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Audio processor touts 800Mbps 1394b data rate capability

Posted: 23 Jan 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Marty Gold? BridgeCo.? FireWire audio IC? 1394b? S800?

BridgeCo. claims to have the first FireWire audio IC platform that supports 1394b (S800), doubling the bandwidth capacity over older, 400Mbps 1394a systems.

The new DM1500E platform, combines BridgeCo's proprietary dual-core, ARM-based and DSP-enhanced DM1500E processor and all of the required software to build a complete FireWire audio interface product. The platform includes a real-time operating system (RTOS) and a comprehensive application software stack that allows BridgeCo's OEM customers to significantly accelerate their time-to-market.

The DM1500E processor interfaces directly to 1394 PHY chips, supporting 1394a at S400 data rates, and 1394b at S800 data rates. The platform also incorporates multiple digital and analog inputs and outputs that connect to microphones, loudspeakers, musical instruments and MIDI devices. BridgeCo provides driver support for computers running Mac OS X, Windows XP and Linux operating systems. The DM1500E includes full ADAT/SMUX support, GSIF support, 1394a/b capability and a Linux 1394 audio driver (FreeBoB). The addition of Windows 64-bit support also insures that products built on the platform will be fully compatible with 64-bit audio tools when they become available.

By eliminating the need for multiple chips and expensive general purpose DSP devices, the DM1500E enables OEMs to significantly reduce the retail price of their products. And by integrating powerful DSP capabilities, the BridgeCo solution offers low-latency mixing, which allows users to record new tracks while simultaneously playing back previously recorded ones. See block diagram below for more details.

Specifically to address the needs of the cost-sensitive consumer market, BridgeCo is also releasing its new AUDIO5 reference design. A complete turn-key reference design, the FCC pre-tested AUDIO5 provides six channels of audio input, six channels of audio output, 1394 and MIDI interfaces.

The board design incorporates BridgeCo's DM1100 processor, 1394 PHY, 64Mbit of SDRAM, 64Mbit of Flash memory, four channel D/A, four channel A/D, and BridgeCo's BeBoB firmware. The AUDIO5 is a fully functional and rigorously tested entry-level consumer FireWire audio interface system ready for OEM or ODM manufacture. Based on the bill-of-materials, BridgeCo believes that consumer systems built on the AUDIO5 reference design will retail for less than $129.

BridgeCo BeBoB software and DM1100 or DM1500E ICs are priced as bundled platforms that incorporate both the processor IC and BeBoB firmware stack. The BeBoB/DM1500E combined firmware/processor platform will be available in Q1 2006 for $29 in 1,000-unit volumes, to sub-$20 in high volume, depending on included firmware modules.

The BeBoB/DM1100 combined firmware/processor platform is currently available for $15 in 1,000-unit volumes, to less than $10 in high volume, depending on included firmware modules.

- Marty Gold

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