Cirrus Logic Introduces New DAC and DVD Controller ICs

"Digital audio quality at analog prices." ThatÆs how Cirrus Logic's Crystal Semiconductor division introduced a chip that may bring a new level of audio performance to a much wider audience. On April 6, Crystal announced its CS4334, an 8-pin, small-outline D/A converter. The 24-bit CS4334 will support sampling rates of up to 96kHz, and is being marketed as a low-cost, high-quality solution for computer, automotive, and portable audio applications, as well as DVD systems and set-top converter boxes. Crystal claims the new chip is the industryÆs smallest delta-sigma DAC.

The highly integrated CS4334 requires fewer external parts, further decreasing manufacturing costs for the products in which it will be used. Unlike most competing DACs, the chip has an internal power-transient control circuit that eliminates the need for external mute circuitry to eliminate clicks and pops when the device is powered on or off. Published specifications include a dynamic range of 96dB, -88dB THD+noise, and the support of multiple word depths, from 16 to 24 bits. Beginning in June, the CS4334 will be available in quantity at less than $2 each in lots of 1000.

A week prior to the CS4334 announcement, Cirrus introduced what it called "the industry's most highly integrated, mixed-signal chip solution for the DVD-ROM and DVD player market," the CR3700 DVD Drive Manager. The densely integrated controller incorporates an RF amplifier, servo controller, data channel, content scramble system, DVD error-correction system, and direct interfaces to MPEG2 audio and video decoders. These functions, previously performed by several chips, are now available in one 208-pin flat pack.

It is now well known that DVDs' intense data storage makes them much more susceptible than are CDs to errors caused by scratches, dust, or fingerprints. The CR3700's high data rate (33.3 megabytes/second) and advanced error-correction system enable it to correct faulty sectors while it continues to read others, "making it possible to correct errors even on poor-quality discs," according to a company press release. Its firmware is compatible with all Cirrus Logic CD-ROM and CD-recordable/rewriteable chips, and will be compatible with "future DVD family members." The CR3700 will be available in the third quarter of this year at $22 each in lots of 10,000.

Cirrus Logic, long established as a maker of ultra-high-precision data-acquisition devices, is establishing itself as a serious player in both the professional and consumer audio markets. At the most recent Consumer Electronics Show, the company introduced its CS4296, the first single-chip Dolby Digital/ DTS decoder. With the debut of the CS4296, Cirrus scooped its giant competitor Motorola by several months.