Tensilica HiFi  Audio/Voice DSP IP

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Tensilica HiFi DSPs for Audio, Voice, and Speech

Audio dataplane diagramAudio, Voice, and Speech Processing Couldn’t Be Easier 

Looking for the best quality audio, voice, and/or speech processing core for your next design? With all the software already ported for immediate deployment?

With the largest selection of audio DSPs, software packages and ecosystem of partners, adding audio to your next SoC couldn’t be easier.  Make the choice that more than 75 licensees have already made - select the HiFi DSP for all your audio-, voice-, and speech-processing requirements.

Largest Partner Ecosystem with Expansive Range of Audio Software

Cadence has your audio software needs covered with over 105 partners in its comprehensive audio ecosystem. These companies range from industry giants like Dolby and DTS to smaller companies providing innovative sensor fusion, always-on, sound enhancement, and noise reduction software. 

We have more than 225 audio, voice, speech recognition, and voice enhancement software packages already ported to the HiFi DSP architecture. This means you can get up and running very quickly, and can easily port your own proprietary software, completely in C, while also maintaining or surpassing the performance of assembly on other DSPs.

List of 200+ Software Packages for Audio, Voice, Sensor Fusion and IoT

Table of Partner Audio, Voice, Sensor Fusion and IoT Software

HiFi DSP Customers Are Designing Exciting Products

Smartphone AMD Asus R7 260x board LG G2 Samsung Blu-ray Disc player Yamaha receiver

Tensilica HiFi DSPs are at work in many popular products. Learn more in our Customer Profiles Section

Choose From Six HiFi DSPs for Audio, Voice and Speech

  1. HiFi Mini DSP - Smallest, lowest power DSP for always-listening voice trigger and voice recognition
  2. HiFi 2 DSP - Highly efficient DSP providing the lowest power MP3 audio processing
  3. HiFi EP DSP - Superset of HiFi 2 optimized for DTS Master Audio, improved voice pre- and post-processing, and cache memory
  4. HiFi 3 DSP - Efficient 32-bit processing for audio enhancement algorithms, wideband voice codecs, and multi-channel audio
  5. HiFi 3z DSP - Most energy-efficient DSP for object-based audio, super-wideband voice codecs, and neural network-based automatic speech recognition (ASR)
  6. HiFi 4 DSP - 2X HiFi 3 performance for DSP-intensive applications like multi-channel object-based audio, digital assistant front-end processing, and neural network-based ASR

Features for a Wide Range of Audio, Voice, and Speech Processing

The Features You Need for Designs Ranging from Ultra-Low Power to High Performance

Audio DSP Plus Control

All Cadence Tensilica HiFi DSPs are click-box additions to our customizable Xtensa® LX processor and include the base Xtensa instruction set. In other words, they are excellent targets for control applications as well as audio.

Customizable to Meet Your Requirements

Because our HiFi DSPs use our Xtensa LX processors, you get all of the customization advantages that our processors are known for, along with incredible flexibility, including (but not limited to):

  • Complete flexibility to add/configure caches and local memories
  • Option to add direct RTL-like interfaces via Ports, Queues, and Lookup Interfaces
  • Option to add custom instructions with full compiler support

See our Xtensa product section for more details.


Optimized for Audio and Voice

Our HiFi DSPs are optimized solutions for digital audio, voice and speech. The performance levels of these DSPs approach those of fixed-gate implementations. They offer the flexibility, fast time-to-market, and lower risk of a processor-based solution, while simultaneously reducing silicon area and power consumption.

Our HiFi DSPs utilize Xtensa LX processor technology with custom instructions (better code density, fewer cycles), flexible datapath widths (higher efficiency per cycles), multiple instructions per cycle (VLIW—higher efficiency per cycle), and simultaneous data operations (SIMD—parallelization). A comprehensive Eclipse-based software development environment is provided, with everything from a source code editor, debugger, and ISS to an optimized compiler for exceptional code density.

