I know the USB-C audio standard support multiple compression standards, some lossy, some lossless.

Can i control this in software or hardware ? how can i choose earphones that will guarantee lossless audio ?

  • \$\begingroup\$ The second question is a shopping question and thus, off-topic. The first one is good, but could you link us to some document describing the USB-C audio standard? Never heard of that! \$\endgroup\$ May 8, 2019 at 5:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ how can i choose earphones that will guarantee lossless audio By buying earphones that support it. USB-C allows for an analog audio connection (similar to a 3.5mm jack), both device and headphones need to support it to make that work. Not sure why "lossless" is so important when almost no one on earth can distinguish a lossless stream from an mp3 256kbs stream. \$\endgroup\$ May 8, 2019 at 5:58
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Bimpelrekkie, those who spend $5,000 on a cryogenically-annealed, oxygen-free, bi-directional, shielded, vegan, fair-trade, LGBT USB5.0 cable can tell the difference. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – user98663
    May 8, 2019 at 6:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Wossname Sure, they think they can tell the difference. And these cables of course are forged by nude-bearded-virgins in moonlight :-) \$\endgroup\$ May 8, 2019 at 7:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bimpelrekkie: At midnight, in a stand of oak trees, using a hammer forged from the shoes of a (virgin) unicorn, while singing "Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight." \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    May 8, 2019 at 7:51

1 Answer 1


After reading the USB Basic Audio Device Description (BADD) standards document as mandated to be supported by USB-C headphones:

As a device, you get to describe the PCM format you accept. Only define to accept uncompressed, and you should be fine.

By the way, I wouldn't assume anyone implements compressed audio for headphones – makes little sense, since at 44100 Hz stereo uncompressed, the data rates resulting are practically negligible (you get a 12 Mb/s bus all to yourself...), and the fact that under almost all circumstances, the USB-C host would need to re-encode the data to the compressed format would probably negate any power saving due to reduced amount of communicated bits.

Regarding your chances to control that via software on the host: Yeah, your audio driver will most definitely be able to only produce specific PCM types, and uncompressed will very likely be the first choice!


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