30.05.2013

Soundchip introduces Soundcortex™ HD-PA® audio processing with groundbreaking Auto-ANC™

Intelligent audio processing layer enables active noise cancelling headsets with exciting new capabilities including monitoring, control and automatic environmental adaptation.

Genève, Switzerland, 30 May 2013 – Soundchip SA, a Swiss-based innovator in audio-systems technology and originator of the High Definition Personal Audio™ (HD-PA®) Reference, today introduced Soundcortex™, a supervisory technology layer which is deployed immediately above an HD-PA audio engine to add exciting, new capabilities to active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones and headsets, including monitoring, control and environmental adaptation.

Mark Donaldson, Soundchip CEO, said, “Soundcortex adds an exciting layer of intelligence to ANC headphones. The technology can be harnessed to automatically adapt active noise cancelling performance appropriate to prevailing conditions, increase a headphone’s bass response, and to resolve many of the more innocuous problems associated with active noise cancellation in general. We are excited by the potential of this technology and believe that it will be quickly embraced by partners and licensees given the overwhelming number of benefits.”

For many consumers seeking improved sound performance to complement the powerful multimedia capabilities of their smartphone or tablet device, ANC headphones have become the product of choice. However, ANC headphones typically provide only one fixed mode of operation. That is, they do not respond to changes in environment but rather retain the same settings and level of performance for all situations, irrespective of background noise or use-case.

Experience shows that maintaining peak ANC performance in both noisy and quiet settings is often undesirable and can be highly inefficient. It needlessly reduces battery life and causes certain listeners discomfort, particularly when ANC operates in the absence of noise.

Auto-ANC™, a Soundcortex™ technology, provides a simple yet extremely effective solution to this and other problems by intelligently monitoring the ambient sound conditions and then, from the information derived, recallibrating the ANC headphone’s active noise cancellation and audio equalization filters based on certain, predefined rules and trigger states.

For high noise environments, for example, Auto-ANC can be configured to enable a “high performance” mode where ANC level is maximized, whereas for quiet environments, a reduction in ANC level may be more appropriate to extend battery life.

Other modes, to enhance sound quality and increase listening comfort, may also be developed, programmed and enabled when triggered by specified events.

Soundcortex technology may be easily deployed in concert with HD-PA audio engines on a variety of low-cost, low-power MCUs, including for example, Atmel’s ATmega328 or STMicroelectronics’ STM32-F0. A rational computational strategy to minimize processing requirements, combined with the careful selection of data converters, ensures that power consumption is maintained at levels below a few milliwatts.

Soundchip will be presenting example designs that demonstrate the power and versatility of Soundcortex technology, as well as its Auto-ANC algorithm, to customers and partners throughout the months of June and July. Further information can be sought by contacting info@soundchip.ch.