Optimized for Always-Listening Voice Trigger and Recognition

HiFi Mini is our smallest, lowest power DSP supporting always-listening voice trigger and speech command modes. The HiFi Mini DSP enables a hands-free experience. Cadence is working with Sensory and other software partners who provide innovative voice activation, speech command recognition, voice pre-processing and noise reduction products—all optimized on the HiFi Mini DSP.

We optimized the HiFi Mini DSP to be as small and power-efficient as possible for voice trigger and voice recognition in two major ways. First, the DSP uses compact 40-bit encoding, which significantly improves code size. Second, we added efficient 16-bit instructions that are optimized for voice and audio codecs.

Efficient for Digital Assistants

HiFi 3z and HiFi 4 DSPs efficiently support front-end and neural network assisted speech recognition (ASR) processing.


All the Digital Radio Codecs You Need

Our HiFi DSPs run all the decoders required around the world for digital audio, including:

  • HD Radio™—From iBiquity™ Digital
  • DAB—In the MP3 decoder
  • DAB+—Certified by Dolby®
  • DRM—Certified by Dolby
  • XM-Satellite—From XM® Satellite
  • T-DMB—In the BSAC decoder
  • ISDB—In the AAC, HE-AAC decoders

Fully Programmable in C

All HiFi DSPs are fully programmable in C, with no assembly required. So if you have proprietary algorithms to port for a HiFi DSP, it’s easy and quick.

Ready for Immediate Design-In

All HiFi DSPs are pre-packaged, ready to drop into SOC designs. They provide programmable support for over 140 audio, voice, and sound enhancement packages, which are pre-ported and ready to use, with no software porting required.

Capable of the Best Sound Enhancement Algorithms

Audio requirements for everything from smartphones to home stereo receivers are being driven by audio post-processing.

For voice, smartphone requirements are moving from narrowband to wideband codecs with improved noise suppression, noise dependent volume control, and other algorithms to improve sound quality in crowded environments.

For home and car audio, audio enhancement software is significantly enriching the user experience, creating important competitive advantages.

And gaming requirements in all environments are driving requirements for up to 32 streams for immersive play.

Efficient for Set-top Boxes and Home Theater

Our HiFi DSPs have been designed into Blu-ray Disc™, set-top box, and high-end home theater receiver SoCs.

Architectural enhancements to our HiFi EP significantly improves DTS Master Audio decoding and tolerance to high external memory latency over the HiFi 2 DSP. With HiFi EP, single-core Blu-ray Disc SoCs can easily be implemented in 65GP with additional MHz to spare for other audio functions.

The 32-bit architecture of our HiFi 3 DSPs significantly lowers the required MHz for complex audio enhancement algorithms, thus lowering the required power.

And if you need the performance to drive object-based audio, look at our HiFi 4 DSP. With twice the performance of the HiFi 3 DSP, it can handle intensive algorithms in one instance.

Performance to Spare

Because of the efficiency of the Tensilica HiFi DSP architectures, only a fraction of the available MHz to perform audio decoding and encoding functions is required, leaving extra headroom for other control as well as media and signal-processing tasks.

Tensilica HiFi DSP Family Specification

What are the differences among the HiFi DSPs?

HiFi24 ISA

HiFi32 ISA

ISA Subset Variant

HiFi 2 HiFi Mini HiFi EP HiFi 3 HiFi 3z HiFi 4
v24 v24 v24e v32(vf) v32(vf) v32(vf)
VLIW Slots 2 3 3 4
VLIW Bundle Instructions Sizes 64-bit 40-bit 64-bit 64-bit 40-/48-/64-bit 48-/88-bit
Fixed Point MACs per Cycle
32 x 32 n/a 2 2 4
24 x 24 2 4 4 4
32 x 16 2 4 4 up to 8
16 x 16 2 4 up to 8 up to 8
Accumulator 56-bit 64-bit 64-bit 64-/72-bit
FPU (optional) Scalar (independent) FPU Integrated
Two integrated  2-way SIMD VFPU
ITU Intrinsic Support No Yes
Circular Buffer Support None None 1 1 1 2
Bitstream VLE/VLD Support



User-Defined Instructions Yes Limited Yes Yes Yes Yes
Other Notes Includes 32x24 precision MAC


