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AL3101 DSP

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The AL3101 DSP (also called 1K DSP) is a chip that has been developed by Wavefront Semiconductors (formerly Alesis Semiconductors).

This is a quite small chip but however very powerful. Indeed, here are some highlights of this DSP:
  • Ď24-bitsí fixed-point DSP using a S3.24 format (sign bit, 3 overflow bits and 24 bits after the coma),
  • MAC operation in a single cycle,
  • Up to ~50 MIPS at 48 kHz,
  • 1024 words of data memory and 1024 words of program memory,
  • IOs are working in sample-based mode,
  • Especially suited for audio processing.

    Some ADC/DAC are also available from Wavefront Semiconductors. These chips are 24-bits converters that interface pretty easily with the 1K DSP. The same applies for ADAT converters.

    Complete information on this chip can be found from the Wavefront Semiconductors Website:

    Why using the AL3101?
    Some arguments are strongly in favor of this chip for DIY projects:
  • The chip is packaged in 28 pins SOIC and as a consequence can be easily soldered by electronics amateurs,
  • The chip is not too expensive. When more processing power is required, DSPs can be simply added,
  • The DSP is quite powerful with respect to its price and physical size,
  • Integration with ADC/DAC and/or ADAT converters is pretty easy,
  • Assembler, loader and IDE are available for free from the Wavefront Semiconductors Website,
  • The development board and examples can be a good starting point for DIY developments.

    The chip has however some limitations which are not so annoying in standard audio processing:
  • Itís working in sample-based mode making FFTs and the likes impossible,
  • The memory is limited to 1024 data values which limits the total delay (of algorithms using delay lines like choruses, etc.) to ~20ms at 48 kHz.

    Our goal using the AL3101
    Our goal using the AL3101 is quite similar to our goal in other projects: make multi-effects for musical instruments. A typical application for such a device would be to effectorize a guitar with distortion, equalization, compression, chorus, etc.

    Software projects using the AL3101
    Alesis Semiconductors used to provide some interesting tools for free: assembler, IDE, loader, development board.

    We provide the missing parts: simulator, generic loader, assembler/disassembler and last but not least an application generator.

    This tool suite is known as VirtuAL3101. It is open-source, multi-platform code and is available from Source Forge.

    Hardware projects using the AL3101
    Miss Parker is our first project based on the AL3101. Most of our efforts are still currently targeted on Miss Parker.

    More projects based on AL3101 will follow soon...

    Copyright © 2003 Axoris - Last modified: 2009-03-11