Los Angeles, CA (January 31, 2005)–Wavefront Semiconductor introduced a new Evaluation Module (EVM) for its DICE II Firewire Audio chip at the opening of the 2005 Winter NAMM Show. The EVM sports a variety of professional audio interfaces–AES/EBU, SPDIF, ADAT Optical, TDIF, MIDI, and RS232. Networking connectivity is provided via state of the art IEEE1394b CAT5 ports, as well as the popular 1394a 6-pin port.
“We’re very pleased to release this important tool for developers,” stated Bob Moses, Wavefront vice president and director of engineering. “Engineers at dozens of companies all over the world have lined up to design DICE II into pro audio products. The EVM demonstrates how to implement all of the DICE II features in a typical application, and it promises to accelerate their time to market.”
In a related development, Wavefront will hold its first DICE II developers conference in Seattle immediately following NAMM. “We invited several well known 3rd party contract engineering firms who have been active in the Firewire audio field,” stated Moses. “We don’t want any company to be left behind by the Firewire learning curve. These contract engineers will be available to assist them with their development.”
DICE II is unique among Firewire chips aimed at audio applications because its associated software protocol stack follows the open source model. Wavefront will ship a Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) with the DICE II EVM based on the free GNU GCC and GDB compiler and debugger platforms. “A lot of customers have told us that it is critically important for them to get the source code and customize it for their particular needs,” said Moses. “We’re a chip company, not a software intellectual property licensing firm. We don’t want to be a bottleneck in getting products to market–our job is to remove barriers. So we’re giving the software away for free, and using open source tools. We’re hoping to enable a groundswell of Firewire products.”
DICE II made its debut in October of 2004 at the 117th AES Convention, and has subsequently built a tremendous following in the Pro Audio and MI fields. Designed by TC Applied Technologies Ltd. and distributed exclusively by Wavefront Semiconductor, the chip is a tour-de-force of pro audio connectivity technologies, supporting 144 channels of input and 112 channels of output, two clock domains, and a pair of digital audio routers that can send any audio input channel to any audio output.
Of particular note is a pair of Jitter Elimination Technology (JET) PLLs on-board the chip which exhibit sub-picosecond jitter. “The JET PLL answers everyone’s concerns about jitter on networked audio systems,” said Moses. “This PLL has intrinsic jitter below measurable limits, and it exhibits 100dB of jitter attenuation in some of the most challenging environments. It exceeds the performance of all known pro audio equipment today–networked or stand-alone. It can generate any type of digital audio clock from any type of input signal – including video rates and pull-up/down. In fact, the DICE II isn’t just a Firewire audio chip–it’s also a cost effective and powerful digital audio/video clock generator.”
Wavefront is tight-lipped about which companies are designing DICE II into products, but Alesis recently announced the first DICE II based Firewire pro audio products–its MultiMix Firewire Series mixers. “We’re very excited about the features, performance, and cost effectiveness of DICE II for our upcoming Firewire products,” stated Alan Meyer, Alesis director of engineering. “With DICE II we can finally achieve a level of performance that networked audio products could only dream of in the past.”