A new speaker-on-a-chip integrates a voice processor, audio codec and amplifier onto a single device, potentially reducing cost and complexity for designers of smart phones, computer speakers, intercoms and other audio systems.
Known as the CX20562 USB Speakers-on-a-Chip, the new product
could enable engineers to simplify their designs, reduce space and power
consumption, and lower their bill-of-material costs. Engineers at Conexant
Systems Inc., developer of the technology, say the new chip could be particularly
important in the design of battery-based products, in which power consumption
"It's a pretty daunting task to put the software, voice and
audio algorithms together," says Rene Hartner, vice president of marketing at
Conexant. "But we've integrated three stand-alone components onto this chip,
and whenever you integrate more functions onto a chipset, you reduce the power
The CX20562 is reportedly the first
product to combine a digital/voice processor, audio codec and Class-D amplifier
onto a single chip. The integration of the three is said to be significant
because it eliminates the commonly-used multiple chip design, thereby cutting
manufacturing costs. Conexant engineers say that the turnkey solution also
makes it easy and cost-effective for manufacturers to deliver USB-based
products to market faster.
Conexant expects the system-on-chip to have a wide variety of
applications. Smart phones, for example, often must be connected to docking
stations where they can play music and broadcast calls through speakers.
Similarly, PCs routinely employ speakers and so-called "sound bars" where
Conexant's chip could play a role. PC makers might also use the device in the
integration of voice over IP (VoIP), while makers of portable navigation
devices could incorporate it for application of turn-by-turn directions in
Ultimately, the device is expected to help lower bill of
material costs in the design of many commodity products where profit margins
are often razor thin. "Every time you can integrate more functions into a piece
of silicon, you reduce the overall cost of the system," Hartner says.