Bluetooth headphones: great quality on iPhone, poor quality on notebook and PC


I recently got a new pair of Sony MDR-1RBT Bluetooth headphones. On my iPhone 4, they sound fantastic. But when I try to use them on my Windows PC or 2010 Macbook Pro, the sound quality drops substantially. I'm pretty sure they're still using the A2DP profile, but they sound like FM radio, or like an MP3 encoded at 64kbps. (I don't think they're pairing in headset mode.) On OSX, many people have recommended changing the "bitpool" setting, but this didn't help me much. There's also maybe a second of lag, so gaming is out of the question.

I remember having these sorts of problem with Bluetooth 5 years ago, and I'm shocked that they still haven't been fixed. Am I missing something? Why does my dinkly little iPhone play wireless audio so well while my powerhouse computers do not? Is this adaptor dependent? Can I just force Bluetooth to send the highest quality stream possible at the expense of latency?

Best Answer

  • I bought a USB based Bluetooth 4.0 device: Plugable USB-BT4LE

    I use Windows 7 Enterprise.

    I also had your problem, only with a generic set of Bluetooth headphones. This set of headphones does not have a microphone. The Windows Bluetooth utility decided that it had one, anyway.

    It became apparent that either the Broadcom drivers, or the Windows Bluetooth management subsystem were forcing the headphones into some sort of fallback, low-quality mode.

    To fix it here is what I had to do:

    1. Open 'Recording Devices' control panel applet
    2. Locate the microphone device associated with your Bluetooth
    3. Right click on the item and choose 'Disable' from the list