ARC sounds out SoC designers looking for better bass

LONDON — ARC International has started licensing to consumer OEMs and chip designers its Virtual Bass audio enrichment software technology, which is optimized for the ARC Sound Subsystem as well as x-86 hardware platforms.

ARC (St Albans, England) says the Virtual Bass addresses a major concern confronting users of many home electronics devices including notebook and desktop PCs and HDTV: the lack of a truly satisfying bass listening experience for music.

The company adds that when implemented on the Sound Subsystem platform, OEMs and chip suppliers can save a great deal of money in bill of material costs.

Virtual Bass delivers a deep rich bass response on existing speakers or headphones thereby eliminating the need to add subwoofers or other costly audio components. This provides OEMs with up to $3 million in manufacturing cost savings over the life of a product and when combined with the low power ARC Sound Subsystem a 100-hour audio playback solution for portable devices.

Semiconductor vendors are also said to benefit by realizing up to $1 million savings in silicon costs over the life of their system-on-chip (SoC) product development.

Virtual Bass technology is part of ARC's Sonic Focus audio enrichment technology suite.

ARC says the vast majority of small speakers used in existing mobile phones and PCs have limited or non-existent bass response in the frequency range below 180 Hz. The result is a thin sound that does not convey the emotion of a plucked bass string or the impact of a movie explosion. Often the results are unwanted distortion, washed out solo instruments and vocals, and lost articulation of movie dialog.

Virtual Bass optimizes the bass rendering capabilities, taking into account the analog to digital converter, amplifier, speaker cavity, and speaker driver, thus resulting in audio that more accurately reflects the original performance without adding artificial signals or muffling voice articulation and audio clarity.

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