Designing Audio Products with SHARC and A2B

Audio Product Design using ADI’s SHARC, A2B and SigmaStudio

ADI Alliance Design PartnerAs an ADI Alliance design partner, Cardinal Peak has a wealth of experience with Analog Devices components and software, particularly with:

  • A2B (AD2428, AD2401, …),
  • SHARC processors (ADSP-SC584, ADSP-2158X, ADSP-SC2158x and ADSP-2146X, …),
  • Software Defined Radios (SDR) (Catalina AD9361,…), and
  • SigmaStudio®

While we have used ADI parts in a variety of applications, we most commonly are using these components in our networked audio designs where low latency is a must, such as in:

  • Automotive,
  • Pro Audio, and
  • Teleconferencing markets

ADI A2B Automotive Audio BusThe Automotive Audio Bus (A2B) is a perfect complement to longer range, low-latency audio buses such as Audinate’s Dante or AES-67. A2B is no longer limited to just automotive applications since ADI started incorporating this extremely low-latency, virtually jitter-free bus into a range of their broad market parts in 2019. For real-time audio, such as any application with microphones and speakers, system latency must be minimized. A2B does a great job of minimizing latency on the wire, and Cardinal Peak has the expertise to ensure the rest of the data pipe and audio processing latency is kept low too. To read about four different A2B projects we have worked on, please see our Case Study – A2B capabilities and experience.

For low latency audio networks, you need to ensure that your processing nodes do not present a bottleneck lest you get glitches in playback or introduce latency to the overall audio chain. One of the tools we use for high-speed audio processing are SHARC and SHARC+ DSPs. Cardinal Peak has deep experience with SHARC audio processors/SoCs such as the ADSP-SC584 and Griffin Lite and Ultra Lite including ADSP-2158X, ADSP-SC2158x and ADSP-2146X series chips. These parts have combinations of SHARC and SHARC+ DSPs and ARM Core processors.

ADI SHARC processorSome examples of the types of SHARC work we have done in the past include:

  • Developing software to manage both FIR and IIR filter accelerators in a multicore DSP SHARC (ADSPSC-2158x and ADSP-2158x), while sharing one FIR and IIR filter accelerator between multiple DSPs. We accomplished this using the Micrium OS and taking advantage of SHARC peripherals such as the trigger routing units.
  • Investigating how to reduce memory usage on SHARC platforms, freeing up more of the fast L1 memory to meet algorithm needs. Work included OS configuration through implementation of new drivers and software.
  • Developed Simulink Code Replacement Library (CRL) based delay line models that operated using either fast L1 memory or slower L2 memory without impacting processing loads. L2 implementations were Direct Memory Access (DMA) controller-based to avoid adding computation load to the DSP due to slower L2 memory.
  • Developing a full audio platform on the Griffin Ultra Lite (ADSP-2146X) evaluation board to profile performance of newer FIR and IIR accelerators to determine if this chip would meet our customer’s needs for their DSP platform.
  • Developing Simulink models that generated code to drive Griffin Ultra Lite target accelerators (CRL based models).

ADI SigmaStudioPlease reach out to talk with our experts if you are facing challenging audio processing requirements.

Beyond A2B and SHARC lines, we are experienced with ADI’s line of software defined radio transceivers such as Catalina and Navassa. For example, we had one customer that needed an extremely low latency (sub millisecond) 10 channel bi-directional audio wireless link. We were able to develop a custom software defined radio (SDR) with sub-ms latency using Analog Devices’ Catalina transceiver. Read more about our experience with SDR.


About Cardinal Peak’s Product Design Services

Cardinal Peak accelerates your product development with end-to-end design services for connected devices. A leading product engineering firm, Cardinal Peak leverages deep experience in hardware, embedded software, cloud, end-user applications, such as mobile, and quality assurance to develop connected IoT products in multiple markets including audio, video, security and medical.

  • Product Ideation: Developing differentiated products that disrupt markets
  • IoT: Designing products that integrate with mobile applications and cloud systems
  • Audio, Video & Mixed Reality: Unparalleled strength in media processing
  • Voice: Experts at embedding voice processing capabilities in connected devices
  • QA: From black-box testing, to test automation, and manufacturing support
Cardinal Peak Product Design Services

FAQs About SHARC, A2B and Audio Product Design

What is the best way to boost performance when using SHARC and SHARC+ SoCs?

Using the hardware peripherals on Analog Devices’ SHARC SOCs to the fullest extent is the best way to boost overall performance. While the main processor may be easier to code, you get the biggest performance boost by pushing tasks to the hardware peripherals.

What are Some Common Applications Where Audio Latency Plays an Important Role?

  • Conference Calling
  • Auditoriums and Classrooms
  • Musical and Stage Performances
  • Interactive Gaming

When to use A2B versus Audinate’s Dante?

While A2B is a lower cost per node and supports daisy chain wiring (rather than hub and spoke) its range is far less than Audinate’s Dante. For this reason, if you have a cost sensitive low-latency audio network requirement we suggest using A2B for the local connections and Dante for the broader network particularly if the daisy chain wiring saves significant installation or wiring costs.


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