Cortex-M4 based audio board runs FLAC and Ogg Vorbis

An audio streaming development board from Future Electronics features an ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller with audio file decompression software, DACs, a codec, and digital and analogue microphones.

The distributor has created a PC-based graphical user interface which connects to the board via USB, and it claims developers can start recording and playing back audio files in minutes.

The board also provides a hardware environment in which to develop code and evaluate the performance of ARM Cortex-M4 application software.

“We believe the ARM Cortex-M4 is going to be a massive hit with our industrial and embedded customers, and this board is a brilliant starting point for anyone thinking of developing on a Kinetis micro,” said Colin Weaving, technical director of Future Electronics.

The Audio Streamer Micro-Blox kit is based built around the MK60N512VMD100 microcontroller from Freescale.

With the free MQX real-time operating system and a free USB stack pre-loaded on the microcontroller, the board provides a highly capable general platform for ARM Cortex-M4 development work.

For system-level prototyping, it can be interfaced to the distributor’s LongBow Future-Blox motherboard.

The board’s software uses the ARM DSP CMSIS library, which has been optimised for the DSP co-processor available on the ARM Cortex-M4 core, which can be used for motor control.

Audio file decoding software embedded in the microcontroller can handle MP3, FLAC, WAV and Ogg Vorbis file types. FLAC, a ‘lossless’ file format, is becoming popular in hi-fi equipment.

Ogg Vorbis is an open-source, royalty-free file format that achieves tighter compression than MP3.

The microcontroller also runs other software for decoding files such as ALAC, WMA, AIFF and AAC. An Ethernet connection for file downloading is provided via Micrel’s KSZ8031RNL transceiver.

Audio playback of the decoded files is via one of two Wolfson Microelectronics DACs. The Audio Streamer Micro-Blox board is available free to qualifying customers of Future Electronics.

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