According to Rowen the audio market is looking for greater authenticity which will require companies to invest heavily in advanced audio capabilities.
“Advanced audio technologies include active noise control, beam forming microphone arrays and always-on voice recognition. The latter is being held back by battery technologies which aren’t keeping pace with the rapid and continuous changes we’re seeing in the audio market.”
According to Larry Przywara, Tensilica’s senior director of multimedia marketing, “By 2014 we expect to be shipping approximately one billion HiFi cores a year. The need to support a wide range of software packages, and the large costs associated with the support and maintenance, has resulted in many companies deciding to use our standard audio/voice DSPs. Plus, we’ve automated the process of customising all of our IP cores so companies can add essential features to differentiate their cores if required.”
Tensilica has seen an explosion in the amount of software that needs to be supported, particularly complex software from industry giants like Dolby and DTS, and the effort to support and certify that software can be very expensive. (For example Tensilica supports seven Dolby and ten DTS audio packages on the HiFi Audio/Voice DSPs.)
Tensilica’s third party audio enhancement software partners include Acoustic Technologies, AM3D, Arkamys, Audyssey, Dolby, DTS, QSound, Sensory, and SRS, and Tensilica is working with several more that will be announced later this year once the software is ported. While audio enhancement is essential for home entertainment and gaming, it is now becoming much more important for smartphones as sophisticated content is downloaded and phone makers try to improve voice quality in noisy locations. The audio/voice enhancement software packages range from echo cancellation to noise suppression, stereo widening, virtual surround sound, speech activation, equalization, and software to enhance 3D gaming.
Tensilica has added support for the Dynamic Resolution Adaptation (DRA) standard to its library of over 100 audio encoders, decoders and sound enhancement packages for its HiFi Audio DSP (digital signal processor) family. Now all products that include the HiFi Audio DSPs can be used to support the standard approved by the People”s Republic of China as the National Audio Standard (GB/T 22726-2008) for multi-channel audio decoding. Tensilica has delivered the HiFi DRA decoder to a number of Tier 1 system OEMs and semiconductor companies.
The company also revealed that it had moved its research and development centre in Pune, India, to a new building, doubling the space previously available. The company said that it planned to increase headcount by at least 50 percent in the next year.
Over the past six years, employees at the Pune R&D centre have become essential developers of Tensilica’s dataplane processors (DPUs), which are used by chip designers to perform complex signal processing tasks, such as audio and baseband processing. Engineers at the centre have also been working on: audio and speech codecs for Tensilica’s HiFi audio DSPs (digital signal processors), libraries, design verification, application engineering, and the IDE (integrated design environment) for Tensilica’s DPUs.