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Qualcomm Makes Play for Audiophiles

August 22, 2017

Author: Loyd Case

High-fidelity Bluetooth audio seems like an oxymoron, but Qualcomm aims to change that perception by offering the CSR8675 and CSRA68100 wireless-audio processors. Both implement the company’s AptX compression technology, which increases fidelity over wireless connections. The CSR8675 supports Bluetooth 4.2, making it suitable for wireless headphones and speakers. The CSRA68100 integrates dual 240MHz DSPs and a 120MHz application DSP; it targets wireless and wired speakers plus high-end headsets. The company has also qualified both products for Bluetooth 5. They are available now.

The CSR8675 is a dual-processor design. An CSR proprietary 16-bit architecture) running at 80MHz takes care of management chores while a single 120MHz Kalimba DSP takes care of audio processing. The CSRA68100 integrates four Kalimba DSPs. Qualcomm dedicates one of them to customer applications and processor management, clocking it at 120MHz. Another 120MHz Kalimba handles the Bluetooth 5 stack. The remaining pair clocks at 240MHz and is dedicated to audio processing.

Both chips include a pair of 24-bit 192kHz DACs, enabling high-resolution audio playback through wireless earbuds. Coupled with high resolution, AptX HD transcoding can increase audio quality over Bluetooth, but both the source and destination devices must support it. The technology has become common in many premium smartphones, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S8, as well as in a range of wireless headphones and speakers.

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