Sep 2, 2020
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
In our latest consumer audio research report, the 2020 State of Play, we found that over one-third of those surveyed relied on their audio devices to help them relax, exercise, work, and stay connected to loved ones while on lockdown during the global pandemic. With 43 percent of respondents who either already own or plan on buying true wireless earbuds, these devices are quickly becoming a more integral part of our everyday lives.
This strong demand continues to drive a need for high quality and consistent listening experiences, regardless of how or where earbuds are used. In fact, 71 percent of consumers surveyed said they’re interested in active noise cancellation (ANC) as a feature for true wireless earbud purchases — and improved sound quality is the top reason they’re seeking it. ANC can also make the overall user experience more comfortable by minimizing the need to raise volume (to possibly unsafe levels) to drown out unwanted background noise.
Integrated ANC with natural leak-through
The Qualcomm QCC514x Bluetooth SoCs are designed to elevate the truly wireless listening experience by combining robust connectivity, extended playtime, premium audio quality, voice assistants, and integrated ANC with natural leak-through capability. As consumers use their wireless devices throughout the day — whether at home, the office, or on the go — they can switch on ANC to drown out any unwanted background noise. While ANC can create immersive listening experiences to enhance overall enjoyment or productivity, there are certain situations when it’s necessary to hear what’s going on in the environment around you. For example, if you’re listening to music while out on a morning run, it’s important to listen for oncoming traffic so you can stay safe.
Our ANC technology is designed to allow a highly natural leak-through capability. Microphones on the outer earbud are designed to allow certain sounds from the outside world at a very low latency, so you hear what’s going on around you in real-time for a natural experience. Another reason why leak-through is important is comfort. Many users can experience an element of unnatural isolation when totally cut off from real-world noises, particularly when wearing or using their earbuds for extended periods of time.
Adaptive ANC for enhanced comfort and consistent performance
Effective ANC performance is usually dependent on creating a tight seal once the earbud is in place, but this can cause discomfort particularly when worn for long periods of time. Our 2020 State of Play Report revealed that 53 percent of consumers surveyed identified comfort as one of the top three purchase drivers for selecting true wireless earbuds.
Our latest Adaptive ANC technology is designed to improve comfort for users by reducing the dependency on forming a tight seal when placing earbuds into the ear. This also means that users don’t need to push or twist the earbuds into place, which can also cause discomfort. Quite often, users may not select the best sized ear tips supplied with their earbuds, or insert the earbuds in the same way every time. The fit of the earbuds can also change, depending on the activity — while running, walking, or even moving their head, for example. Adaptive ANC is designed to dynamically adapt performance accordingly, in real time, and constantly adjust performance based on the tightness of fit and the level of outside noise leak-through. This means users can experience a consistent level of performance every time they use their earbuds, regardless of where they are or what they’re doing. Knowing their customers will experience a consistent level of ANC performance is reassuring to manufacturers who have invested a lot of time fine tuning it for their products.
Engineered for a seamless and natural user experience
Consumers use wireless earbuds throughout the day for a variety of applications, including listening to music, voice calls, and watching video content. Adaptive ANC is designed to work well across all modes, and concurrently as users transition from one mode to another. Our technology is engineered to allow users to switch from a voice call to listening to music and then to a digital assistant to ask a question, all with no interruption to the ANC. During a voice call, some leak-through is needed to allow the user to hear their own voice. Some devices can automatically switch to leak-through mode when picking up a call, but this can result in a lot of background noise. Adaptive ANC is designed to allow automatic leak-through of voice when on a call to support a natural call experience while actively reducing background noise.