Ontario-based GaN Systems is a specialized manufacturer of GaN (gallium nitride) power semiconductors. The company's newest whitepaper, "GaN in Class-D Audio: Advantages with GaN Systems – a Comparative Look," reviews the various GaN and Silicon transistor approaches in Class-D audio amplifier design techniques. Even though it comes from a directly interested party and it's a purely comercial effort, the document details areas of differentiation for GaN technology, such as device parameters and characteristics, performance, application circuit complexity, and ease of manufacturing, that are useful for the industry.
Highlights from the GaN Systems study reveal THD+N vs. Frequency Plot is virtually flat, indicating no increased distortion as the frequency is increased to 20kHz and beyond. Additionally, near-perfect switching waveforms demonstrate a virtually transparent replication of the audio output.
"Customer responses to our Class-D audio designs have been great," says Jim Witham, CEO of GaN Systems. "Our ability to deliver very cost-effective solutions with high reliability transistors has enabled designers to create a new generation of innovative and affordable products that deliver unsurpassed audio performance in smaller form factors."
Demand for high quality audio is fueling the growth of the Class-D audio amplifier market, which is expected to reach $4.92 billion by 2026 from $2.49 billion in 2018, according to Allied Market Research. With advancements in the semiconductor technology, including the use of GaN, Class-D amplifiers are now being used in more audio applications including home theaters, high power smart speakers, pro touring amplifiers, portable party speakers, automotive, marine and power sports.
The whitepaper is available to download here.