With Apple removing the longstanding 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7 onwards and Google following suit with the Pixel 2 smartphones, using a regular pair of headphones will soon get harder than ever.

Fortunately, you can use a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones, which, in many ways are more convenient anyway. The only issue with wireless Bluetooth is that sound can take a dip in audio quality.

That's where aptX HD comes in, it's a technology designed to improve the quality of your music when streamed wirelessly. But how does it work and which devices support it? Allow us to explain.

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aptX HD is an evolution of aptX. aptX is a lot more common than the HD derivative, so there's a good chance you've already heard of it. It's been around since the 1980s but is now owned by Qualcomm, the manufacturer of the Snapdragon processing chips that are found in the majority of Android smartphones.

aptX is able to transmit your music in 'CD-like' 16-bit/44.1kHz quality, but because it's compressed, it can't technically be classed as "CD-quality". The compression is there to help keep latency at an absolute minimum when transmitted wirelessly to headphones or a Bluetooth speaker.

If you want better quality sound over Bluetooth then you need aptX HD. The new technology was launched in 2016 to offer higher quality streaming and it can support high-definition audio up to 24-bit/48kHz. Qualcomm says it offers "better-than-CD" sound quality and can even enhance the sound of standard resolution music files.

aptX HD has also been designed to improve the signal-to-noise ratio, meaning you should be able to hear even the most intricate of details in the songs you listen to.

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In order to take advantage of the benefits of aptX HD, you'll need to make sure you have a device that supports it. These devices will have the CSR8675 Bluetooth audio system-on-chip (SoC) as it's capable of supporting 24-bit audio from end-to-end.

When aptX HD first launched, not many devices supported it, but now more manufacturers are getting onboard with higher quality streaming.

  • Astell & Kern Kann
  • Astell & Kern AK320
  • Astell & Kern AK380
  • Astell & Kern AK300
  • Astell & Kern AK70
  • Astell & Kern AK70 MKII
  • Astell & Kern A&Ultimata
  • Sony Walkman NW-A40
  • Sony Walkman NW-ZX300
  • Astell & Kern XB10
  • Bluewave Audio Get Wireless Hi-Fi Amplifier
  • Dali Callisto speaker system
  • Inateck BR1006 Bluetooth receiver
  • Naim Uniti Core
  • Naim Uniti Atom
  • Naim Uniti Nova
  • Naim Uniti Star

To find out more about Qualcomm aptX HD and to keep up to date with all the devices that support the platform, head to the official aptX website.