With the release of Sony WF-1000XM5 and WH-1000XM5, more and more owners are wondering how to enable Hi-Res audio, which is one of the key features of high-end Sony wireless headphones and earbuds, in addition to the signature noise canceling feature.
This guide explains and shows you how to use LDAC codes to enable Hi-Res audio on Android devices so that you can enjoy the best quality audio you have paid for. Detailed step-by-step instructions are included. Questions you may have on LDAC codec and Hi-Res audio are also answered.
This guide applies to all wireless headphones and earbuds with LDAC codec support. We use Sony WF-1000XM4, WF1000XM5, and WH-1000 series just as examples.
Background info on Bluetooth codecs and Hi-Res audio
However, some readers may need some background info.
Bluetooth audio sucks.
Many cheap wired headphones are better than high-end wireless headphones.
Most wireless earbuds, including the AirPods Pro series, Sony WF-1000 series, and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds series, are inferior to most cheaper wired headphones.
But Bluetooth audio solves the problem when “wire” is unavailable (or not an option). Especially in the current market, almost all “flagship” or high-end phones have removed the most useful (for audiophiles) 3.5mm audio jack. You may have to look for a Bluetooth headset or wireless earbuds.
Bluetooth codec makes a difference.
All Bluetooth “audio” devices must support the baseline codec: SBC (subband codec), which is part of the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP). This guarantees that all Bluetooth headphones or earbuds work with all “sending” devices (e.g., iPhone and Android phones).
AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) was standardized by ISO and IEC. Almost all headphones and earbuds manufacturers support it, although it is not royalty-free. Generally, AAC offers better (arguable)audio quality than SBC with the same bandwidth. Of course, this depends on the implementation of the sending and receiving devices.
Hi-Res means different in file format and Bluetooth codec.
When talking about individual music files, Hi-Res usually means either uncompressed (e.g., WAV) or compressed but lossless (e.g., FLAC and ALAC). MP3 and AAC are two common examples of the opposite side: compressed and lossy.