ISA Variant Definitions

v24 Base HiFi instruction set, 24-bit and 16-bit data types
v24e Enhanced precision 32x24 support, circular buffer
v32 Superset of v24 with additional operations on 32-bit types
v32(vf) Single-precision integrated IEEE vector floating point

HiFi Mini Always On Voice Recognition and Sensor Fusion

Need Always-On Functionality? HiFi Mini is Great for Voice or Face Recognition and Sensor Fusion

Low-power always-on wake-up is now a must have feature for mobile applications.  Voice trigger functions have been widely adopted.  Face trigger is becoming more popular.  And sensor fusion also requires low-power always-on DSP processing.  HiFi Mini is a DSP that's ideal for all these applications, so you can use one core for all.

Always-On Wake Capabilities

Low-power always-on wake capabilities will continue to evolve. Right now this is commonly used for voice trigger, face trigger, and ultrasonic motion detection.  For these evolving applications, you need both ease of development and performance headroom. You need HiFi Mini.

HiFi Mini's low-power audio buffer sharply reduces MIPS requirements, up to 8X lower than other solutions.  The RAM includes phrase memory and data buffers (1.6-1.8x).  ROM includes recognizer code and constants for acoustic model and vocabulary.

Sensor Fusion

Sensor fusion combines control and signal processing. HiFi Mini can easily support both, as it's based on the Xtensa 32-bit RISC CPU. It is efficient in both control and DSP-intensive tasks and features smart power management. Cadence works with several software partners to bring the best software for sensor fusion to the HiFi Mini. 

Watch HiFi Mini Demonstration from RealTek at CES 2015

Watch Ty Kingsmore from Realtek Semiconductor as he demonstrates his new products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 in Las Vegas. This uses the HiFi Mini DSP for always-on, always-listening capabilities, significantly lowering power by offloading the host processor.


HiFi Audio Tunneling for Android Prolongs Battery Life

The Industry's Most Efficient, Lowest Power Way to Offload Audio/Voice in Your Android Device

The CadenceTensilica HiFi Audio Tunneling (HAT) for Andoid solution allows OEMs to quickly take advantage of the new audio tunneling features contained first available in the KitKat release of Android. Tremendous power savings are realized by completely offloading the audio decoding and post-processing functionality from the host CPU to the HiFi DSP. Additionally, this audio tunneling solution allows the DSP to send the audio content directly out for retendering, eliminating the need to move uncompressed audio data back to the host. We estimate that this cuts audio power by up to 14X, thereby doubling phone mp3 playback.

The Audio Tunneling feature in Android is the optimal audio offloading solution as it greatly reduces the amount of data passed back to the host from the DSP. See the chart below for an illustration of this reduced interprocessor communications.

NOTE: Above shows the amount of interprocessor data exchanged to decode five minutes of high quality MP3 (stereo, 256Kbps).

HAT Reference Design for Android

Cadence offers HAT, a solution which includes the HiFi Kernel driver and an audio framework. The HiFi Kernel driver loads the DSP firmware and manages interprocessor communications. The framework schedules the audio tasks and manages the audio processing components including codec and post-processing modules. This solution is available in source code format and can be easily adapted to a particular platform or SOC. Consulting services are available to port to a customer's board. 

Cadence provides a HiFi Kernel Driver - a reference for porting to a given platform or SoC. This defines communication between the host and the HiFi DSP. It includes firmware loading for the HiFi DSP on system start.

True Tunneling - Totally Offloaded to DSP

With HiFi Mini, audio decode and post-processing are totally offloaded from the host controller.  The HiFi Mini is able to output directly to the renderer, maximizing the off-time for the host processor and minimizing the amount of data copied back to the host.  Cadence provides an easy-to-use driver for interprocessor communications, compatible with Android.  Most other approaches only use the OMX layer or proprietary interfaces and are not as efficient.

Learn More - Watch our MWC Demo Video

See our blog and watch the demo.

HiFi 4 Ultra-High-Performance Audio DSP

Designing for the Future? HiFi 4 Offers the Highest Performance for Next-Generation Demands

Next-generation audio standards will employ advanced features such as object-based audio, which multiplies the DSP processing demands as compared to today's mainstream multi-channel audio. These complex algorithms are moving from movie theaters to home entertainment and even to automobiles to provide a much more impressive user experience.

