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Qualcomm Aqstic and Snapdragon 835 take immersive audio to the next level [video]

Meet our next-gen discrete Hi-Fi audio chip made just for superior audio

20. Jun. 2017

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

With the announcement of our premium Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform, Qualcomm Technologies is taking immersion to the next level. We believe that heterogeneous computing, an essential component of the Snapdragon 835, is the key to achieving full immersion and delivering the best experience to power users. By combining superb audio and video with intuitive interactions, we’re helping create vibrant and realistic (read: believable) VR.

The next generation Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec (the WCD9341) is integral to making these experiences possible. This high-tier discrete codec, in combination with the Snapdragon 835, is engineered to make phenomenal audio experiences possible. Now, we’re popping the Aqstic hood to see what’s powering its amazing audio capabilities.

Earlier this year we took our audio technologies around the world for press and analysts to hear the Qualcomm Aqstic audio quality. Below we’ll take you into a Qualcomm Technologies audio lab so you can see for yourself how audio quality is quantified.

Our video shows just one audio metric. Below are more audiophile experiences offered by Qualcomm Aqstic:

Audio reproduction

DSD (Direct Stream Digital), a format based on delta-sigma modulation to quantize analog signals, was previously found only on SACDs (Super Audio Compact Discs) and expensive portable music players, but now this decoding is available on the Aqstic codec. Native DSD support means that no signal conversions to PCM are necessary, so your favorite DSD music can be enjoyed at the purest quality.

Audiophiles, this means you can feel confident loading all your precious DSD music to your Snapdragon 835 powered devices with the latest Aqstic codec. On the PCM side, the WCD9341 now supports up to 384-kHz/32-bit audio. There’s an ongoing discussion about whether DSD or high-resolution PCM sounds better. Not surprisingly, each has its loyal fans. The good news for all audiophiles is that Aqstic is designed to support both.

Music playback

Music playback is another essential part to the Hi-Fi audio experience. Two highly rated phones — the HTC 10 and Xiaomi Mi Note 2 — have received rave reviews for their audio quality thanks, in part, to the Aqstic technology. With Snapdragon 835, we expect the praise to continue. Why are we so confident? Because of the codec’s high dynamic range (123db) and low THD+N performance enabled by the Aqstic codec platform, engineered to deliver pure, premium sound.

Good vs. bad sounds

Qualcomm Aqstic is designed to filter out what you don’t want to hear while maximizing the sounds that you do. Microphone technologies, like Aqstic echo cancellation and noise suppression, were created to ensure that conversations with friends are a whole lot clearer, with little to no background noise. And because multiple microphones allow you to record in surround sound, your precious memories can be preserved in a superior and immersive way.

ANC (Active Noise Cancellation)

If you are an avid traveler, having a nice pair of ANC headsets can improve your experience when you’re on the go, helping to cancel out background noises so you can hear your favorite music and phone calls clearly.

Unlike most traditional ANC headsets, Qualcomm Aqstic ANC technology has a dedicated hardware block on the Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec engineered to process all the ANC algorithms. With our ANC solution you don’t need additional batteries and components on the headset, so charging the battery or replacing the battery on your ANC headset is no longer an issue. Instead it draws power directly from the phone, so you can enjoy a light and battery-free high-quality ANC headset.

Other audio improvements on the Snapdragon 835 platform include lower power and lower latency USB Type-C audio output than the previous generation. And for the first time, Qualcomm aptX and aptX HD are now integrated on the Qualcomm Hexagon 682 DSP so your Bluetooth audio are even lower power, compared to earlier generations.

The flagship Samsung Galaxy S8 is one of the first smartphones to take advantage of this superior audio technology. Make sure to keep an eye — or rather, ear — out for announcements of more Snapdragon powered devices with our new Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec.

Learn more about Qualcomm Aqstic, get full specs, and find devices that support it

Qualcomm Aqstic is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

Jerry Chang

Manager, Technical Marketing

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