|Type of format||Audio codec|
LDAC is a proprietary audio coding technology developed by Sony, which allows streaming high-resolution audio over Bluetooth connections at up to 990 kbps at 32 bit/96 kHz. It is used by various Sony products, including headphones, earphones, smartphones, portable media players, active speakers, and home theaters.
The encoder of LDAC is open-source under Apache License 2.0, so that any device can be coded to transmit LDAC streams without patent or licensing issues. The decoder design remains proprietary.
LDAC is an alternative to Bluetooth SIG's SBC and LC3 codecs. Its main competitors are Qualcomm's aptX-HD/aptX Adaptive and the HWA Union/Savitech's LHDC.
LDAC combines lossy and lossless audio technology by employing a hybrid coding scheme based on the modified discrete cosine transform and Huffman coding to provide more efficient data compression. By default, LDAC audio bitrate settings are set to Best Effort, which switches between 330/660/990 kbps depending on connection strength; however, audio bitrate and resolution can be manually adjusted on Linux (when using Pipewire), some Android platforms (which generally requires access to the "Developer Settings" menu), and Sony's own smartphones and Walkman devices at the following rates; 330/660/990 kbps at 96/48 kHz and 303/606/909 kbps at 88.2/44.1 kHz with depth of 32, 24 or 16 bits. When the codec is set to 16 bits/44.1kHz at 909 kbps (or 16 bits/48kHz at 990 kbps) LDAC can stream lossless audio that is identical in quality to (or slightly higher than) Audio CD.
Starting from Android 8.0 "Oreo", LDAC is part of the Android Open Source Project, enabling every OEM to integrate this standard into their own Android devices freely. The encoder library is open source and the implementation for Linux is already present in bluez-alsa, pulseaudio-modules-bt, and in PipeWire's bluez5 module. It is available on Fedora with RPM Fusion since Fedora 30. However the decoder library is proprietary, so receiving devices require licenses.
On 17 September 2019, the Japan Audio Society (JAS) certified LDAC with their Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification. Currently the only codecs with the Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification are LDAC and LHDC.