A research on true wireless earbuds – Bluetooth chipset makers and major players

I’ve been working on an Bluetooth Android app for a long time. The app gets GATT characteristics for battery level, manages Bluetooth connection and sound customization.

This allows me to read a lot of information about Bluetooth chip and their functionalities.

Often we heard about new TWS models released from dozens of brands, but none of them specifies which Bluetooth chipset is the core in Bluetooth modules (hardware makers), except Apple with their in-house developed chip.

You only get to know which Bluetooth processor in your wireless earbuds if they break, do a teardown you would see on Bluetooth modules (PCBA) letters like C, B, A what do they stand for briefly?

C stands for CSR Qualcomm

B stands for BES Hengxuan

and A stands for Airoha

Technically I am not able to evaluate their Bluetooth chips, but le’t see which of them are being used by Sony, Samsung, Bose, Anker or Jabra, etc..and these earbuds sound any good?

Take a look at some Bluetooth processor manufacturers and their profiles.

Bluetooth Chip Maker

Model

True wireless earbuds

Apple

W1

Airpods (first gen)

H1

Airpods (2nd gen)

Qualcomm

CSR8675

Sony WF-1000X

CSR8670

TicPods Free, Bragi The Headphones (discontinued)

CSRA63120

QCY Q29

BES

BES2000IZ

Meizu POP TW50 (not popular)

Airoha

AB1526

Anker Zolo Liberty+, SEC-E221BT (China market), Pioneer C8

Realtek

RTL8763B

Sebbat X12 Pro, LyreBeats T02s

Wind Tunnel

WT200

Not available

Jieli

AC175

Not available

Source: 52audio.com

Qualcomm CSR (Qualcomm acquired CSR for a whopping $2.4 Billion)

CSR8675’s quick specs

  • Support standard Bluetooth 4.2
  • Support aptX, AAC, SBC and other transmission protocols
  • Support EQ and active noise cancellation.

BES2000IZ Bluetooth processor

Quick specs

  • High performance and low power consumption,
  • Support for Bluetooth 4.2
  • Transmission speed: 192KHz/24bit
  • Hi-Fi Audio
  • Support EQ and bass enhancement and other sound effects
  • Audio output signal to noise ratio of up to -105db
  • Support Active noise cancellation.

Realtek

Realtek is a Taiwanese chip-design house. You probably once install the driver (software) for Realtek sound cards.

Recently they introduced the RTL8763B which supports Bluetooth 5.0.

But the Bluetooth connection of earbuds (Sebbat X12 Pro and LyreBeats T02s) having RTL8763B is not stable, it sometimes drops.

Airoha

Airoha Technology is another Taiwanese hardware and chip-design house, founded in 2001.

Airoha AB1526 Bluetooth processor for TWS

  • Support for Bluetooth 4.2
  • HFP1.6 and AAC decoder
  • Support equalizer and CVC noise cancellation for mic.
  • Embed flash memory for third party firmware

Jieli (zh-jieli.com)

Based in Hong Kong, Jieli Technology has released their lowcost Bluetooth chipset with excellent compatibility, which eats up CSR market share.

Jieli‘s AC175’s TWS contributed to lower prices of true wireless earbuds ($25 – $40)

Startups, big names such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi, accessories makers like Anker, traditional headphones manufacturers such as Bose, Sony, Pioneer and Sennheiser all come to join the true wireless earbuds market.

Technologically I think true wireless earbuds about to mature. Now they are being tested with new advanced features and new design for better sound.

While traditional headphones makers are struggled with TWS tech, Airpods proved that the tech – smart feature is a winner over the sound.

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