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Zarlink Introduces Voice Processing Technology For Mobile Hands-Free Devices

Zarlink Semiconductor introduced the first in a family of voice processing chips aimed at improving voice quality and reducing noise in hands-free communication devices. An undisclosed manufacturer has already designed Zarlink’s acoustic echo canceller technology into a hands-free car phone system.

Hands-free communication systems are often hindered by acoustic echo that is created when the voice from the loudspeaker in a car kit or conference phone, for example, is picked up by the microphone and retransmitted. Mobile network delays also make acoustic echo more noticeable.

ZL38002 uses an advanced adaptive algorithm that constantly tracks and reduces background noise while preserving voice quality. Voice signals are transmitted in both directions, allowing natural two-way conversation, even when signal levels are low. The ZL38002 chip utilizes an advanced non-linear process design supporting full-duplex speech with no switched loss of the signal path. The algorithm design operates during double-talk situations when both callers are speaking at the same time.

Programmable noise reduction allows the user to adjust the noise cancellation level to meet system requirements without distorting the audio signal. Another feature is anti-howling detection that identifies instability in the audio path and automatically takes preventative measures to avoid oscillation.

The ZL38002 device is now available in a 36-pin QSOP (Quarter Small Outline Package) and 48-pin TQFP (Thin Quad Flat Package) chip measuring just 7x7mm. Lead-free package options are also available. The chip is fully supported by an evaluation board, hands-free car kit application board and API software. In quantities of 1,000, the device is priced at US$5.50.

Source: Zarlink Semiconductor

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