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Cirrus Logic Drops Royalty Fees for CobraNet Silicon Series Audio ICs

Austin, Texas — With the introduction of three digital audio networking processors from its CobraNet Silicon Series of products, Cirrus Logic Inc. is making it possible for commercial and professional audio manufacturers to significantly lower costs of deploying networked audio systems.

CobraNet technology is the defacto industry standard for delivering uncompressed digital audio over Ethernet networks, and with the new ICs – the CS181002, the CS181012 and CS181022 – Cirrus Logic expects to foster the creation of new markets and applications that can benefit from CobraNet-enabled digital audio networking processors.

With these new and future CobraNet-enabled ICs, Cirrus Logic is breaking from the traditional digital networked audio model of providing manufacturers with higher-cost module solutions.

With a CobraNet IC-based approach, manufacturers can now create much simpler and significantly cost-reduced solutions. This product mix ensures the right IC solution for such different market applications as ceiling speakers, mixers, power amplifiers, signal processors, intercom systems, power amplifiers and paging systems. CobraNet-enabled products can be used in a wide variety of settings including recording studios, live performances, broadcast studios and commercial “installed-sound” facilities such as office buildings, hospitals, airports, music halls, sports arenas, restaurants and houses of worship. To further reduce costs of installing CobraNet-ready systems, the licensing fees that apply to the high- channel capacity CM-1 reference design have been eliminated for CobraNet silicon customers.

“By integrating CobraNet technology into silicon, and eliminating the former licensing and royalty-based business model, Cirrus Logic is dramatically lowering the cost per node for developing and installing digitally networked audio capabilities into existing and newly installed Ethernet networks,” said David Parker, senior marketing manger for CobraNet Technology, Cirrus Logic. “That, in turn, expands the market for CobraNet-enabled ICs into new classifications of commercial and professional products that seek to benefit from the industry's leading networked audio standard.”

Cirrus Logic's CobraNet Silicon Series simplifies the design process and helps to reduce the overall bill of materials for manufacturers using standard, proven Ethernet network cabling and equipment. Because CobraNet technology co-exists with Ethernet data and voice-over-IP traffic already present on any given facility's network infrastructure; it is considerably more cost effective to implement compared to installing a dedicated digital audio network.

CobraNet technology delivers networked audio, control and monitoring –
key features in installations where control, flexibility and/or reliability are highly valued.

The CS181002 supports two channels of simultaneous audio in/out; the CS181012 supports eight channels of simultaneous audio in/out; and the CS181022 supports sixteen channels of simultaneous audio in/out.

In 10,000-piece quantities, the CS181002 is available in a 144 LQFP package and is priced at $15.65. The CS181012 is available in a 144 LQFP package and is priced at $18.41. The CS1810022 is available in a 144 LQFP package and is priced at $20.25.

For more information, please call (512) 851-4084 or visit: www.cirrus.com

CobraNet IC Block Diagram
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Cirrus Logic expects to propel the installation of audio networks by slashing costs associated with its new CobraNet Silicon Series ICs, and offering the technology in the form of ICs, instead of modules.

Essentially, CobraNet technology allows uncompressed digital audio to run on CAT5 Ethernet cable even over long distances, said Tom Lee, vice president of digital, audio and embedded products marketing, Cirrus Logic. “This will lower the labor and material cost of implementing audio networks in buildings, live venues or studios,” he said.

CobraNet offers distinct advantages over some competing digital technologies, according to Lee. This technology does not require its own dedicated network. Additionally, CobraNet is fault tolerant, meaning that if the network senses that one of its lines was cut, it will automatically re-route the data. CobraNet uses a simple network message protocol (SNMP). Besides broadcasting the audio information, CobraNet also has a channel that it uses for control information, so commands like turn up the volume or turn on/off can be sent to another device in a building, for instance. CobraNet ICs will also enable each speaker “node” on the network to have its own customized content.

Early versions of CobraNet were first developed in 1995 by Peak Audio, which Cirrus Logic acquired in 1991. When Peak Audio had this product originally; there was an up-front payment associated with it of about $37,500.00 to join the CobraNet club. Then, customers paid a royalty on a per channel basis around $250 per node. Cirrus has eliminated the up-front payment, and they've done away with the per-channel royalty.

Furthermore, with these new and future CobraNet-enabled ICs, Cirrus Logic is breaking from the traditional digital networked audio model of providing manufacturers with higher-cost module solutions. This is a true silicon product as opposed to the modules we were previously selling, which will enable manufacturers to create much simpler and cheaper solutions, Lee said.

Integrating the CobraNet IC onto the motherboard of pro audio equipment, instead of buying it as a module, results in a price reduction to $20 per node, instead of around $250 per node previously, he said. Cirrus will also provide the reference design guide to integrate the chip onto the motherboard.

CobraNet technology is the defacto industry standard for delivering uncompressed digital audio over Ethernet networks. More than 44 companies have joined the CobraNet club and royalty model. Companies like Yamaha, Crown and Harman are all major players in this arena that are using CobraNet, Lee said.

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