HD audio for PCs extends notebook battery life

Wolfson Microelectronics has announced the WM8861 and WM8862, two new high definition audio devices targeting PCs and laptops. These new devices offer a DAC signal-to-noise ratio of 105dB and true 2Vrms capless output capability. Used in conjunction with the advanced power management features of Wolfson’s Clarity Audio Studio PC software the WM8861 and WM8862 can also extend the battery life of a typical notebook PC by up to 30 minutes.

Picture: Wolfson

Both devices have integrated stereo speaker drivers capable of delivering 2W output per channel into 4Ω with the highest efficiency available in PC audio devices.
The WM8861 and WM8862 require fewer external components to achieve this high level of audio quality and can on average reduce the external component count, and the resulting PCB board space requirements by 45%. In addition, this enables a reduction of audio PCB BOM on a popular laptop by as much as 56%.
Wolfson SilentSwitch technology ensures no pops and clicks are generated by the output at any time, ensuring maximum audio performance while still being able to quickly and quietly power down unused paths.  Both devices also feature speaker frequency response improvement and Dynamic Range Controllers implemented in hardware, which can deliver a louder sound from small speakers without burdening the host processor with audio signal processing tasks. Wolfson says this delivers HiFi quality audio into laptop PCs and dramatically enhances the end user experience.
There are many different types of headsets available to consumers and there are a number of ways they are connected to the jack plug used.  The WM8861 and WM8862 also incorporate an advanced headset detect feature which actively monitors when a headset is connected, what type of connection it uses, and changes the input connections to match the headset.  This ensures complete compatibility with the ever-diverging headset and headphone connectors on the market today.
The WM8861 has an added Master I2S audio and I2C/SPI control interface which enables control of downstream audio devices, such as high fidelity DACs, digital input amplifiers or audio DSPs, such as Wolfson’s WM0010 DSP. This enables the offloading of audio signal processing, enabling even lower power consumption and longer battery life.

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