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A Single Data Line Using Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) for Digital Audio Systems

The standard Inter-IC Sound (I2S) bus, developed by Philips Semiconductor, is a simple three wire serial bus protocol providing a dual-channel data transfer between audio devices. The interface allows two channels of audio data communication, thus an eight channel audio data transfer requires four standard I2S serial lines. With pin counts increasing, use of multiple I2S lines becomes challenging. In such applications, using interfaces such as Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) enables multiple channel audio data transfers over a single data line. The TDM audio interface uses a technique that enables multiple channel audio data communication in time sharing mode. The TDM interface, which is not a standard protocol, is implemented over the I2S bus with the same I2S three-wire bus protocol. Audio data from multiple audio sources are multiplexed on a single data line in time sharing mode. Figure 1 shows an example audio subsystem with standard I2S and TDM interface use cases. This white paper outlines the TDM audio interface and highlights the Synopsys DesignWare IP for AMBA with Time Division Multiplexed (TDM) Audio Interface capabilities for digital audio transmission and reception which is widely used in audio applications.

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