Sound lags on Bluetooth headphones on Android and Windows in games and videos - how to fix it


Sound lags on Bluetooth headphones on Android and Windows in games and videos - how to fix it

Many who connect wireless headphones to an Android phone or laptop running Windows 10, 8.1 or Windows 7 for the first time are faced with the fact that the sound from Bluetooth headphones is delayed in games and videos with respect to what is happening. on the screen, which requires a fix.

This tutorial details how to fix Bluetooth headset audio lag, what may be causing it, and additional information that may be helpful in the context of the issue at hand.

Why is the sound delayed in the wireless bluetooth headphones?

First of all, some important nuances about Bluetooth audio streaming to know and keep in mind:

  • There is always a delay in the transmission of audio via Bluetooth: somewhere the lack of synchronization is clearly noticeable, in another it manifests itself to a lesser extent and can be ignored.
  • The delay time may depend on the specific devices (smartphone, Bluetooth adapter in the laptop, the headphones themselves), the profile and codec used (SBC, aptX, LDAC and others) for the audio transmission, the quality settings of streamed audio.

When audio is transmitted over Bluetooth, it is specially encoded in the transmitting device and then transmitted wirelessly to the headphones, where it is buffered, converted from digital to analog signal, and only then is it heard.

Each of the steps can take some time, and according to testing, even the first two steps on some smartphones, regardless of codecs, take around 500 milliseconds (half a second), which is hard to ignore. However, in many cases we have the opportunity to reduce the delay in Bluetooth audio transmission and reduce the audio delay of videos and games.

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What to do if the sound from Bluetooth headphones is delayed on Android

When the sound lags behind what is happening on the screen of your Android phone or tablet, you can try the following steps:

  1. Check which codecs your Bluetooth headphones support and try using other codecs like aptX. An easy method to do this is the free "Check for A2DP" app, available on the Play Market at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.widget7.check.a2dp. After launching the application with the headphones connected, press "Check Bluetooth A2DP" and you will see the current codec and the supported codecs available (codec selectable) with selectable. If there are other codecs supported by the headphones, try selecting them (by clicking the codec in the selectable codecs section). There is another way to change the codec, which is discussed later.
  2. When Bluetooth audio lags in intense Android games, another application can be used, BTmono, which can be downloaded from the Play Market: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bedoig .BTmono. After launching the application, press the "On" button on it. The sound quality will get worse, but the delay will be significantly reduced, which can allow you to play more comfortably.
  3. If you activate developer mode in recent versions of Android, in the developer options you will find the possibility to manually select the Bluetooth codec (assuming it is compatible with the headphones) and other audio streaming settings. You can try changing the codec, the audio quality and see how it affects the situation.
  4. Another method that rarely works is to go to Settings - Connections - Bluetooth on the phone with the Bluetooth headphones connected, click on the settings button for the specific headphones and, if available, leave only the option for streaming audio / music activated, no call capability (call).

If the problem occurs when playing downloaded videos and movies on your phone, you can use third-party players that support audio delay settings, as the VLC media player is capable of.

If neither option has helped, but you have a chance to test your phone with other wireless headphones (ideally not cheap), give it a try. If in this case the delay becomes imperceptible, perhaps the headphones themselves are the main responsible for the delay.

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Bluetooth audio delay in Windows 10, 8.1, and Windows 7

If you have the problem in question when you connect the Bluetooth headset to your Windows 10, 8.1 or Windows 7 laptop or computer, you can try these solution methods:

  1. If you don't need to be able to communicate through wireless headphones with a microphone, you can go to Recording and Playback Devices (How to go to Recording and Playback Devices in Windows 10) and if you have "Headphones" and "Headphones" in the Playback tabs and Recording, deactivate «Headphones» (right click - deactivate).
  2. There, selecting the headphones in the "Playback" tab, open their properties and check all the tabs. Deactivate the activated effects and, if the reduction of the audio quality is available in the "Advanced" tab, try to use it.
  3. Go to Control Panel - Devices and Printers, right-click on your Bluetooth headset and open its properties. In the "Services" tab, try to disable all services except "Audio receiver" and apply the settings.
  4. You can check the Bluetooth codecs supported by your headphones and currently in use with the Bluetooth Tweaker program (official website - https://www.bluetoothgoodies.com/tweaker/, must be restarted after installation). The program is paid, but it allows you to view the properties of one of the devices for free: select your headphones, press "Refresh codec information" and the program will show the codec supported by the device and the codec selected by Windows. In cases where the headphones support modern codecs (eg aptX, LDAC) and a standard SBC is selected, the reason may be that the drivers for the Bluetooth adapter are incorrect (it is worth trying to manually install newer ones, or sometimes older versions help), lack of support from the adapter itself, and in some cases an outdated operating system.

Also, according to some comments, for the Intel 8260, 7265/3165/7260/3160 Bluetooth adapters it is necessary to install the Intel Bluetooth audio drivers. And these drivers are not available from Intel's site, but they are available from Dell's (installable on other devices as well).

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For specified Intel Wi-Fi / Bluetooth adapters, you can find your adapter model in Device Manager under "Network Adapters". If you have one of the specified adapters and your laptop has Windows 10, 8.1 or Windows 7 installed (with the Bluetooth drivers already installed):

  1. For Intel 8260, download the driver from https://www.dell.com/support/home/ru/ru/rubsdc/Drivers/DriversDetails?driverId=100J9&fileId=3546946146 (Windows 8.1 appears there as the target system, but also works on other versions of the operating system).
  2. For Intel 7265/3165/7260/3160, download the file from https://www.dell.com/support/home/ru/ru/rubsdc/Drivers/DriversDetails?driverId=90WTD&fileId=3506730032
  3. Run the downloaded file and in the window that opens, click "Extract" (to unzip the files in the selected folder) and unzip the files.
  4. From the folder where the files were extracted, run "Intel Bluetooth Audio.msi" and go through the installation process.
  5. Restart your computer and check if the Bluetooth audio problem has been resolved.
  6. If your headphones are compatible with the aptX codec, also go to its properties in "Recording and playback devices" and check if there is a new tab to activate this codec. If so, enable it and apply the settings.

Important note: sometimes the audio quality does not change for the better after the above manipulations, eg interruptions appear. If you encounter this, run the installation file again as in step 4, but select "Uninstall" in the installer. After uninstalling, restart your computer and the sound will return to its original state.

Also as in Android - for downloaded video you can adjust the audio delay in the player, for example in VLC media player you can find such an adjustment in the menu «Tools - Synchronization of tracks».

And if none of the solutions have been helpful, remember that the Bluetooth headsets themselves can also create noticeable lag, in which case manipulations in Windows and with drivers are inapplicable.

Video Tutorial

In case your Bluetooth headset audio delay issue occurrence scenario is different from above - please describe in the comments, with details if possible, we will solve it.

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