How AirPods Pro 2 Audio Quality Improved Without Lossless

BY Dave Johnson

Published 25 Nov 2022

Lossless audio

An Apple audio engineer provided insight into how the company improved the AirPod Pro 2’s audio quality without lossless. 

In an interview with What Hi-Fi?, Apple acoustic team engineer Esge Andersen said the company doesn’t believe the current Bluetooth technology limits the AirPods’ sound quality. He further noted that the company could improve audio quality and reliability at the same time. 

“It is important to understand that we can still make big strides without changing the codec. And the codec choice we have there today, it’s more about reliability,” says Andersen. “So it’s about making something robust in all environments.”

The acoustic team engineer revealed that a panel of sound experts provide Apple engineers with feedback on audio quality. He, however, noted that there’s always a compromise because you can’t create the  perfect audio quality for everyone yet. 

“We want to push the sound quality forward, and we can do that with a lot of other elements,” says Andersen. “We don’t think that the codec currently is the limitation of audio quality on Bluetooth products,” he concluded. 

Apple AirPods Pro 2 and Lossless Audio Compression

Earlier in the year, Apple released the second generation AirPod Pro with new improvements. Besides improved active noise cancellation, the new earbuds offer volume control and better sound quality than the predecessor. 

There’s just one problem. The second-generation AirPods Pro still doesn’t have Lossless support. What does that mean? 

Lossless is a data compression type that allows the original data to be reconstructed from the compressed data without loss of information. In other words, lossless audio preserves all the audio detail to provide an excellent listening experience. 

Shortly after announcing its lossless audio compression technology, Apple started encoding its entire music catalog using Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC). That resolution ranges from 6-bit/44.1 kHz (CD Quality) to 24-bit/192 kHz. 

Unfortunately, there’s a  current limitations in Bluetooth technolog. As a result, none of Apple’s audio products — including the AirPods Pro 2 — support Apple Music Lossless audio.

However, that hasn’t stopped the Cupertino-based tech giant from making other sound quality improvements.