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Nordic Semiconductor Jumps Into Next-Generation Wireless Audio With A DK

Written by Stephen Vicinanza

Nordic Semiconductor just released in May its nRF5340 Audio Development Kit, which focuses on the rapid development and deployment of Bluetooth LE Audio products and devices. The Audio DK offers a comprehensive set of tools to get started on LE Audio development projects.

This is the first wireless SoC (System on Chip) and is based on the Nordic nRF5340 System-on-Chip. The chip has two ARM Cortex-M33 processors and the company is saying it is a good choice for LE Audio as well as other complex IoT applications.

LE Audio is being announced by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) as being “the future of wireless sound.” This technology is based on the Low Complexity Communications Codec (LC3) that replaces the low complexity sub-band codec (SBC) used in Classic Audio.

LC3 ensures that LE Audio features have better battery life and improved overall audio quality, over Classic Audio. Extensive listening tests have revealed that at all sample rates, the audio quality of LC3 is better than SBC at those same sample rates. Those tests also show that audio quality is equivalent to or better than SBC at half the wireless data rate.

The lower data rates decrease power consumption in LE Audio products. Other new functions that LE Audio brings to the IoT world, are true wireless sound (TWS) and Audio Sharing.

The Nordic NRF5340 SoC at the heart of the Audio DK brings a combination of a high-performance application processor with a programmable ultra-low-power network processor.

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128 MHz ARM Cortex M33 application processor has 1MB Flash and 64KB RAM, is well-suited for custom applications and the LC3 audio codec. The 64 ARM Cortex-M33 network processor has 256KB Flash and 64KB of RAM. The processor runs Nordic’s Bluetooth LE Audio RF protocol software. There is an nRF Connect SDK, the development platform for the nRF5340 SoC. The SDK features board support for the nRF5340 Audio DK and supports LE Audio, Bluetooth LE, Thread, and other applications.

In addition to the SoC, the Audio DK features Nordic nPM1100 power management IC (PMIC) and the Cirrus Logic CS47L63 Audio digital signal processor (DSP). The PMIC features a configurable buck regulator and an integrated battery charger. The battery charger, charge current can be up to 400mA. The nPM1100 is suited for use in space-constrained environments, due to its small form factor.

The NRF5340 Audio DK is available from Nordic Semiconductor’s distribution partners and is priced at $169 USD.

For further information see the links below and the Nordic Semiconductor website

About the nRF5340 Audio DK

About the nRF5340

All About Bluetooth LE

Nordic Semiconductor | nordicsemi.com

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For the past 8 years, I have been writing about embedded technologies, added to my technical, academic, and medical editorial experience, with companies like Elsevier and Cambridge University Press. I tell people to read what I write, not try to pronounce my last name. I am always available for comments and suggestions you can reach me at product-editor@circuitcellar.com and I promise I will take the time to reach back out to you. I live in the North East with my wonderful family.

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Nordic Semiconductor Jumps Into Next-Generation Wireless Audio Wi…

by Stephen Vicinanza time to read: 2 min