Smallest MEMS speaker suits TWS, hearing aid applications
Based on the company’s 2nd-generation M2 speaker cell architecture offering improved SPL/mm2, the 56-mg Cowell monolithic MEMS µspeaker measures 22 mm3 and is available in a 3.4-mm diameter side-firing package. It delivers 110 dB SPL at 1 kHz and provides up to 15 dB of gain above 1 kHz for improved speech-in-noise performance and greater vocal and instrumental clarity versus electrodynamic and balanced armature µspeakers.
“Cowell’s architecture addresses two key hearables market trends: 1) spatial and lossless audio; and 2) over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids,” says Mike Housholder, xMEMS VP of Marketing and Business Development. “Cowell’s small size and performance are perfectly aligned with these market trends with a fast mechanical response, up to 150x faster than incumbent speakers, near zero phase shift and +/-1 degree phase consistency enabling precise placement of audio in 3D space.”
For TWS applications, Cowell can be implemented as a full-range driver in occluded earbud architectures or as a small, high-performance tweeter paired with an electrodynamic woofer driver in non-occluded or leaky two-way solutions. The device’s high frequency response, says the company, delivers new levels of clarity and presence to speech, vocals and instrumentals, allowing the woofer to focus on low frequency energy required for active noise cancellation.
For hearing aid applications, Cowell is a full-range driver that is 45% smaller than an equivalent balanced armature receiver, making receiver-in-canal applications a possibility. Cowell’s superior high-frequency response, lack of in-band resonance peaks, and 15 dB of gain above 1 kHz make it an ideal speaker for addressing high-frequency hearing loss and improving speech intelligibility in noise. Cowell’s speaker diaphragm is vented (front-to-back) enabling the relief of air pressure that may build-up over time inside the ear canal.
The SMT-ready package has an IP58 rating for dust/water simplifies system design, integration, and assembly. Cowell engineering samples are available now, with mass production in early Q2 2022.