Soundchip in Switzerland has integrated electrical and audio components, including acoustic waveguides and vias, into a printed circuit board to make audio systems smaller and cheaper. The channels within the PCB can carry sound directly, avoiding the need for large waveguides.
The Soundstrate PCB technology simplifies the design and manufacture of complex audio systems by replacing bulky audio waveguides and cabling with a single structure that is capable of communicating sound and electrical signals between installed components and the outside world.
The technology integrates audio components, waveguides, electronics and acoustomechanical filters within a single, self-contained substrate structure that can be customized to suit each application.
It uses standard printed-circuit-board methods, but where standard PCBs incorporate an electrical circuit on each layer, Soundstrate also incorporates acoustic layers such as waveguides, acoustic filters and active components.
Communication between layers is achieved by placing acoustic vias as well as electrical vias in the circuit. The design of these acoustic layers requires proprietary design tools while fabrication uses a modified manufacturing process capable of forming the acoustic channels within the PCB's structure. The cost of these additional steps is kept low through the use of standard, highly automated processes within the production flow.
"Soundstrate PCB technology represents an exciting new approach to audio system design providing an innovative means of deploying complex audio circuits within compact geometries while at the same time reducing part count and cost," said Mark Donaldson, Soundchip's CEO.
This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.