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Asono selects Nordic's nRF24Z1 transceiver to deliver uncompressed, CD-quality audio via wireless link between its DAB radio and remote stereo speaker

  Asono selects the nRF24Z1 in preference to Bluetooth for its Digital Audio Broadcast radio because of the proprietary device's superior sound quality, lower power consumption and greater resistance to interference from other RF devices operating in 2.4GHz band. Nordic nRF24Z1 wireless audio streaming sound quality is "as good as a hard wired connection" says specialist Norwegian hi-fi speaker manufacturer SEAS that designed the speakers used in the Asono DAB radio

Nordic Semiconductor ASA (OSE: NOD) today announced that Asono, a manufacturer of digital audio equipment, has selected the Nordic Semiconductor nRF24Z1 transceiver to power a wireless link between its aesthetically stunning DAB1 "kitchen shelf" radio and remote stereo speaker to guarantee market-leading audio quality and reduce power consumption.

The Nordic Semiconductor nRF24Z1 transceiver boast ample bandwidth (up to 4Mbit/s) to deliver uncompressed 16-bit resolution, 44.1kHz, CD quality audio per channel between the Asono DAB1 radio and its optional wireless satellite stereo speaker. Competing solutions such as Bluetooth lack the bandwidth to deliver high-quality audio and must resort to compression techniques, compromising sound quality.

Users simply insert an SD (Secure Digital) memory-sized card supporting the nRF24Z1 transceiver and its supporting electronics into the back of the DAB1 radio to enjoy high quality sound from the stereo speaker at up to 10m from the main unit.

"We knew this product would have to stand out when auditioned alongside strong existing competition in a fiercely competitive market for shelf-sized DAB radios," comments Lars Elstad, marketing manager at Asono. "In addition to including leading design features - such as a digital display that can be re-orientated when a user turns the main unit on its side, and the ability to pause, rewind and record DAB radio broadcasts - it had to sound great."

"The challenge with achieving high-fidelity sound quality in a product of this kind is that we wanted to include a wireless speaker option for customers who desired the convenience, but we did not want to lose any sound quality compared to a wired speaker connection," adds Mads Hoyby, Asono product developer.

"Because we specified high quality speakers from Norwegian manufacturer SEAS, differences in audio quality were easily detectable due to faithful reproduction of the source audio signal. In addition, although the satellite speaker is mains-powered, the main unit can be battery powered, so low power consumption is essential.

"We initially tried a Bluetooth-based solution for the wireless link, but found that the power consumption was high, draining the main unit"s batteries quite quickly when used un-plugged from the mains. The wireless audio link was also more prone to ambient 2.4GHz interference than Nordic's transceiver. And, perhaps most importantly, the Nordic solution sounded noticeably better."

This finding is echoed by specialist Norwegian hi-fi speaker design and manufacturing firm SEAS. "Our engineers were surprised at just how good the Nordic Semiconductor nRF24Z1 transceiver sounded when streaming wireless audio to our speakers in the Asono DAB radio," comments Jørgen Gjerdrum, SEAS sales and marketing director. "To our ears it lost practically nothing in terms of outright sound quality compared to a conventional hard-wired connection. We didn't think that was yet possible with any wireless audio streaming transceiver, let alone a low cost, volume part like the Nordic Semiconductor nRF24Z1."

"No one else on the market today is offering a 2.4GHz wireless transceiver that can stream completely uncompressed and thus genuine CD-quality sound," comments Nordic Semiconductor CEO Svenn-Tore Larsen. "We are very pleased that Asono, a company with a reputation for making great sounding radios, has chosen Nordic's nRF24Z1 to maintain the superior sound of its remote speakers and significantly extend the radio's battery life when users wish to locate the main unit out of reach of a mains socket."

The Asono DAB1 radio, which is available from the end of April, has already received some rave reviews in the specialist hi-fi press for its appearance, novel features and high-quality audio reproduction.

About DAB
Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) will eventually supersede analogue FM and AM radio broadcasts across the world. The UK, Germany, Norway, Denmark and Canada are the most advanced countries for DAB introduction. Around 300 million people are now within range of DAB broadcasts, and over 550 services are available - all broadcast on terrestrial networks that can be received via a tiny non-directional stub antenna.

DAB will bring users both vast choice (around 10 digital radio stations can be carried on single conventional analog frequency) and "intelligent" radio services that can be user-customized, including the ability to support data and image communications such as advanced traffic avoidance information.

In addition, DAB delivers crystal clear interference-free sound. Unlike traditional analog radio signals that are prone to interference caused by mountains, high-rise buildings and weather conditions due to multi-path reception, DAB selects the strongest signal and rejects all others to offer very high noise immunity.

DAB is promoted by the World DAB Forum (formed in 1999) and is based on the Eureka 147 DAB System in Europe.

About Asono
Norwegian consumer electronics company Asono specializes in making audio-visual electronics special, through aesthetically stunning design, marketing leading build quality and performance, and operational simplicity.

In other words there are standard DAB radios, MP3 players, Multimedia players and DVD players, and then there are Asono versions of these products that continually redefine the design-quality-performance benchmark in their relevant product categories. Yet all this achieved at surprisingly low to mid-range pricing levels by outsourcing the technical product development and manufacture to trusted partners in Asia.

In its home Scandinavian markets, Asono products are already established market leaders and the company is now undergoing a process of controlled expansion (so that it can keep up with demand given the fact its products regularly sell-out) launching currently into the UK, with further expansion into the rest of Europe, North America and Asia planned in the future.

As such, Asono - which was only founded in October 2003 - is currently regarded as one of Scandinavia's most well kept, audio-visual electronics secrets. Yet with products like the DAB1 now attracting rave press reviews, the Asono brand is fast becoming known far beyond its traditional Scandinavian borders.

Founded in 1950, specialist Norwegian loudspeaker manufacturer SEAS has developed an excellent reputation for developing high-end loudspeaker drivers that offer noticeably superior sound reproduction. Today SEAS supplies drivers to the hi-fi, custom installation, studio and mobile audio markets and its speakers can be found in a wide range of products. The company fuses innovative, world-renowned audio design with proven conventional speaker technology to yield proven results. By partnering closely with its customer R&D teams, SEAS takes pride in delivering optimized speaker solutions that offer the best sound quality achievable for a given application and acoustic operating environment.

Viernes, 09 Junio, 2006 - 08:59
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