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Is this the future of speaker design?


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An engineering company, Audio Pixels, claims to have developed a "digital" speaker. There web site is located at Technology - Audio Pixels Limited

 

They claim to have designed a revolutionary technological platform for reproducing sound waves directly from a digital audio stream using low cost micro-electromechanical structures (MEMS), rather than conventional loudspeaker elements, that is only one millimetre thick.

 

The Company’s MEMS-based Digital Sound Reconstruction platform enables the market for audio speakers to follow the evolution of the video display market from large, heavy analog tube based monitors to the digital flat panel displays of today.

 

Audio Pixels will produce a single type of chip that can be used either as a standalone speaker or cascaded in any multiples of up to 64 units of the same chip. The number of chips used in any given application is determined by the manufacturer’s desired audio specifications. For example a single chip would more than suffice for a mobile phone, while a manufacturer may choose 6 chips for a television application.

 

Driving the rationale is the demand for smaller, thinner, clearer sounding, more power-efficient speakers. The key challenge is that for the most part conventional speaker technologies remain deeply rooted in the original voice coil inventions of Alexander Graham Bell.

 

An Audio Pixels speaker is a MEMS chip roughly 1mm thick. The chip replaces conventional speaker driver(s), enclosure or acoustic chamber, as well as the electronic circuitry associated with converting the digital signal feed to analog (via a D2A + Power Amplifier).

 

The Audio Pixels speaker consumes a fraction of the power, to produce far better acoustic performance in a substantially smaller package:

 

• Wider frequency range

• Lower frequencies

• Immeasurable distortion

• Louder sound volume

• Less power consumption

 

Audio Pixels offers a single chip design that is modular and perfectly predicable and linear. Given that the total number of “pixels” is the only factor determining quality, frequency and sound volume, manufacturers and device designers need only to determine the target acoustic performance and select the appropriate number of speaker chips, which are serialized using a single controller.

 

At the heart of Audio Pixels technology is an innovative high impedance structure based on a high-efficiency driving mechanism which is capable of producing 10 times the pressure of a conventional speaker of the same surface area, amplitude and frequency.

 

The sound pressure generated by an Audio Pixels speaker is proportional to the number of operating micro-speakers (“Audio Pixels”) and the throughput of each one. Varying the number of pulses over time produces different frequencies. Unlike analog speakers, individual micro-speakers operate in a non-linear region to maximize dynamic range while still being able to produce low frequency sounds. The net linearity of the array comes from linearity of the acoustic wave equation and uniformity between individual speakers. The overall non-linear components in the generated sound wave have a direct relation to the number of micro-speakers in the device.

 

Damping: Conventional speakers oscillate long after the input signal is stopped. The heavy membrane transfers only a fraction of its energy into the air and it continues to oscillate for a considerable time before the oscillations decays. In contrast, an Audio Pixels speaker "stops on a dime". The signal is initiated and terminated within one clock cycle.

 

Vibrations: Due to the high impedance matching of Audio Pixels speakers, a much smaller movement is required to generate the same loudness. The smaller movement of an Audio Pixels speaker generates significantly lower vibration levels. Vibrations are often problematic in sensitive electronics. The reduced vibrations of an Audio Pixels speaker allow much more moderate levels of echo reduction and suppression.

 

Excellent impedance matching. Maximizes energy conversion (from electrical to acoustic). The theoretical efficiency limit of Audio Pixel speaker is 60%; which is roughly 60 times better than conventional speakers. The improved impedance matching also serves to significantly increase the SPL (Sound Pressure Level), or loudness, achievable from an Audio Pixels speaker when compared to conventional speakers of similar dimensions.

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Let's say I have my periodic ignorant Saturday. It starts with me thinking that physics tell that no real SPL can be created from such small surface(s). However, make the total surface equal to what we are used to (think woofers) and nothing would be wrong much if only the excursion equals to what we are used to. Now that is not the case (few uM) so ... My guts tell me that this can be solved by highering the frequency; more same excursion per time unit should do the trick. Yeah, uhm, but that's higher frequency and we don't want that when not intended. So what gives ?

