Atmel and Bang & Olufsen ICEpower Collaborate to Develop High-Quality Audio Platform


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Atmel® Corporation, a leader in microcontroller and touch solutions, and Bang & Olufsen ICEpower, a subsidiary of Bang & Olufsen specializing in high-performance class D audio solutions, today announced a collaboration to provide an end-to-end audio platform for premium-quality audio playback. The result of this collaboration is an audio reference design that provides premium-quality sound combining the Atmel AVR UC3 32-bit microcontroller with the Bang & Olufsen ICEpower's MobileSound 3--a fully digital, low-power single chip stereo Class D speaker amplifier, headphone amplifier and audio digital signal processor. The reference design offers users the ability to access digital audio media; decompress music files using the Atmel UC3A3 32-bit microcontroller; and the ability to convert data into professional-quality audio through the MobileSound 3 device. The small form factor and low-power consumption of the jointly developed audio platform makes it particularly suitable for mobile audio devices, such as headsets, mobile phones and accessories, tablets and laptop computers. Furthermore, the MobileSound 3 output can be connected to a second high-power amplifier stage such as the ICEpower 50ASX2 to ensure premium audio quality for USB PC-speakers, media player docking stations and active Bluetooth® or WiFi connected speakers. "We are excited to collaborate with Atmel to bring high-quality amplifier capabilities to their popular 32-bit AVR based audio platform," said Mads Emil Solgaard, technology marketing manager, Bang & Olufsen ICEpower. "The digital audio market is constantly evolving and developers need high-quality, ready-to-run reference designs that allow them to hit the narrow market windows." The complete digital audio playback platform enables a user to access digital audio files from an SD card, USB mass storage device or from a host USB device such as a computer. The kit can easily be extended to connect to media player docking ports as well as Bluetooth or WiFi connections. The audio files can be compressed using the most proliferated compression algorithms such as AAC, MP3 or WMA. Atmel's software framework features device and host USB protocols, with the USB audio class device support and USB mass storage file software, can be plugged directly into the user's application. The Atmel AVR UC3 32-bit microcontroller is capable of running at 1.5 DMIPS/MHz; retrieving audio files and decompressing it; and streaming data to the MobileSound 3 amplifier for playback on loudspeakers or headphones. The amplifier outputs 2 x 1.5 Watts and has less than 0.01 percent total harmonic distortion and a signal-to-noise ratio of more than 100dB. The 92 percent efficiency makes it possible to package the amplifier into a 3.0 x 2.6mm package including a built-in digital signal processing engine that implements SmartBass adaptive dynamic bass enhancement, SmartEQ flexible, full parametric 5-band equalizer, SmartDRC advanced parametric multistage Compressor/Limiter system as well as Digital Volume control. All these algorithms can be tuned using the software tool MobileSound3 Audio Suite from Bang & Olufsen ICEpower. "Collaboration with a technology leader in analog sound processing, such as Bang & Olufsen ICEpower, has been critical in developing a complete digital audio playback platform," said Geir Kjosavik, senior product marketing manager, Atmel Corporation. "The joint development has resulted in a no-compromise combination of low-power, smaller form factor and extremely high-audio quality for speakers of all sizes." The audio reference design will be available beginning in March 2011.