xCORE-AUDIO Hi-Res 2: Our first audio processor

Posted: 28 July 2015

Back in March of this year we announced a first for XMOS … a dedicated audio processor, called xCORE-AUDIO Hi-Res 2. Well we’ve had the samples back in our lab for a while now and the device is now ready to be let out into the wild. Here at the factory we are very excited about the new development.

So what is xCORE-AUDIO Hi-Res 2?

Simply put it’s a dedicated audio processor which offers high resolution stereo (hence the 2 … clever eh?) audio interfacing for consumer audio applications such as DACs and headphone amplifiers.

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Customer Focus: iFi Audio

Posted: 11 June 2015

Welcome to the second in our series of featured guest blogs, where XMOS customers discuss their experiences of using xCORE multicore microcontrollers.

iFi logo

This time out we talk with Thorsten Loesch, Director of Technology for iFi Audio.


Hi-Res Audio: Discover the audio formats behind digital music (part 2)

Posted: 29 May 2015

Welcome to the second instalment of our Hi-Res Audio Formats overview. In the fist instalment we looked at the Liner PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) encoding scheme used on CDs and which continues to dominate the digital audio world today. If you missed it, you can read the blog here.

Today we are going to look at the other primary format for high resolution audio files, DSD or Direct Stream Digital.

PCM remained as the dominant encoding technique for digital audio until the introduction of the Super Audio CD (SACD) in 1999 which used DSD to encapsulate a higher resolution layer alongside an optional CD layer with the familiar 16-bit, 44.1kHz PCM encoding.

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Hi-Res Audio: Discover the audio formats behind digital music

Posted: 19 May 2015

This is the first instalment of a two part blog, which provides a brief introduction of audio formats that have emerged since the 1980s.


Why the 1980s? Nothing to do with frilly shirts and leg-warmers, it was when the tide firmly changed from analog to digital audio. Sure, analog audio still existed in the 1980s (and continues even now) but the focus of technology development switched firmly to digital.


Customer Focus: OPPO Digital

Posted: 06 May 2015

Welcome to the first in our series of featured guest blogs, where XMOS customers discuss their experiences of using xCORE multicore microcontrollers.

First up we talk with Jason Liao, CTO and VP Product Development of OPPO Digital, Inc. OPPO Digital designs and market high quality digital electronics that deliver style, performance, innovation, and value to A/V enthusiasts and savvy consumers alike. OPPO’s attention to core product performance and strong customer focus distinguishes it from traditional consumer-electronics brands.


Is 2015 the year of Hi-Res music streaming?

Posted: 22 April 2015

Emphatically yes! Here we will take a quick tour of the streaming landscape and which service providers are on track to deliver true high resolution streaming not just souped up MP3 at 320kbps, this year.

What is Hi-Res Audio?

High-resolution audio has been formally defined as: "Lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better than CD quality music sources."

Typically hi-res downloads are a minimum of 96kHz/24-bit with 192kHz/24-bit becoming popular.

First some background. The way music is consumed has undergone a seismic shift, and 2015 is likely to see another momentum shift with the rise of Hi-Res Audio (see our 5 Key Trends blog for more on this) and the launch of the first true Hi-Res Audio streaming service.

In the last decade the music industry has seen the decline of the CD, the rise (and fall?) of digital downloads and the emergence of on-demand streaming.

On-demand streaming has grown exponentially since the first service was launched, and the latest reports estimate that streaming accounts for more than a quarter of digital music revenues compared to just 3% in 2007. And this trend is expected to continue.


What is an audio DAC?

Posted: 14 April 2015

So you love your music. You value those immersive moments in sound. You’ve got the high end headphones. But still something is missing. The music lacks the depth and clarity of a live performance. Could a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) be the answer? In this blog we explore the world of DACs, what they are and why you should consider using one.


5 Key Trends in Hi-Res Audio

Posted: 08 April 2015

Is the audio market finally getting to grips with Hi-Res Audio (HRA)?

Here are 5 key trends emerging in this competitve and fast paced market.

  1. Entering the mainstream
  2. Going mobile
  3. Increasing Hi-Res content
  4. Cross-industry collaboration & support
  5. Consumer demand for sound fidelity

Hi-Res Audio – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Posted: 31 March 2015

Some of us are old enough to remember going to record stores and looking through the racks of LPs. Occasionally we would even be able to afford to buy one of these precious vinyl discs.

The age of vinyl and Hi-Fi hardware

In the days of vinyl, audiophiles would spend their money on Hi-Fi equipment that could reproduce the music exactly – looking to match the sound that was first heard in the recording studio when the track was originally created. This first wave of Hi-Fi enthusiasts focused on the speakers – purchasing the same type of professional reference monitors that the studio engineers used.


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21 July 2015

Hi-Res Audio Weekly News Round-up 2

Crowdfunding helps bring new products to market, including DACs/headphone amplifiers.

01 July 2015

Hi-Res Audio Weekly News Round-up 1

With the launch of Apple Music, find out what else is happening with Hi-Res streaming.

23 June 2015

Customer Focus

iFi Audio

Thorsten Loesch, Director of Technology, iFi Audio, talks about using XMOS in their multi-award winning audio products.

OPPO Digital

Jason Liao, CTO and VP Product Development of OPPO Digital, talks about the key features he looks for when choosing a USB Audio supplier.