Interesting predicament regarding bluetooth audio

App DeveloperClub AppleVis Member

I asked this up here a while back, but never got any responses. I have a pare of 1st generation Apple Airpods which I use with my iPhone 11 Pro Max. They work well unless I need to use them for GPS navigation. I've found that regardless if I use them, or my Aftershokz headset, or for that mind, even my really high end Sony headset, after a few seconds of no audio coming through over bluetooth, the audio temporarily goes into, I guess you would call it like a sleep nmode kind of thing. Meaning that when this happens, it takes about 2 to 2 and a half seconds for audio to resume through the headset, as the bluetooth audio has to be woken up sota speak, and redetected. I'm not saying I lose bluetooth connectivity. Let me make that clear for the less tech savvy. I never lose the full bluetooth connectinoconnection. Thing like a voice activated voice recorder. When it hears audio it then starts recording, however, the first few seconds of sound might get cut off, as it takes a moment to trigger things. Same principle here. For this reason, let's say GPS has been silent for a while, and all a sudden it tries to speak telling me to turn on to Bird street. (Ficticious road name by the sway, LOL!) I might only hear, eet. The words turn on to Bird, and the first part of the word street get announced, but it takes those few seconds for the bluetooth audio to respond when in that kind of asleep mode if you will. Yeah, with bluetooth version 4 and version 5, even, it's gotten a bit better, but it's still enough of a lag, this poses a real problem, as then, I might miss crutial information. I know plenty of people who use bluetooth headsets with GPS all the time. I'm just wondering how you guys deal with this problem.

Forum: 

New standards coming soon

Noted this from earlier this year:
The new Bluetooth standard will be known as LE Audio and one of the biggest improvements it will include will be a feature called Multi-Stream Audio. Bluetooth is currently limited to streaming audio to just a single device. That’s fine for portable speakers and headphones where both sides are connected with a wire, but for wireless earbuds, such as Apple’s AirPods, your smartphone can actually only connect to one side. That earbud then has to forward the audio stream onto the one in your other ear, which requires some clever software tricks to ensure everything remains in sync.
Multi-Stream Audio will solve that, as it will allow a single device, such as a smartphone, to stream flawlessly synced audio to multiple audio devices at the same time. The most obvious benefit is that it will be much easier to make wireless earbuds work more reliably, without any audio lag issues. But the feature promises to also benefit those who want to use their wireless headphones with multiple devices at the same time, such as a tablet, phone, and a laptop, streamlining the process of switching between each audio source without having to go through an annoying disconnect/reconnect process each time.
Bluetooth LE Audio will also make sharing a music stream with others possible. Users should be able to easily share audio from their smartphone with friends, as multiple sets of wireless headphones can be connected to a single source device at once, and each should receive the exact same audio stream in perfect sync with all the others. Further expanding on that idea is another new feature known as Broadcast Audio which allows a single audio source device to broadcast several audio streams to an unlimited number of wireless headphones, without any private pairing required.
Imagine sitting in a waiting lounge at the airport and instead of TVs blaring the news over their speakers, they’d instead allow anyone with wireless headphones to connect to the audio broadcast, even in multiple languages. It’s a feature that promises to improve the experience at movie theaters, gyms, and even shopping malls, leaving the holiday music only to those with wireless headphones who are eager to hear Jingle Bells again and again.

Even audiophiles might finally have a reason to embrace Bluetooth with LE Audio, as the new spec is introducing the Low Complexity Communication Codec—or LC3, for short—which promises better audio quality at lower data rates. Hardware makers will be able to adapt the codec as they need, but LC3 promises to require about half the bandwidth of the audio codecs Bluetooth uses now with improved sound quality. It’s doubtful most users will be able to hear a difference, but they’ll definitely notice improved battery life, as the reduced data rate will also result in reduced power consumption for Bluetooth destination and source devices. This will potentially also allow companies to further reduce the size of wireless earbud devices, as smaller batteries will be needed to achieve the same battery life.
While Bluetooth LE Audio is officially being announced today, additional features and specifications for the next generation of Bluetooth will be revealed throughout the first half of 2020, as there will undoubtedly be improvements made for other wireless devices as well. The upgrades will be welcome, but unfortunately, they won’t be available to existing devices through a simple software upgrade. New hardware will be needed, starting with the chips that should arrive sometime this year and that will soon after find their ways into devices. But once available to consumers you can expect the next generation of Bluetooth to be a big selling point, so it should be easy to know which gadgets will eventually support it.

