Oppo may have set a new standard for wireless hi-fi (and most importantly, in-ear headphones) after it unveiled a new Bluetooth chip it claims is capable of lossless high-resolution audio.
Developed in-house, the company says the new MariSilicon Y SoC can transmit 24-bit/192kHz audio that surpasses the bit depth and sample rate of CDs – a feat Oppo says is an industry first.
Oppo claims that the new chipset is capable of increasing Bluetooth throughput by a whopping 50% compared to the best Bluetooth SoCs currently on the market.
The MariSilicon Y SoC is also said to be one of the first Bluetooth audio devices to support the new L3C coding standard, alongside established codecs such as Sony’s proprietary LDAC, LHDC, L2DC, L3C, AAC and (good old vanilla) SBC.
The Chinese consumer electronics giant made the announcement at its annual Inno Day showcase event.
Oppo also revealed the chip’s personalized audio capabilities, with built-in processing allowing for Music Extraction, which uses AI to isolate the sound of specific stems in a song, such as vocals, drums, bass, and other instruments. Meanwhile, the spatial rendering function allows listeners to customize information about the spatial location of the sound after the sound is isolated.
Analysis: Oppo’s groundbreaking chip could be a turning point for audiophiles in the field of wireless connectivity
True lossless wireless audio has been something of a holy grail for both producers and hi-fi enthusiasts since the introduction of Bluetooth technology at the turn of the century.
SoC (system on chip) developers have so far focused on reducing power consumption and increasing range when it comes to Bluetooth audio (and the Bluetooth SIG itself has recently focused on the Auracast audio sharing feature that is part of Bluetooth 5.2), all of which are somewhat they avoid providing the required bandwidth needed to achieve what audiophiles would consider full-fledged high-resolution audio.
Offering Bluetooth data rates of up to 12Mbps, Oppo’s MariSilicon Y SoC seems to finally be opening up this long-awaited world of wireless hi-fi.
Much will depend on codecs being able to take advantage of the extra bandwidth this arrangement seems to offer, but we could be on the verge of seeing hi-fi heads eventually reject these wired cans in favor of some of the best true wireless earbuds around – of course, if they are built around this new chip (which is currently not in any of our roundups as Marisilicon Y has yet to be introduced into products).
We can’t wait to see if the MariSilicon Y SoC chip lives up to its groundbreaking billing. In the meantime, you can learn how to up your audio game with our current list of the best wireless headphones.