Qualcomm’s new audio chips could make cheaper headphones sound dearer

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Qualcomm introduced two new sound platforms for headphones, mid-range and premium wi-fi headphones and audio system that permit producers to incorporate audiophile-grade sound high quality, improved ANC, improved name high quality and decrease energy consumption in a wider vary of Bluetooth audio merchandise.

Producers use Qualcomm chipsets and audio platforms in a few of our favourite wi-fi audio merchandise and promote them below manufacturers like Bose, Sennheiser, Anker, Jabra, and extra. The brand new audio platforms are divided into two tiers and arrive simply 5 months after Qualcomm up to date its ultra-premium tier, the Snapdragon S7 and S7 Professional.

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The Snapdragon S3 Gen 3 and S5 Gen 3 audio platforms will quickly be out there to producers, so let’s check out how they might change our Bluetooth audio experiences.

Qualcomm S5 Gen 3 sound platform

As many technological improvements this yr, Qualcomm’s new audio chips embrace new AI-powered options and the S5 Gen 3 platform debuts with an AI-powered neural processing unit (NPU). In idea, utilizing AI within the NPU ought to permit the headset to course of options comparable to noise cancellation, transparency, and exterior noise administration sooner, extra effectively, and with much less energy consumption.

These new chips present extra AI on the machine which might take heed to surrounding noise ranges and “perceive and adapt to the consumer’s wants all through the day,” in keeping with Qualcomm. On this sense, on-device AI ought to make the adaptive ANC of the brand new chips extra intuitive and helpful.



In comparison with the S5 Gen 2, the next-generation audio platform will help 50% extra reminiscence and have twice the computing energy to course of audio alerts. This enchancment signifies that headphones with this audio chip ought to enhance speech recognition, spatial audio, equalizer settings, and noise cancellation.

The small chips in your headphones use machine studying algorithms to course of the noises round you and supply adaptive noise cancellation primarily based on the noise ranges in your atmosphere. Qualcomm’s new chips ought to permit these algorithms to work smarter and sooner, because the chipmaker says this technology’s ANC is its strongest but.

The S5 Gen 3 platform additionally guarantees ultra-low energy consumption, which ought to prolong the battery lifetime of your headphones and earphones. The brand new chips may also include as much as 5 MB of RAM, in comparison with 2.64 MB within the earlier technology.

The rise in RAM ought to permit for decrease latency and better efficiency. The brand new chips can course of audio sooner and with fewer delays, so your on a regular basis headphones and earbuds can double as gaming headphones on the go.

In fact, the S5 Gen 3 platform helps a set of Snapdragon AptX Bluetooth codecs to ship lossless audio. Headphones with these chips will help LE audio for improved bandwidth and Bluetooth Auracast will permit entry to a number of Bluetooth audio streams.

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The S5 Gen 3 platform is reserved for premium headphones and earphones, comparable to Bose QuietComfort Extremely Headphones operating on S5 Gen 2 platform launched in 2022.

Qualcomm S3 Gen 3 sound platform

The brand new technology of Qualcomm S3 Sound Platform is devoted to mid-level headphones, earphones and audio system, bringing increased high quality audio options to extra reasonably priced wi-fi audio merchandise.

There aren’t many variations between this yr’s Gen 3 platforms and former Gen 2 platforms, however the Gen 3 chips combine all the newest options right into a single chip, which ought to put much less of a burden on producers.

For shoppers, this implies their favourite wi-fi audio manufacturers can provide gadgets that eat much less energy, help lossless audio, and provide smoother software program updates and improved software program options with out paying tons of greater than for earlier fashions.

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The most recent S3 platform presents enhanced inside digital-to-analog converters, permitting mid-range wi-fi headphones, earphones and audio system to help lossless music streaming as much as 24-bit/48kHz.

Such excessive audio high quality was as soon as reserved for high-end merchandise, however these audio chips allow Bluetooth audio system just like the Soundcore motion X500 to attain high-resolution audio for lower than $200.

How can I entry Aptx codecs?

There are necessary caveats to remember with Qualcomm’s new audio chips. Whereas the brand new wi-fi headphones, earphones, and audio system are filled with cutting-edge know-how, they’re solely as succesful as their related gadgets.

Many individuals take heed to music on their smartphones, however audio merchandise with Qualcomm chips work finest with smartphones with Qualcomm chips. Most smartphones within the US use non-Qualcomm smartphone chips or go for proprietary audio know-how to keep away from licensing AptX codecs.

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Qualcomm proclaims AptX Adaptive as its most intuitive and future-proof codec. Nonetheless, accessing this codec requires that your smartphone and headphones use a Qualcomm chip.

Apple smartphones use inside chips and patented Bluetooth know-how, samsung telephones use Qualcomm smartphone chips however a proprietary Bluetooth codec, and Google telephones helps different AptX codecs apart from AptX Adaptive.

Nonetheless, you’ll be able to rely on upcoming headphones powered by Qualcomm’s new chips to work smarter and have improved noise cancellation, battery life, and connection stability. Sadly, you may need to search for different methods to pay attention losslessly over Bluetooth.

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