Despite the increasing demand for multichannel audio systems, existing solutions are still mainly analog or audio-over-IP based, leading to well-known limitations: bulky wiring, high latency (0.5–2 ms), and expensive devices for protocol stack management. This paper presents a cost-effective, low latency, full-digital solution that overcomes all the previously mentioned problems. The proposed architecture is based on the new Automotive Audio Bus (A2B) protocol. It guarantees deterministic latency of 2 samples, 32 downstream/upstream channels over a single Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cable and phase-aligned signals. A single A2B chip is required for each node, reducing dramatically the system cost. The developed architecture is composed by a main board and an A2B network. The main board handles up to 64 channels, and it converts standard protocols usually employed for audio signal delivery, such as AES10, AVB and AES67, into A2B streams and vice versa. The A2B network can include a series of devices, for instance power amplifiers, codecs, DSPs, and transducers. There are many application examples including, but not limited to, transducer arrays (e.g., microphone, loudspeaker, accelerometer arrays), audio distribution in meeting rooms, Wave Field Synthesis (WFS), Ambisonics immersive audio systems and Active Noise Control (ANC). A modular and portable WFS system was developed employing the above-described architecture. It is based on eight channels soundbars, which can be daisy-chained in reconfigurable geometries and featuring up to 192 channels.
A Modular, Low Latency, A2B-based Architecture for Distributed Multichannel Full-Digital Audio Systems / Rocchi, Nicholas; Toscani, Andrea; Pinardi, Daniel; Binelli, Marco; Chiesi, Lorenzo; Farina, Angelo; Bonomi, Elia; Tronchin, Lamberto. - (2021).
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