I purchased the Galaxy Note 9 on release day as I had been advised it would support the aptx HD Bluetooth streaming codec like the Galaxy S9/S9+. As I had purchased a pair of Bowers + Wilkins PX wireless headphones at the beginning of the year I was looking forward to taking advantage of their aptx HD support with my Tidal subscription. It transpires that none of these supposed "flagship" devices actually have this codec installed natively, although it is apparently possible to install it if you are willing to root the device, which I am not. It seems ludicrous that a phone costing the best part of £1000 would not be compatible with aptx HD. Although the UK spec Note 9 has an Exynos processor it does not appear to be a processor limitation despite aptx HD being a Qualcomm product as the Note 9 does have standard aptx capabililities. It is also capable of playing HiFi quality audio as it has support for both the LDAC and Samsung HD codecs.
As it is not a hardware limitation and there is evidence that the codec can be installed with root access my question is will Samsung make this codec available in a software update (preferably before the inevitably delayed launch of Pie) or is there any other way to install it without invalidating my warranty? I had the option of the Note 9 or the Huawei P20 Pro (which does natively support aptx HD) but prefer Samsung devices having owned a Note 2, Note 4, S7 Edge, several Samsung TVs and computer monitors & now the Note 9. If i had known at the time that aptx HD was not available on the Note 9 I would have taken the P20 Pro.
Just chatted with samsung support. I was informed that the device automatically selects codecs. And it is impossible to change the codec manually...
I'm going to get rid of this *****-sounding “flagship” if it isn't changed or at least announced a change.
It's pretty **** ridiculous that Samsung refuses to add aptx HD to their flagship devices 2 years later even though the qualcomm chips support it. The only way to add it at the moment is to root my S8+ and manually add it myself, like seriously Samsung?? Not even the S10 line have aptx HD which makes this even more ridiculous and pointless. It's been 2 years since the release of aptx HD and Samsung has done nothing to add this premium codec to their "premium" devices that support it. Looks like I'm going elsewhere when I upgrade this summer probably towards One Plus. Get it together Samsung.
Yeah, this in infuriating. I've had my B&W PX since November 2017. They were able to be shipped with Aptx HD, which was a supported codec on my my Pixel 2 XL at the time - it all worked great. I upgraded 3 months ago (November 2019) to a Note 10+, only to lose functionality? This is absurd and quite frankly sad that I could spend over $1000 on a phone that has worse Bluetooth Codec support than a 2 year old phone...
I humbly submit that everyone might want to step back a bit from how (allegedly) crappy the SBC codec is.
Forgive me if the following two points are a bit long-winded (especially the first one. The second point is informational/hopefully a helpful FYI):
1.) I am not an audio engineer, but I've had extensive hands-on time in a 24-track professional digital recording studio. I have also assisted professional sound mixing crews in many live, profesional settings.
By no means do I have "Golden ears", but I know what to listen for, and I consider myself a fairly seasoned audiophile. Now granted, I'm 61 years old, but I've "babied" my ears (always wore ear protection in very loud environments), and fortunately my hearing is easily within the 25 Hz - 17 KHz range (give or take a few db), which is within the RIAA "vinyl" recording standard of 30 - 15 KHz +/- 1.5db frequency response range. Minimum "high fidelity" spec, in other words.
I have a Samsung Galaxy S9+, running Android 9 Pie - and it too is seemingly stuck with the SBC codec. However, I've found that SBC's current implementation provides excellent sound quality. In my phone's Developer Options menu, the codec will accept the 303 - 330 kbps stream quality option (even after backing out of the menu), and it it stays locked in.
I have a high quality Monster WBA9-1008 Bluetooth 4.2 receiver in my 2011 Honda Accord EX sedan. My audio system consists of the Helix P Six Mk2 amp/DSP (Channel A - F: 120 / 240 Watts per channel @4 Ohms), a 500W JL monoblock sub amp, a 10" JL ported sub, 4 Focal 6.5" 165AS drivers + 2 Focal tweeters, for 6.1 channels. The Bluetooth receiver connects through my car's AUX jack, and via the car's USB 2 jack (for hands free phone & media cueing functions). My audio streaming services are all 192 - 330 kbps, and I can state (categorically, even!) that it all sounds quite incredible - even with the "lowly" SBC codec - literally 100% of the time.
