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Digital power amps from ST bring clear audio to cars

29 Dec 2015

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STMicroelectronics has rolled out its second generation power amplifiers that claim to ease design for car radio system suppliers and deliver better listening experiences to drivers and passengers, even in more compact cars.


ST's second-generation FDA801 and FDA801B 4-channel class-D1 amplifiers with digital input convert the digital audio source directly into high-quality, cabin-filling sound. The digital input gives immunity to GSM noise, improves sound quality, saves component costs and simplifies system design, indicated the company.

The power amplifiers combine superior audio quality and increased energy efficiency, as well as the unique real-time measurement of speaker impedance via the digital impedance metre (FDA801B), which represents a quantum leap in automotive diagnostics compared to any other audio amplifier, the company added.

The devices flaunt 115dB signal to noise ratio (SNR) and 110dB dynamic range; simplified digital input eliminates external DAC and external decoupling capacitor, thereby avoiding potential DC-offset problems; and more than 40 per cent power saving compared to standard class-D amplifiers, detailed the company. In addition, the latest offerings tout an internal 24bit DAC conversion and very low noise in line-driver and amplifier modes that ensure superior audio performance; on-demand advanced diagnostics that allows each channel to independently perform AC or DC diagnostics with configurable parameters; and the ability to drive loads down to 1Ω gives designers complete flexibility to specify preferred speakers, ST continued.

Key to these enhancements is ST's advanced fabrication process, BCD9s, which minimises interference between circuits on the chip, lowers standby-power consumption and cuts power-transistor dissipation raising efficiency to more than 93 per cent.

By dissipating less power, the FDA801/B can help boost fuel economy in conventional vehicles and extend the driving range of hybrids or battery EVs. Like their predecessors, ST's amplifiers are compatible with fuel-saving start-stop technology, maintaining uninterrupted playback when the vehicle battery voltage dips as the engine is restarted.

FDA801/B block diagram

FDA801/B block diagram

The FDA801 and FDA801B are available immediately in the LQFP64 Exposed Pad Up package that allows efficient heatsink attachment. Pricing, for high volumes only, is available on request.

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