STMicroelectronics has introduced a digital audio processor for multi-microphone applications. ST’s new Smart Voice product family combines processing performance with scalability and programmability to bring sound quality improvements to mobile phones, tablets, gaming devices and video security systems.
The Smart Voice audio processors use powerful capabilities of digital MEMS microphones in multi-microphone arrays, especially for ST’s MEMS microphones, enabling features like acoustic echo cancellation, noise suppression, or beam-forming, which are invaluable with the increasing use of cell phones and other consumer devices in noisy and uncontrollable environments. Multi-microphone systems also address next-generation audio applications, such as 3D sound processing, sound-source localization, virtual microphones, and audio zooming.
The combination of ST’s Smart Voice processors and digital MEMS microphones creates a lexible acoustic sub-system that brings advantages to equipment manufacturers and users alike. Manufacturers will benefit from a simplified system design, which reduces costs and time to market and facilitates end-product differentiation, while consumers will enjoy clearer conversations and longer battery life on their devices.
SThe processor is based on an optimized hard-wired acoustic processing engine that offloads intensive computing tasks from the main application processor. It handles up to 6 digital microphone inputs with dynamic array re-configuration and dedicated channel processing. The device integrates a high-quality scalable acoustic processing core with a tunable 10-band equalizer, a peak limiter, and gain and volume controls. The data are output through a digital (I2S) or analog (PWM) interface.
The processors come in a bundle with AP Workbench, a user-friendly programming tool, and together with the Company’s MEMS microphones and Sound Terminal class-D audio amplifiers they form a complete one-stop offering for advanced sound-input applications.
The STA321MPL, the first device in ST’s Smart Voice family, is sampling now. Mass production is scheduled for Q2 2012, with unit pricing at $4 for volumes in the range of 1,000 pieces.