For the sake of comparison, I plugged my S9+ directly into the audio head via the AUX input, effectively removing the entire Bluetooth stack & receiver from the signal chain. That, too, sounds incredible, and after listening very closely, I honestly cannot discern any difference in audio quality whatsoever.
For various technical reasons, it seems that the aptx & aptxHD codecs are somewhat overrated, as is "HD" itself, along with the vaunted 24-bit and 48,000 KHz+ standards. This fairly technical website sheds some more light on the topic:
The 16-bit / 44.1 KHz standard was established for the CD format long ago (therefore it's of "CD quality", by design), and it can easily handle frequency bandwith from 18 Hz - 22 Khz (+/- 1 db), which is beyond human hearing range. 16 bit sampling rate supports a dynamic range of up to 98db, 24 bit, up to 144db, but this is largely irrelevant, since virtually all codecs compress the audio signals down to around 92 db dynamic range.
SBC at its minimum baseline is 16-bit / 44.1 KHz.
2.) I think I might have found something that gets around Android 9's infamously "buggy" Developer Options menu backout problem that afflicts Samsung's S9/S9+ / Note 9 devices. The other codecs and their options are there, but they don't "stick" when you leave that menu screen (always reverts/defaults to SBC / 16-bit / 44.1 Khz):
Try this, while you are streaming audio - it seems to work fine with all the codecs, along with all their parameters:
Pick whichever codec you want, then select 48,000 KHz or higher, 24- or 32-bit, and playback quality up to 303 - 330 kbps (even try the high quality 909 - 990 kbps setting). You will notice the audio stream cuts out for a second and then comes right back on (i'm pretty sure I notice some subtle improvements in quality with some parameter changes), with each of the options and parameters you select. After you've done that, *do not back out of the menu screen*. Stay on that screen, and in the upper right corner, slide the "Developer Options" switch to "OFF". This should lock in your last changes. The audio stream remains at your last setting, and will not cut out.
I suspect that all the other codecs are indeed present, but this is simply a bad "Developer Menu" bug. Might be worth a shot.
When you re-enable Developer Options, you'll see that the Bluetooth codec settings will revert to their default SBC / 16 / 44.1 settings. No worries, just rinse/repeat (as always, make sure your other Bluetooth device is on, and paired with your phone/Note).
Otherwise, SBC at 16-bit resolution and 44.1 Khz sample rate is just fine, especially with 303 - 330 kbps and above.
By the way, my neighbor (in her mid-40s - her hearing is still fairly decent) let me borrow her LG smartphone (about 3 years old) that has all the codec "goodies", AAC, LDAC, aptx, aptx HD, 48,000+, 24 & 32 bit, and neither she nor I could discern a lick of difference between SBC @ 303 - 330 kbps and any of the other codecs, regardless of their options/parameters.
Just my $.02
The version of my Note9 is the Snapdragon (Qualcomm) and like I said before in the thread, I had before AptX HD (AptX is supported by Qualcomm) and the UHQ audio.
This is a software issue. I could root it and install a different rom but Samsung diabled this deliberately probably to push the Bubs and new crappy headphones.
I might try that or ending rooting it. I found on XDA couple roms with the Hi Res codecs.
It's annoying because I purchased one earphone and one headphone from the Level Pro line up couple years ago, and they were great on my S8 with Oreo but then the crapped on the Level line up. Definitely my next phone will be a Sony, just waiting to be done with the payments on this Note9.
How odd. Thankfully, Samsung has no longer exclusitivity for well done, high performance Android smartphones so we can get something else now.
126 smartphone devices listed with HD at the moment. Adaptive and Low Latency flavour could be interesting, too.
Check out https://www.aptx.com/product-listing?product_category=11&aptx_type=2 and make sure you use the filter on the left to limit to "phones" only.