Cirrus Logic Buys Patents from B&W Loudspeakers

In an unusual move, chipmaker Cirrus Logic has purchased patents for Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) technology owned by B&W Loudspeakers, a leading UK manufacturer. The patents will be used in combination with current Cirrus Logic technology in a new line of digital amplifiers, according to an October 2 news release.

PWM technology can reduce power consumption and design complexity in audio amplifiers. The agreement will allow Austin, Texas–based Cirrus Logic to incorporate several important aspects of digital amplifier design into its next generation of products. The intention is to offer manufacturers "a complete end-to-end solution for designing, building, and manufacturing PWM amplifiers that are smaller, more power-efficient, and produce a higher quality of sound than existing technology today," said a Cirrus Logic announcement.

"Cirrus Logic is committed to offering our customers the most complete digital PWM technology available on the market, and B&W's patents will help us achieve that goal," said Jason Carlson, VP and general manager of Cirrus Logic's Consumer Products Division. "PWM amplifiers will drive the next generation of speaker technology around the world, and our new digital solution, backed by these patents, will help lead the way."

B&W is happy to help in the crusade to bring better, more efficient sound to the world, according to B&W's research director, Dr. Peter Fryer. "B&W are delighted that Cirrus Logic will be able to make use of these patents and develop D/A (digital to analog) technology for future high-specification products," he stated. "These patents originated from research into digital room optimization, and although our core business is high-end loudspeakers, our research portfolio covers all aspects of audio. This is a good example of how the whole spectrum of hi-fi products can benefit."