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Shaping the future of sound with Sennheiser

Qualcomm spoke with Dr. Christian Ern, Portfolio Manager for Consumer Headphones at Sennheiser, about its latest Momentum True Wireless 2 Earbuds.

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Sennheiser has shaped the future of audio and created outstanding sound experiences for 75 years. Since its first foray into Bluetooth wireless audio headphones in 2009, the company has worked with Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. (“QTIL”) (formerly known as Cambridge Silicon Radio Ltd.), to integrate our Bluetooth Audio SoCs and technologies, like Qualcomm aptX audio, across its extensive portfolio. As a result, consumers enjoy a virtually seamless user experience, a robust Bluetooth connection, extended battery life, and premium wireless sound.

Qualcomm spoke with Dr. Christian Ern, Portfolio Manager for Consumer Headphones at Sennheiser, about its latest Momentum True Wireless 2 Earbuds, consumer expectations for wireless audio today, and how he sees the headphone and earbud market evolving in the future.

Tell us a bit about your team at Sennheiser.

Our team of product managers is responsible for the product roadmap and the current offering of consumer headphones from Sennheiser. The team ensures that each of our products meets or exceeds the requirements and expectations of our customers.

Sennheiser was the first manufacturer to use aptX audio technology in its Bluetooth products back in 2009 – why?

Excellent sound quality is a key feature of every product Sennheiser manufactures. Back in 2009, we already saw the potential aptX offered for improving the quality of audio transmission via Bluetooth where it was available.

Do you think consumer audio needs have evolved since then and, if so, why?

Audio transmission became one of the most important, if not the most important, application for Bluetooth. Since the early days of Bluetooth audio, QTIL and Sennheiser certainly helped Bluetooth audio quality win recognition in the market. Now, as customers appreciate the benefits and freedom wireless headphones offer, Bluetooth headphones are being used for numerous applications beyond music listening — from watching content on smartphones, gaming, and phone conferences, to creating an oasis of calm when needed. These use cases not only bring about a demand for increased battery time, but also imply greater requirements for audio transmission, such as low latency and bi-directional streaming in high quality.

Why do you think consumers are embracing true wireless devices?

Without any cable hassle, true wireless products are among the most convenient and unobtrusive types of headphone to use. Now offering battery life of potentially 4 to 6 hours or more – depending on settings and other factors – as well as convenient on-the-go charging options, true wireless earphones are a great match for the needs and lifestyle of many users.

And as we already did in 2009, Qualcomm Technologies and Sennheiser show that with the right codecs, speakers, and superior acoustic design, true wireless headphones can deliver an amazing audio experience.

You recently announced a new product, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2. What makes this product so special?

The MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 is the second generation of our premium Bluetooth earbuds. We placed great importance on delivering outstanding sound quality, while offering optimal comfort, enhanced features — including Active Noise Cancellation — and a fantastic 7-hour battery life, with an additional 21 hours via the charging case, depending on settings, usage, and other factors.

Designed by our audio experts, the earphones’ 7mm dynamic drivers ensure that the MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 earbuds deliver stereo sound that places them in a league of their own. Along with their driver technology, this sound performance is assured by an internal audio EQ, Bluetooth 5.1 technology, AAC, and aptX compatibility. Like every product in our MOMENTUM range, the MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 is meticulously crafted from high-quality materials.

Why did you select Qualcomm QCC5121 SoC for the new MOMENTUM True Wireless 2?

The Qualcomm QCC5121 SoC was the Bluetooth chip of choice for the MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 for a number of reasons:

We selected the latest Bluetooth chip technology because it supports the 5.1. standard. Crucially for Sennheiser, aptX support allows us to offer superior sound quality to our customers, while the chip’s ultra-low power mode makes it possible to deliver up to 7 hours of battery time (depending on settings, usage and other factors) with one charge. Additionally, the DSP performance enables a great ANC and Transparent Hearing performance in the MOMENTUM True Wireless 2. The chip offers best-in-class RF sensitivity results and a robust Bluetooth connection with a virtually dropout-free user experience.

One of our goals with the MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 was to create a product that would be comfortable for all-day listening and the chip’s high system integration allowed for the product miniaturization required for an ergonomic solution. We chose the Qualcomm QCC5121 SoC because its true wireless dedicated software framework enables a fast software solution to help accelerate the development process.

Are there any other products using our chips/technology that you would like to highlight and why?

One of our key products, the MOMENTUM Wireless around-ear headphone – which is the headband model in our popular MOMENTUM range – features the Qualcomm CSR8670 chip.

For users who prefer around-ear headphones, this product delivers absolutely amazing sound. The headphones also offer a number of smart features and block out ambient noise via ANC, while their design is timelessly stylish and supremely comfortable.

Why do you think the collaboration between Sennheiser and Qualcomm Technologies is successful?

We always shared similar views on where audio over Bluetooth is going. We share our respective roadmaps and visions for future products and technologies, and thus, influence and inspire one another.

I think the receptiveness for ideas on both sides, the very good and long-lasting personal connections, and the shared passion for audio and sound quality brought us to where we are today.

How do you think earbuds and headphones will evolve in the future?

True wireless products will, without a doubt, continue to grow rapidly. This growth will also be fueled by simpler products that serve as communication and control devices with music listening as an extra benefit. However, I also strongly believe that the market for high-quality audio devices will continue to grow — both for around-ear headphones and true wireless units — as there is an ever-increasing demand for individual audio listening on the highest quality levels.

A key aspect in this development will be how all of those products integrate into the mobile and home environment of the users. There is still a way to go to make this a truly simple and great experience for users who do not care for technological aspects, but just want everything to work immediately.

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