Wireless audio over 24 GHz

Wireless audio over 2.4 GHz
Just before the summer my contact at Texas Instruments had the excellent idea to sent me a CC85XXDK-HEADSET development kit. This is a PurePath Wireless Headset Development Kit to evaluate the new wireless audio products from TI based on the CC85xx family of RF micro-controllers. Due to a lack of time I didn’t have the opportunity to write about it earlier, but I did give it a try and was impressed.

The kit contains two identical cards, one of which is configured as a master, the other as a slave. Both contain a 2.4 GHz radio and once paired (a simple operation) you can stream high quality stereo audio from the master to the slave. This works exceptionally well according to my non audiophile ears. The cards are each powered from one 1.72 Wh rechargeable li-ion battery, so it is a totally portable system. Charging the batteries is done by hooking the boards up to a USB port. TI claims a continues operation of 22 hours for this system.

I gave it a try in my garden and managed a Line of sight (LOS) distance of some 45+ meters (then I ran out of garden). It will probably go a bit further when the master is higher up from the ground. Occasionally the receiver has drop-outs, then it suddenly goes from full quality audio to complete silence, but this happens only at greater distances or when the data path becomes obstructed. Never did I hear any garbage out of the headphones.

Included in the kit is a little CC Debugger pod (with a funny rubbery feel) that you can use to reprogram the boards. This pod lets you reprogram and configure the boards using a tool called PurePath Wireless Configurator. The purpose of this tool is a bit unclear to me as there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot that you can configure, but it is probably useful when you develop your own systems.

If you need a high quality wireless audio link in your system, the CC85xx is definitely worth a look!