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Audio co-processor targets Linux devices

Jan 17, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

A Swiss vendor announced a low-cost, Linux-friendly USB-connected audio co-processor today, at the North American Music Merchants (NAMM) convention in Anaheim. BridgeCo's DM1200E weds ARM9 and DSP cores with networking and audio I/O, and targets audio interfaces, musical instruments, and breakout boxes attached to devices running Linux and other OSes.

All of BridgeCo's “BeBob” series audio co-processors run an RTOS (real-time OS) called “KnOS.” They are supplied with drivers for Linux, Windows, and a host of other host OSes, along with an SDK (software development kit). Development boards are also available.

The new DM1200E appears to be the company's first audio co-processor designed to interface with the host system via USB. Otherwise, it resembles the company's earlier Firewire-connected DM1100E (shown in the diagram below). The company also offers a hybrid USB/Firewire DM1500E chip.

DM1100E block diagram
(similar to DM1200E, but with 1394 interface instead of USB)

(Click to enlarge)

The new DM1100E is based on an ARM926EJ core, clocked at 100MHz. It also integrates a DSP (digital signal processor), along with networking I/O. There are also I2S and SPDIF “ports,” said to be variously configurable as ADAT/SMUX, SPDIF, I2S, or I8S interfaces. Up to a dozen DACs or ADCs can be connected via I2S. Alternatively, eight I2S and four SPDIF devices can be attached, the company said.

DM1100E in typical breakout box configuration
(Click to enlarge)

The BeBoB processors are currently available in production quantities, and are sold with complete SDK and application firmware stack, says BridgeCo. The combination FireWire/USB SDK won't be available until March, however.

Prices are as follows for 1K unit quantities: DM1200E $10; DM1100E $12; DM1500E $18. Development boards and reference designs are also available.

Earlier this month, BridgeCo announced a third-generation “JukeBlox” reference design for audio systems based on Linux and a custom ARM9 SoC, that has been licensed by Harmon Kardon and Klipsch.

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