Headphone codecs

Digital Tech numpty question:

Are headphone codecs “firmware” that can be added into existing headphones, or are they some other kind of beast that is put into the headphones during production only?

Firmware supported by the bluetooth chipset of choice.

Thanks but that doesn’t really tell me anything.

What I mean is, can codecs be inserted into headphones via the internet as “firmware” from the headphone company like new firmware from NAIM has been loaded into their streamers?

I don’t think so. Often, the codec that can be accepted depends on the Bluetooth chips being used. There must be compatibility somewhere in the chain from receiver to sender, so a chip that only transmits aptX won’t work on one that only receives LDAC, for example. Firmware updates, as far as I am aware cannot change this. Most chips these days transmit and receive in all major codecs, and compatability is rarely an issue on newer products.

The Focal Bathys phones had a firmware update earlier this year. It’s done via the Naim app. I’m not sure if that’s what you are referring to though.


Firmware is just different software that runs on hardware that is already there.

If your headphones already have processing hardware in them like the new Focal Bathtub headphones, then you might be able to update the firmware to change a function or fix something that doesn’t work properly, but you can’t take a random pair of headphones and add something with firmware, like you can’t take a random bicycle and make it into an electric bike with a firmware update.

Yes and no. Some codecs are owned by the bluetooth chipset manufacturer and in some cases licensed to others. If you look for a certain codec of choice I would look for those brands that support that before making the purchase. The chance of firmware updating adding new codecs is very low.

Ta folks. That answers the question.

The reason I asked is because I recently bought some 'phones that run on aptx Adaptive, but I noticed that there’s recently been an aptx development to aptx Lossless.

I’m not overly concerned, because they sound fantastic anyway. I was just curious.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.