 

This is how I dove into the second video (without sound) of the given link by mav.

 

AudioPixels01.png

 

Aha.

 

So let's say I'll believe the base math for this and 4KHz will produce 3dBSPL. I thus also should believe that 256 times this (because an array of 256 of these units) produces 51dBSPL. But I am lost on this math so I will take it for granted.

That 1000 Hz only produces 39dBSPL I will believe.

That 31.25Hz comes to 42dB loss is my conclusion. So back at 51 - 42 = 10dBSPL. Compensate that with more arrays et voilá.

 

All looking good.

 

One small problem : This assumes playing one frequency at a time.

What I say : When there is enough surface so all starts to approach our woofer's surface then a same 31.25 Hz (etc.) should be able to play at the same level if the excursion is equal. But the excursion is not equal so more surface is needed (way more). And no blabla about better efficiency because this is unrelated (for needed power yes). But, it can be done.

Now I should notice that this all is also about "no distortion" and now things become a bit tough because when we want our woofers to produce sound without audible distortion for all the instruments we play through them, a surface of 3x 15" woofer is required (this is math and proven by measurement). All what happens is that excursion gets so low that distortion is under audible levels (which is just under 4%THD). So now the whole lot of "pixels" is to relate to 3x15" but with the notice that excursion of each "pixel" is still way lower than the 3x15" do (this is 5mm or so max peak-peak).

The higher SPL can not be done through higher frequency and so it needs more surface again. Well, if you have the space ...

 

And STILL it won't work because a quite crucial thing is not in this design or math : Higher frequencies are super imposed on the lower ones. So with a "conventional" speaker driver the lowest frequencies produce their SPL and the higher ones "just" ride on that. That this is prone to distortions of various kind is one thing, but the digital speaker is not organized like this. It would first need the pixels for the higher frequencies to be physically assembled to the plane of where the lower frequencies "vibrate" and then something can come from it. But we would still be talking about 2 frequencies only.

 

If I interpreted the video correctly (as said, without sound) then parts of arrays can be addressed individually and undoubtedly this is for addressing different frequencies. Meanwhile the SPL will be lower because now only part of the pixels play. Can be solved - just have more of them again.

 

So ... what is basically wrong with the concept is that it is forgotten that higher frequencies ride on lower ones with a conventional single driver. As many super imposed frequencies are allowed to do this (or at least this just happens) and the more the more distortion. True. But not true that this can be solved with digital because it just can not work with "infinite" super imposed frequencies which would require an inifinite number of mentioned planes and besides the (IMD) problem would be the same.

It would work with an infinite number of planes next to each other. Yeah, well ...

It will also work in laboratory setup when only one frequency is observed.

Otherwise it may work because I don't understand a thing of this.

 

Peter

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I've been following this for quite some time.....primarily from an investment standpoint really but also terribly interested in exactly how they're going to pull this off. If nothing else, I did fairly well financially with them.

 

 

I have to read between the lines of both the presentation and the companies tech basis mission statement.............there's nothing between the lines, which makes sense for either there is no real development at this time OR why in god's name would we post proprietary new tech development for others to steal?

 

I remain extremely hopeful.....but equally cautious.

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I was thinking somewhat later after posting that the "excursion" is extremely fast which will do something to additional SPL. So the relation with a normal speaker driver and its excursion is not really there (plus point for the digital driver).

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It isn't? I can't see any way to avoid the area x excursion travel equation either...

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In retrospection (after seeing that YouTube) I think I can. This is about the Dirac behavior which is mentioned in there. Think of this :

 

Suppose you have a conventional driver; now this thing is as slow as it is (as we are used to) and e.g. 50Hz goes a bit back and forth and creates its common SPL. How is the SPL increased ? well, by letting excurt the drive more. But, what actually happens also : because of the more excursion the speed of the moving diaphragm increases. And I think you can just as well say that the higher speed creates the air pressure differences (SPL). So look at it the other way around - very slowly move the diaphragm and of course nothing will be heard (but it won't be 50Hz either); it just won't create air pressure differences.

