Advantages of Occluded Ear Applications

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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 in the occluded ear applications.

When we talk about occluded ear applications, we refer to audio systems in which the speaker, mounted in an earbud, sits inside the ear canal. In this kind of application, the ear can exclusively capture the sound emitted by the loudspeaker, external sounds are attenuated by the sealing of the earbud.

The main advantage that MEMS speakers offer for this type of application is the overall small form factor. This considers the dimension of the loudspeaker and of the back and front volume that, thanks to the MEMS speaker, can be kept to a minimum.

The image below shows the ear tips of Megaclite, our reference design for USB-C earbuds.  

Combining the low power consumption with the small overall form factor is a great advantage for wireless earbuds. The small form factor allows the usage of larger batteries – even in small, confined spaces such as earbuds – and the lower power consumption drains less current from the battery.

A further advantage is a large bandwidth that can be achieved by a single driver MEMS. See below a test report by a major Chinese audio company that compares USound MEMS-based earbuds with two top-notch brands.

The results clearly show that a single MEMS driver can easily compete with an electrodynamic speaker as well as multi-driver balanced armature configurations. This makes the MEMS speaker a compelling technology for true wireless earbuds. The combination of low power consumption, small form factor and the widest possible bandwidth provides unprecedented advantages for true wireless manufacturers and end-users. If you want to learn more on how to use a MEMS speaker in earbuds application, please refer to USound Acoustic Design Guideline.

To learn more: MEMS free field applications advantages

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