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Freescale Class D amp enables HiFi audio

Posted: 03 Aug 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Freescale? Symphony Class D amplifier?

Responding to the technical challenges that have been associated with Class D amplifiers, Freescale Semiconductor recently unveiled the new Symphony Class D amplifier the promises a high-fidelity system solution. The new digital amplifier features an innovative digital feedback technology that brings audio performance of Class D amplifiers to a previously unattainable level, the company said.

Traditionally, Class AB amplifiers have been widely used in the audio industry, but Class D amplifiers were limited to applications such as mini-systems and DVD receivers where high fidelity was a second priority to form factor. Freescale said its Class D PWM amplifier has changed the playing field as it improves power efficiency from 50 percent to 90 percent without sacrificing fidelity. This results in lower heat dissipation, the company explained, allowing more audio channels for a more satisfying listening experience in a dramatically smaller form factor.

"Expanding into Class D amplifiers enables us to provide a full digital audio portfolio, from the signal processing front end to the power stage back end," said Berardino Baratta, Freescale's general manager for multimedia applications. Baratta added that with an advanced digital feedback, the new amplifier "is a real breakthrough and allows OEMs to achieve the highest quality performance in a smaller form factor and still benefit from the power savings of a Class D amplifier design."

Freescale designed its new Symphony solution to overcome the obstacles of Class D systems, namely EMI and power supply noise. Manufacturers have to meet EMI emission levels and ensure that the emissions do not disrupt AM/FM reception. Power supplies, particularly in the automotive, are not ideal as a result of environmental conditions such as engine noise or selection of low-cost power supply components.

To solve these challenges, Freescale said its Class D digital amplifier implements PWM with real-time, digital feedback for power supply noise rejection. Now, designers can take advantage of the tremendous power efficiency improvements and cost savings associated with Class D amplifiers, the company said, while achieving the expected audio quality that consumers demand.

The Symphony Class D digital amplifier solution is sampling in limited quantities. Volume production is expected in Q1 2007.

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