Apple quietly improves call audio quality on AirPods Pro / AirPods 3 wireless headphones

A new report claims that Apple's AirPods Pro will have improved voice audio quality when the AirPods 3 launch in 2021. A sentence hidden in the AirPods 3 announcement suggests that the new Bluetooth wireless earphones support AAC-ELD, a "superior voice codec that provides full HD voice quality." According to one developer, the codec update is also available for AirPods Pro.

AAC-ELD, Advanced Audio Codec-Enhanced Low Latency, is a variant of the AAC standard used on most streaming services. However, it also includes better audio quality and reduced latency for spoken communication, developer Marco Pfeiffer said in a Medium post.

While Apple says the AirPods 3 get the AAC-ELD codec, Pfeiffer was able to confirm that Apple has also added a new Bluetooth profile to the AirPods Pro.

The result should be improved audio quality when the user answers the phone. This is because the AirPods automatically switch to the two-way profile when they receive a call, which often results in degraded audio quality.

It's possible that the AAC-ELD codec has also been added to other older models of AirPods, but Pfeiffer can only confirm that the profile is supported on the AirPods Pro.

The new profile is an improvement, but not perfect, Pfeiffer noted. The inherent limitations of Bluetooth data rates can still cause problems when using two-way audio profiles.

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