 

Now envsion the excursion to go by the speed of light or something, but at 50Hz. So this is in-out-in-out with relatively huge moments of rest in between the in and out. This for sure will create the (necessary) SPL and it will be blasting (at the excursions we are used to).

This is how the Dirac behavior drops in with for me no clue how they think they will solve that (remember, I only looked at the video and never listened - but I also saw something about filtering).

 

Anyway, the whole subject about those "electronics" not being able to be SLOW enough is quite something else which makes me believe this never can work. It's all "squares" coming from it. And then there's the 1000's of "crossovers" needed. Well ...

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  • 1 month later...

No disrespect to any of the resident sound experts on here, but I wouldn't expect this technology to stack up in theory as it's a disruptive innovation which by it's very defintion, flies in the face of conventional theory. Sony Corporation and ICsense are onboard...if there was "no real development" as Mayhem13 suggested, that would imply that neither of these organisations completed much in the way of due diligence...I'm sorry, but no chance. All will be revealed soon when AKP shows their hand... I'm predicting a Royal Flush.

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I'm confused by your post here ...

 

The first sentence...

No disrespect to any of the resident sound experts on here, but I wouldn't expect this technology to stack up in theory as it's a disruptive innovation which by it's very defintion, flies in the face of conventional theory.

...reads to me like you think this is something which will never come to fruition.

 

Yet the second sentence...

Sony Corporation and ICsense are onboard...if there was "no real development" as Mayhem13 suggested, that would imply that neither of these organisations completed much in the way of due diligence...I'm sorry, but no chance. All will be revealed soon when AKP shows their hand... I'm predicting a Royal Flush.

...reads like you think there is great potential and money to be made?

 

Perhaps you could clarify your thinking for me?

 

My personally thinking would be that technology like this usually have a few "experimental" iterations before being developed into final products which often bear little resemblance to the original thinking and prototypes.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I've been following this for quite some time.....primarily from an investment standpoint really but also terribly interested in exactly how they're going to pull this off. If nothing else, I did fairly well financially with them.

 

 

I have to read between the lines of both the presentation and the companies tech basis mission statement.............there's nothing between the lines, which makes sense for either there is no real development at this time OR why in god's name would we post proprietary new tech development for others to steal?

 

I remain extremely hopeful.....but equally cautious.

 

It appears the "market" is also extremely hopeful as Audio Pixels shares (AKP on the Australian share market) have seen a recent sharp rise from a low of $3.15 in March to $6.40 today.

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.........and if this keeps up a bit more, I can break ground on a nice custom log home in the Adirondacks this upcoming spring!

 

But I still have no prediction as to how this will all unfold technically.

 

For what it's worth to WiredForSound......I offered 'two' reasons there was no tangible evidence to support their product development........there was no real development yet OR they were protecting their technology to get a head start out of the gate. I didn't swing either way as to which.

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It appears the "market" is also extremely hopeful as Audio Pixels shares (AKP on the Australian share market) have seen a recent sharp rise from a low of $3.15 in March to $6.40 today.

 

 

Sound like a pink sheet pump and dump in action. You should read their balance sheet, its a joke.

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Sound like a pink sheet pump and dump in action. You should read their balance sheet, its a joke.

 

No offence, but if you're talking about pump and dump, you should know that a critical ingredient for a pump and dump is high volume; with an average of just 10,000 shares traded per day representing 0.04% of shares in issue, this ain't no "chop stock". Furthermore, you'll see sweet FA online chatter about the company on stock forums....another requisite for a pump and dump. In my view, Management actually stopped caring about attracting new shareholders sometime ago...it's really irrelevant to them now. All stock is tightly held and they have the cash and backers they need to get this thing over the line.

