Advantages of Free Field Applications
Compared to Traditional Electrodynamic and Balanced Armature Loudspeakers MEMS speakers provide unique features and compelling advantages compared to electrodynamic and balanced armature speakers.
The application-specific advantages of MEMS speakers must be separated into two main kinds of applications: Free field and occluded ear applications. In this article, we will focus on free field applications.
We refer to free field applications as systems in which the speaker is placed outside the ear and the ear is free to capture sound coming from sources other than just the loudspeaker itself. For the applications, the small form factor is not suitable for full bandwidth applications. Nevertheless, MEMS speakers offer unique advantages such as acting as a high audio quality tweeter with extended bandwidth in the ultrasonic region (up to 80kHz).
The small form factor is suitable for all kind of wearable application. In 2020, USound will bring audio eyewear with a free field audio module to the market. Fauna audio glasses include an electro-dynamic woofer and a MEMS tweeter and provide much brighter sound compared to single driver systems. This two-way system focuses the sound around the user’s ears. It also attenuates the level of the audio signal even at a very short distance from the ear, guaranteeing a good degree of privacy for the wearer.
MEMS speaker arrays
Another application that takes advantage of the thin form factor of MEMS speakers is USound’s automotive tweeter array. This modular sound system can be mounted directly in the car ceiling, removing the often bulky and heavy standard tweeter from the car. Not only does the MEMS speakers audio system reduce weight and make more space in the car; the sound is more crisp and bright. This system is already available and has been mounted in a car; upon request, USound can arrange an audio test.
In arrays, MEMS speakers empower industrial designers with the possibility of devising loudspeakers with unique aesthetics and premium audio. This novel approach consists of 20 Adap MEMS speakers, each with its own protective container, mounted onto a PCB that is bendable in both directions. All MEMS speakers are connected and driven together, creating a crisp and homogenous soundscape. This array is already available on the market for rapid prototyping.