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PSB Speakers, Sonical and MQA Are Working on the Next Generation of Hi-Res Headphones

PSB, Sonical, and MQA are working on some groundbreaking wireless headphones for 2024 that might move the needle in a real way. We shall see.

Logos for PSB Speakers, Sonical and MQA

Over the weekend at CanJam NYC 2023, PSB Speakers gave us a hands-on demo of their M4U 8 MKII Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones, which utilize Audiodo software that personalizes sound for each listener.

PSB also showed us some products under development that we expect to see over the next two months that are going to fill the gap between now and some very exciting new headphones that are currently being engineered for launch in 2024.

PSB M4U 8 MKII Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones in Espresso Brown Angle
The PSB M4U 8 MKII Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones offer personalized listening via Audiodo, but do not include Sonical’s CosmOS.

Having just spent the weekend at CanJam NYC 2023 and the Value Electronics 2023 Headphone Challenge as one of the judges — I’m thinking that these new products will have to be exceptional for me to reconsider owning the Focal Bathys or Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 which ran away with the wireless categories at the headphone challenge.

Some will see MQA’s participation as a turn-off (MQA felt like a dirty word at CanJam), but I think the market will ultimately decide.

PSB Speakers, together with hearables start-up Sonical and audio specialists MQA, announced a partnership that will define a new category of high-resolution audio headphones. The product combines high resolution wireless transmission, proven high-fidelity design, and Sonical’s CosmOS platform. Released under the PSB Speakers brand by Q1 2024, it will be the first headphone to feature Sonical’s ear computing platform, enabling a variety of apps and software upgrades. It also includes MQA’s latest technology, SCL6, the most advanced codec for adaptive, high-resolution audio streaming.

Sonical CosmOS device connectivity
Sonical’s CosmOS may seamlessly connect all your wearable devices.

CosmOS is Sonical’s revolutionary operating system that runs on powerful low wattage processing cores, bringing unprecedented levels of connectivity and computational power to headphones. CosmOS offers mobile audio product manufacturers the versatility to keep pace with rapidly changing consumer demands for convenience and performance. The integration of Qorvo’s Ultra-wideband (UWB) radio technology enables a superior audio experience thanks to UWB’s higher data rate and extremely low latency. Using Antennaware’s UWB antenna directly addresses any issues associated with Body Blocking which could occur with wireless wearable devices. 

Go in-depth: We spoke with Sonical’s CEO, Gary Spittle on a podcast.

Canada-based PSB Speakers, a pioneer in psychoacoustics and an early brand to create audiophile grade wireless headphones, will innovate through deep relationships with Sonical and MQA to push the boundaries of mobile listening. The product will utilize MQA’s new technology, SCL6 (also known as MQair), an innovative, time domain-based codec for the highest quality audio streaming. Developed by industry veteran and MQA founder, Bob Stuart, SCL6 ensures high-resolution sound even at low data rates.

“Given PSB Speakers’ long-time commitment to the science of audio and music listening, it’s a pleasure to be in this partnership which shows the world what CosmOS can do,” says Gary Spittle, Founder and CEO of Sonical.

“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,” says Gordon Simmonds, President and CEO of Lenbrook Industries, PSB Speakers’ parent company.

“MQA was founded by one of the great innovators in audio. We design by thinking of the consumer experience first which means we are comfortable challenging the status quo. The vision shared by our partners at PSB Speakers and Sonical, bringing together superior audio quality and the next generation of consumer convenience, makes this a perfect fit for our latest technology SCL6,” says Mike Jbara, CEO of MQA.

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About Sonical

Gary Spittle founded Sonical in 2020 to enable the rapidly developing Headphone 3.0 market. Sonical is building the platform for Headphone 3.0 that unlocks the secret potential of your ears using more effective wearable products. ​ The team at Sonical is developing their own operating system, CosmOS, along with a dedicated silicon chip specifically designed for hearables running downloadable plugins. ​ This will unlock the large number of app developers that have created advanced AI based algorithms. Their mission is to empower hearables manufacturers, as well as individual users, to select which features and combinations of apps they want to include in their new hearables products in the same way one currently chooses which apps you want on your laptop, tablet or smartphone. Sonical enables App developers to have direct access to consumers to deliver a differentiated experience, exactly what they need, when they need it.

About PSB Speakers

Since 1972, Founder and Chief Designer, Paul Barton, has been cementing his legacy as an expert in designing and building high-fidelity speakers that incorporate scientific principles in psychoacoustics. More than 50 years later and now a strategic part of Lenbrook International’s global portfolio, PSB Speakers’ products are sold in more than 70 markets where the brand sets the standard for “True to Nature” sound and is critically acclaimed for its value-driven and non-fatiguing speaker design. With an expansive suite of products that include audiophile speakers, ANC headphones, powerful and musical subwoofers, and a family of installed speaker solutions, PSB Speakers is designed and built to bring life to recorded music at world class levels.

About MQA

MQA Ltd is a research, development and licensing company, whose mission is to achieve excellence in all aspects of audio entertainment: from sound recordings, content streaming and broadcasting, to consumer playback devices. The first product to market – Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) – was a breakthrough suite of technologies that delivers the original sound of the recording studio in a format small enough to stream. This award-winning technology is licensed by leading record labels, music services, broadcasters and hardware manufacturers worldwide. In late 2022, the Japan Audio Society certified a new technology developed by MQA – SCL6 – for use with its Hi-Res Audio Wireless logo. MQA Ltd is a UK-based private company.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. ORT

    March 21, 2023 at 3:07 am

    MQA? No…Really? M Q A?! FTN.

    Or to paraphrase Lone Watie said to the shillster selling the liquid miracle in “The Outlaw Josie Wales” were the vile creature known as Blob Stewfart to offer me his folly (again) I would say to him, “You buy it!”

    The Farce is strong in Darth Blob. Time to bring back T&F.

    Tar & Feathering. And not just for Stewie but for a ton of politicians of a certain branch of foul, fetid fuque-ups.


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