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Digital audio processors enable cost-effective CE solution

Posted: 25 Dec 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:digital processor audio? ARM? DSP?

In response to increased demand for access to remote music collections and streaming Internet radio service, Texas Instruments Inc. has announced its third-generation DA830 and DA828 Aureus digital audio processors.

The highly-integrated, dual-core DA8x product line offers the combined features of an ARM-based applications processor and an audio DSP core, as well as a wide range of peripherals. This compilation results in a high-performance, cost-effective solution for consumer products such as network-connected audio/video receivers (AVR), home theater in a box (HTIB) and mini/micro component systems.

For those designing AVRs, HTIBs and mini/micro component systems, the cost savings is a result of the integration of a 300MHz 64bit floating/fixed point audio DSP engine with a 300MHz ARM926EJ-S core, an Ethernet MAC, two USB ports, an SD/MMC interface, PWM processors and an LCD controller, which eliminates multiple system components and reduces PCB space.

To ease design, TI provides a networked AVR Software Developer's Kit (nAVR SDK) with an integrated Performance Audio Framework that includes standard, multichannel decoding and post-processing algorithms required for AVRs, including all HD audio decoders, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD, integrated into the on-chip ROM. Trendsetting manufacturers can use the fully programmable ARM and DSP cores to create differentiated products and drive high-end features such as smart volume, room correction and connectivity into entry level audio systems.

TI claims that it has achieved performance and memory efficiency improvements, making the DA8x more powerful compared with earlier generations of 300MHz DSPs. With a 20 percent performance improvement and 25 percent code size reduction for lossless HD decoders, a single DA8x device can execute DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel decoders at a sample rate of 192kHz while still providing vast performance headroom and memory for OEMs to add differentiating post-processing algorithms.

The DA8x devices are fully programmable using industry standard tools and operating systems, enabling OEMs to bring unique solutions to the market quickly. They leverage the same development tools and build on an established eco-system. As part of the nAVR SDK, TI provides an industry standard Linux OS for the ARM926EJ-S core. Additional programming tools and support for the Linux OS can be acquired from MontaVista. A number of third parties can provide applications for the DA8x platform including support for Internet Radio and DLNA/uPNP.

The PA Framework on DA8x is software compatible with all previous Aureus devices, meaning any differentiated post-processing algorithms created by OEMs or audio third parties on previous Aureus devices are fully re-usable on the DA8x platform. The Aureus devices are supported by all leading audio third parties including Audyssey Laboratories, DiMAGIC, Dolby Laboratories, DTS Inc., Expamedia, Inc., Neural Audio, QSound Labs Inc., SRS Labs Inc. and Trinnov Audio, enabling OEMs to easily add innovative features to customize their products.

The DA8x allows fast development of network-connected AVRs and significantly shortens time-to-market for OEMs. The DA830 is available $19.44 at 100 units.

- Henri Arnold
EE Times-Europe

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