 

In terms of the balance sheet, I think it's absolutely fine considering where they sit on the path to monetisation. Anyhow, at $2.0m in the bank they have enough cash for the best part of a year without raising further funds, as:

1. R&D spend is sharply reducing ($1.1M last Qtr, 0.6M this Qtr), which also suggests a wind down in testing and evaluation (would have expected to see the opposite if they were having issues); and

2. Employees are paid well below market rates and don't care as they're sitting on significant shareholdings.

 

Worse case scenario, even if more funding was needed, they have:

1. a commercial property that's surplus to requirements that they can flog and/or borrow against (two-odd million there); and

2. a serious raft of sophisticated investors on board with more information than any of us are privy to, that would have no problems dipping into their pockets if needed.

3. the backing of Sony Corp. These guys have picked up the lion's share of development costs since 2011 so it's fair to say they're somewhat pot committed.

 

I have read a few posts on this forum that question how this digitial speaker chip can do what the company says it can. If this was all a giant lie, don't you think the R&D guys at Sony and ICSense would have been able to see that within their first 24hrs of due diligence? They would have severed ties and run a mile a long time ago. The guys inside these organisations are likely to be better credentialled than anyone of this forum (although I could be wrong there) AND they have a massive advantage in terms of the information they're privy to.

 

And AudioElf, I'm sorry for any confusion, I should have said that AKPs technology flies in the face of popular conventional theory, but of course a disruptive innovations often deviate from popular conventional theory. My suggestion to anyone who doubts the technology, is to ring Danny Lewin (CEO) and talk through your concerns. To the extent that the questions can be answered without revealing AKPs hand, I'm sure he would love to chat - you might just be converted.

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Audio Pixels AKP.ax hit $8.50 today on the Aus share market on very small volume.

 

They are now showing a 40 times return as they could have been purchased for 20c in March 2010, however, the volume is less than 10,000 shares per day so very illiquid and extremely difficult to realise any gains.

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Um....So I can safely assume you haven't been following the order book these past few days! The guys who offered up their 10,000 shares today didn't have any trouble finding takers for them..anything offered within 10c of the last sale price was taken instantly. People are having no problem realising gains if they're prepared to sell, but most are holding them tight. The reason for the low turnover is lack of sellers as opposed to lack of buyers. Just look at the order book - 106 shares available at $8.50 then nothing more unless you're willing to pay $8.95. This company takes the term "closely held" to the next level.

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As mentioned previously shares in AKP were previously selling for 20c. I know several people who are holding well over 100,000 plus. The numbers below are today's sales and you simply cannot sell significant amounts into such weak demand without causing a fall in price. It is simple supply and demand.

 

Its all relative of course but we are talking $millions not $000s.

 

 

PRICE SHARES $

4:10:15 PM 8.500 294 2,499.000

3:05:58 PM 8.380 1,247 10,449.860 XT

2:57:35 PM 8.380 253 2,120.140

2:41:47 PM 8.200 1,747 14,325.400

2:41:15 PM 8.300 73 605.900

12:56:01 PM 8.400 178 1,495.200

12:53:40 PM 8.400 2 16.800

12:36:19 PM 8.300 407 3,378.100

12:25:38 PM 8.300 200 1,660.000

12:22:28 PM 8.150 470 3,830.500

12:22:28 PM 8.150 10 81.500 XT

11:30:43 AM 8.150 950 7,742.500

11:28:07 AM 8.150 300 2,445.000

10:55:03 AM 8.150 199 1,621.850

10:33:50 AM 8.150 1,141 9,299.150 XT

10:19:28 AM 8.150 500 4,075.000

10:11:07 AM 8.230 121 995.830 XT

10:09:23 AM 8.200 500 4,100.000

10:09:23 AM 8.200 179 1,467.800

9:59:54 AM 8.200 150 1,230.000

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  • 2 weeks later...

