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Media processors tout audio content creation

Posted: 26 Jan 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:bridgeco? media processor chip? dm1200? dm1500?

BridgeCo.'s newest media processor chips are said to offer more audio channels and more interface options for audio interface system designers.

The DM1200 and DM1500 are custom engineered for audio interface applications by combining an ARM processor and BridgeCo's proprietary Real Time Media Processor in a single device. By incorporating powerful DSP capabilities, these new processors provide low-latency mixing, allowing users to record new tracks while simultaneously playing back previously recorded ones.

Both the DM1200 and DM1500 eliminate the need for multiple processors or expensive general purpose DSP devices, reducing the retail price for systems based on the BridgeCo platform, according to the company.

The DM1500 is claimed to be the first media processor IC that can record and mix 128 independent audio channels at a 48KHz sample rate, offering professional and amateur musicians unprecedented flexibility in capturing and creating audio content. BridgeCo provides 1394/FireWire and SP/DIF interfaces that offer users digital connections to a wide array of computers, instruments and playback systems. There is also native ADAT/SMUX support and USB 2.0 interfaces. The DM1500 employs a dual-core CPU architecture, highly optimized for DSP and control applications, which provide up to 300MIPS of DSP power.

The DM1200 is said to be a cost-effective solution for entry-level systems that do not require 1394 capability.

Both the DM1200 and DM1500 processors have an internal low-jitter digital PLL, native ADAT/SMUX support, and on-chip support for cost-effective external SDRAM memory, reducing the BoM that was required in first-generation audio interface systems. The integrated PLLs permit multiple clock domains, enhancing system performance by enabling multiple sample rates to be flexibly matched to multiple audio inputs.

The DM1200 and DM1500 processor ICs come bundled with BridgeCo's BeBoB software stack, which offers system designers a vertically integrated platform to build breakout boxes and other audio interface products. Audio interface systems enable musicians to combine audio inputs from multiple instruments, microphones, sample clips and other audio sources, and transfer them to a computer using a single 1394/Firewire or USB serial interface. Once audio tracks are recorded and stored on a computer, they can be edited, arranged and played-back to complete a total musical or audio experience.

An ARM 926EJ and BridgeCo's proprietary real-time media processor provide up to 300MIPS. With triple the processing power of BridgeCo's first-generation media processor, the DM1200 and DM1500 have the enhanced processing headroom to handle nearly three times as many audio inputs and while enabling extensive product customization.

With 1394/FireWire capability, DM1500-based systems can also be daisy-chained, permitting several hundred audio inputs and outputs to be combined into a single digital stream. The solution also makes it simple to control product operations, including knobs, LEDs, metering and motor faders, eliminating the need for additional controllers in the system design and reducing the overall system cost.

The BeBoB platform includes an RTOS and a comprehensive application software stack that allows BridgeCo's OEM customers to significantly accelerate their time-to-market. This platform interfaces directly to 1394 PHY chips, and incorporates multiple digital and analog inputs and outputs that connect to microphones, loudspeakers, musical instruments and MIDI devices.

BridgeCo's bundled firmware eliminates the need for system OEMs to create or integrate third-party OSes, middleware, application software or complex drivers, making it possible for BridgeCo customers to achieve rapid market entry. BridgeCo provides comprehensive driver support for both Mac OS X and Windows XP computers.

BridgeCo offers a C++ based Software Developers Kit (SDK) and an intuitive application programming interface (API) that expands flexibility and simplifies the learning curve for OEM customers. OEMs can easily differentiate their products by customizing the user interface and other performance parameters. Third-party software vendors that are experienced with the BeBoB SDK are available to assist OEMs with product development and rapid market entry.

The DM1200 and DM1500 are already available. BridgeCo BeBoB software and DM1200 or DM1500 ICs are priced as bundled platforms that incorporate both the processor IC and BeBoB firmware stack.

The BeBoB/DM1200 combined firmware/processor platform is available for $24 in 1,000-unit volumes, to sub-$20 in high volume, depending on included firmware modules. The BeBoB/DM1500 combined firmware/processor platform is available for $29 in 1,000-unit volumes, to sub-$20 in high volume, depending on included firmware modules.

- Marty Gold


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