Freescale Semiconductor announced it is introducing multicore digital signal processors (DSPs) that could help cut costs and improve performance of audio products.
Known as Symphony DSP56720 and DSP56721 (http://rbi.ims.ca/5719-538), the new processors eliminate the need for multi-chip solutions in such applications as DVD players, televisions, car infotainment, rear-seat video and professional audio equipment. Both products incorporate two 24-bit cores and offer 400 MHz and 400 MIPS (millions of instructions per sec) of processing power.
Freescale engineers say they chose the multicore architecture because it offers the potential for cost reduction in applications where budgets are tight.
“Our customers tell us that they want more performance, but they want it at no extra cost,” says Sujata Neidig, product manager for Freescale's Multimedia Application Div. “With a multicore approach, we are able to give them the benefit of higher performance within a single package and that reduces the number of components, which reduces the cost.”
Freescale says it is targeting high-definition video and audio products. As such, the new devices are designed to support complex high-definition audio standards, such as DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD, commonly used by Blu-ray disc players and other high-def products.
Freescale engineers also hope to lure automakers through the use of the new architecture because they say multicore DSP would enable them to simplify car infotainment and rear-seat audio systems.
“Car manufacturers are moving toward DSP because it allows them to do all the sound equalization in the car,” Neidig says. “Because it's done in software instead of hardware, they can use one hardware platform across all car models and use software to compensate for the differences.”
Dual-core DSP could also provide advantages in the audio industry, where the move has increasingly been toward garage bands and home-based recording studios.
“In that market, there's a trend toward lower-cost equipment and DSPs can definitely help them get there,” Neidig says.