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How To Use aptX-Capable Bluetooth Headphones with Ubuntu

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In the world of wireless audio, aptX is a codec that ensures high-quality sound over Bluetooth. This article will guide you through the process of setting up aptX-capable Bluetooth headphones with Ubuntu.

Quick Answer

To use aptX-capable Bluetooth headphones with Ubuntu, you can either use branded Bluetooth dongles that support aptX or install Pipewire and its related packages for aptX support. Additionally, you can consider using the sbc-xq codec for high-quality audio.

Understanding aptX

aptX is a series of streaming protocols owned by Qualcomm, offering significantly higher audio quality than the default SBC (Subband Coding) codec used in most Bluetooth audio devices. However, to enjoy this superior sound quality, both the transmitting and receiving devices need to support the aptX codec.

Pre-requisites

Before we start, ensure you have an aptX-capable Bluetooth headphone and an Ubuntu system.

Using Branded Bluetooth Dongles

One of the simplest ways to use aptX-capable Bluetooth headphones with Ubuntu is by using special branded Bluetooth dongles. These dongles, such as Creative BT-D1, Creative BT-W1/BT-W2, Sennheiser BTD 500, Avantree BTDG-50-WGR, and 1mii B10, act as sound cards and provide aptX support.

These dongles are plug-and-play devices. Once you connect them to your Ubuntu system, they should be automatically recognized and ready to use.

Using Pipewire for aptX Support

Pipewire, a multimedia framework, has started supporting aptX from 2021 through libfreeaptx0. To install pipewire and its related packages, follow these steps:

  1. Add the pipewire-debian PPA: Run the following command in your terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pipewire-debian/pipewire-upstream

This command adds the pipewire-debian PPA to your system’s software sources.

  1. Update your system: To ensure your system is aware of the newly added PPA, run:
sudo apt update
  1. Install pipewire and related packages: Use the following command to install pipewire:
sudo apt install pipewire

Once pipewire is installed, your Ubuntu system should be able to support aptX.

Using the sbc-xq Codec

If you don’t necessarily need aptX but still want high-quality audio, consider using the sbc-xq codec. This codec, recently added to Linux, provides audio quality comparable to aptX HD.

To switch between sbc and sbc-xq codecs, you can use tools like blueman-manager.

Verifying the Codec Used

To confirm the codec in use, you can install bluez-hcidump and run sudo hcidump avdtp. This command displays the configuration negotiation, indicating which codecs were attempted and which one was ultimately settled upon.

sudo apt install bluez-hcidump
sudo hcidump avdtp

Conclusion

Using aptX-capable Bluetooth headphones with Ubuntu can enhance your audio experience significantly. Whether you choose to use a branded Bluetooth dongle, pipewire, or the sbc-xq codec, the steps outlined in this article should help you set up your system for high-quality Bluetooth audio.

Can I use aptX-capable Bluetooth headphones with Ubuntu?

Yes, you can use aptX-capable Bluetooth headphones with Ubuntu by following the steps outlined in this article.

Do both the transmitting and receiving devices need to support aptX for it to work?

Yes, both the transmitting device (e.g., your Ubuntu system) and the receiving device (e.g., aptX-capable Bluetooth headphones) need to support aptX for you to enjoy the high-quality sound.

What are some branded Bluetooth dongles that support aptX?

Some branded Bluetooth dongles that support aptX are Creative BT-D1, Creative BT-W1/BT-W2, Sennheiser BTD 500, Avantree BTDG-50-WGR, and 1mii B10.

How do I install pipewire and its related packages for aptX support?

To install pipewire and its related packages, you can follow the steps mentioned in the article, which include adding the pipewire-debian PPA, updating your system, and installing pipewire using the apt command.

Can I use the sbc-xq codec instead of aptX for high-quality audio?

Yes, if you don’t necessarily need aptX but still want high-quality audio, you can consider using the sbc-xq codec, which provides audio quality comparable to aptX HD. You can switch between sbc and sbc-xq codecs using tools like blueman-manager.

How can I verify the codec being used?

To verify the codec being used, you can install bluez-hcidump and run sudo hcidump avdtp in the terminal. This command will display the configuration negotiation, indicating which codecs were attempted and which one was ultimately settled upon.

Will using aptX-capable Bluetooth headphones enhance my audio experience with Ubuntu?

Yes, using aptX-capable Bluetooth headphones with Ubuntu can significantly enhance your audio experience by providing high-quality sound over Bluetooth.

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