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New USB Converter Chip Targets Internet Phone, Speech Recognition Applications; Small Size, Low-Power Device Aimed At Integrated USB Microphones and Headsets.

Business Editors/Technology Writers

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 10, 2001

Asahi Kasei Microsystems Semiconductor, Inc. (AKM), a leading supplier of audio ICs for professional and consumer markets today introduced the AK5371, a 2-Channel analog-to-digital Converter chip with built-in USB Interface. This device is aimed at manufacturers wishing to create USB microphones and headsets for PC and consumer telephony and voice applications.

Currently most microphones use the analog connection to a PC's sound card to capture voice input. This has many disadvantages since there is no way to know what kind of microphone the user is installing and properly setting the sound card to capture this audio data is not intuitive. Since every microphone has different performance characteristics, the quality of voice getting into the PC can vary wildly. This in turn reduces the performance of voice recognition systems and degrades internet audio. With the AK5371, the microphone can identify itself to the system and digitize the signal at the microphone rather than at the sound card. This improves audio performance and enables software manufacturers to tune their programs to the capture hardware to ensure the best results.

According to Richard Kulavik, Marketing Manager of AKM Semiconductor, "Up to now, voice input has been slow to gain acceptance. This is in part due to the fact that getting a match between the audio hardware and the software has been difficult to achieve. AKM has focused on this problem and with the AK5371 vendors will now be able to identify a microphone and extract the best performance out of their software."

The AK5371 includes an EEPROM interface that enables OEMs to customize the Vendor Name and Product ID that appears during the USB enumeration process. There is also an integrated bias circuit that that improves the analog performance of microphones. The chip also features a Suspend Mode that reduces current to less than 1 uAmp when activated. The AK5371 is fully USB-compliant, guaranteeing OEMs the best compatibility with this industry standard. In addition, since the chip incorporates nearly all of the functions required for USB microphones, it significantly reduces component count and physical space. Price and Availability The AK5371 is available in a 48-pin LQFP package and is priced at $6.72 in 1K quantities. Evaluation boards and samples are available now directly from AKM.

About AKM

Asahi Kasei Microsystems (AKM) is a worldwide leader in CMOS mixed-signal ICs for the personal computer, professional audio, consumer electronics, automotive, and cellular phone industries. AKM is a subsidiary of the Asahi Kasei Industry Co. Ltd., a diversified technology, manufacturing and services company. To obtain more information, contact AKM Semiconductors, 2001 Gateway Place, Suite 650 West, San Jose, CA 95110 or call toll free at 888/256-7364 or 408/436-8580. Visit the company's Web site at
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 10, 2001
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