Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Why Is Bluetooth Sound Quality Bad on My Mac?

Daniel Gonzalez Reina (via Hacker News):

On the one hand you have that Macs will use a HFP when the microphone is in use, and on the other you have that HFP use audio codecs which prioritizes low latency over audio quality. Therefore,

☠️ Using the Bluetooth headset’s microphone will make your Mac sacrifice audio quality to improve latency

Then, your headphones might have 10 year old codecs, which will need to really lower the quality of the sound to get decent latency.

ToothFairy can help you get around this problem. If you enable the Improve sound quality by disabling audio input from device option, when you connect your headphones it will automatically switch the Mac’s sound input back to the internal microphone (or whichever microphone you had been using) so that the headphones can use a high-quality codec for sound output.

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Kevin Schumacher

Can confirm ToothFairy works wonders for this.

Now if I could just rid myself of the recurring problem where system sounds are distorted or choppy when they are played. Not all the time, just a significant portion of the time, and only with my AirPods Pro.

I'm still dumbfounded by how terrible Bluetooth audio is after all these years. There are tons of gaming headsets that don't use bluetooth, have basically non existent latency and perfect audio quality for both the mic and headphone feeds. And yet this is basically impossible to do on Bluetooth.

@Bri Yup. After all these years I still pull out the Sennheiser RS170 cordless cans I have to listen seriously, remote-controlling my Mac using a Bluetooth remote clicker. There's simply no getting around Bluetooth compression even with AAC on Apple devices and a good EQ profile as is now the case when I use my AirPods Pro/Max or the Sony WH1000-XM5s, which are certainly among the best I've actually used; it's still Bluetooth, it's still compressed, and unless convenience is the absolute top priority (it often is!) then it's going to be unsatisfactory compared to cordless or wired cans. Which is insane, if you think about it, but it perfectly illustrates most peoples' priorities. And honestly, if you just listen to loud music (pop) and some audiobooks and podcasts, probably, that's entirely reasonable. Meanwhile, if anyone knows how I can listen to high-quality audio cordlessly and still have a mic and HID-style controls for rewind/play/pause/forward, I'd love to know what you go in for.

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