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 



    JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION

    Want to share your opinion or get advice from other enthusiasts? Then head into the Message Forums where thousands of other enthusiasts are communicating on a daily basis.
    CLICK HERE FOR FREE MEMBERSHIP

    00000912

    applause awards

    Each time StereoNET reviews a product, it is considered for an Applause Award. Winning one marks it out as a design of great quality and distinction – a special product in its class, on the grounds of either performance, value for money, or usually both.

    Applause Awards are personally issued by StereoNET’s global Editor-in-Chief, David Price – who has over three decades of experience reviewing hi-fi products at the highest level – after consulting with our senior editorial team. They are not automatically given with all reviews, nor can manufacturers purchase them.

    The StereoNET editorial team includes some of the world’s most experienced and respected hi-fi journalists with a vast wealth of knowledge. Some have edited popular English language hi-fi magazines, and others have been senior contributors to famous audio journals stretching back to the late 1970s. And we also employ professional IT and home theatre specialists who work at the cutting edge of today’s technology.

    We believe that no other online hi-fi and home cinema resource offers such expert knowledge, so when StereoNET gives an Applause Award, it is a trustworthy hallmark of quality. Receiving such an award is the prerequisite to becoming eligible for our annual Product of the Year awards, awarded only to the finest designs in their respective categories. Buyers of hi-fi, home cinema, and headphones can be sure that a StereoNET Applause Award winner is worthy of your most serious attention.