Xilinx and Gibson Guitar Team to Deliver the Music Industry's First True Digital Guitar

10/8/2002 - At the Audio Engineering Society (AES) show, Gibson Guitar and Xilinx announced a collaboration that resulted in the industry's first electric guitar to deliver true digital sound. Gibson developed a way, through their internally derived MaGIC digital transfer protocol, to take the traditional analog output from the guitar and convert it into a digital signal, providing real time high-fidelity digital audio to benefit both production and live performances. Gibson credits Xilinx's reprogrammable Spartan-IIE FPGAs as an enabling critical component in its groundbreaking guitar and plans to utilize FPGA chips in a variety of MaGIC-enabled applications. Xilinx's Spartan-IIE FPGA is the world's lowest cost programmable device available today.

Gibson will offer MaGIC, an acronym for Media-accelerated Global Information Carrier, in every Gibson guitar within the next 12-18 months. MaGIC applies the digital technology invented for computer network products and adapts them to the audio network. This requires adaptability of the MaGIC standard, made possible by using a programmable versus fixed logic solution.

"Multiple uses of MaGIC would not have been financially or technically possible using traditional ASIC fixed logic. An ASIC platform would have required the design to be re-spun each time a change was made," said Gibson Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, who spearheaded MaGIC development. "The programmable nature of Xilinx FPGAs not only provided a flexible high performance design platform for Gibson, it also provided the low cost silicon solution we needed to make it happen."

"Xilinx FPGA technology is helping to shape the future of the digital age by harnessing the flexibility of a programmable device at cost points available to consumer products," said Clay Johnson, vice president and general manager of the General Products division at Xilinx. "Gibson's bleeding edge MaGIC technology is a perfect example of our desire to bring the digital age to the consumer market."

The programmability of Xilinx FPGAs also provides Gibson with the ability to achieve its vision of licensing its technology to other music and consumer product manufacturers for future product development. Gibson hopes to achieve this vision by licensing MaGIC free of charge so that it will be embraced as the standard not just in the music industry, but in home networking, home automation, and medical imaging markets as well.

About MaGIC
Despite dramatic advances in recent history, real-time high-fidelity digital audio has yet to permeate both production and live performance. Increasing demand has motivated little effort to apply modern network technology towards producing superior quality real-time audio devices, at low prices. MaGIC uses state-of-the-art technology to provide up to 32 channels of 32-bit bi-directional high-fidelity audio with sample rates up to 192 kHz. Data and control can be transported 30 to 30,000 times faster than MIDI.

About Xilinx Spartan-IIE FPGAs
Since introducing Spartan more than four years ago, Xilinx has delivered four generations of devices, offering customers a low cost, programmable alternative to ASICs without NRE costs. In 2003, the company is on track to deliver a fifth generation of the Spartan Series, reaching even higher densities at significantly lower price points. With all family members shipping today using 300mm wafer technology, the Spartan-IIE family is delivering the lowest system cost solution in the industry today, and is the only true ASIC alterative FPGA solution available.

About Gibson Guitar
Gibson, founded in 1894, continues to be one of the most highly respected names in the musical instrument world. Gibson brand guitars are fully created and assembled in the U.S. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, Gibson Musical Instruments currently encompasses a large family of companies that make and sell the world's finest guitars, basses, banjos, mandolins, drums, keyboards, amplifiers, strings and accessories.

About Xilinx
Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) is the worldwide leader of programmable logic and programmable system solutions.

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