Revolutionizing Audio With Silicon-Based Microspeakers

xMEMS Labs, a company based in Santa Clara, California, is on a mission to revolutionize the audio industry by replacing the traditional coil-based speaker technology with silicon-based microspeakers. To achieve this goal, the company has introduced three Solid-State Fidelity solutions that can be used in a range of audio devices, including true-wireless earphones, in-ear monitors, digital hearing aids, smart glasses, VR headsets, and sleep buds.

The VP of Marketing and Business Development, Mike Housholder, explained that the xMEMS Solid-State Fidelity technologies are different from conventional coil speakers because they are monolithic with silicon membranes, which offer better material stiffness and faster impulse response. According to the company, the silicon membrane in the patented solid-state speaker is 95 times stiffer than the paper or plastic diaphragm in conventional speaker driver design, resulting in improved clarity in the mids and highs. Additionally, the silicon architecture delivers 150 times faster impulse response for improved precision. The speaker uses thin-film piezo actuators to excite the silicon membrane and produce sound waves.

Moreover, the high-performance speaker is lightweight and measures just 1 mm thin, which allows for more room inside the housing for bigger batteries or onboard sensors like microphones. It also eliminates the need for speaker matching and reduces calibration requirements while offering much-improved spatial audio imaging than conventional dynamic drivers. The xMEMS microspeakers can meet IP58 standards for resistance to dust and moisture.

Since the xMEMS microspeakers use standard semiconductor processes, the company can produce them rapidly, uniformly, and cost-effectively at scale. The market availability of three new Solid-State Fidelity solutions has been announced.

The Cowell is the world’s smallest solid-state microspeaker and is suitable for both wired and true-wireless earphones spaces. It is a two-way design incorporating a 9-mm DD woofer. The company’s Montara microspeaker is currently featured in the Mimitakara 6EB Active Hearing Aid. xMEMS has now launched the Montara Plus solution, which is reported to be the world’s highest-output MEMS microspeaker and is being pitched as a full-bandwidth transducer for high-resolution in-ear monitors.

The Skyline DynamicVent is a unique design that combines the best qualities of open and closed earbud designs. It has a DSP-controllable vent for active ambient control, and closing the vent results in the best listening experience and bass response as well as the highest passive isolation. On the other hand, opening the vent allows sounds from the outside in, so listeners aren’t so cut off from the world around them while also reducing occlusion effects.

According to market analyst Peter Cooney of SAR Insight, the market for MEMS microspeakers is expected to follow a similar trajectory to MEMS microphones. He believes that consumer demand for high-resolution, spatial, lossless streaming audio represents a generational shift in audio content that requires a similar evolution in sound reproduction. Solid-state fidelity can create a more accurate reproduction of the source audio and a vastly superior listening experience.