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New Snapdragon Sound chips promise CD-quality wireless audio and much more

During its far-reaching MWC announcements, Qualcomm has launched two new audio-centric processors that enable wireless transmission of CD-quality 16-bit lossless audio for the best wireless earphones and more.

The new chips, announced at MWC 2022, promise to solve a major pain point for the music streaming industry, which is launching high-res formats amid the relative incompatibility of high quality audio transmission over Bluetooth.

The Qualcomm S3 Sound Platform and S5 Sound Platform provide support for both 16-bit 44.1 kHz CD-quality lossless Bluetooth audio and 24-bit 96 kHz high resolution Bluetooth audio. The new additions to the Snapdragon Sound Platform also bring support for both Bluetooth LE and Bluetooth 5.3 and will significantly boost the sound quality when listening via wireless headphones rocking the S3 and S5 chips.

The S3 and S5 Sound Platform chips, which will enable manufacturers to develop more advanced earphones, speakers and headsets, are also capable of connecting to an unlimited number of Bluetooth listening devices in secure environments.

“The Qualcomm S5 Sound Platform is designed to deliver studio master listening experiences, with seamless quality scaling to match the source file resolution,” the company writes on its website. “This includes Lossless CD quality audio with Snapdragon Sound, a first for wireless earbuds, achieved using our systems level approach.”

The company is also promising 68ms low-latency (25% lower) as part of a new gaming mode, which enables gamers to “fully synchronise your audio experience with the action you see on the screen. These platforms also offer a wireless voice back channel for in-game chat,” Qualcomm says. The new chips are also promising stereo recording for creators, 32kHz super wideband voice call quality, and integrated adaptive ANC.

James Chapman, Qualcomm’s VP and GM of Voice, Music & Wearables added: “In these tiny platforms, we integrated our Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation in a dedicated hardware block, and as a result are bringing substantial noise cancellation improvements, to whatever is in a listener’s earbud.”

Jabra, iQOO and Xiaomi have already announced they all be launching listening devices with the new chips at the heart.

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