Improving Latency and Broadening Audio Horizons With LE Audio

LE Audio is the next generation of audio performance. Improving lives and audio experiences, it’s no surprise big tech companies love it Sony Corporation chooses LE Audio for their wireless audio needs.

I recently spoke with Sony’s Masahiko Seki about the challenges LE Audio is solving, how LE Audio will impact our lives in the near future, and the upcoming changes to look forward to in the wireless audio market.

Q&A with Masahiko Seki from Sony

What was the reason for your participation in the LE Audio working group?

Sony has been involved for some time in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), particularly the Audio, Automotive, and Telephony Working Group (ATAWG) in connection with the development of audio-related specifications. Discussions were already underway to develop LE Audio streaming specifications for hearing aids, but as it could replace A2DP, we at Sony decided to use it for applications other than hearing aids to improve audio experiences and convenience. In 2017, we submitted a new work proposal – LE High Quality Audio – to the Bluetooth SIG, which initiated discussions in the ATAWG. Those discussions led to the development of the Telephony and Media Audio Profile (TMAP), one of the LE Audio specifications.

What wireless audio challenges will LE Audio address?

The biggest is streaming latency, which helps LE Audio improve. A2DP is an asynchronous transmission profile that uses ACL transport, which requires a lot of buffers and can cause some delay. This results in a delay between picture and sound that must be remedied by slowing down video or some other mechanism. This also makes A2DP unsuitable for interactive use such as video games. LE Audio uses LE Isochronous Channels, a feature introduced in bluetooth® Core Specification version 5.2 enabling time-synchronized audio streaming. As a result, fewer buffers are needed and delays are shorter. This allows for audio streaming better suited for movies, video games, etc.

LE Audio also supports Auracast™ broadcast audio, which is not supported by Bluetooth® Classic audio. This would enable the very first use cases, such as streaming audio from a single TV to multiple powered-on headphones for simultaneous listening by multiple people, or streaming announcements directly to any Bluetooth device, such as headsets within range at airports and other similar public places. places.

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