I know exactly what you're talking about

Club AppleVis Member

Bluetooth devices will go into a standby mode if there is no activity for a few seconds. This is normal, and I have observed it in every headset I've tried, as well as Bluetooth keyboards by the way.

However, I have never encountered any device which took more than a fraction of a second to start playing again. With my current headphones, the Beats Solo Pro, there is absolutely no noticeable loss of audio, and I have to pay really close attention to even tell that the headset even went into standby at all.

The fact that you're seeing this with AirPods makes me wonder if there's something wrong with your iPhone. Can you try using your headphones with another device?

For goodness sake!

App DeveloperClub AppleVis Member

I'm not meaning to be rude here, but I am so dang sick and tired of everyone telling me there's something maybe wrong with your phone or your hardware! I've tried with multiple headsets, multiple phones, both on iOS, and! on Android, rebooted devices, reset devices, restored devices through iTunes without rolling backups, when will people get the hint! I don't give up easy on trouble shooting. By the time I write online on Applevis, social media, etc about things like this, you can be assured, if I say it's a bug, it probably is. I don't claim to know everything, but Apple, and now others giving me the heeve hove of "oh, maybe it's your phone," Really? You're kidding me! I mean this with all due respect, but this is why I have gone away from mainstream products to more open source things where people understand about what bugs mean. For example, my primary device now for a PC is running Linux very happily, and though I use iOS, my primary mobile device is Android. Anyway, sorry for ranting, but it really does get agrivating when I ask a question only to always hear the same answer: oh, it's your hardware. I can't tell you how many times I've heard that, only to later find, I was right all along: it indeed was! a bug.

Work around?

I agree with DVDNTH regarding Blue Toot headsets powering down after a few seconds of silence. As was noted in the original post this becomes an issue when using GPS apps that only speak intermittantly so that the first part of the announcement is lost while the headset is re-powering up. To work aoround this problem I run another sound producing app concurrently with the GPS app which prevents the headset from powering down. The app I use for this purpose is called Sleep Bug. The free version of this app has several sound themes and an independent volume control so the sound level of the chosen theme can be adjusted to be barely discernable.

happens here too

I have a Capello TuneClock which is a mini Bluetooth speaker, and I notice this with VoiceOver quite a lot. If voiceOver says "Settings," then I give it about 5 seconds of rest, if I flick again, the S part of the word is barely discernible, thus generating the word "ettings." It's annoying, I'm just glad my Echo Dot doesn't have the issue, it must be with devices with the multi-stream issue as post2 covered.

...

this is a fundamental architectural issue. bluetooth is for low power connection, constant audio transmission uses more power, thus whenever nothing is transmitted, it goes to sleep. previous comment about using other sound producing app makes lots of sense.

bluetooth is also miserable for realtime applications. music is ok because if the entire song is delayed by half second from start to finish, there is no delay from the listener’s point of view, except she might notice the initial delay, video application is much different.

if you pipe audio signal to your audio system using bluetooth, you’ll notice the audio and video is not in sync. players will try to delay the video output to accommodate, but it will never be perfectly in sync. bluetooth audio is inferior anyway, so if you want to enjoy your movie with your fancy system, wire it up.

it all depends on the speaker or headphones you're using.

I have noticed that some speakers and headphones do it worse than others. I don't have this problem at all with any of my Bose stuff or Amazon echoes. with some Bluetooth headphones or speakers, there may be settings you can change in their associated apps to fix the problem, but some of these apps are not accessible. I have toyed around with the idea of getting a pair of those high end Sony headphones, but I think now that I will stick with my Bose QC35 II's.

Airpod

When I use my airpod with 11 pro max and unlucky 13.3.1 and open blind square no issues with moving around it. My is first gen