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New Membranes, ASICs, and Packages for Akustica

1-BST-20945_cr_ret.jpgAkustica recently announced a round of microphone design and manufacturing improvements, as embodied in two new high-signal-to-noise (SNR) microphones. They’ve redesigned the microphone membrane, the accompanying ASIC, and, in one case, the package. Yeah… that doesn’t leave much untouched.

They’re not being completely open about exactly what the changes are in detail, but the membrane change involves new materials (undisclosed) and tweaks to the thicknesses of the materials in the stack. The ASIC redesign has resulted in lower power, bringing the operating power in one of the new microphones (the AKU151) down to 60 µA.

Two new microphones were announced; one (the AKU350), is a 67-dB-SNR unit with 1-dB matching – intended for multi-microphone installations where matching is important. The other, the aforementioned 151, is a 65-dB unit in a small top-port metal-lid package. That package/performance is also new; apparently this isn’t easy or obvious to do, and, again, with no detail disclosed, they say they can do it while maintaining high performance.

One of the key messages encircling the announcement of the specific devices is the fact that Akustica/Bosch have design, manufacturing, and packaging in-house. Their point is that, given the notorious interactions between microphones and packages, you have to control all three – and be able to model and simulate the entire unit – to capture the combined effects of everything.

This would appear to be a point intended to distinguish themselves from other companies, like, say, Vesper, that focus on the MEMS die and have others do the packaging. The story makes sense, at least conceptually. But it’s also the kind of story that can be trumped by an “existence proof”: if other guys can, by hook or crook, deliver without owning all the pieces (I’m not saying they can or can’t), then the “everything in-house” argument loses some steam. For now (at least), it probably helps sales.

I continue to be amazed at the wide array of microphones – analog and digital – and the array of package options out there. It’s hard to imagine that there are so many homes for microphones that have such differing requirements. Hmmm… shows how much I know…

You can get more info on Akustica’s new devices from their announcement.

 

(Image courtesy Akustica/Bosch)

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