Dialog Semiconductor Offers Audio Codecs That Negate Loud Noises

Dialog Semiconductor introduced its latest line of audio codecs for wireless headphones capable of blocking out unwanted sound. Dialog said that the audio codecs offer lower power, clearer sound and better active noise cancellation than competing chips. The company released the chip family on Wednesday at Computex in Taipei, Taiwan.

The devices—the DA7402, the DA7401 and the DA7400—are designed for mid- to high-end wireless headphones. The DA7402 stereo audio codec supports high dynamic range, low latency and noise cancellation up to 35 dB. The chip consumes half the power and double the audio performance of rival chips, according to Dialog. Its main competitors in audio codec include Maxim Integrated, Cirrus Logic and Qualcomm. 

The DA7401 mono audio codec supports 115 dB dynamic range during playback and more than 100 dB dynamic range during recording, the company said. The DA7400 is a stereo audio codec designed for devices that require high-resolution, high-performance sound without active noise cancellation, or ANC. The chips measure 6-mm by 6-mm each, making them suitable for headphones with small form factors, Dialog said. 

Audio codecs are a class of data converter that encodes analog audio into digital signals and decodes digital signals into sound, which can then be sent out through the speaker inside a headphone or other audio product. These chips typically combine an analog-to-digital converter, or ADC, and a digital-to-analog converter, or DAC. Dialog said that its latest chips can be embedded inside or outside the headphone's cup.

"This new groundbreaking audio codec family is expected to significantly grow Dialog’s share in the expanding wireless headphone market," Sean McGrath, senior vice president of the company's connectivity and audio business, said in a statement Wednesday. Shipments of wireless headsets are set to surge from nearly 230 million units in 2019 to 370 million units in 2023, according to estimates from IHS Markit. 

Dialog is expanding its efforts around audio chips to help reduce its dependence on Apple. Last year, Apple said that it would remove Dialog's power management integrated circuits from its flagship smartphones, tablets and other products. Dialog also sells audio digital signal processors (DSPs), power management ICs (PMICs) and configurable mixed-signal ICs (CMICs) for wireless headphones and smart speakers.

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