Qualcomm Releases Next-Generation DDFA Audio Amplifier Technology

June 21 2017, 03:10
Qualcomm Technologies International made exciting audio announcements in platforms and technologies for the development of next-generation audio products during its voice and music developer conference, held recently in Shenzhen, China. At the event, the company announced its new Smart Audio Platform for smart and networked speakers. Additionally, Qualcomm introduced its next generation Qualcomm DDFA audio amplifier technology for high-resolution audio devices including wireless speakers, soundbars, networked audio and headphone amplifiers.

Qualcomm’s next generation DDFA audio amplifier technology was previewed at CES 2017 and promises to enable a new generation of very high performance audio devices. As Qualcomm states, “traditional Class-D amplifiers, although power efficient, typically don’t deliver the audio quality of traditional linear amplifiers. DDFA’s all-digital PWM (pulse width modulator) and patented closed-loop architecture compensate for nonlinearities of power supplies and output stages and are designed to deliver much higher fidelity audio and design flexibility while retaining the advantages of Class-D amplifiers.”

Next generation DDFA will be available on the CSRA6620 SoC, a highly integrated platform which includes a DDFA controller with eight channel inputs, two channel outputs, microcontroller and configurable audio processor, all of which help OEMs to integrate best-in-class amplifier performance in a lower complexity, more cost effective way than was previously possible. The new CSRA6620 platform is available as a 9mm x 9mm QFN package, making it ideal for smaller form factor products and bringing extremely high performance audio to many new categories and applications.
audioXpress had the chance to learn about Qualcomm's DDFA technology during CES 2017, where the company promoted listening demos for manufacturers.
“Delivering superior sound experiences is a major focus of our industry leading audio technologists, and with Qualcomm DDFA we are bringing best in class amplifier technology to a new generation of audio devices. This will help customers looking to meet the demand for high quality audio from increasingly audio-savvy consumers,” says Anthony Murray, senior vice president and general manager, voice and music, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. “DDFA technology has been proven by a number of very premium audio manufacturers, and this new release means that many more OEMs can easily integrate high-performance amplifier capability into products without significantly increasing integration time or cost. We also offer all the necessary support and tuning tools to help our customers to deliver their own signature sound.”

One of the first products to implement the new DDFA technology was the Denon DA310-USB headphone amp, which audioXpress as seen and heard at CES 2017, in Las Vegas. As Shinichi Yamauchi, Denon Sound Manager explains, “At Denon we are committed to delivering the best audio quality possible. We have chosen Qualcomm DDFA technology because it is the only class D technology that can deliver the high level of performance we are looking for.”

Key CSRA6620 performance metrics:
SNR and dynamic range up to 113 dB (A-wt, 20Hz to 20Khz)
THD+N < 0.005% (20Hz to 20Khz)
Noise floor modulation <2dB (-60dBFS to 0dBFS)
Residual noise : 35μVrms @ 1Khz
Support for 384Khz and DSD64/128 inputs
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