Technology explained

Introduction

Wolfson has built an enviable reputation over the years, designing world leading audio products right across the consumer electronics market.

Several years ago, Wolfson anticipated that consumers would begin to demand better quality audio from mobile devices. To achieve this it was necessary to dis-integrate the audio from the application processor, and Wolfson created a new product family called Audio Hubs. These products handle all the audio inputs, audio mixing, audio switching and directing the audio signal to the correct outputs (speakers or headsets). This product family is at the heart of Wolfson technology and recent developments have seen the addition of powerful Audio Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) to the Audio Hubs, allowing Wolfson software algorithms, customer software or third party software to be ported and run on Wolfson's silicon platforms.

Once the audio signal is converted from the analogue to the digital domain, the sound can be enhanced using software algorithms running on the Audio DSP, allowing customers to utilise Wolfson algorithms and enhance the audio quality. These can reduce or remove unwanted noise and echo, amplify lower frequency sound, maximise volume without overloading speakers, and even provide stereo widening so that the playback audio appears to be surround sound. This software improves the quality of the audio and allows Wolfson to work with our customers to design audio solutions that differentiate their products, particularly smartphones and tablet computers, in the market place.

Another trend is the transition from electret condensing microphones (ECM) to micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) microphones. Improving the audio quality by removing unwanted noise requires numerous microphones. Due to form factor limitations in portable/mobile products, using small MEMS microphones with improved audio performance and tight sensitivity is perfect for these multi-microphone applications. Wolfson's MEMS microphones are ideally suited for smartphones, tablet computers and gaming consoles.

Audio Hubs

Wolfson Audio Hubs provide all the audio processing in one device

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Software

Enhance the audio quality using Wolfson’s algorithms

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Discrete and Power

Wolfson’s rich heritage of high performance audio and power products

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MEMS Microphones

Wolfson’s MEMS microphones lead the way in audio performance and size

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