New Family of USB-C Audio Codecs from Conexant Redefines Possibilities for Audio Accessories

May 11 2016, 03:00
Conexant introduced new single-chip solutions optimized for USB type-C implementation, as part of their AudioSmart product line of silicon and software products for audio development. The company announced the CX20985 and CX20899, two new USB DSP audio codecs that support USB Type-C (USB-C) connectors in smartphone headsets and docking station applications. Both the CX20985 and CX20899 are highly integrated solutions, fully compliant with the USB-C standard.

Conexant Systems has announced the CX20985 and CX20899 USB DSP audio codecs with USB Type-C (USB-C) support at the 2016 CES Asia show. One of the earliest entrants into the USB headset space, Conexant is a leading provider of gaming and office headset technology, having shipped over 40 million units to market leaders.
USB headsets are about to get a make-over.
Conexant's AudioSmart technology is
bringing a new class of features to
audio accessories that support USB Type-C.
According to Saleel Awsare, Conexant president, this track record of innovation makes Conexant uniquely qualified to identify and implement the next big audio accessory trend. “We saw the introduction of the USB-C connection as a way to bring a new class of features to audio accessories and radically enhance the user experience,” Awsare noted. “While there are other vendors that offer USB headset technology, we have the audio expertise to deliver what they cannot: single chip, comprehensive solutions that include software and are truly plug-and-play. We’re taking our innovative technology that is enabling advancements such as voice control and contextual awareness in smart home devices, TVs, smartphones, and more – and we’re bringing all of its benefits to audio accessories.”

The adoption of USB-C has been the fastest in the history of USB standards, and, with many smartphone, laptop and tablet manufacturers already implementing USB-C connectivity into their products, it is well on its way to becoming the universal connection choice. Much smaller in size than a standard USB-A connector, USB-C also beats previously released USB connectors in terms of power, bandwidth and data speeds. Featuring reversible plug orientation, USB-C eliminates the need for multiple connectors by consolidating everything into one cable.

Featuring a stereo 24-bit DAC and ADC for music and voice communication applications, the CX20985 supports sampling rates of up to 48kHz. It minimizes bill of material (BOM) costs by eliminating the need for an external crystal, and integrates a capless headphone driver that produces a full-range frequency response and eliminates AC coupling capacitors. The CX20985 family is available in 50-pin QFN and a tiny 46-pin WLCSP package that requires minimal PCB area – making it ideal for USB headset and docking station designs.
Conexant’s family of USB-C single-chip
audio codecs support USB-C connectors
in smartphone headsets and docking stations
and are fully compliant with Skype for Business
enterprise requirements.
The CX20899 integrates Conexant’s award-winning digital signal processor (DSP) for enhanced audio and voice experience. DSP algorithms include AEC, NR, programmable EQ, DRC, microphone AGC, volume control and microphone boost. A true-ground capless headphone driver delivers high quality, power efficient playback and contributes to minimal BOM costs. The CX20899 also features a single universal jack that supports headsets, headphones, external microphones, and line-in devices.

Both the CX20985 and CX20899 feature a built-in, four-conductor headset jack that supports headphone/headset auto detection, as well as auto-switching between OMTP and CTIA-style headsets without the need for external components.

According to Conexant, the company is planning additional enhancements to its AudioSmart family of USB-C compliant audio codecs for audio accessories. Innovative features such as advanced noise cancellation (ANC) will be introduced for hearables including health monitoring headsets and other applications in the near future.

Available in 60-pin QFN packages, the CX20899 is currently in mass production. Now sampling, the CX20985 will be available in a 50-pin QFN package, with mass production set to begin in July 2016.
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