TI's DSP Powers Zaxcom's Deva 5 Portable Studio-Quality Audio Recorder

10/30/2003 - Helping audio professionals to capture special effects and the high quality sound that today's movies demand, Texas Instruments (TI) (NYSE:TXN) announced that Zaxcom created the Deva V pro-audio recorder utilizing TI's floating-point TMS320C6713 digital signal processor. The portable, 10-channel, pro-audio recorder is used on some of the most action-packed movie sets in Hollywood and offers unprecedented performance and flexibility for audio recording thanks to special features on the TMS320C6713 DSP from TI. Weighing only five pounds with an 80 gigabyte hard disk, the device holds more than 40 hours worth of uncompressed 24-bit studio audio recorded material at rates to 196 kHz/channel. For more information and a photo of the Zaxcom Deva 5, see www.ti.com/zaxcom.

With an operating temperature range of 0 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the Deva V's hard disk is extremely durable and can be easily transported anywhere. For instance, the Deva V has been used at the top of Mt. Everest, on roller coasters, in a jet fighter and on a stunt motorcycle used in the film The Matrix Reloaded as well as other movies such as Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Men In Black II and in the TV show Fear Factor. Additionally, it intelligently shuts down automatically if shock and vibration become dangerously high while several gigabytes of Flash memory act as a cache until the hard disk comes back online ensuring audio professionals do not lose their valuable work.

TI DSP offers easy code migration when designing next-generation Zaxcom products
Five years ago Zaxcom unveiled Deva, the first portable hard disk recorder for TV and film audio professionals. By leveraging the TI floating-point C6713 DSP and TI's FireWire chipset, Zaxcom has enabled new features and functionality such as simultaneous multi-disk recording, elaborate mixing capabilities and a full color graphical user interface into Deva's successor, the Deva V. Scheduled for customer shipment in December 2003, the Deva V records 10 channels with sampling rates to 192 kHz, greatly surpassing the industry high of six channels with rates of 96 kHz.

"It was well worth our time to move to the floating-point C6713, and the transition went surprisingly quickly," said Howy Stark, director of product development, Zaxcom. "With the previous DSP we used in our application, we had to write in assembly, but with the C6713 we were able to leverage TI's valuable C compiler and other tools to speed up code development, even surpassing development time over the previous model."

Zaxcom chose the C6713 because its floating-point architecture and on-chip peripherals handle all their DSP chores, plus it controls overall system operation including a full color quarter VGA touch screen display and complete FireWire and timecode support. Stark added, "I no longer need a separate microcontroller as before, and it was much more efficient to write code for only one device and with one toolset."

TI's floating-point DSP offers right combination of performance and peripherals
TI's C6713's strengths begin with horsepower. At 225 MHz, the device boosts the transfer rate to the internal disks and external disk port from 0.5 to 5M bytes/sec, allowing real-time transfer and storage of the copious data coming into the system. Secondly, the Multi-Channel Audio Serial Port (McASP) interface is incredibly valuable in professional audio applications. The McASP can import 32 audio channels into the CPU without external hardware; and the channels can also serve as outputs. The Deva V uses 26 channels (10 analog inputs, 8 digital inputs and 8 analog/digital outputs) and can send audio signals from serial A/Ds directly to the hard disk instead of using an external FPGA, thus reducing the board's bill of materials. The C6713's SDRAM controller allows 128M bytes of 32 bit SDRAM to be gluelessly connected to the DSP while the C6713 also packs sufficient internal memory to handle all the serious audio processing, eliminating bottlenecks typically caused by accessing external memory.

With all this performance, the Deva V offers functionality that was impractical until now in a portable recorder. With a user-friendly touch screen, the DSP allows audio professionals to mix channels, run time squeeze or compression algorithms, activate a limiter to prevent clipping or insert a lowpass filter to remove wind noise all powered by one TI DSP device.

Stark at Zaxcom is already looking forward to future TMS320C67xTM floating-point devices because he's taking full advantage of the C6713's performance with 192 kHz sampling on 10 channels. "TI has invested so much in its floating point architecture and in the eXpressDSPTM software and development tools that I am confident they'll continue to bring out devices that allow me to add more features and increase performance without having to rewrite my code. Based on TI's track record I intend to choose TI's DSPs in all of our new designs."

About Zaxcom Incorporated
Zaxcom, Inc., located in Pompton Plains, NJ, designs and manufactures innovative professional audio equipment for the television and film industries. For more information about the company, visit its website at www.zaxcom.com.

About Texas Instruments Incorporated
Texas Instruments Incorporated provides innovative DSP and analog technologies to meet our customers' real world signal processing requirements. In addition to Semiconductor, the company's businesses include Sensors & Controls and Educational & Productivity Solutions. TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and has manufacturing, design or sales operations in more than 25 countries.

Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN. More information is located on the World Wide Web at www.ti.com.

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