DALLAS--In a move to strengthen its position in audio applications, Texas Instruments Inc. today announced the acquisition of Toccata Technology ApS in Copenhagen, a three-year-old developer of digital-audio amplifier solutions. Terms of the acquisition were not released.
TI said the acquisition will allow it to combine its digital signal processors (DSPs) and other components with Toccata's technology to support development of high-end audio systems and speakers for a range of products, including PCs, home entertainment, car stereo, and audio/video receivers.
The announcement comes just one day after Intel Corp. said it had agreed to acquire another Copenhagen company, GIGA A/S, for $1.25 billion to gain an entry into optical networking chips (see March 15 story). The moves are not directly related except for the fact that U.S. chip companies are increasing their efforts to tap European engineering talent in fast-growing applications for communications, consumer electronics, and other market systems outside of PC motherboards.
Toccata has 15 employees, and it will now become part of TI's Digital Speakers Business Unit. The operation will continue to be based in Denmark, said TI.
"This is a powerful combination," said Keh-Shew Lu, senior vice president for mixed-signal products at TI. "Toccata has developed a high-quality, high-efficiency digital audio amplifier solution. When combined with TI's programmable DSPs and other digital speaker components, customers will have an all-digital audio solution with performance that is unmatched by today's audio systems."
Lu said Toccata's amplifier is called as "equibit," and it uses "only digital technology, eliminating analog feedback and the need for analog signal processing or amplification at any stage." He added that this technology "leverages the power of digital signal processing. It delivers clearer, crisper sound while allowing easy to use plug-and- play connections."
TI hopes to enable digital speaker technology to bridge the gap between high-end and low-end audio systems, he said. The Dallas chip company believes speaker systems represent a huge opportunity for its chip business because audio is pervasive. In PCs and consumer electronics, more than 88 million digital audio units are expected to be shipped in 2001, according to TI.
Toccata was founded in 1997 by Lars Risbo, the company's chief technical officer, with the goal of delivering pure digital audio amplification, said Niels Anderskouv, the CEO of the privately held Danish company. "By joining forces with TI, the world leader in DSP and analog, we now have the manufacturing prowess and marketing reach to achieve our goals," he said.