New audio solution enables emerging multi-channel object-based standards

09-01-2015 | Cadence | New Technologies

Cadence Design Systems has announced the Cadence Tensilica HiFi 4 audio / voice digital signal processor (DSP) intellectual property (IP) core for system-on-chip (SoC) designs, which offers the industry's highest performance licensable digital signal processing (DSP) core for 32-bit audio / voice processing, says the company. The fourth-generation Hi-Fi architecture enables emerging multi-channel object-based audio standards and offers 2X the performance versus the HiFi 3 DSP, making it ideal for DSP intensive applications including digital TV, set-top box (STB), Blu-ray disc and automotive infotainment. With emerging object-based audio standards, individual sounds become objects that can be placed anywhere in a room. Instead of being mixed at a recording studio, these sounds are mixed on the fly at each location where they are played back. The object-based audio system calculates where the sound should emanate so that it appears in roughly the same space, no matter where speakers are located. This provides a more natural and immersive sound experience, and requires much more DSP processing power. Instead of having to use multiple DSPs to accomplish this, designers can now get the DSP power they need from one core - the HiFi 4 DSP. Cadence's Tensilica HiFi 4 DSP is a highly optimized audio/voice processor geared for efficient execution of audio and voice codecs and pre- and post-processing modules as well as other demanding DSP functions in areas such as wireless communications, says the company. Key features include: 1 - Support for four 32x32-bit multiplier-accumulators (MACs) per cycle with 72-bit accumulators, more than double the performance of other audio DSPs for computationally intensive functions such as fast Fourier transform (FFT) and finite impulse response (FIR) 2 - Support for eight 32x16-bit MACs per cycle under specified conditions 3 - Four very long instruction word (VLIW) slot architecture capable of issuing two 64-bit loads per cycle 4 - Optional vector floating-point unit available, providing up to four single-precision IEEE floating-point MACs per cycle 5 - Software compatible with the existing HiFi DSP family consisting of over 140 HiFi-optimized audio and voice codecs and audio enhancement software packages. "Audio processing requirements continue to increase, particularly as we move to object-oriented audio in the home," said John Couling, senior vice president, Dolby Laboratories. "Cadence's HiFi 4 provides the processing power required to help enable a better, more immersive and personalized experience for users of high-end home entertainment systems who want to take advantage of the sound improvements inherent in object-oriented audio." Joanna Skrdlant, vice president, solutions licensing, DTS, said: "DTS:X is the next-generation audio codec from DTS that leverages object-based audio to give listeners new, immersive and interactive experiences. The HiFi 4 DSP with quad 32-bit MACs is an ideal processor to support the demanding needs of object-based audio decoding such as DTS:X processing to provide a compelling consumer audio experience." Robert Bleidt, division general manager, Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies, added: "Consumers will soon be able to experience immersive sound and personalize their listening experience while listening to TVs and new media devices receiving the new MPEG-H Audio standard promoted by the MPEG-H Audio Alliance. Immersive sound may involve 10 or 12 channels of audio, with additional audio elements such as dialogue, alternate languages, home- or away-team commentary, or even driver's or athlete's microphones requiring more channels to be transmitted for high-profile broadcasts, increasing the decoder workload. Thus, DSPs such as the Cadence Tensilica HiFi 4 DSP will play an important role in efficiently implementing the new standard in tomorrow's consumer electronics." Concluding, Tomer Elbaz, EVP and general manager of Waves Consumer Division, said: "Our Maxx technologies utilize Waves' 20+ years of professional audio expertise and innovation to dramatically improve sound quality on a broad range of devices from TVs and PCs to mobile and automotive infotainment. The Cadence Tensilica HiFi 4 DSP is ideal for efficiently running our all our technologies in the highest performance mode to provide the best user experience."

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