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Nordic Semiconductors offers low cost nRF5340 optimized for Bluetooth LE Audio products

May 16, 2022 — by Giorgio Mendoza 289 views

Last week, Nordic Semiconductors introduced an Audio Development Kit (DK) equipped with their own nRF5340 System on Chip (SoC) and nPM1100 Power Management IC. Additionally, the nRF4340 Audio DK implements the Cirrus Logic’s CS47L63 high performance DAC and differential output driver enhanced for external loads (headphones w/ mono-only and direct speaker output).

The nRF4340 Audio DK features a dual core architecture that consists of an Arm Cortex M33 application processor (up to 128MHz) enabled to interface with audio codecs and an Arm Cortex network processor (up to 64MHz) to handle wireless protocols such as Bluetooth LE Audio. 

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nRF4340 Audio DK front view
(click image to enlarge)
 

Nordic Semi stated the new “Low Complexity Communications Codec” (LC3) utilized by the nRF4340 DK has superior audio quality compared to the standard Bluetooth Classic’s “Low Complexity Subband Codec (SBC). Furthermore, the company mentioned the LC3 offers an improved quality even when using half the wireless speed rate. In other words, if a user reduces the data rate to save power it won’t significantly decrease the audio quality. 



nRF4340 Audio DK back view
(click image to enlarge)
 

The company also mentioned their kits can be configured to be used as USB dongles to send/receive data from a PC or they can be set up to function as a Business Headset or True Wireless Stereo (TWS).   


Suggested device configuration
(click image to enlarge)
For software development, Nordic Semiconductors provides the nRF Connect SDK which includes resources for Bluetooth LE Audio, Bluetooth Low Energy, Thread, Zephyr RTOS, etc. 

 

Key features of the Nordic Semi nRF5340 include:

  • Processor System:
    • Nordic Semi nRF5340 Arm Cortex-M33 two cores
      • 128 MHz Arm Cortex-M33 with FPU & DSP instructions
        • 1 MB Flash + 512 KB RAM
      • Ultra low power network processor 64 MHz Arm Cortex M33 w/ 2 KB instruction cache
        • 256 KB Flash and 64 KB RAM
    • Cirrus Logic Audio DSP CS47L63
  • Storage:
    • MicroSD card slot 
  • Connectivity:
    •  Bluetooth LE (5.3), Bluetooth mesh
    •  NFC, ANT and 2.4 GHz proprietary protocols
    •  Thread, Zigbee and 802.15.4
  • I/O Interface:
    • 96 MHz encrypted QSPI for external memory
    • 32 MHz high speed SPI for displays and fast sensors
    • 4x UART/SPI/TWI, UART/SPI/TWI
    • 12 Mbps full-speed USB, I²S, PDM,
    • 4x PWM
    • 2x QDEC
    • 12-bit 200 ksps ADC
  • Other Features:
    • 2.4 GHz antenna
    • SWF RF connector for direct RF measurements
    • 2x 3.5 mm audio jacks
    • 5 user-programmable buttons
    • 4 user-programmable LEDs
  • Security:
    • Arm TrustZone
    • Arm CryptoCell-312
    • Trusted execution, root-of-trust, secure key storage
  • Debugger:
    • SEGGER J-Link debugger on board
    • Pins for measuring power consumption
  • Power:
    •   5V DC in (Type C) 
  • Temperature Range:
    •  -40°C to 105°C (nRF5340 SoC) 

 

Further information

The nRF5340 Audio DK costs around ~$160-$170 and the product is available through Nordic Semiconductors’ distributors.

 

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