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Digital-audio SoCs offer enhanced thermal performance

Posted: 10 Aug 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:digital-audio  system-on-chip ICs  DAC 

STMicroelectronics releases STA381BW and STA381BWS, two new sound terminal digital-audio system-on-chip ICs for home-entertainment applications, which aim to enable smaller new-product designs while also running cooler to help designers meet tough product-safety requirements.

The STA381BW and STA381BWS are said to be optimised for flat-panel TVs and enable designers to reduce PC-board sizes further by consolidating a headphone driver, line-driver output, and an independent digital-to-analogue converter (DAC). These functions typically require three additional ICs. The integrated DAC aims to provide an extra analogue output that can be connected to the headphone input or to an external circuit, and uses ST's F3X technology to simplify external filtering. According to the company, the headphone driver and industry-standard 2Vpp line out, which require no DC blocking capacitors, also save external components and hence maximise reductions in PC-board size and manufacturing costs.

In addition, the STA381BW and STA381BWS aim to deliver best-in-class thermal performance through a combination of high energy efficiency, proprietary ternary PWM modulation and enhanced package design, enabling lower operating temperatures. This simplifies thermal management, helping to ensure that the TV's chassis temperature meets product safety criteria such as UL or CE specifications. The STA381BW and STA381BWS can deliver up to 15W output power (24V, 8Ω load), maintaining the IC's temperature at 55.4°C.

Features of STA381BW/S include I2S and 1Vrms stereo analogue input and configurable output power stage (2.0 or 2.1 modes). The STA381BW and STA381BWS have driving load capabilities of 2x20W into 8Ω ternary modulation and 2x9W into 4Ω + 1x20W into 8Ω. The STA381BWS features 27V maximum supply voltage and the STA381BW features 30V maximum supply voltage.

Home-entertainment innovations such as flat-panel TVs and music docks enable consumers to enjoy room-filling audio without needing a roomful of audio equipment. According to the company, ST's sound terminal system-on-chip ICs have taken a major role in enabling new generations of slimmer products by combining digital audio processing, speaker drivers and other functions on a single chip. ST's sound terminal ICs are now used in about 30 per cent of the flat-panel TVs sold worldwide, based on data from market analyst iSuppli.

As members of the Sound terminal family, the devices implement digital signal processing and speaker-driver circuitry aiming to leverage ST's Full Flexible Amplification (FFX) technology. FFX combines 2.1-channel audio processing with a digitally controlled class-D power stage aiming to operate at up to 94 per cent efficiency. The audio processor also features STSpeakerSafe, STCompressor as well as STSpeakerTune speaker compensation, which boosts audio quality from flat-panel TV speakers while preventing damage due to over-driving.

The STA381BW and STA381BWS are sampling now to lead customers, and are available in the 48-pin VQFN 7x7x1mm package, priced from Rs.133.93 ($3) for the STA381BWS and Rs.178.57 ($4) for the STA381BW for 1000-piece orders. Alternative pricing may be available for larger quantities.

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