Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon Sound for high-quality, low-latency wireless audio

Peter, 05 March 2021

There are many ways for streaming audio to go wrong, especially if there is a wireless headset at the end of the chain. Qualcomm is aiming to address all of these issues with the new Snapdragon Sound platform.

On the phone end, the company has lined up the Snapdragon 800-series chips with the FastConnect 6900 connectivity system. For headsets and earbuds there are the QCC514x, QCC515x and QCC3056 series Bluetooth Audio SoCs.

Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon Sound for high-quality, low-latency wireless audio

Between them they support aptX Adaptive, which is capable of delivering high-quality 24-bit 96 kHz audio with very low latency – as low as 89 ms (45% lower than “a leading competitor”, says Qualcomm). For voice calls and teleconferencing there’s the aptX Voice codec. There is an Active Noise Cancellation system available as well.

The system has been designed to be resistant to interference from other Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signals, so that it can provide glitch-free audio even in busy environments. Qualcomm also designed things to make pairing easy after you take your new headset out of its box.

Standard Bluetooth audio vs. Snapdragon Sound vs. Wired headset Super wideband voice
Standard Bluetooth audio vs. Snapdragon Sound vs. Wired headset • Super wideband voice

Xiaomi is the first smartphone maker to jump on the Snapdragon Sound train, headphone maker Audio-Technica is on board as well. A partnership with Amazon ensures that there will be no shortage of high quality content to listen to with the “genre-spanning” Snapdragon Sound playlist on Amazon Music HD.

If you don’t have an account for Amazon Music, you can check out this comparison on SoundCloud instead:

“Xiaomi is excited to be the first mobile manufacturer to bring Snapdragon Sound to devices. Snapdragon Sound will bring new high quality, seamless, low-latency audio experiences to our customers everywhere and provide better sound while engaging in voice calls, video conferencing, gaming and/or music listening.” said Lei Zhang, vice president of Mi Smartphone and general manager of Hardware R&D, Xiaomi.

“We believe that with Snapdragon Sound we get closer to our mutual vision of providing wired quality sound, wirelessly and are excited to be one of the first manufacturers to get our products to consumers,” said, Kotaro Narihara, director, general manager of marketing headquarters, Audio-Technica.

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Reader comments

  • Anonymous

In such a case, please compare with another wired headphone.

  • fren

so-called high end audio chip are all overrated and 95% of them out there can't compare to a 20-30 dollars wired earphone much less high end wired earphones either in reproducing soundstage bass treble or even loudness as some pretty expensive w...

From what I perceive, at best it will be something that removes latency and provides better quality audio than today's devices over wireless connections. I don't see a threat to my LG G8x's Quad DAC audio any time soon.

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