Microphone Applications


To address their increasing focus on voice-input quality, smartphone manufacturers are integrating multiple MEMS microphones and noise cancellation algorithms into each smartphone to achieve improved noise suppression and speech recognition. These algorithms rely on well matched, high performance microphones to deliver optimum performance to the end user. Smartphones are also often used in loud or windy environments, necessitating the need for microphones that are capable of listening to high sound levels without distorting or cutting out.  Additionally, microphones with higher acoustic performance can significantly improve the quality of sound recordings made with mobile devices. This is particularly evident when one is making a recording of a quiet or distant sound whose signal level approaches the inherent noise level of the microphone.
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More people are using their laptops for real time communication and voice recognition applications than ever before. These applications require the same high SNR and tightly matched sensitivity and phase that are needed in smart phones to achieve optimum noise suppression and speech recognition accuracy. In addition, these bigger devices have a longer audio trace from the microphone to the CODEC and as a result, benefit greatly from the use of digital-output microphones that deliver an audio signal that is immune to corruption from the device’s internal RF/EM interference.


MEMS microphones have also become increasingly important for use in wearable applications such as headsets, smart watches, and virtual/augmented reality goggles which typically rely on voice as a key user interface. These space-constrained, battery-operated devices bring a new challenge to microphone suppliers to deliver smaller, lower power microphones that still maintain their high level of acoustic performance. 

IoT/Smart Home

Today you can control the temperature and lighting in your home as well as the functionality of other home appliances simply by using your voice. This is generally accomplished using small, wall-powered devices containing 2,4, or even more microphones that are listening for certain words or phrases in order to perform a specific function. In these applications where there are so many more microphones being used in the array, microphone uniformity is extremely important for achieving the noise suppression required for accurate speech recognition. The additional challenge for designers of these applications is that the person speaking is typically located feet, not inches, away from the device, necessitating the use of both highly matched and higher SNR microphones that can precisely capture voice that is coming from farther away.