You might have heard a lot about popular audio codecs SBC and AAC.

But how are they different, and which one is better? Is AAC better than SBC?

To test it, we used TWS earbuds that support both AAC and SBC audio codecs. And then, we got two smartphones, out of which one supports AAC and the other SBC.

Based on the audio output we got, we can tell if AAC is better than SBC. So, let’s delve into the SBC vs AAC comparison to find out.

How did we test?

We own multiple earbuds but chose the OnePlus Nord Buds 2 for this test.


  • While expensive earbuds typically perform well with both SBC and AAC codecs, we wanted to see how mid-range earbuds fare. Priced around $60, the Nord Buds 2 are affordable for many users, making them a practical choice for this comparison.
  • Although HD audio codecs are usually found in high-end earbuds, the mid-range Nord Buds 2 also supports them. This makes it an ideal candidate for testing codec performance in more affordable earbuds.

Please note that instead of delving into technical details like bitrates and sampling rates, we’ll focus on the real-life audio experience provided by these codecs.

SBC vs AAC: Is AAC better than SBC?

SBC vs AAC, Is AAC better than SBC

SBC Audio Codec:

When listening to music with the SBC codec, we immediately felt that the audio lacked open sound stages.

Although the overall sound quality was good, it wasn’t anything special. The trebles remained slightly muted, and the crisp high frequencies were missing.

In simple terms, treble felt flat and somewhat quiet with the SBC codec.

On the positive side, the vocals remained clear, even at high volumes.

What was even better was the bass. While it varies from earbud to earbud, we were impressed with the bass on the Nord Buds 2 using the SBC codec. It was deep and punchy.

Did we like the audio output with the SBC codec?

Yes, we did. The sound quality was good but not exceptional. It felt like just another good-quality earbud.

AAC Audio Codec:

We switched to our second phone, which supports the AAC codec. The moment we played the first song, we immediately noticed the earbuds got louder.

We observed a significant increase in audio loudness.

What about the sound?

The sound clarity improved noticeably with the AAC codec. We could hear a much clearer sound.

Hidden details emerged, and the treble became crisp. While the bass and vocals were similar to those with the SBC codec, other frequencies were definitely enhanced.

We also noticed better instrumental separation and wider sound stages. In simple terms, there was a significant improvement with the AAC codec.

So, Is AAC Better Than SBC?

Based on our personal experience, we can say that AAC is noticeably better than the standard SBC.

As a high-quality audio codec, AAC offers extra details and clarity, enhancing the overall music experience.

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Is AAC a good quality audio codec?

Yes, AAC is a high-quality audio codec, which is compatible with both Android phones and iPhones.

While AAC performs better on iPhones, it still works well on Android phones.

We’ve used AAC on Android phones and noticed a difference in audio quality.

However, you must know that audio codecs like LDAC and LHDC offer even better performance than AAC.

Is AAC louder than SBC?

After testing both codecs, we noticed a difference in loudness. The audio played using the AAC codec was significantly louder than with SBC.

To put it in perspective, 65% volume with AAC is equivalent to 80% volume with SBC.

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Does AAC use more battery than SBC?

Because AAC is a high-quality codec, though not as advanced as LDAC or LHDC, a lot of data needs to be processed. The codec handles more frequencies to produce richer audio output.

However, this increased processing requires more power, so AAC consumes more power than SBC.

Which is better for Android SBC or AAC?

The hardware encoders on iOS devices process AAC more efficiently than those on Android devices.

As a result, the audio output from AAC on iOS devices is better than on Android devices.

However, the AAC codec still offers noticeably better audio quality than SBC, even on Android devices.

Which is better for iOS SBC or AAC?

AAC is the highest-quality audio codec available on Apple devices, making it clearly superior to SBC on these devices.

However, if you have a non-Apple audio device, ensure it supports the AAC codec. Otherwise, the signals will transmit using the default SBC codec, and you will miss out on HD sound quality.

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What are the disadvantages of using AAC?

There are no major disadvantages to the AAC codec, but if we had to point out a few, they would be:

  • AAC consumes slightly more battery.
  • AAC is a higher-quality codec, so it may not be available on all budget earbuds.
  • Both your smartphone and earbuds must support AAC for it to work. It won’t function if either one lacks AAC support.

These are some disadvantages of AAC, but we believe that none of these are deal breakers.


If your smartphone and audio device support AAC, you will experience better audio output.

AAC is a valuable feature that noticeably enhances audio quality, and ideally, all audio devices should support it.

You may not find AAC on all budget earbuds, but if you are spending around $40, you might get it. If you don’t, make sure the earbuds you are buying support the AAC codec.

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1. Is AAC better for all types of music?

Yes, AAC is typically better for most types of music due to its superior audio clarity and detail, but personal preference and earbud quality can also impact performance.

2. Can I use AAC on all Bluetooth devices?

Both your smartphone and earbuds must support AAC. If either device does not support it, the connection will default to SBC.

3. Does AAC work better on iPhones than Android phones?

Yes, iOS devices are optimized to process AAC more efficiently, leading to better audio performance compared to many Android devices. However, AAC still works well on Android.

4. Are there better audio codecs than AAC?

Yes, codecs like LDAC and LHDC offer even higher audio quality than AAC, but they are generally found in more expensive audio devices.

5. Will I notice a difference between SBC and AAC on mid-range earbuds?

Yes, even on mid-range earbuds, AAC can provide a noticeable improvement in audio quality compared to SBC.

6. How do I enable AAC on my device?

On most devices, AAC should be enabled by default if both the smartphone and earbuds support it. If it’s not enabled, check the Bluetooth settings to ensure AAC is selected.

7. Can I switch between SBC and AAC on my device?

Yes, most devices allow you to switch codecs in the Bluetooth settings if both codecs are supported by your audio device.

So, AAC vs SBC, which is better? Is AAC better than SBC? We are sure you know the answer now.

If you still have any doubts, feel free to ask us in the comment section.

Do you agree or disagree with the points mentioned above? Share your thoughts with us.

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