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Denon Case Study

Denon logoDenon Hits the Right Note with Blackfin® in CD/HDD Mini System —

Today, people use portable media devices wherever they go: on the train, in the air, and in the gym. But when consumers get home, most want to store and manage their music collections with ease, and they want to listen in satisfying high fidelity. Denon, one of Japan's oldest and most trusted brands, has developed a home media server that hits the right note by managing digital audio files from portable devices, CD players, and the Internet – all in one place.

D-F103 CD/HDD Mini SystemIn designing the D-F103 CD/HDD Mini System, Denon searched for a signal processor powerful enough to deliver high-fidelity audio in a variety of formats and real-time streaming from Internet radio stations. To meet these difficult design challenges, Denon turned to Analog Devices, Inc.'s Blackfin® ADSP-BF533 processor. With speeds of up to 600 MHz, the Blackfin ADSP-BF533 processor provided the computational support Denon required to optimize its high-fidelity audio application, enabling the new system to support multiple audio formats and 4x high-speed CD ripping. And thanks to the programmability of Blackfin, the mini system is able to play music in various formats while ripping CDs in the background.

Denon's D-F103 CD/HDD Mini System

The Denon D-F103 is a compact disk/hard disk drive (CD/HDD) mini system that allows listeners to play, store, and manage their entire music collections, storing as many as 10,000 songs. The system natively supports play-back of Windows® Media Audio (WMA), Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), MP3, and Linear Pulse Code Modulation (LPCM) formats, plus thousands of Internet radio stations.

Built on audiophile-quality components, the product includes Denon's DRA-F102/DAB (digital audio broadcast) receiver, featuring 40 preset FM/AM stations and a DAB tuner; the CHR-F103 hard disk drive, which stores up to 800 hours of music; and a pair of SC-F103 (European sound tuned) speakers. It comes with a remote control, in addition to featuring iPod® connectivity via the Denon ASD-1R dock. The D-F103 mini system is also equipped with a high-performance digital audio converter, which enhances sound quality.

The D-F103 mini system supports the Gracenote® database on its hard disk or through its Ethernet connection, allowing songs to be automatically labeled by album, genre, track, and artist. Denon Music Manager software allows listeners to search for tunes using these parameters and more. An Ethernet port enables Internet radio, PC connections, and DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) client connections.

Users can back up and import music to and from a PC via the system's USB port. The USB port also allows playback from external devices such as USB flash memory sticks. Denon D-F103 mini systems are sold in Japan and Europe.

Why Blackfin?

High performance was extremely important for Denon's computationally demanding audio application, making ADI's 16-/32-bit embedded Blackfin processor an ideal choice. Operating at 600 MHz, the Blackfin ADSP-BF533 processor delivers breakthrough signal processing performance and power efficiency in a RISC programming model. It features a dual 16-bit multiply accumulate (MAC) digital signal processing engine, a RISC-like microprocessor instruction set, and single instruction, multiple data (SIMD) multimedia capabilities.

The Blackfin processor's unique combination of attributes eliminated the need for separate digital and signal control processors. In the past, Denon said they required two processors – one to store and play music, and another to manage the music, CD drive, and hard disk drive. The signal/control processing attributes of Blackfin are also what enable the D-F103 mini system to play music in different formats while simultaneously ripping CDs in the background.

Speed Plus Integration

The Blackfin processor is a highly integrated solution designed specifically for applications such as Denon's. It combines industry-standard interfaces with a high-performance processing core, enabling system designers to develop solutions quickly without the need for costly external components. Its rich set of peripherals include a UART port, an SPI port, two serial ports (SPORTs), four general-purpose timers (three with pulse-width modulation), general-purpose flag I/O pins, a real-time clock, a watchdog timer, and a parallel peripheral interface. The processor also includes high-speed serial and parallel ports for interfacing to a variety of audio, video, and modem codec functions; an interrupt controller for flexible management of interrupts from the on-chip peripherals or external sources; and power management control functions.

The Blackfin processor's SPORTs serve as the inputs and outputs of audio data for Denon's system. Denon also used the Blackfin external bus interface unit (EBIU) for connections to the hard disk drive and CD drive.

For memory, the Blackfin ADSP-BF533 processor includes 148K bytes of on-chip memory; two dual-channel DMA controllers; a memory management unit for memory protection; an external memory controller (with glueless support for SDRAM, SRAM, FLASH, and ROM); and flexible memory booting options from SPI and external memory. All of the Blackfin ADSP-BF533 processor's peripherals (except for the general-purpose I/O, real-time clock, and timers) are supported by a flexible DMA structure.

Because of the way the Blackfin architecture decouples the DMA controllers from the processor core, Denon's system can move data very rapidly with no impact on processing. This is an advantage for networked audio systems (such as the D-F103) that include CD-ROM and hard disk drives that directly interface with the processor.

ADI's VisualDSP++® integrated development and debugging environment (IDDE), an easy-to-use software development environment that enables start-to-finish management of projects within a single interface, helped Denon speed time to market for its D-F103 system.

With its D-F103 CD/HDD mini system – coupled with high-performance Blackfin processors – Denon is adding easier and richer audio enjoyment to the comforts of home.

For more information, please visit Denon.

"High Performance was extremely important for Denon's computationally demanding audio application, making ADI's 16-/32-bit embedded Blackfin processor an ideal choice."