With the release of Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, Samsung touted the 24bit Hi-Fi audio, which is enabled by the Samsung Seamless Codec. Samsung shared very little technical information about this codec except for some marketing exaggerations.
Many Galaxy Buds 2 Pro owners have some questions about the Samsung Seamless Codec, for example, how “better” it is.
This Bluetooth headphone guide explains the four aspects of this new codec:
- When/where can you get and use Samsung Seamless Codec?
- The relationship between Samsung Seamless Codec and Scalable codec.
- How better is Samsung Seamless Codec compared to other codecs?
- The role of a codec (like Samsung Seamless Codec) in the Bluetooth streaming process.
Currently, Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is the only wireless earbuds that support Samsung Seamless Codec. Very likely, new earbuds will be added to the list.
#1. Samsung Seamless Codec is proprietary and only works on Samsung devices
First, Samsung Seamless Codec is proprietary, and Samsung owns it. No other hardware manufacturers have licensed it yet.
So, currently, it is only available on Samsung devices and works only on Samsung devices.
This means if you want to enjoy the Hi-Res audio with Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, you have to use it with a supported Samsung phone or tablet.
Samsung Seamless Codec is supported in Samsung phones and tablets with Android 11, 12 or 13. For example, Galaxy S10, S20, S21, S22, Galaxy Note 10, and Note 20 are all on Android 12. So, you can pair Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with any of these phones (and some Galaxy A and J series) and try the Hi-Res audio codec.
For headphones and earbuds, currently, Samsung Seamless Codec is only available on Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
In short, Samsung Seamless Codec is only for the Samsung ecosystem. You cannot even try it if you are using a phone or tablet of other brands. Galaxy Buds 2 Pro itself is only a receiving (sink) device.
#2. Samsung Seamless Codec is a new version of Samsung Scalable Codec.
The name of the new codec is very confusing: it is too close to the existing Samsung Scalable codec.
And the truth is that Samsung Seamless Codec is just a new (or updated) version of Samsung Scalable Codec.
Samsung Scalable Codec was created by Samsung (AKG) for their first wireless earbuds: Galaxy Buds. It was then supported in all subsequent Galaxy Buds devices (Galaxy Buds+, Galaxy Buds Live, Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy Buds 2). All Samsung phones and tablets with Android 7.0 (Android Nougat) and above.
Samsung Seamless Codec improves the Samsung Scalable Codec mainly in the following two aspects:
- Increase the bit depth from 16-bit (65, 536 levels) to 24-bit (16,777,216 levels).
- Increase the sample rate from 44.1 kHz to 48 kHz.
The 16-bit/44.1 kHz-sample rate is considered standard CD quality audio, and anything better than it can be claimed as Hi-Res audio (although 24-bit/96kHz is often used as a reference for Hi-Res audio). So, Samsung is not wrong to claim that Samsung Seamless Codec is a Hi-Res codec.
In a nutshell, Samsung Seamless Codec is just an extension or upgrade of the existing Samsung Scalable Codec.
#3. Do not set your expectation too high for Samsung Seamless Codec
Samsung hyped the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with 24-bit Hi-Fi audio. But you should take all these statements with a pinch of salt.
First, Bluetooth audio sucks, regardless of the earbuds.
Many of us were “forced” to use these inferior wireless earbuds because the smartphone manufacturers removed the headphone jack. Bluetooth is not designed for Hi-Res audio, due to its low bandwidth.
Second, 24-bit/48kHz is the best possible quality. The actual quality depends on the connection strength, ambient Wi-Fi Interference, CPU load of the phone, apps used for streaming, source file format, and other factors.
Third, Samsung Seamless Codec uses lossy compression. It cannot fully reproduce the original lossless or uncompressed audio.
Anyway, the sound quality of Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is decent and comparable with other flagship wireless buds in the top tier (e.g., compared to AirPods Pro , or AirPods Pro 2, or Sony WF-1000XM4). The Samsung Seamless Codec adds a small advantage for Galaxy Buds 2 Pro when you use it with a compatible Samsung phone or tablet.
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#4. The audio source is equally important
In the chain of Bluetooth audio streaming, the codec only plays a role between the sending device (phone or tablet) and a receiving device (wireless earbuds).
The audio source is equally important compared to the codec. For example, if you are playing music in MP3 or AAC format, advanced codecs like Samsung Seamless Codec, Sony LDAC, or Qualcomm aptX usually only marginally help to improve the audio quality in the earbuds. Of course, if your music collection is Hi-Res audio format (e.g., FLAC), yes, the codec is important.
If you are streaming music, e.g., from Spotify or Apple Music, the bitrate is usually limited by the provider. In this case, the codec may have a very limited impact.
A few music-streaming providers offer (e.g., Tidal and Amazon Music) Hi-Res audio in the more expensive plans. In this case, Samsung Seamless Codec may be helpful when you use a compatible Samsung phone with Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
Do you have any questions about Samsung Seamless Codec on Galaxy Buds 2 Pro?
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