10 January 2022
GaN Systems releases GeN2 Class-D audio amplifier and companion SMPS reference design
As gallium nitride (GaN) is being embraced in audio (enabling companies to launch better sounding, higher-performance, smaller and more eye-catching audio systems), GaN Systems Inc of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (a fabless developer of GaN-based power switching semiconductors for power conversion and control applications) says that it is making it easier to reap the benefits of GaN with the introduction of the GeN2 amplifier and companion switched-mode power supply (SMPS) reference design.
The solution is optimized for sound quality, thermal performance, size and cost. The evaluation kit includes a 2-channel, 200W per channel (8Ω) Class-D audio amplifier with 96% efficiency and companion 400W continuous, 550W peak power audio-grade SMPS. It enables audio design engineers to create premium audio products more quickly, reducing time to market and at affordable prices, says the firm.
The GeN2 reference design features a 20% overall size reduction in the power supply. It has a higher level of protection into lower impedance loads to the amplifier and provides better thermal management, resulting in 10°C temperature reduction. In addition to these improvements, GeN2 also lowers bill-of-materials (BoM) cost.
As entertainment, music, and information have become a more significant part of all aspects of our lives, and with audio consumption at an all-time high, high-quality audio is now a ‘must-have’ across all audio segments, says GaN Systems. Class-D audio systems with GaN technology provide better sound quality and are smaller and lighter, the firm adds.
The GeN2 reference design allows design engineers to develop a heatsink-less, self-powered (from AC line input) design with no external DC supplies required and smaller-size boards due to a high level of controller and DSP integration.
The reference design offers high efficiency across a wide load range using GaN transistors and advanced control techniques. Designers can quickly scale to a higher power with magnetics and GaN transistor selection.
Additionally, the solution highlights an easy plug-and-play design with features such as multi-audio signal inputs, bridge-tied load (BTL) output, and open-loop/closed-loop toggling.
Audio innovation with GaN Systems
Since announcing its best-performance Class-D amplifier and companion SMPS kit in May 2020, GaN Systems’ transistors have been implemented in several high-performance audio solutions, including the Syng Alpha Cell speaker (which was named one of TIME’s ‘100 Best Inventions of 2021’) and in Orchard Audio’s Starkrimson Stereo Ultra amplifier and all-in-one Starkrimson Streamer Ultra.
- In the Syng Cell Alpha, GaN Systems’ transistors are designed into the power supply, which can deliver peak transients of nearly 750W. The Cell Alpha power supply fits in any space, creates minimal heat, and supplies the system’s continuous and transient power requirements.
- The Streamer Ultra system delivers commanding sound quality and performance in a discreet package, performing the same functions that once required a rack full of components. GaN Systems is helping the company to achieve: 5-10x better THD+N; 20dB better noise floor (system level) 4-5x better frequency response; and a 4x reduction in power loss.
GaN Systems says that its power transistors are key components of next-generation audio products. While 2021 marked a year where GaN was embraced in the industry, 2022 is anticipated to be even better. The firm predicts exponential growth of GaN in the Class-D audio market, and 2022 will mark a year when the biggest audio names will launch GaN audio products, it adds.