Audio-Technica's High-End Wireless Headphones Provide Dolby Headphone Audio using SHARC®

It's a premium audio experience that boasts convenience: personal surround-sound listening without a home theater speaker setup. Audio-Technica, a worldwide group of companies long renowned for its consumer and professional audio products, uses the SHARC® processor in its ATH-DWL5000 Digital Wireless Headphone System to model 5.1-channel surround sound for users of stereo audio equipment. Engineered to please the discerning audiophile, the high-end headphones became available in Japan at the end of November 2007.

Audio-Technica chose the SHARC ADSP-21266 because it was up to the tasks of decoding the key surround formats -- Dolby® Digital, DTS® Digital Surround, and MPEG-2 AAC -- as well as performing Dolby Headphone and Dolby Virtual Speaker post-processing within the wireless headphone system itself. As a result, listeners are able to enjoy a surround sound experience simply by using the headphones with ordinary audio equipment such as stereo TV and mini components.

"Our new digital wireless headphone system had to live up to the Audio-Technica tradition of providing the ultimate in professional and consumer audio products," said Yoshio Aida, General Manager, Engineering Department of Audio-Technica Corporation in Tokyo.

"Our design specification called for handling decoding and post-processing on a single chip, and SHARC has the 32-bit floating-point power that performs."

"Our design specification called for handling decoding and post-processing on a single chip, and SHARC has the 32-bit floating-point power that performs. Time to market was essential as well: ADI worked with us to provide processors embedded with the required decoders, and SHARC has the right audio-centric peripherals. We also knew SHARC has been successful in other audio products with similar technical demands," he added.

A further plus was that Audio-Technica saw Analog Devices' longstanding record of supporting licensed audio technologies from Dolby and DTS as a convincing advantage.

Design Priority: Sound Quality
For high-end applications such as Audio-Technica's, SHARC processors provide wide dynamic range for superior audio performance. Large on-chip SRAM, sophisticated Direct Memory Access (DMA) capabilities, and intuitive audio-specific peripherals optimize the system architecture and performance. The on-chip ROM audio decoding algorithms, in combination with post-processing algorithms, enable sound quality with the richness intended by the producers of the original audio tracks.

About Audio-Technica
Celebrating over 45 years of audio excellence, Tokyo-based Audio-Technica is a worldwide group of companies renowned for a broad range of consumer and professional audio products, including high-performance headphones, microphones, wireless systems, turntables, and phono cartridges. Winner of numerous industry awards, Audio-Technica designs and manufactures products that set quality, durability, and price/performance standards for major concert tours, broadcast and recording studios, corporate and government facilities, theaters, house-of-worship venues, and consumer applications.

With its emphasis on superb sound quality, the Audio-Technica ATH-DWL5000 Digital Wireless Headphone System in addition features a large Φ53 mm driver to produce full, deep sound without compromise. All parts of the headset including the battery compartment are integrated into the headband to avoid interfering with the acoustics. Furthermore, the headphones support a 2.4 GHz frequency in order to avoid interruptions in audio that would result from radio and obstacle interference.

The design makes use of the SHARC ADSP-21266 processor's Digital Audio Interface (DAI), which enables the system designer to allocate hardware pin assignments freely and connect the respective signals to the internal peripherals via software. This powerful routing matrix simplifies hardware design for complex audio systems and facilitates system diversity with its software-programmable approach.

Development time was shortened with the use of ADI tools including the VisualDSP++® integrated development and debugging environment and the High Performance USB-Based Emulator (ADZS-HPUSB-ICE).

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