Aimed at USB microphones and headsets for PC and consumer telephony and voice applications, the AK5371 two-channel a/d converter chip also includes a built-in USB interface. Using this IC, the microphone can identify itself to the system and digitize the signal at the microphone rather than at the sound card. This is said to improve audio performance and allow software manufacturers to tune their programs to the capture hardware. Other features include an EEPROM interface, integrated bias circuit, and a suspend mode that reduces current to less than 1 µA. Available in a 48-pin LQFP, price is $6.72 each/1,000. Evaluation boards and samples are also available. AKM SEMICONDUCTOR INC., San Jose, CA. (408) 436-8580.