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MEMS Microphones Busting Out All Over
6/24/2014

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Infineon Microphone ASICs
Infineon's Microphone ASICs are paired with the MEMS acoustic sensor in the microphone package for amplifying the MEMS signal, for RF noise suppression and to add either analog or optional digital outputs with a built-in analog-to-digital converter. Click here for larger image (Source: Infineon) 
 

 



Infineon is entering its fourth generation of MEMS microphone dies and sells basically three different models -- one with the least acoustical noise (66-to-67 dB) one with an ultra-small size and a third model optimized to be the lowest cost. Each of those models can also be mated to either an analog-output ASIC or a digital-output ASIC. 

'As far as signal to noise ratio [SNR] we are increasing that about 2 dB per year and our roadmap calls on us to continue at this rate of improvement,' Robert Helm who is heading the Silicon Microphone business at Infineon told EE Times. 'The fastest growing part of the market is innovation driven, which needs multiple microphones with the highest signal to noise ratios for things like noise cancellation, linearity and very low clipping at high sound pressures for loud noises. In fact, I have seen very advanced smartphones with six or seven MEMS microphones for very sophisticated acoustics including beam forming.'

However, unlike others, Helm's sees no consolidation on the horizon, but rather that the markets for all three models -- highest performance, smallest size and least cost -- will continue to grow. Some customers, presumably making wearables, come to Infineon and say 'this is the maximum size I can allow and what is the maximum performance I can get in this limited size,' Helm told EE Times. 

Infineon, however, does face a few hurdles if it is to continue its skyrocketing growth for the last three years. For one thing, its best customer, AAC which has a MEMS microphone in the iPhone 5s, bought a 50 percent stake in MEMSTech, which has not impacted its relationship with Infineon yet but is clearly intended to give AAC at least a second source. Also Infineon's customer, Gettop, is also second-sourcing die from MEMSensing.
Infineon's Microphone ASICs are paired with the MEMS acoustic sensor in the microphone package for amplifying the MEMS signal, for RF noise suppression and to add either analog or optional digital outputs with a built-in analog-to-digital converter. Click here for larger image (Source: Infineon)

 

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Seltech-USA
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digital MEMS microphones
Seltech-USA   10/30/2015 2:00:31 PM
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Knowles now has an I2S MEMS microphone available.  part number SPH0645LM4H-B Seltech can provide technical and sales support for the entire line of Knowles microphones.

Brakeshoe
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Re: Unidirectional MEMS Microphones
Brakeshoe   9/18/2015 2:43:55 PM
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You still need multiple microphones for directionality -- The wider you space them, the more accurate the beamforming. This is a problem we fight in hearing aids & cochlear implant speech processors due to limited size on the spine of BTE & RIC devices.

Dan Schwartz

Editor, The Hearing Blog

Brakeshoe
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Cited in The Hearing Blog
Brakeshoe   9/18/2015 2:40:23 PM
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Thank you for the article: I cited it in The Hearing Blog:
TSMC Announces CMOS MEMS Microphones

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Unidirectional MEMS Microphones
R_Colin_Johnson   7/29/2014 3:45:38 PM
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Not sure about the Harmon model, but have made inquiries. Will get back to you soon.

D Cowan
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Re: Unidirectional MEMS Microphones
D Cowan   7/29/2014 3:14:21 PM
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Yes, we'll definitely see SNR continue to improve and at lower price points. What is even more important, in my mind, is that a unidirectional MEMS microphone with high SNR can replace multiple-microphone arrays - today. That means, even if the per unit cost is still at a premium, the value prop still makes sense. At a high level, one device means the  total system is easier to design and manufacture, less space is taken up on an already tight motherboard, and there will be fewer points of failure (not to mention lower power, heat, etc., etc.). I'm just wondering about uptake of the Harman product though because I haven't seen much written about it to know how well it works.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Unidirectional MEMS Microphones
R_Colin_Johnson   7/29/2014 2:53:42 PM
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According to the analysts, all the high-end smartphone makers are going for as much SNR as they can get, and are willing to pay the premium price they demand. The reason is that the voice recognition and noise canceling algorithms work so much better, low-volume voice calls are easier to understand and the quality of the soundtrack on video recordings is even more important than the video quality. Of course, like everything else, as volume production ramps up and prices go down the other-than-top-line-models will start to adapt HD mics too.

D Cowan
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Unidirectional MEMS Microphones
D Cowan   7/29/2014 1:07:11 PM
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In January Harman announced unidirectional analog and digital MEMS microphones with SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) up to 68 dBA. Have you come across anyone designing these in yet? If a single MEMS microphone can replace multi-mic arrays for noise cancelation, it should speed adoption by significantly reducing the cost and space required within the target device. Thoughts?

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: What is the breakdown of AMICs vs DMICs?
R_Colin_Johnson   6/30/2014 12:12:08 AM
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All your arguements for digital outputs are valid, and in fact the first startup's first microphone (Akustica) had digital outputs. Unfortunately, its kind of like the VHS versus Beta video take war--if you can remember that far back--everybody was already set up for analog mics (electrets) so much so that even Akustica has had to acquiesce a prodeuce analog models. But I am with you, and think hat eventually all MEMS mics will be digital. 

AZskibum
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What is the breakdown of AMICs vs DMICs?
AZskibum   6/29/2014 3:57:51 PM
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It would be interesting to know how far digital microphones (DMICs) -- MEMS mics that include the A/D converter -- have penetrated within the overall MEMS mic market. From an interface perspective, integrating the A/D into the same package as the MEMS makes so much more sense -- especially for applications requiring many microphones (beam-forming arrays, etc.). From the perspective of the audio processor at the receiving end, the two-wire PDM data & clock interface from a DMIC is so much easier to handle than a low-level analog signal, that it's probably well worth the extra cost of the MEMS mics with built-in A/D converters.

Kinnar
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Re: Which is the major cunsuming applicaton of MEMS Mic?
Kinnar   6/26/2014 2:12:58 PM
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Oh that's an answer with fact figures; my estimation was based on the observation of my own. But yes it is very true that MEMS Mics will be having more chances of acceptance in other left out application with possible use of it for betterment.

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