Record 116dB Dynamic Range Claimed by Monolithic Audio A/D

March 9, AKM Semiconductor, Inc. introduced the AK5392, a 24-bit stereo analog-to-digital (A/D) converter based on its proprietary dual-bit delta-sigma technology. The AK5392 reportedly achieves a dynamic range of 116dB, said to be a 15dB improvement over other single-chip alternatives.

This level of performance previously required at least a two-chip solution (sometimes with both pieces of silicon in a single package), and consumed almost twice as much power. Thus, the chip is seen as a boon to high-quality audio recording, while the cost advantages of single-chip implementation allow its use in price-sensitive applications that could not previously approach this performance level.

According to Richard Kulavik, AKM Semiconductor's Application Engineering Manager for Multimedia Products, "To achieve a signal-to-(noise plus distortion) ratio of 105dB and 116dB dynamic range in a single chip required a level of design expertise and processing capability unheard of only two years ago. Our design engineers and mixed-signal process development group have been striving to reach this performance level since their involvement in the first delta-sigma audio converters a decade ago. The AK5392 allows great new digital audio products, from professional audio areas to cost-sensitive consumer and automotive applications."

In addition to professional audio A/D performance levels at lower cost, the AK5392 is said also to simplify system design by reducing power consumption almost 50%. According to the company, the best previous A/Ds in the +115dB range have power dissipation in some cases exceeding 1W, making thermal considerations critical in maintaining system performance.