Straight from Hawaii — Qualcomm isn’t just about mobile processors. The company also creates chips for headphones, and two of them were presented during the Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii this Wednesday (16). The S5 Gen 2 and S3 Gen 2, powered by the Snapdragon Sound platform, bring features such as head tracking, lossless audio quality and low latency for voice.
Qualcomm didn’t detail the differences between the two, only mentioning the platform’s features. In conversation with Technoblog, Mike Canevaro, director of Snapdragon Sound at Qualcomm, says the S5 Gen 2 is more customizable and allows manufacturers to tailor features for their headphones. On the other hand, the S3 Gen 2 is an “out of the box” package, so to speak.
Anyway, it is to be imagined that not everything is present in the S3 Gen 2, intended for mid-range headphones.
The first generation was presented in February 2022, during Mobile World Congressin Barcelona (Spain).
A feature that has been on the rise in recent years is the spatial audio, which “places” different instruments or characters in their own positions, to give the idea that the sound is coming in that direction. It is present in the second generation of Snapdragon Sound.
The headphones will be able to track the position of the user’s head and adapt sound directions according to movement. The idea is that each sound source is anchored to a specific point in its environment, to create a more immersive experience.
Think of it like this: you’re facing the screen and you hear a guitar sound in the left earbud; when turning to the left, the headphones understand this movement and start playing that guitar as if it were in front of you.
Noise cancellation and voice detection
Almost every Bluetooth headset these days has some noise canceling feature. Qualcomm’s new chips feature the third generation of Qualcomm’s Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation technology, which better adapts to different scenarios.
In addition to improving noise cancellation, there is Adaptive Transparency mode, which releases external sounds at times when the user needs to hear what is happening around them.
The feature now has speech detection. This is nothing new — headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM4 have already did this in 2020🇧🇷
According to Qualcomm, this enables “smooth transitions between immersive noise cancellation and natural sound passing when the listener needs to hear the world around them.”
Lossless audio and Bluetooth LE Audio
The chips support aptX, Qualcomm’s proprietary codec with lossless audio quality.
Another feature mentioned by the company is compatibility with Bluetooth 5.3 in dual mode, in addition to Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) Audio, which promises to use less battery.
Still in connectivity, the Auracast Broadcast Audio of the chips serves to play the same song, movie or podcast on several headphones simultaneously.
The company says that the first commercial products with S5 Gen 2 and S3 Gen 2 should be released in the second half of 2023.
Giovanni Santa Rosa traveled to Hawaii at the invitation of Qualcomm