PSB, MQA & Sonical Announce Next-Gen Smart Headphones

Posted on 2nd March, 2023

PSB, MQA & Sonical Announce Next-Gen Smart Headphones

MQA, PSB Speakers, and Headphone 3.0 start-up Sonical have produced a pair of high-resolution audio headphones that combines hi-res wireless transmission with a smart wearable operating platform.

The collaboration between the young innovative hearable developers Sonical, renowned speaker designer PSB, and audio technologist MQA has apparently resulted in some very much 'next-gen' headphones, which are due to be available under the PSB name early next year.

PSB, MQA, Sonical Headphone 3.0

MQA has supplied its new SCL6 codec, aka MQAir, for the high-quality, hi-res connection. SCL6 and MQA, “the studio-quality audio encoding technology”, are different techs. TIDAL Master files, for example, are encoded using MQA, whereas SCL6 is a scalable codec that enables an exceptional audio experience, responding to rising consumer demand for better wireless sound. SCL6 supports both MQA and PCM audio up to 384kHz, and the encoded data rate can be scaled seamlessly from 20Mbps to below 200kbps, covering Bluetooth, Ultra-Wideband (UWB) and WiFi links.

PSB, MQA, Sonical Headphone 3.0

Meanwhile, the headphones-based computing system dubbed CosmOS comes courtesy of Sonical. CosmOS or Headphone 3.0 to its friends, which gives you some sense of the start-up's ambitious plans for the next generation of 'hearables', makes apps available to headphones, and so enabling you to install and use third-party apps in much the same way you can now on your other mobile devices such as phones, tablets and smartwatches. Furthermore, Sonical's CosmOS will hand headphone makers greater scope as to what their smart headsets can offer and the versatility to keep pace with rapidly changing consumer demands for convenience and performance.

We're told that Headphone 3.0 runs on powerful yet low-wattage processing cores. This promises to make the system easier to fit in a set of cans and shouldn't leech away that all-important battery stamina and hamper the wireless headphone's playback time.

Gordon Simmonds, president and CEO of Lenbrook Industries, PSB Speakers' parent company, told StereoNET:

Our use of the CosmOS platform to make the world's first software-defined wireless headset and the inclusion of MQA's adaptive wireless codec helps set a new benchmark for a high-resolution, mobile high-fidelity product. We believe this product underscores what Paul Barton and the PSB team have accomplished over the brand's 50-year history in the pursuit of audio excellence for listeners at home and now on the move.

PSB, MQA, Sonical Headphone 3.0

The new headphones also utilise Qorvo's Ultra-wideband (UWB) radio technology which apparently enables a superior audio experience thanks to UWB's higher data rate and extremely low latency. In addition, Antennaware's UWB antenna is said to directly address any issues associated with Body Blocking, which could occur with wearable wireless devices.

Beyond all that, the details about the PSB-branded headphones are a closely-guarded secret; however, it's enough to pique the interest of StereoNET's head-fi fans. It is truly a glimpse into the possible future of headphones.

The new headphones are slated to land early next year, which should also give MQA time to start building a decent-enough SCL6 ecosystem, as these next-gen earphones will need source support as well as smarts.

Visit PSB, MQA and Sonical for more information

    Jay Garrett's avatar

    Jay Garrett

    StereoNET’s resident rock star, bass player, and gadget junkie. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

    Posted in:Headphones Technology
    Tags: psb  amber technology 


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