DN Staff

September 10, 2009

2 Min Read
Speakers-on-a-Chip Cuts Costs, Power

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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 productcould enable engineers to simplify their designs, reduce space and powerconsumption, and lower their bill-of-material costs. Engineers at ConexantSystems Inc., developer of the technology, say the new chip could be particularlyimportant in the design of battery-based products, in which power consumptionis critical.

"It's a pretty daunting task to put the software, voice andaudio algorithms together," says Rene Hartner, vice president of marketing atConexant. "But we've integrated three stand-alone components onto this chip,and whenever you integrate more functions onto a chipset, you reduce the powerconsumption."

The CX20562 is reportedly the firstproduct to combine a digital/voice processor, audio codec and Class-D amplifieronto a single chip. The integration of the three is said to be significantbecause it eliminates the commonly-used multiple chip design, thereby cuttingmanufacturing costs. Conexant engineers say that the turnkey solution alsomakes it easy and cost-effective for manufacturers to deliver USB-basedproducts to market faster.

Conexant expects the system-on-chip to have a wide variety ofapplications. Smart phones, for example, often must be connected to dockingstations where they can play music and broadcast calls through speakers.Similarly, PCs routinely employ speakers and so-called "sound bars" whereConexant's chip could play a role. PC makers might also use the device in theintegration of voice over IP (VoIP), while makers of portable navigationdevices could incorporate it for application of turn-by-turn directions inautomobiles.

Ultimately, the device is expected to help lower bill ofmaterial costs in the design of many commodity products where profit marginsare often razor thin. "Every time you can integrate more functions into a pieceof silicon, you reduce the overall cost of the system," Hartner says.

Speakers-on-a-Chip Cuts Costs, Power

Speakers-on-a-Chip Cuts Costs, Power_A

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