Audium : Audio amplifier is more efficient than Class D

Audium Semiconductor has launched an audio power amplifier IC which, at normal listening levels[1], is 20 times more efficient than competing devices, such as Class D[2] amplifiers, without compromising audio quality. The AS1001 operates from a nominal 1.5V power supply and delivers 100W peak power output. The amplifier is so efficient that battery-powered amplified loudspeakers can run for up to 10 months on a set of four ‘C’ batteries, playing for three hours per day, vastly reducing CO2 from power generation and pollution from battery production[3].

The amplifier also enables the development of smaller, cooler, mains-powered audio equipment, with fewer heat sinks. Applications include totally wireless speakers, home theatre surround sound speakers and battery-powered travel speakers. Future Audium ICs will support MP3 docking stations and USB powered speakers.

The AS1001 architecture uses patented techniques to minimise both fixed power losses and output-dependant variable power losses. The modulation scheme uses low switching rates to minimise switching losses. Power rail switching means that the amplifier operates efficiently from a low voltage rail most of the time, with a DC-DC boost converter driving higher voltage transistors on extreme audio peaks.

“Traditionally, audio amplifiers have only reached quoted efficiency figures at maximum output, which is like building a city-car that’s only efficient at 200mph and anything but efficient at 30,” said Huw Davies, CCO at Audium. “The AS1001 marks a huge leap forward in efficiency and has come from examining how equipment is really used rather than striving for a marketable arbitrary figure.”

“Over 700 million consumer audio devices are sold each year, so the real world efficiency of these has a huge impact on the amount of energy we consume,” commented Malcolm Penn, CEO Future Horizon’s analyst house. “Looking beyond the environmental implications, the technology behind the AS1001 will enable a whole new class of low power consumer products.”

Targeting battery powered applications; the AS1001 is a single 64QFN package and operates directly from a 0.8V – 1.8V supply (compatible with, for example, alkaline primary cells and Ni-MH secondary cells). Samples are available now, priced from $8 each in 1000+ quantities.

Notes for editors
[1] Normal listening level is defined as 73dBC sound pressure level (SPL) at a distance of 1 metre, with a speaker sensitivity of 89dBC/W at 1 metre.
[2] Class D explanation:
[3]A 2007 study conducted by Bio Intelligence Service claimed that 660 million batteries per year are sold in the UK alone, 95 per cent of which are disposable. The report suggested that 1kWh from disposable batteries had the equivalent impact on air pollution as driving 2320km, and on water pollution as emitting 2731mg of mercury. The study was pier reviewed by the Fraunhofer Institute, Germany and endorsed by the WWF. Further finings are summarised at-

For sales enquiries and product information:
Huw Davies, Audium Semiconductor Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)117 985 6950

About Audium Semiconductor

Audium Semiconductor Ltd designs, develops and markets audio power amplifier integrated circuits that are 20 times more power efficient than competing technologies at normal listening levels.

Utilising its devices in consumer audio applications reduces power consumption, extends battery life, enables smaller form factors, cuts cost-of-ownership, reduces waste, and contributes towards a more sustainable environment; all without compromising system performance.

From home theatre systems to companion speakers for PCs, its technology is revolutionising the design of consumer audio systems.

Audium is working in partnership with other leading semiconductor companies to develop totally wireless speakers. These can only be developed using ultra-low power consumption ICs.

Based in Bristol, UK, Audium is a fabless semiconductor company with funding from Advent Venture Partners and Balderton Capital. Click here for further information on the energy consumed by audio amplifiers.

Note: The above text is the public part of the press release obtained from the manufacturer (with minor modifications). EETimes Europe cannot be held responsible for the claims and statements made by the manufacturer. The text is intended as a supplement to the new product presentations in EETimes Europe magazine.

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