Wireless Carplay Audio Quality – Is the sound quality great?

Wireless Carplay Audio Quality Featured Image

Carplay technology allows drivers to access their phone’s content on their car stereo using a cord. However, with the recent upgrade, drivers can now access their phone’s audio and other content on their stereo without a wire connection. 

Here, you connect your phone to your stereo via Bluetooth or a combination of Bluetooth and Wifi.

Now, talking about the wireless CarPlay audio quality, is the sound quality great?

The wireless carplay audio quality is great, but not like the wired carplay audio. When transferring sound to your car stereo over a wireless connection, audios are compressed, leading to certain losses in sound quality.

Differences Between Wireless CarPlay vs Wired Sound Quality

While either method allows you to access your phone’s audio on your stereo, the sound quality is not the same.

Wireless carplay audio Wired carplay audio
Uses a Bluetooth or wifi connection (or both) Uses a cord connection 
Sound quality is reduced due to compression Sound quality is the same

 

 

Wireless Carplay Audio Quality

carlinkit wireless carplay adapter in front of carplay screen

A wireless carplay connects your phone to your stereo using Bluetooth or wifi (sometimes both) or another wireless network entirely. Most times, Bluetooth isn’t robust to transfer a large amount of data. 

Remember, while in your head you want just audio, CarPlay transmits all the data it finds on your phone to your stereo. So even if Bluetooth does transmit the data, the audio quality will be very low. 

True, combining Bluetooth and wifi to establish a connection won’t give you the exact sound of the source file. But it does improve sound quality.

A wireless carplay utilizes the ACC-LC format when sending audio from your phone to your stereo. This advanced audio coding (ACC) helps compress sound into smaller bytes.

When this happens, sound quality is lost. It becomes worse when you use just Bluetooth.

But this is only possible if the wireless carplay is compatible with the wireless receiver. This video is a practical guide to how it works.

The quality can also differ if you’re using a wireless CarPlay adapter, as the device is a third-party connection.

Wired Carplay Audio

wired carplay connection for comparison vs wireless carplay

On the other hand, a wired carplay, like the HDMI port in a car, uses a cord to connect the phone and stereo. It Utilizes an LPCM audio format when transferring sound. The LPCM is a digitization technology that helps produce the original sound.

Here, audio is not compressed; as such, it retains sound quality. In other words, the excellent quality of the source file and the stereo are the same.

Just like how a wired internet cable is best. Your best bet for audio quality is almost always a cable.

If you want to see more differences between wireless vs wired CarPlay, check out my article.

Does Wireless CarPlay Support Lossless Audio?

No, the wireless carplay does not support lossless audio. The algorithm a wireless CarPlay uses ensures that audio is compressed. Thereby reducing sound quality.

Most stereos with wireless and wired carplay options have it this way. The minute you unplug the cord, it switches to wireless, and lossless audio goes out.

If you want lossless (high-definition) audio, create a connection using a cord or a lossless capable device via Bluetooth. 

Issues with Wireless CarPlay Audio Quality?

Aside from the reduction in audio quality, other issues that prop up when using the wireless car play (including using a Wireless CarPlay adapter) include:

Phone Charging

While you may not need to plug your phone on short trips, it may not be the same for long trips. Longer trips would mean your phone is working for longer. 

As your phone transfers data to your stereo via wifi, Bluetooth or data, it consumes power. This means it may even be more beneficial to keep it plugged in.  

See my top recommendations for the best iPhone cable for carplay, so you can make sure you have a quality charger.

Phone Malfunctions

Since you’re doing wireless, you may plug your phone into a wireless charger. But it won’t be long before your phone can overheat, depending on the weather. As your phone gets hot, phone apps start lagging, CPU throttles, and you may even experience music dropout.

In other cases, as it gets hot, it switches into a “cool-down” mode, which automatically stops all connections. So you can’t use your phone on your stereo till the phone cools.

This, however, differs from vehicle to vehicle. Cars like BMW places their wireless charger in their armrest without airflow. So it’s not surprising for the phone to overheat.

Conclusion

Wireless carplay sound quality might be great.

But wait until you hear that same audio via a wired carplay.

As your phone transfers music via a wireless network to your stereo, it compresses the audio first. Audio compression can cause the carplay audio to lose quality.

 

Picture of Alex
Alex
I loved my car but was frustrated with my media system. So I upgraded my stereo, making silly wires and precarious phone mounts a thing of the past. The Apple Car Play stereo was so good I wanted to show more people how this could be done and truly upgrade their cars multimedia system! Founder StereoUpgrade.com
Recent Posts