Audio Pixel (AKP) passed the $10 psychological barrier today on the Aus share market but on small volume of only 20,000 shares.

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Audio Pixel (AKP) reached $14 last week on the ASX and has since moved back to around $12.50 .... up from $3.20 this year alone, however, volume is still low around 15-20,000 shares per day. Increase was on the back of this announcement:

 

25 August 2014

The Manager

ASX Limited Exchange Centre 20 Bridge Street Sydney NSW 2000

 

Dear Sirs,

 

Digital Speaker Development Update

Audio Pixels Holdings Limited (ASX: AKP and OTCQX: ADPXY) is pleased to advise that it is near completion of the third phase of its four-phase development program. As has been announced previously, this phase focused on advancing critical aspects related to the mass- production and commercialization of the product. An essential element of this phase has been the extensive testing, measurement and analytic programs, designed to ensure functional compliance and fabrication uniformity crucial to the fourth and final phase of the commercial product development program.

 

In order to affirm the static, dynamic and functional aspects of our micro-electromechanical (MEMS) devices, the company had to invent and fabricate its own proprietary test and measurement equipment. The exceptional precision and multifunctional flexibility of the equipment not only enabled the collection of essential measurements, but additionally facilitated noteworthy experiments that were simply not possible before.

 

The extensive tests conducted confirmed the viability of the structures and fabrication processes. Management is pleased to announce that all critical electrical, mechanical and acoustic parameters have been confirmed to meet or exceed expectations.

Management is also pleased to announce that these efforts have unveiled a particular phenomenon that is unique to our structures. Inventions and innovations based on this phenomenon will provide exceptional performance and cost benefits to our devices. Additional information pertaining to this discovery will be released upon completion of the necessary legal steps required to appropriately preserve and protect these inventions.

 

The company is progressing according to its plan to share and demonstrate the results, including music playing capabilities to select industry related audiences worldwide, during the 2nd half of this year.

 

Yours faithfully,

Fred Bart Chairman

 

Audio Pixels Holdings Limited  ACN 094 384 273  Suite 2, Level 12, 75 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia Phone: +61 2 9233 3915  Fax: +61 2 9232 3411  Email: [email protected]

Audio Pixels Limited - Audio Pixels Limited

About Audio Pixels Holdings Limited

Audio Pixels Holdings Limited is a company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange with the code AKP and has its ADR’s listed on the OTCQX market in the USA with code ADPXY. Audio Pixels Holdings Limited owns 100% of Audio Pixels Limited, an unlisted Israeli corporation that was founded in July 2006 and has developed a revolutionary technological platform for reproducing sound, thus enabling the production of an entirely new generation of speakers that will exceed the performance specifications and design demands of the world’s top consumer electronics manufacturers.

Audio Pixels patented technologies employ entirely new techniques to generate sound waves directly from a digital audio stream using low cost micro-electromechanical structures (MEMS) rather than conventional loudspeaker elements. This innovation enables the production of speaker products that deliver performance that is many orders of magnitude better than conventional speaker technologies, all in an affordable package that is only one millimetre thick.

Audio Pixels MEMS-based Digital Sound Reconstruction platform enables the market for audio speakers to follow the evolution of the video display market from large, heavy analog tube based monitors to the digital flat panel displays of today. Driving the rationale for change in audio speakers is the ever-increasing demand for smaller, thinner, clearer sounding, more power-efficient speakers. Conventional speaker technologies remain deeply rooted in the original voice coil inventions of Alexander Graham Bell. The inherent limitations of such speakers prohibit the delivery of quality sound in smaller packages. Audio Pixels innovative patents in the fields of electromechanical structures, pressure generation, acoustic wave generation and control, signal processing and packaging, combine to forever change this paradigm.

