Designing small audio devices with an eye for power budget? Dialog thinks it has just the codecs you need.

Dialog Semiconductor has introduced its DA740x family of audio codecs, which the company claims will offer twice the audio quality while consuming half the power of competing devices.

According to Dialog's website, audio codecs can be defined as "Codecs are designed to offer different levels of dynamic range and improve the power consumption for the record and playback paths by optimizing the always ON mode and utilizing efficient charge pump technologies."

These newly announced codecs are aimed at supporting engineers designing ruggedized earbuds, hearables, and true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds (though the agnostic interface means that this product would also be suitable for wired applications, as well).

The new devices are targeted at manufacturers of high-quality headphones. In this product category, active noise cancellation is a must—but, at the same time, consumers also demand the smallest size and weight for their headphones.

With its integrated custom filtering, the DA740x also enables a fully hybrid implementation which combines the best of both worlds by providing high-performance ANC (active noise canceling) while maximizing audio quality and battery life.

 

The DA740x family. All images from Dialog Semiconductor

 

Dialog's Senior VP and General Manager of their Connectivity and Audio Business Group, Sean McGrath, was quoted in the family's press release as claiming that the chips have "a footprint of less than six square millimeters, making it suitable for even the smallest in-ear form factors."

In addition, the highly integrated nature of this family of codecs (and the need for fewer external components) means that there could be a smaller BOM for designers, which would naturally translate into easier manufacturability, lower costs, and a more reliable finished product.

 

Meet the Family Members

The product family was specifically designed to address the varied segments of the headphone market, giving customers a one-stop-shop for optimizing their entire line of mid and high-end products. Members of the series include:

  • DA7402: Stereo high-performance codec with ANC
  • DA7401: Mono HP codec with ANC
  • DA7400: Stereo HP codec

The DA7402 is intended for applications that require high dynamic range and low latency. The codec supports feedforward and feedback topologies (wherein the ANC microphones are located outside or inside the headphone cup, respectively), as well as hybrid topologies. It offers suppression of up to 35 dB, dynamic ranges for playback of 115 dB and sampling rates up to 384 kHz. It also offers 40 kHz audio bandwidth to support Hi-Res Audio. Most importantly, the unit draws just 8.5 mW during stereo playback with ANC.

 

Block diagram of the DA7402
 

 

The DA7401 is a derivative of the DA7402. It offers a 115 dB playback dynamic range, a 103 dB record dynamic range, hybrid ANC and flexible clocking architecture. This mono ANC codec is designed for TWS and hearable applications.

The DA7400 is meant for consumer applications that don't require ANC.

Dialog is now presenting further details on the DA740x family at Computex Taipei 2019, at the Taipei International Convention Center.

 

Around the Industry

Many manufacturers offer codecs. Here are two devices with ANC in their specifications:

  • The CS47L90 from Cirrus Logic is a low power, highly integrated audio codec. It offers mono active ANC.
  • The AS3515 from AMS is a codec offering > 20 db of ANC performance

Let us know what other audio codecs you're familiar with in the comments below.

 

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