CSR Launches MusiCore1 Stereo Audio Processor for Bluetooth Phones

CSR launched MusiCore1, the world’s first fully featured single-chip stereo audio processor+Bluetooth for mobile phones. CSR’s MusiCore1 technology presents handset makers with the first practical audio processor architecture for phone designs, saving the cost, space and power of adding a separate audio processor. MusiCore1 features state of the art audio enhancement technologies for MP3 audio and superior voice clarity. Handset makers using CSR’s MusiCore1 can, for the first time, have stereo audio along with fully featured Bluetooth on a single chip; MusiCore1 saves 75 percent of the cost of an audio processor, over 36mm2 of space and enables 100 hours of music playback.

“End-users are demanding MP3 as a function in phones but currently not using it because decoding MP3 files consumes too much power,” commented Matthew Philips, Senior Vice President of CSR’s Mobile Handset Connectivity strategic business unit, “MusiCore1 addresses this by presenting low power but high quality stereo audio processing to give 100 hours of music playback, high quality voice enhancements and added Bluetooth wireless connectivity. The quality and playback time make a MusiCore1-based music phone a much richer experience for the end user.”

CSR’s MusiCore1 overcomes the limitations of a phone CPU to handle both audio and voice processing, significantly reducing the higher bill of materials (BoM) and design restrictions of using both Bluetooth and audio processor chips. Mobile phone CPUs are not appropriate for supporting music decoding or playback (MP3 files for example) – this isn’t what a CPU is designed for, and the result is, the CPU consumes too much power trying. Using a separate audio processing chip for this function costs over $4 and takes up in excess of 36mm2, which isn’t acceptable to handset makers who need to keep the bill of materials down and need to ensure the final handset design remains attractive for end users.

MusiCore1 supports decoding of all mainstream music file formats including MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA and SBC. The efficiency of CSR’s mature DSP architecture means processing audio files is effortless: 5.25mW for an MP3 file, compared to the 80mW consumed by a phone’s CPU for the same decoding. This efficiency contributes to MusiCore1′s ability to provide a phone with 100 hours of music playback. The CPU can remain asleep when MusiCore1 is handling music files.

Another restriction of audio processors is their inability to offer voice processing. CSR’s MusiCore1 is based on CSR’s own powerful Kalimba 64MIPS Digital Signal Processor (DSP), which provides high-quality stereo Bluetooth voice and music inside CSR’s BlueCore Multimedia product range. By using the CSR DSP, MusiCore1 offers audio quality comparable to standalone MP3 players – with 95dB signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR). CSR’s latest CVC noise reduction technology also provides 30dB of dynamic background noise reduction – sufficient noise suppression to ensure voice remains clearly audible at a rock concert or airport for example.

Joep van Beurden, CSR’s CEO commented, “This is a significant and groundbreaking proposition to handset makers and is being taken very seriously by our lead customers”, van Beurden continued, “Our design team has produced a superb audio processor that is a perfect evolution of the DSP at the heart of our market leading BlueCore Multimedia products.”

Feature phone or high-end music phone designers can use MusiCore1 to embed both high quality stereo audio, plus low latency Bluetooth, with power, cost and PCB-space savings plus voice enhancement features. At the same time, designers of ultra low cost phones now have the option to differentiate handsets by embedding Bluetooth and audio processing without sacrificing cost, features or quality.

The Bluetooth element of MusiCore1 includes CSR’s market leading BlueCore technology including support for v2.1 + EDR Bluetooth, and CSR’s FastStream low latency (40ms) Bluetooth technology that ensures there are no lip synch / time delay issues when a phone is used for gaming or watching videos and is connected to Bluetooth headphones. Competing Bluetooth solutions have a latency of up to 200ms, which restricts their application for gaming, video or mobile TV.

Conscious of the phone’s limited PCB space, CSR designed MusiCore1 to be even smaller than most Bluetooth chips. Samples of the very compact 3.8×4.8mm CSP or BGA packages are available now and volume production to start September 2008.

About CSR
CSR is the leading global provider of personal wireless technology and its product portfolio covers Bluetooth, GPS, FM and Wi-Fi (IEEE802.11). CSR offers developed hardware/software solutions, based around its silicon platforms, that incorporate fully integrated radio, baseband and microcontroller elements. CSR’s customers include industry leaders such as Apple, Dell, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Panasonic, RIM, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TomTom and Toshiba. CSR has its headquarters and offices in Cambridge, UK, and offices in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, India, France, Denmark, Sweden and both Dallas and Detroit in the USA.