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AirPods Pro may have received a secret speech quality upgrade

Apple’s AirPods Pro users may have noticed an improvement in voice call quality and clarity following the launch of the 2021’s AirPods 3.

When Apple launched its third-generation AirPods least year, it advertised the presence of a new audio codec that enabled full HD voice quality within calls. Now, one developer has been able to confirm the technology was added to the AirPods Pro model also.

Apple’s AirPods 3 press release contained a line, almost buried within other features, stating that “AirPods also feature AAC-ELD, a superior speech codec that offers full HD voice quality.” It flew under the radar at the time.

In a Medium post (via Apple Insider), Marco Pfeiffer calls it the ‘biggest improvement to bluetooth audio since 2009’ and, after conducting some tests, found it’s available on AirPods Pro also. You can see the log messages below when Pfeiffer used AirPods Pro with macOS.

In the post, he wrote: “I used AirPods Pro for this test. I haven’t found any publication talking about the AirPods Pro getting a quality upgrade but I can confirm: AirPods Pro got a speech audio upgrade in 2021, not just the AirPods 3. If you have older AirPods or even other headsets and are able to check, please do and I’ll add what devices got the update.”

So what is AAC-ELD? Well it’s a version of the standard AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) used by streaming services, but it also contains a communication-centric mode called “Enhanced Low Delay.”

While Pfeiffer disputes the claim it’s worthy of being called “full HD audio”, he says it is a major improvement on before. Apple doesn’t advertise the AirPods Pro as containing the codec for advanced speech, but we’ve contact the company in the hope of receiving some clarity.

Have you noticed voice calls coming through a little clearer on your AirPods Pro in recent months? Let us know @trustedreviews on Twitter.

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