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Programmable Analog ICs Makes Flexible Subwoofer Controller

In a move to offer application-specific versions of its programmable analog ICs for high-volume markets, Anadigm today launched two new field programmable analog arrays (FPAAs) designed to support high-performance subwoofer speakers, which are used in audio systems to reproduce the lower bass frequencies with maximum power and fidelity.

Anadigm made the announcement at the AES Convention at San Francisco's Moscone Center, where the company is exhibiting in booth #1636 today through Oct. 31.

As the first two members of the SonicMaster series of audio-specific FPAA products, the new AN227E04 and AN127E04 support all the functions required by active subwoofers, including the incoming subsonic filter, audio compressor, Linkwitz transform equalizer, and low-pass filter. Typically these functions are designed with discrete components that cannot be tuned or modified once in place. By contrast, the FPAA implementation puts the subwoofer circuit under software control while maintaining an analog signal path from front to back. As a result, manufacturers can tune the circuitry during the manufacturing process to suit the acoustics of various speaker enclosures or provide controls that allow the end user to tune the subwoofer to match personal preferences and the space in which it is being used. This solution also maintains the analog integrity and pure audio characteristics of the original sound source.

Anadigm makes designing with the AN227E04 and AN127E04 extraordinarily easy by providing a starter kit including AnadigmDesigner2 CAD files in which the subwoofer circuit has already been completed. Designers can set the parameters of the Configurable Analog Modules (CAMs) making up the circuit to provide precise control over the sound parameters of their products or can adjust these directly in the C-code automatically generated by AnadigmDesigner2 to simplify interface with the system microprocessor.

The AN227E04 is dynamically reconfigurable, allowing modifications to circuit parameters while in operation. The device can therefore adapt in real time to changes in the environment where the subwoofer speaker is used. With this feature, designers could potentially offer end users the ability to alter frequency and roll-off characteristics in their homes for optimal sound quality, or even implement a self-tuning function that would perform this step automatically.

Anadigm's FPAA solutions reduce the design cycle from weeks or months to a matter of days, while allowing a single circuit board implementation to be customized during manufacturing to serve multiple products with different feature sets, thus reducing the range of components that needs to be sourced by OEMs.

'These new SonicMaster FPAAs answer the demand of the audio community for real-time, reprogrammable signal processing under software control while eliminating latency issues and the need to convert signals to and from the digital domain,' said Nathan John, vice president of worldwide marketing at Anadigm. 'For the first time, the most advanced design ideas for subwoofers can be implemented quickly, with full control over phasing and perfect repeatability. With SonicMaster FPAAs, we're giving audio engineers a subwoofer solution with the greatest flexibility and highest audio quality available today.'

The new SonicMaster FPAAs provide accuracy and control of the filter characteristics to a very high tolerance. This precision and reliability over standard analog components is due to better than 0.1% component matching within the IC with no drift over temperature.

Samples and production quantities of the new SonicMaster FPAAs are available now. Pricing for U.S. delivery in 10,000-piece quantities is $3.15 for the AN127E04 and $3.85 for the AN227E04.

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