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Sweet Sounding SoCs

Authored on: Jun 2, 2010 by João Risques

Technical Paper

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When determining the trade-offs between application requirements versus area and power, selecting the right audio drivers has become a critical decision for SoC designers. Audio drivers must efficiently address a wide variety of loading conditions such as line loads, earphone and headset loads, passive loudspeaker loads and more. For many years, solutions consisting of a digital-to-analog converter and continuous time drivers have co-existed with digital-centric Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)-based solutions to address the breadth of different audio loads. Perhaps the most important reason associated with choosing a digital-centric PWM-based solution is the perception that being purely digital its silicon area cost is lower than the analog implementations. However, this white paper shows that digital-centric PWM-based solutions do at most offset cost from silicon area to external components while failing to address a multitude of equally important application requirements besides low cost.
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