Sunday, March 29, 2015

Force Mac OS X to use aptX with your bluetooth audio devices

If you have a bluetooth audio device like headphones or a speaker that supports aptX, you might find that it connects to OS X using the SBC codec instead.

You can check the codec your bluetooth device is using by holding down the Option key, clicking on the Bluetooth icon in your menu bar, and mousing over to the bluetooth device to show its details.



You can force OS X to use the aptX Codec with Apple's Bluetooth Explorer application. You can download it from my Dropbox. After you open it, go to Tools > Audio Options



In the Audio Options window that pops up, select Force use of aptX. After reconnecting your Bluetooth audio device, it should now use the aptX codec.



Why would I want to use aptX?

CSR describes their aptX technology saying:

The aptX audio codec is available for high quality stereo audio over Bluetooth. When incorporated in Bluetooth A2DP Stereo products, aptX audio coding delivers full 'wired' audio quality.

But in my regular use of aptX vs SBC, with my Beats Studio Wireless headphones, I did not notice much of a difference in sound quality. I do keep aptX enabled instead of SBC just in case. But one of the negative drawbacks of aptX is that it requires a higher bitrate, and therefore a strong Bluetooth connection to function. So with aptX enabled, you might notice your audio cutting out sooner when you are moving away from your Bluetooth source.

Do you notice a difference in using aptX? What kind of audio device and audio source do you have if you did? Let me know.

22 comments:

  1. Was looking for this app everywhere. thank you so much! Hopefully I am able to fix choppy audio output from my sound bar by increasing the bitpool min and increasing the no of buffer packets.

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  2. Sounds a lot better for me with my Sony ZX770BT headphones, thanks!

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  3. My Q Acoustics BT3 wireless speakers kept dropping signal from my iMac after 20 minutes (which its supposed to do if no signal input) in the middle of playing music!! The BT3 is aptX and upon checking iMac Bluetooth connection I found it was connected with SBC. I'm hoping this solves it. Many thanks

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    1. Hi, did you solved this? I have the exact same set-up but when forcing APT-x I couldn't play sound anymore...

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  4. Thank you so much for this tips and sharing a program, my Denon Envaya sound truly amazing with my mac now, best!

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  5. Do i have to download the AptX codec? i have beats studio wireless headphones and can only connect with AAC or SBC. even if i check force AptX and disable AAC AptX does not come up as the active codec.
    Please advise,

    thanks

    Joe

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    Replies
    1. AptX is built into OSX. Do you have the first or second version of the Studio Wireless?

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    2. Hi! I have the same issue here... I've forced the apt-x codec with the Bluetooth Explorer app but my Studio Wireless doesn't seem to catch it. How could i know which version of the Studio Wireless do i have? Thanks!

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    3. I found the root problem for this... mine were fake. After long discussions i managed to get my money back but there're plenty of people being cheated by knockoffs. I found mine were not the real thing when i tried to update them. I connected the Studios' to my Mac and the updater didn't recognize them, also, i tried the reset procedure and it didn't go as Beats said, no red lights no nothing. So... be careful out there.

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    4. That's unfortunate. Glad you got your money back, though!

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  6. Thank you. Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless.

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  7. Hi - my microphone quality is really poor over Bluetooth. I found my Mac uses two connections - one for output audio and one for input. Output is fine, but when it switches to input it drops to 8000 bitrate and then takes some time to adjust back to the higher quality once the call is over.

    Any suggestions?

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    1. I don't see anything scriptable with Bluetooth Explorer. But it seems someone made an Apple Script to open the Audio Midi Setup form to set a bitrate as well as other things.

      You can try hacking that script to fit your needs.

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  9. I have a new Kef MUO bluetooth speaker that I understand uses Bluetooth aptX to connect to devices.

    I want to use this speaker on my iMac that's running OS x El Capitan (10.11.13). The speaker will either not Bluetooth connect, loses connection or the sound breaks when playing music. I have tried your suggestion of selecting 'Force use of aptX' in Audio Options of Bluetooth Explorer but this makes no difference. Are you able to assist with what I can do next please?

    By the way, I'm able to use this speaker from my iPhone successfully.

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    1. Yeah I think aptX would make it worse. One thing to try is not to use it, and instead try adjusting the bitpool settings available below it. Play around with decreasing the Current and Maximum bitpool. This would decrease sound quality but hopefully keep the connection stable which would be more important.

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  10. When i try this on my my sound link bose around ear wireless headphones II this source aptX does not change the headphone setting still says not active

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  11. i have the new bang and olfuson A1. i have forced apt-x enabled. but after restard an reconnecting A1 still codec SBC is there not apt-x!?? why? can you help!
    dancerffm

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