All-digital audio solution brings high definition quality to multimedia devices

Wolfson Microelectronics has developed a new all-digital audio solution with the launch of the WM8996, its latest Audio Hub and the WM9082 Class-D digital input speaker amplifier. Aimed at the smartphone and tablet PC market, the device provides designers with a digital audio subsystem that eliminates the loss of fidelity caused by routing analogue signals over longer distances.
The WM8996 is designed to target products where high quality voice calls and music playback is required. The device incorporates an innovative audio mixing methodology which handles multiple audio routings and concurrent use cases with ease, efficiently using silicon space in the compact package.
The WM8996 integrates Wolfson’s excellent audio playback quality with ultra-low power consumption, dramatically extending battery life while providing enhanced HD audio quality. It also includes a digital audio interface employing Pulse Density Modulation (PDM) protocol to connect digital microphones such as the WM7210 and WM7220 in addition to digital speaker amplifiers like the new WM9082.
The WM9082 is a high-performance Class-D speaker amplifier offering PDM input capability and is a perfect companion to the WM8996. The audio output provides 92dB SNR performance, low out-of-band noise spectrum that reduces radiated electromagnetic interference; the compact device (2.3mm2) can also drive up to 2.5 Watt into a 4 Ohm speaker.
The digital audio interface between the WM8996 Audio Hub and the WM9082 Class-D speaker driver provides excellent noise immunity eliminating input filtering components that are required by traditional analogue amplifiers. The PDM interface format eases the complexity of form-factor end product design without compromising audio quality as it provides the option to transfer data digitally. This avoids the loss of fidelity when routing analogue signals over longer distances. The PDM interface between the devices therefore simplifies design and significantly reduces time-to-market. This solution also enables significant savings in PCB space and bill of materials by reducing the number of discrete components typically required to support an audio subsystem.

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