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Preamplifier ICs suit ECM, MEMS microphones

Posted: 10 Dec 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:preamplifier  microphone  MEMS 

Fabless chipmaker KT Micro Inc. targets miniature microphones with two preamplifier chips, the KT0501 and KT0511.

Microphones are required in applications that require audio inputs. Due to the rapid growth in cell phone, PCs, camera and camcorder markets, the worldwide annual microphone shipments are estimated to be over 3 billion units. More and more functions are integrated in various very compact portable electronic devices, which require microphones of high sensitivity, digital output, high immunity of external interference, low cost and high yield. The microphone technology has changed accordingly: JFET is replaced by chips with high gain factors; the digital output is replacing the analogue outputs; ECM microphones are replaced by MEMS microphones also called silicon microphone.

Aiming at the huge potential in the microphone market, KT Micro offers the KT0501 for ECM microphone with digital output and KT0511 for MEMS microphone with analogue output, to challenge the current market leader.

KT0501 consists of a LNA and a high-precision ADC circuitry. Due to the commonly-used interface, it is very easy for a customer to evaluate and use KT0501. Because an ECM microphone with digital output can work in a noisy environment, it has been widely used in laptop, mobile phone, cameras, camcorder and personal media player. Wei Ren of Ventronics Electronics said: "Our tests indicate that key parameters of KT0501 match or surpass its chips we are currently using."

MEMS microphones leverage their overall cost advantage in miniature microphones, due to its manufacturability in standard process and high yield, and taking market share from the traditional ECM microphone. KT0511 is a pre-amplifier chip designed for MEMS microphones with analogue output. It provides a stable bias voltage and a gain factor. With different configurations, KT0511 can work with different MEMS sensors. MEMS microphone samples using KT0501 and MEMSensing's sensor have met the customer requirements.

Both KT0501 and KT0511 are manufactured in CMOS process. KT0501 uses 6-ball CSP package and is ready for mass production. KT0511 can be sampled with dies.

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