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Even though it's theoretically possible to send over Bluetooth without reencoding, I wonder if it happens in practice. The audio pipeline has too many stages and each of them would have to retain the encoding.

good point. the developer settings on my pixel 2 allow me to set the preferred codec, but I've never dug into it enough to know whether the setting is actually honored. all my music is MP3 anyway so it's going to sound awful over Bluetooth no matter what.

Similar developer settings on the S8+/Note 9 - as soon as you connect to a device that doesn't support your chosen codec, it'll reset. I can tell the difference between APT-X and AAC, but I've got no idea if the AAC is being re-encoded.

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