CD-quality Sound over Bluetooth Zeevo Chip

CD-quality Sound over Bluetooth Zeevo Chip


Zeevo, Inc. announced its third-generation, high performance Bluetooth microcontroller solution that is the first in the world to permit the transmission of CD-quality sound over wireless Bluetooth links. The company’s ARM7-based Bluetooth controller and accompanying software form a complete, low-cost embedded design solution for quality audio over Bluetooth, as well as for other performance-sensitive Bluetooth applications.

This announcement means that Bluetooth can finally be applied to portable MP3 players, MP3-capable cell phones or PDAs, and even consumer stereo systems, to provide wireless connections to stereo headphones, headsets, or speakers without any sacrifice in audio quality.

Due to technical limitations, previous implementations of Bluetooth have not been able to attain the CD-quality level that consumers have come to expect with their wired audio appliances. Those limitations have now been overcome, said Zeevo co-founder and marketing vice president, Anil Aggarwal.

The ZV4301 Single-chip Bluetooth Platform and ZSound(tm) Software Zeevo’s new Bluetooth audio design solution, targeted at original device manufacturers, is made up of the new ZV4301 Bluetooth processor, Zeevo’s ZSound(tm) software, as well as reference designs for a range of representative audio projects, and a development environment that enables designers to achieve a very fast time to market.

The new ZV4301 processor consists of a high-performance, 48 megahertz (MHz) ARM7 microcontroller combined with RF (radio frequency) processing, digital signal processing, communications processing, and algorithmic and control processing, on a single, low-cost transceiver (transmitter-receiver) chip. Included in the solution is Zeevo’s unique ZSound software. Together, they represent a complete “sound design solution” for embedding quality audio over Bluetooth capability into cost- and performance-competitive consumer products.

Zeevo’s new Bluetooth audio design solution supports CD-quality sound, with the standard CD sampling rate of 44.1 KHz (kilohertz). Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is better than 82 dB. Audio output power is 30 mW (milliwatts) RMS. Power consumption is extremely low, enabling a minimum of 14 hours of play time with two AAA batteries. RF sensitivity is better than -85 dBm, which aids in prolonging battery life, and improves audio quality. The total bill of materials (BOM) for both ends of a wireless stereo headphone solution – including two Zeevo chips – is expected to be less than $25 in high-volume production.

Typical audio applications for the ZV4301 include wireless stereo headphones, stereo cell phone headsets, MP3-enabled feature phones, audio-visual (A/V) equipment such as MP3 players, personal stereos, or televisions, smart phones, and personal digital assistants. The ZV4301 platform, and the accompanying ZSound software, are extremely design friendly, and offer a number of user-oriented features such as seamless mode switching – for example, between mono cell calls and MP3 stereo on a converged MP3 cell phone – or fail-soft roll-off of audio levels as users wander outside the range of their Bluetooth-enabled players.

The ZV4301 is also ideal for non-audio, Bluetooth 1.2-compliant applications, such as printers, cellular peripherals, access points, or industrial controls. The ZV4301 platform supports all required and optional Bluetooth 1.2 features.

Price and Availability

The ZV4301 is in production, and is available today directly from Zeevo or its sales representatives. The processor – which includes the ZSound software – is priced at $8.95 in quantities of 10,000. The evaluation and development system, as well as reference designs for stereo headphones, mono and stereo headsets, audio line-out adapters, and USB plug-and play adapters are additionally offered.