Question Why does an iPhone XR sound better than a 7?

Mar 12, 2019
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I just replaced my iPhone 7 an XR. The XR seems to sound better to me, and I was wondering why. Is it my imagination, or does it really sound better?

I had always assumed that with Bluetooth a modern phone would take digital audio and more or less just pipe it out to the digital earbuds or headphones, that the sound wouldn't pass through anything like a DAC on the phone's side.

I figured that the phone might have to transcode the digital stream, to handle differences in resolution, but that it was something that would happen in software, and that a crummy phone would be able to do just as good of a job as a nicer phone, provided that it was fast enough to handle the stream in real time.

When I started to try to think this through, I realized that I don't have any idea how phone audio works when you use Bluetooth. Can anyone explain the path the sound takes from say, a MP3 stored on the phone to the sound that comes out of the headphones?
 
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