How MEMS speakers can simplify the design process of hearables

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ODMs and CMs continuous search to simplify their manufacturing processes, and the end consumer demanding light-weighted, ergonomic, and more fashionable wearables and hearables, highlighted the need for a complete audio solution that contains all core components in one easy-to-integrate module.   

The mechanical design and assembly process of today’s earbuds have become increasingly complex. For instance, this has been the case for true wireless earbuds (TWS), especially when integrating active noise cancelling (ANC), in which at least one microphone needs to be integrated into the earbud. 

Leading brands have products featuring ANC, yet face the problem of acoustically optimal microphone placement omitting resonance effects, while keeping the design small enough to fit in the ear and achieve a visually appealing look. Current solutions involve manual assembly steps, carefully placing and glueing the feedback microphone in front of the speaker, making the process complicated.

Thanks to its form factor (around 1.5 mm thickness), MEMS loudspeakers enable the creation of a fully integrated audio module. Many of the electronics of a TWS earphone can be embedded inside the ear-tip, leaving the rest of the space free for a bigger battery or other components. The audio module mounts the electronic components, the MEMS microphone and MEMS loudspeaker on Rigid-Flex PCB, keeping the electronic package as small as possible. 

USound 2nd generation of MEMS loudspeaker, which comes with the companion Audio amplifier, is IPX8 rated, survive drop test up to 2m, can be soldered reflow with standard SMT equipment, and delivers up to 120 dB SPL with max THD below 2%. All of this with a weight below 0.1 gram. 

The MEMS speakers technology has reached the required maturity level to empower brands who want to bring high-quality hearables and wearables to the market. Rethinking and redesigning the essential blocks of audio systems is the key to meet the end-consumer demands of devices that seamlessly integrate into their day-to-day. 

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