OnQ Blog

Yamaha uses Qualcomm DDFA and MAPX audio tech for immersive home cinema experiences

Dec 12, 2018

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

Yamaha is one of the most iconic consumer audio brands, with a reputation for delivering high quality, high performance products. It’s all part of the company’s philosophy, which is grounded in its passion for music. Earlier this year, Yamaha added to its staple of excellence, launching the Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400. The soundbar supports 4K Ultra HD TV, streams music via Wi-Fi, and is designed and engineered for powerful, immersive home cinema experiences.

We spoke with four key members of the Yamaha Corporation team —Takamichi SATO (Assistant Manager, AV Product Planning Group), Kazunori TANAKA (Assistant Manager, Mechanical Design and Sound Group) Akira IWAMA (Supervisor, AV Product Planning Group), and Takamori SHIMAZU (Assistant Manager, Electrical Design Group) — to find out why driving better sound quality is one of their most important product engineering considerations. We also spoke about why they chose our audio tech and Qualcomm DDFA (Direct Digital Feedback Amplifier) technology to make the MusicCast BAR 400 a reality.

DDFA technology is the result of over a decade of research and development. Our aim is to help our customers to bring high-end amplification — and overall superior quality — to more consumer audio devices.  

Do today’s music listeners have higher expectations when it comes to sound quality? 
Yes, universally. Our customers expect our sound quality to be high, and we’re proud of that. Overall, we see the level of sound quality in the entire soundbar industry improving, and we’re determined to go beyond that. We must always exceed these expectations. That’s how we gain reputation among listeners. We keep this in mind when we’re making our products.

What sets the MusicCast BAR 400 and its audio performance apart from the competition?
Clarity and breadth of sound as well as vivid exiting sound quality make this product special. By using DDFA technology, we’re able to balance efficiency and audio quality. We see both the Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) and Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) are greatly improved with this tech. 

Why did Yamaha choose DDFA technology for this new soundbar design?
Its excellent static characteristics and performance are the keys. Also, DDFA is easily usable in a soundbar design. When creating a soundbar, there are many considerations: a beautiful, sleek design — one that fits consumers’ lifestyles — and, of course, the best sound quality, which is, in part, thanks to DDFA.

When it comes to the future of consumer home audio, what are the most important technologies/features?
We must always have something that’s exciting and impressive enough to attract customers. That means creating a movie theater-like experience for people with lifelike audio. We use the sophisticated SDK in the Qualcomm MAPX audio processor, which is designed to allow us to control the details for good sound replication, along with DDFA technology for the amplifier, to help us deliver that end-user experience . 

Looking at the trends in the soundbar and home theatre segments, we can see that a lot of features have been integrated recently. We’re aware that this level of progress may be thwarted because of limitations of the circuit design. That’s why manufacturers like Yamaha are using independent components. We see the trend for more SoC-level integration and we’ll continue to enhance our technical skill sets for these types of integrated solutions, so we can deliver better sound and more cutting-edge features in our next-generation audio products.

How easy was it to integrate DDFA into the MusicCast 400 Bar?
With technical support from Qualcomm Technologies International and an easy-to-use reference design, integration of DDFA was easy and we were able to generate quality sound. That said, we don’t think we’ve made full use of DDFA’s capabilities just yet, and we see massive potential there. Going forward, we think we’ll be able to create even better quality sound products by fully utilizing its capabilities. 

Qualcomm DDFA and Qualcomm MAPX are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

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