Two radio tuners integrated on single chip enable compact car radios

November 20, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
NXP Semiconductors introduced a combined car radio and audio system fully integrated on a single IC. The SAF775x is the third generation of NXP’s popular car radio and audio DSP product family and is the industry’s first single-chip multi-tuner RFCMOS IC with embedded AM, FM, and DAB tuners. With improved audio processing power, the new product achieves excellent reception and performance. At the same time, the SAF775x helps to significantly lower system costs via a reduced bill of materials.

A few years ago, NXP introduced FM dual-tuner phase diversity in car radio applications, using two tuners for better reception. However, up until now, both tuners were separate devices, external to the DSP chip. This separation was required to avoid interference and because different process technologies were used for analog RF tuners and digital signal processing technologies. With the introduction of the SAF775x, NXP once again managed to set a new milestone in radio processing, by integrating two independent tuners onto a single die and creating a much more compact solution to significantly lower system cost. This integrated dual-tuner device offers more than twice the processing power of previous generations, enabling superior radio performance and better all-round reception quality.

Another aspect of the SAF775x is its open programmability. The IC includes an 'open' Tensilica HiFi 2 Audio DSP for customers to program their own features, or to run those of third-party software vendors. This gives car radio manufacturers the choice and flexibility to differentiate their car infotainment solutions without resorting to expensive external ICs. Automotive tier one Visteon works closely with NXP throughout silicon development to ensure early adoption of NXP tuner and DSP technology.

Advanced audio processing is another benefit that the new SAF775x brings to the market. Customers may wish to use the HiFi 2 Audio DSP for audio processing from third party vendors such as Arkamys or AM3D. Another innovative application that can run on this HiFi 2 Audio DSP is active noise cancellation of engine sound: uncomfortable harmonics interfering with music playback and the general driving experience are removed by means of audio software processing. In combination with 3rd party software, the SAF775x offers an inexpensive way of damping the unwanted noise and replicating the desirable engine sound.

For more information visit