Today Qualcomm is announcing the new “Snapdragon Sound” branding initiative, essentially an umbrella term that covers the company’s various audio related hardware and software products, promising improved end-to-end interoperability for a better audio experience.

Qualcomm’s initiative is rather vague, but it appears to be to be focused on a certification program that ensures correctly engineered software stacks between a phone’s audio subsystem and the listening device. Qualcomm here particularly looks to focus on wireless audio technologies with greater audio fidelity, most of the technologies surrounding Qualcomm’s proprietary aptX codec and its derivatives. At least one concrete example of an optimised Snapdragon Sound system is Bluetooth audio latency, which would reach down to 89ms in the company’s example.

 

On the hardware side of things, mobile platforms obviously cover Qualcomm’s Aqstic audio codec chips as well as speaker amplifiers, but extends the umbrella out to the company’s Bluetooth audio SoCs which are popular amongst wireless headphone manufacturers.

It’s not clear if the end-to-end optimisations are solely limited to Qualcomm hardware products, or if third-party audio hardware solutions will also gain benefit of the optimised audio stack.

Qualcomm states that the first devices supporting Snapdragon Sound optimisations are expected to be available later this year.

 

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  • mode_13h - Sunday, March 7, 2021 - link

    But the clicking issue was worst on my previous phone: Nexus 5X. I thought the newer phone didn't have the issue, but then noticed it a little, so I wonder if it's some kind of Android thing?

    Anyway, by that point, I was using bluetooth headphones with phone nearly all the time, so I didn't invest any time or effort to investigate or remedy the issue.
    Reply
  • Hideo - Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - link

    I can only have a great thing to say about S10e in this regard. Superb Audio Out on headphones is one of the reasons why I am reluctant to change for newer mobile. I am especially impressed how well it powers HD650 which usually needs headphone amp for good results. If possible, I can't recommend enough. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, March 4, 2021 - link

    How about plugging in a lovely USB Rode microphone and having it as the one and ONLY input source for anything that records? Or, even, have it as an option. or both, to record two mics at the same time?? Reply
  • npz - Thursday, March 4, 2021 - link

    I hope they require sidetone at least as an option. Ever since owning a smart phone, I hate feeling deaf whenever I talk to someone with headset. With earbuds, I feel half-deaf and with noise isolating headphone headsets, I feel fully deaf. The only workaround besides avoiding headsets and using speakerphone, is to use earbuds loosely to allow some of my own voice to come through. Reply
  • ikjadoon - Thursday, March 4, 2021 - link

    Having understood sidetone somewhat, I actually really appreciate this feature. Always made landline calls feel more connected even with their lower quality.

    What phones have sidetone? I’m having trouble finding information on recent phones. Is it now ubiquitous or just gone everywhere?
    Reply
  • npz - Thursday, March 4, 2021 - link

    I think sidetone is no more in any cell phone for a while. There used to be a hidden? option in Android very long ago, and I sort of recall Motorola phones used it, but even that was removed Reply
  • mode_13h - Friday, March 5, 2021 - link

    Some noise-cancelling headphones offer an option to let ambient noise through (and Sony can even do this adaptively). I don't use it, though, as I want even BETTER noise cancellation.

    Too many noises still get through, like a loud car or motorcycle driving by (even when I'm inside a brick building, with my windows closed).
    Reply
  • ikjadoon - Thursday, March 4, 2021 - link

    >Bluetooth audio latency, which would reach down to 89ms in the company’s example.

    And that’s good? Damn, how bad is bad Bluetooth latency? SBC looks like 200ms+ 😅

    One day, the world will vocally hate Bluetooth audio as much as we hate USB type-C. A myriad of codecs (aptX, SBC, AAC, etc.), nobody knows what’s compatible with what on which firmware version on which device, and the default is still a terrible old legacy format that at least works everywhere. We’re about 6 versions deep into Bluetooth and hardly a handful of people in the world can tell you the differences between Bluetooth 4.1 vs Bluetooth 5.2 vs Bluetooth 5.1 va Bluetooth 4.2 vs Bluetooth 4.

    75ms is usually the upper-end of what RTINGS considers acceptable for audio-video sync. It doesn’t look like an RF limitation; niche (great, more “standards”) Bluetooth codecs have brought it down to 30ms.

    https://www.rtings.com/soundbar/tests/connectivity...

    Surprises Qualcomm is bragging about their own codec still 1/10th of a second off. What else do we expect from a modem company?
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Friday, March 5, 2021 - link

    Don't forget about Sony's LDAC and HWA's LDHC! Reply
  • ZolaIII - Friday, March 5, 2021 - link

    Those become open source at least. Reply

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