An advanced module for wireless audio product design based on Nordic Semiconductor's nRF5340 high-end multiprotocol SoC, has been launched by IoT company, Shenzhen Feasycom. The ‘FSC-BT631D’ module is supplied in a compact 12 by 15 by 2.2 mm package, and is described by the company as the world’s first Bluetooth® module that can support both LE Audio and Bluetooth Classic. In addition to the nRF5340 SoC, the module integrates a Bluetooth Classic transceiver chipset for enabling legacy Bluetooth audio applications.
The next generation of wireless audio
"LE Audio is the next generation of Bluetooth audio," says Nan Ouyang, CEO at Shenzhen Feasycom. "It makes audio streaming over Bluetooth LE possible with enhanced performance in sound quality, power consumption, latency, and bandwidth. As the industry transitions from Classic Audio to LE Audio, wireless audio product developers need a solution that can support both versions, which is why we have developed the FSC-BT631D module."
"The nRF Connect SDK was also invaluable throughout the LE Audio development process."
For example, audio equipment solutions employing the Feasycom module can connect to audio source devices such as a smartphone, laptop or TV using Bluetooth Classic, then transmit audio to an unlimited number of other LE Audio devices using Auracast™ broadcast audio.
The module employs the nRF5340 SoC’s dual Arm® Cortex®-M33 processors – providing a high performance application processor capable of DSP and Floating Point (FP) alongside a fully programmable, ultra low power network processor. The application core manages both the LE Audio codec and the codec for classic Bluetooth audio, while the Bluetooth LE protocol is supervised by the network processor.
Support for multiple protocols
The LE Audio connectivity is made possible through the nRF5340 SoC’s 2.4 GHz multiprotocol radio featuring 3 dBm output power and -98 dBm RX sensitivity for a link budget of 101 dBm. This radio also supports other major RF protocols including Bluetooth 5.3, Bluetooth Direction Finding, Long Range, Bluetooth mesh, Thread, Zigbee, and ANT™.
"We selected the nRF5340 SoC because it achieved a stable coexistence of LE Audio and Bluetooth Classic which was key to this application," says Ouyang. "The performance of the dual-core CPUs, excellent power efficiency, and RF performance were other factors in the decision."
The ultra-low power consumption is made possible due to the nRF5340’s new, power-optimized multiprotocol radio, which offers a TX current of 3.4 mA (0 dBm TX power, 3 V, DC/DC) and RX current of 2.7 mA (3 V, DC/DC). The sleep current is as low as 0.9 µA. Additionally, because the cores can operate independently, developers have the flexibility to optimize performance for power consumption, throughput, and low latency response.
"The nRF Connect SDK was also invaluable throughout the LE Audio development process, alongside the excellent technical information and application engineers provided by Nordic," says Ouyang.