JBL and Sennheiser are first to integrate Auracast audio-sharing tech over Bluetooth

Listing image showing girl wearing Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds
(Image credit: Sennheiser)

Auracast audio-sharing tech has arrived on some of the best wireless earbuds and best Bluetooth speakers, bringing a big boost to Bluetooth connectivity and the way we listen on our personal devices in public spaces. 

Following my story covering the original announcement made by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) in mid-2022, one of the best new wireless audio features to be introduced in years is finally being rolled out on next-gen products from JBL and Sennheiser. 

Specifically, I'm talking about the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 noise-canceling earbuds ($326 / £259 / AU$479), which were unveiled at CES 2024 and go on sale on March 1, and JBL's Xtreme 4, Clip 5 and Go 4 portable speakers that were also announced at CES and are expected to go on sale from mid-March.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4

Sennheiser's next-gen Momentum True Wireless 4 noise-canceling earbuds will support Bluetooth Auracast following a firmware update that's expected to come later this year.  (Image credit: Sennheiser)

JBL and Sennheiser are just two of the first audio names to integrate the audio-sharing tech. More brands and models are expected to follow with Auracast support in the coming months.

What is Auracast?

Although Auracast has been slow to roll out on audio products, it's part of the latest Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) standard that gave us the LC3 audio codec with more efficient signal handling capabilities than 'standard' SBC streams.

Previously called Audio Sharing, Auracast can enable a transmitting device such as smartphone, laptop, television to stream “to an unlimited number of nearby audio devices." In short, this allows listeners to share whatever they're listening to (or watching) via Auracast compatible devices such as Bluetooth headphones, earbuds, and speakers. 

Away from the home, Auracast powered public transmitters are said to be able broadcast audio to devices over a range of over 330 feet (around 100 meters) to compatible Bluetooth audio devices. This would be a boon for headphone wearers, who will be able to listen in to announcements in public spaces such as airports and train stations, as well as connect to any content display devices such as TVs in public waiting rooms.  

In a similar way to radio and TV broadcasts, multiple Auracast streams can be broadcast on different channels across the same area at the same time. Listeners within range of an Auracast broadcast simply select the stream they want, just as they would when choosing a radio station to listen to or selecting a channel to watch on TV. 

How to get Auracast

JBL Xtreme 4 portable speaker group color options on white

JBL's Xtreme 4 Bluetooth portable speaker will support Auracast when it goes on sale in mid-March. (Image credit: JBL)

Samsung is one of the main brands to integrate Auracast receivers into its products. Auracast models include the Neo QLED 8K series of TVs, as well as the Galaxy Tab S8 tablet, and Galaxy S24 and S24 Ultra smartphones. Supported by Android 13 and 14, the number of Auracast receiving devices is still pretty low though. 

There's no word on iOS device support, but the fact that two major audio brands have embraced Auracast means that plenty of others are likely to follow. In fact, all Bluetooth devices will include LE Audio and Auracast support by default as part of Bluetooth 5.3 standard or later.

Although I am yet to experience Auracast for myself on Sennheiser's Momentum TW4 earbuds (look out for my full review), I can already see it bringing accessibility and assistive listening to the next level, as well as big benefits to hearing aid users. 

As more devices adopt the Bluetooth 5.3 standard, sharing a common audio experience with multiple people looks set to be a lot easier and a lot more fun as Auracast becomes implemented more widely.

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Lee Dunkley
Audio Editor

As a former editor of the U.K.'s Hi-Fi Choice magazine, Lee is passionate about all kinds of audio tech and has been providing sound advice to enable consumers to make informed buying decisions since he joined Which? magazine as a product tester in the 1990s. Lee covers all things audio for Tom's Guide, including headphones, wireless speakers and soundbars and loves to connect and share the mindfulness benefits that listening to music in the very best quality can bring.