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OEM IC Pumps Up the Volume

NXP digital audio chip assembly tries to solve audio problems

As mobile devices proliferate and increasingly become involved in media playout, serious questions arise as to the quality of the audio.

While high-quality audio via earbuds has become a big business, acoustic reproduction via onboard speakers is an orphan. Little tiny speakers have a reputation for little tiny sound. And they can be easily overdriven and damaged.

Philips spinoff NXP has released a new audio integrated circuit — the TFA9887 — to improve the sound and performance of the microspeakers that inhabit mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. NAB’s Radio TechCheck newsletter noted the development this week.

According to NXP the TFA9887 uses a number of tools to improve the audio performance of devices it is used in. Leading the way is an algorithm that “maximizes” the audio signal. It smoothly clips highs and lows to eliminate voice coil overheating and speaker excursion on bass frequencies, says the company. The algorithm also processes the audio to increase the signal within a speaker’s safe reproduction range. The algorithm also makes use of feedback from sensors to monitor speaker performance and to optimize signal reproduction even when a device’s DC (battery) power is getting low.

The assembly includes other audio-optimization tools such as a 2.65 W Class D digital amplifier, additional DSP schemes and an onboard DC–DC converter. NXP makes software tools available for further customizing the chip’s algorithms to meet a client’s specific audio performance needs.