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Infotainment systems require efficient high-quality audio – without a high cost

Long gone are the days when ‘in car audio’ referred to a crackly radio or maybe a built-in tape deck or CD player. In all but the most basic versions, the in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) is a ‘hub’ within the vehicle, providing many functions including safety, guidance and entertainment. In fact, the capability and convenience of the IVI system is high on the list of decision-making factors for modern car buyers.

However, designers of these IVI systems face a number of challenges; vehicles contain more electronics than ever before and modern EV and HEV are switching huge currents, all of which makes for an electrically noisy environment. As communication between different systems is critical to delivering the high-tech experience, so the IVI system needs to be able to interface with many other areas of the vehicle including several camera systems, navigation and more. And, of course, consumers are demanding the highest level of audio quality at the lowest possible price.

While audio amplifier design has evolved over many years, incrementally improving with each hew topology (Class A, Class B, Class AB, Class D etc.), Toshiba’s patent-pending Class TB configuration has moved the technology forward significantly. This tied BTL configuration matches the high efficiency levels of digital (Class D) systems, are requires 80% less power than a Class AB amplifier.

In terms of BoM cost, Class TB matches Class AB and uses less than half the components required by a Class D design, including removing the bulky and expensive output LC filter. Class TB can reproduce linear sounds up to 120kHz, well beyond the range of human hearing, delivering a far higher quality of sound than Class D that rolls off at around 20kHz.

Toshiba’s TCB701FNG audio power amplifier delivers all the benefits of Class TB amplification in a compact and simple-to-use package. This 4-channel, 49W power amplifier delivers high quality audio (THD=0.02%) while requiring a small number of external components, reducing the BoM cost and space required to implement a design.

The device is inherently robust against EMI and contains a number of inbuilt protection and detection circuits to ensure that it delivers a reliable solution in the challenging automotive environment. An in-built I2C bus allows performance parameters to be tweaked as well as facilitating communication with a host processor.

Toshiba has produced a comprehensive white paper that discussed the many types of amplifier configuration, including the significant benefits of Class TB. To obtain your copy, please click here

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