Market research overwhelmingly suggests that both manufacturers and consumers alike are starving for real innovation in audio speakers, in particular for good quality sound in a form factor that is far more compliant with current device and lifestyle trends. While the industry at large has been able to digitize and shrink all other device electronics, the last remaining barrier is the speaker, which remains large, heavy, bulky and extremely restrictive.

Upon achieving mass production capabilities Audio Pixels plans to sell and/or license its products to the manufacturers of speakers and consumer electronic devices worldwide, which collectively consume billions of speaker units annually. Audio Pixels will produce and sell a single type of silicon chip that can be used either as a standalone speaker or cascaded in any multiples of the same chip in order to achieve the desired performance specifications. This modular paradigm is entirely unique to the audio industry, which today expends significant resources designing and specifying new drivers, acoustic chambers and drive electronics for each new device. Audio Pixels innovative approach not only facilitates maximum flexibility to its customers, it further enables the customer to calibrate on the design and production of a singular product model, maximizing economies of scale, while limiting overhead associated with multiple versions of products.

Management maintains active exchange with industry leading companies spanning a broad cross section of the MEMS and consumer electronic industries. Audio Pixels has already demonstrated the technology to potential customers and strategic partners.

Forward-looking statements

This release may contain certain forward-looking statements with respect to the financial condition, results of operations and business of AKP and certain of the plans and objectives of AKP with respect to these items. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future and there are many factors that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.

 

Audio Pixels Holdings Limited  ACN 094 384 273  Suite 2, Level 12, 75 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia Phone: +61 2 9233 3915  Fax: +61 2 9232 3411  Email: [email protected]



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  • 6 months later...

check these results out?

Sydney, Australia, March 3, 2015

Audio Pixels Holdings Limited, the world-leader in MEMS based digital speaker technologies,

was pleased to announce today preliminary results obtained from its extensive third phase

measurement program. These results not only substantiated the technology’s advantages over

comparable analog speaker technologies, but exceeded the company’s own performance

objectives. The results demonstrated sound pressure levels (SPL) within the low frequency

spectrum that were previously believed by experts to be unattainable within a micro form

factor; measuring 80dB (decibels) at 250Hz1 for a standalone chip!

 

The performance advantage delivers a 2-octave gain when compared to micro speakers of

similar size; comparable to music produced by a piano missing 24 of its keys, the two-octave

achievement restores the body and depth of those missing keys. Additionally and unlike

traditional micro speaker technologies, Audio Pixels chips can be cascaded in order to achieve

virtually any desired performance levels. By increasing the number of chips used it becomes

possible to cover virtually any application, from the smallest of mobile devices to home

theater applications and beyond. The chips do not require any type of acoustic resonator or

back chamber; in fact the measurements were attained using wafer level chips. These measurements validate just some of the advantages of Audio Pixels’ high performance digital

speaker chips, such as low power consumption, solder reflow compliant packaging, and

innovative digital drive algorithms.

Following his recent “standing room only” lecture on digital speakers at the ALMA

(Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing and Acoustic) International Symposium, the

company invited Michael Klasco President of Menlo Scientific, one of the worlds foremost

experts in loudspeakers having his footprint on many dozens of brand name speaker and

acoustic products, to review and validate the company’s technologies, methodologies and

results. Mike summarized his visit as follows:

This week I had the unique opportunity to visit a MEMs semiconductor lab where the Audio

Pixels’ team spends their time. Having the privilege to stick my nose everywhere into this

ambitious initiative, I can say that this is one committed, passionate, and competent group of

individuals. This is the same sort of inspired approach and focused purpose that eventually

led MEMS microphone efforts to move from an industry joke to total domination of the

consumer electronics industry. The Audio Pixels sound generation technique called Digital

Sound Reconstruction, differs significantly from conventional speakers in that it appears able

to deliver not only higher sound levels from smaller size speaker devices, but also more

extended low frequencies (down to 250 Hz for a single chip) which is crucial for wideband

voice sound reproduction, an upcoming standard for phones. This is exciting and game

changing stuff.

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