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Sound enhancing tech boosts mobile audio

Posted: 24 Feb 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile sound? portable consumer device? back volume?

Knowles Sound Solutions has launched a sound enhancing technology that claims to increase the acoustic performance in portable consumer devices. The patent pending N'Bass virtual back volume technology is a custom-developed material that increases the back volume seen by the loudspeaker by up to 100 percent. N'Bass stands for "enhanced bass" and enables the smallest possible acoustic designs in devices such as smartphones, tablets and other media devices.

The material provides either better acoustic performancespecifically more bassor smaller loudspeaker box designs while keeping the same performance. N'Bass also facilitates the usage of bigger loudspeakers, thus providing superior sound performance within the same gross application volume, stated the company.

Similar to a sponge, two grams of the N'Bass material have a surface area of about a football field. As Knowles Sound Solutions' head of global product management, Mark Hannah describes it, "the material adsorbs the air in the sealed loudspeaker box, acting as an analog pressure sucker and making it easier for the membrane to vibrate at full amplitude for when it is needed most, at the lower bass frequencies."

Typically, the small back volumes used in mobile devices (due to space constraints) tend to increase back pressure, hence limiting the speaker membrane's inward amplitude and affecting the bass frequencies. The material desorbs the air molecules when the membrane vibrates out of the speaker box. This virtually increases the available back volume for the loudspeaker and using this technology, the company has measured a difference in the resonance frequency of about 150Hz, with a sound pressure level-boost below resonance frequency of about 3dB compared to standard loudspeaker boxes, the company indicated.


By doubling air volume in a loudspeaker, the N'Bass virtual back volume technology increases sound by up to 100 percent.

The material, which took over two years to develop, is non-conductive and has no negative influence on antenna performance. The first smartphones to incorporate the technology have recently been launched by tier-1 handset OEMs and are currently in mass production. Knowles is the only supplier who offers this specific technology for miniaturized loudspeaker systems.

- Julien Happich
??EE Times

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