04 Jan 2007 | Geneva

STMicroelectronics Creates 'Sound Terminal™' Family of High-Quality, High Efficiency, All-Digital Audio Solutions

Portable Bluetooth and Infrared music applications to be among 'cool' real-world demonstrations coinciding with Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Geneva / 04 Jan 2007

Initial products in the Sound Terminal family include a series of high-quality-audio single-chip systems – such as the already-shipping STA326 and STA323 – for high (20-80W), medium (10-20W) and low (less than 1.5W) power ranges, which integrate digital audio processing, digital amplifier control and a DDX® digital power output stage.

The power output of the STA326, for example, can drive 2 channels with 30W or 1 channel with 60W, and the chip can be configured easily via digital control to operate in several different output modes; it offers a full range of processing and equalization options, including up to 4 programmable 28-bit biquads per channel, and bass/treble tone control. Preset settings for a wide range of listening conditions can reduce software development time and simplify product design.

Full digital streaming removes the need for analog to digital converters as part of signal processing in the amplification chain, leading to very cost-effective solutions that maintain full audio quality, with 100dB signal to noise ratio (SNR) and dynamic range. Already available as silicon prototypes, Sound Terminal products for portable applications include amplification enabled by ST’s proprietary digital modulation technology (FFX), offering the highest amplifier efficiency in the market – up to 94% – to deliver ‘cool audio power’ and allow much longer battery life in portable systems, plus a significant reduction in heat-sink size to enable leading-edge product design.

Embedded digital processing capability offers major opportunities for sound enrichment and for the customization of features for specific audio applications; for example, compensating for the smaller loudspeakers and less-than-ideal chassis acoustic increasingly found in flat screen TV sets as designs become thinner.

In addition, the digital stream is ideal for integration with wireless audio interfaces, using Diffused Infrared, Bluetooth 2.0 EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), WiFi and UWB (Ultra-wideband) technologies, for applications such as remote loudspeakers and wireless headsets. During CES (2007 International CES, Las Vegas), ST will demonstrate real-world portable applications that use Bluetooth and Infrared interfaces and Sound Terminal technology. The Sound Terminal roadmap includes ASSPs (application specific standard products) integrating these and other interfaces.

For Gaming applications using wireless headsets and Bluetooth connectivity, Sound Terminal enables designers to enhance their product by using feedback signals from motion sensors in the headset to modify the sound according to the gamer’s head position.

“Sound Terminal is a great step forward for manufacturers of personal audio, home theatre systems, flat panel TVs and wireless headphones,” said Andrea Onetti, General Manager of the Audio Division within ST’s Home Entertainment and Display Group. “It reduces costs while preserving and enhancing audio quality, and also enables more compact designs. ST is the first company to introduce a product family based on a fully digital amplification stage, with embedded digital audio processing, and facilitating connectivity.”

Sound Terminal™ is a trademark of STMicroelectronics; DDX is a trademark of Apogee Technology Inc

About STMicroelectronics
STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today's convergence markets. The Company's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2005, the Company's net revenues were $8.88 billion and net earnings were $266 million. Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com.
Information last updated Jan 2006