:



Providing high quality even at low data rates, LC3 will bring tremendous flexibility to developers, allowing them to make better design tradeoffs between key product attributes, such as audio quality and power consumption.
There are different ways to judge the quality of a codec. The most common way is live listening comparison for people to listen and compare the audio after it has been compressed and decompressed. Other ways include standard quantitative methods for measuring performance of audio codecs, such as the one shown in the graph below that compares the performance of LC3 to SBC. 
A few notes about the above graph:
●The X-axis represents various bitrates for each SBC and LC3
●The Y-axis represents a grading scale (0 ~ 5) as defined in ITU-R BS.1116-3 (PDF), which presents Methods for the subjective assessment of small impairments in audio systems

If you look at the 345-kbps bit rate for example, you’ll see that SBC scores a value just above 4.0, whereas LC3 scores an even higher amount with less than half the bit rate (160 kbps)




The release of LC3 represents the completion of the second of the three key building blocks. The Bluetooth SIG member community is currently hard at work developing new profile specifications that define interoperable support for existing and new audio products and use cases, including hearing aids and Audio Sharing.

As we’ve learned in this article, the new LE Audio standard, including LC3, marks a very exciting and important milestone in the development of the Bluetooth® technology standard, one that will enable the advancement and innovations in wireless audio for years to come!
It is notable that according to Bluetooth® Patent/Copyright License Agreement use of LC3 does not need to pay patent royalty if products using LC3 coded passed through the Qualification Process. 

As leader of Bluetooth Qualification Service provider AGC always follows development of Bluetooth technologies and committed to provide excellent services to Bluetooth SIG members. 

Reference: https://www.bluetooth.com/specifications/le-audio/


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