SBC Codec

SBC Codec

The so-called SBC codec is a codec for transferring audio data. The acronym SBC stands for "Low Complexity Subband Coding". The SBC codec is primarily used for the wireless Bluetooth standard and is part of the Bluetooth profile A2DP. A2DP is required to support the SBC codec. Unlike other codecs, SBC is public domain and can therefore be freely implemented by the various equipment manufacturers. Similar to the MP3 compression method, SBC codec is lossy. Audio signals compressed with this codec cannot be restored to their full original form. The benefits of SBC is the low demand for computing power in the compressing and unpacking devices and supporting bit rates of up to 345 kilobit per second.

The SBC codec in detail

SBC codec is parts of the A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) by Bluetooth and allows wireless transmission of audio signals between a transmitter and a receiver. We can generally differentiate between A2DP-SRC in the source and the A2DP-SNK in the sink. Unlike optionally supported codecs and transmission formats such as MP3, AAC and aptX, the devices must implement SBC. Since the SBC codec is lossy, transmitting audio signals may cause an audible loss of quality. At 345 kilobit per second, however, SBC has a very high maximum bit rate and reduces almost the entire audible loss. Sophisticated audio transmissions, however, often use different codecs. The SBC codec can easily be used for the already limited frequency in telephony.

SBC codec in the telephony environment

Many wireless devices in the telephony environment use the SBC codec to transmit audio. Sources can be e.g. cell phones, transmitting audio signals to a Bluetooth headset or a Bluetooth capable car radio via Bluetooth and SBC codec. Other devices are hands-free sets. Since the computing power required for the devices is low and the SBC codec is public domain, these types of devices can be manufactured at a very low cost.

Further information


The technical term "Advanced Audio Distribution Profile" - in short A2DP - refers to a transfer standard via a Bluetooth connection, for the wireless transfer of high quality audio signals. The...

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