Atmel Corporation (Atmel), a US-based manufacturer of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and RF components, has introduced a new AVR32 ATEVK1105 digital audio gateway kit. The new kit is based on AVR high performance AT32UC3A 32-bit flash microcontrollers and offers developers with a ready-to-use hardware/software platform and various interfaces and the evaluation capabilities to meet their audio systems needs.

The new kit displays digital audio streaming, decoding and playback. These audio capabilities serve exploding market of audio accessories and the peripherals that connect home and the car Hi-Fi audio systems to the digital age. This incorporates the popular iPod docking stations.

The fast AVR32 CPU featuring DSP instructions is ideal for the audio decoding tasks, and UC3A handles two audio interfaces. For the high quality stereo output, the new chip has a stereo 16-bit bitstream audio DAC with the internal FIR and Comb filters. For the 4-channel or full surround sound, an IIS interface is available for the connection to an external audio codec. Both interfaces are supported with the drivers that utilize the AVR32 peripheral DMA controller which considerably decreases the CPU overhead.

The new ATEVK1105 board comes preloaded with the software that displays audio playback. A booted kit will scan any universal serial bus (USB) mass storage device for MP3 or other audio files and play them back. The new kit’s software will even scan the ID3 tag and present album the artist and song information on the 2 QVGA onboard display. The MP3 decoding from a USB mass storage device needs only a third of AVR32’s processing capacity, leaving plenty of the headroom for running the operation system, streaming the data and refreshing the display.

The customers with a license from Apple are able to interface the kit to an iPod or iPhone by utilizing an authorized Apple authentication chip adapter.

The new AVR32 microcontrollers are built for the high data throughput rates and features dual port SRAM, a 6-layer databus and multi-channel peripheral DMA controller to assist speed things up. This is needed when the UC3A features a 100 Mb/s Ethernet port, a 12 Mb/s USB port, two 33Mb/s SPI ports, four high speed USARTs, one IIS interface and two I2C compatible interfaces. The USB port has On-The-Go host function, enabling it to act as a host when connected to the USB devices like keyboard, mouse, mass storage or audio.

For the applications where the on-chip 512 KB Flash and 64 KB SRAM is not sufficient, the EVK1105 displays how to connect an external SDRAM, serial DataFlash, SD card reader and the USB hard disk or memory stick.

The new ATEVK1105 also features connectors for the future wireless expansion modules supporting IEE802.15.4/ZigBee, and Bluetooth.

Availability and pricing:

Atmel offers all the source code free of charge, incorporating software drivers for all the peripherals, TCP/IP stack and a variety of USB class drivers. This is available in the new AVR32 Software Framework, a software library integrated with AVR32 Studio development suite. The company also releases the schematics and Gerber files to enable the customers to easily include elements of the kit into their own designs.