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New Wolfson Audio CODECS Bring Great Sound to Portable Multimedia

Wolfson Microelectronics plc today announced a new line of audio CODEC chips to address the increasing need for great sounding handheld multimedia. The new chips feature enhanced audio processing, a video buffer and a new powerful speaker driver and follow on from Wolfson’s existing range of solutions for this market.

Two of the new Wolfson audio CODEC devices, the stereo WM8980 and the mono WM8982, feature a video buffer to allow direct connection to a television set for display of images. This feature, which is increasingly popular in a wide range of portable devices offering image-based as well as audio functions, previously required an external video op-amp. The third device, the WM8978, is a full-featured stereo version of the WM8974 introduced in October 2004.

“Growing consumer demand for a high quality audio experience from still and video cameras, MP3 players, portable DVD players, portable multimedia players and multimedia mobile phones has led us to expand our range of audio CODECs for handheld systems,” said Julian Hayes, vice president of marketing for Wolfson. “By notching up the level of integration and the audio quality, Wolfson has raised the bar in audio CODECs, and is helping to drive demand for devices that address our customers’ needs for audio quality, power consumption, system size and cost.”

The video buffer is designed to support both AC or DC coupled video connections and provides high quality video reproduction with an optional 6dB gain and 3rd order low pass filter architecture. With the current mode design, it eliminates the need for sag correction and large DC blocking capacitors.

The three new products feature DSP cores to filter wind noise and improve audio recording especially in video systems, a five-band equalizer with 3D audio enhancement to improve audio output and a programmable notch filter to eliminate zoom and focus motor noise. The devices also include integrated PLLs supporting a frequency range from 12 to 19MHz. Integrated support for a differential or single-ended microphone and drivers for speakers and headphones further reduce component count in the final system.

The three CODECS produce up to 900mW of speaker power for high quality sound and are capable of driving piezo speakers. A digital playback limiter prevents excessive speaker output. The devices operate at power supplies as low as 2.5 volts for analogue and 1.62 volts for the digital core.

Price and Availability
The WM8978 and WM8982 both come in a 32-pin QFN package and are priced at $3.85 (U.S.) and $2.10 (U.S) respectively in quantities of 10,000. The WM8980 is available in 40-pin QFN package and is $4.50 (U.S.) in quantities of 10,000.
About Wolfson Microelectronics

Wolfson Microelectronics plc (LSE: WLF.L) is an award winning, fabless semiconductor company based in Edinburgh, UK. Wolfson develops and markets high performance mixed signal semiconductors for multimedia and communications applications worldwide. The company currently has sales offices in the USA, Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea.

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