Ideal for Emerging Object-Based Audio

With emerging object-based audio standards, individual sounds become objects that can be placed anywhere in a room. Instead of being mixed at a recording studio, these sounds are mixed on the fly at each location where they are played back. The object-based audio system calculates where the sound should emanate so that it appears in roughly the same space, no matter where speakers are located. This provides a more natural and immersive sound experience, and requires much more DSP processing power. Instead of having to use multiple DSPs to accomplish this, designers can now get the DSP power they need from one core – the HiFi 4 DSP.

Read the EETimes blog on object-based audio.

Optimized for the Most Demanding DSP Algorithms

Our HiFi 4 DSP is a highly optimized audio/voice processor geared for efficient execution of audio and voice codecs and pre- and post-processing modules as well as other demanding DSP functions in areas such as wireless communications. Its key features include:

  • Support for four 32x32-bit multiplier-accumulators (MACs) per cycle with 72-bit accumulators, more than double the performance of other audio DSPs for computationally intensive functions such as fast Fourier transform (FFT) and finite impulse response (FIR)
  • Support for eight 32x16-bit MACs per cycle under specified conditions
  • Four very long instruction word (VLIW) slot architecture capable of issuing two 64-bit loads per cycle
  • Optional vector floating-point unit available, providing up to four single-precision IEEE floating-point MACs per cycle
  • Software compatible with the existing HiFi DSP family consisting of over 140 HiFi-optimized audio and voice codecs and audio enhancement software packages.

See What Our Partners Say

“Audio processing requirements continue to increase, particularly as we move to object-oriented audio in the home,” stated John Couling, senior vice president at Dolby Laboratories. “Cadence’s HiFi 4 provides the processing power required to help enable a better, more immersive and personalized experience for users of high-end home entertainment systems who want to take advantage of the sound improvements inherent in object-oriented audio.”

"DTS:X™ is the next-generation audio codec from DTS that leverages object-based audio to give listeners new, immersive and interactive experiences," stated Joanna Skrdlant, vice president, solutions licensing at DTS. "The HiFi 4 DSP with quad 32-bit MACs is an ideal processor to support the demanding needs of object-based audio decoding such as DTS:X processing to provide a compelling consumer audio experience.”

“Consumers will soon be able to experience immersive sound and personalize their listening experience while listening to TVs and new media devices receiving the new MPEG-H Audio standard promoted by the MPEG-H Audio Alliance,” said Robert Bleidt, Division General Manager, Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies. “Immersive sound may involve 10 or 12 channels of audio, with additional audio elements such as dialogue, alternate languages, home- or away-team commentary, or even driver's or athlete's microphones requiring more channels to be transmitted for high-profile broadcasts, increasing the decoder workload. Thus, DSPs such as the Cadence Tensilica HiFi 4 DSP will play an important role in efficiently implementing the new standard in tomorrow's consumer electronics."

“Our Maxx technologies utilize Waves’ 20+ years of professional audio expertise and innovation to dramatically improve sound quality on a broad range of devices from TVs and PCs to mobile and automotive infotainment," said Tomer Elbaz, EVP and general manager of Waves Consumer Division. “The Cadence Tensilica HiFi 4 DSP is ideal for efficiently running our all our technologies in the highest performance mode to provide the best user experience." 

Audio, Voice, and Speech Software—Over 200 SW Packages Available Now

List of 200+ Partner Software Packages Already Supported on HiFi DSPs

The following is a list of audio and voice enhancement software packages available for Tensilica HiFi DSPs

Audio Codecs

  • AEC Wideband
  • AMR Wideband+ Decoder
  • AMR Wideband+ Encoder
  • DAB/MP2 Decoder
  • DAB+ Decoder
  • Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) Decoder
  • Dolby AC-4 Decoder
  • Dolby Digital AC-3 Decoder, 5.1 ch
  • Dolby Digital AC-3 Consumer Encoder (DDCE) 2, 5.1 ch
  • Dolby Digital Compatible Output Encoder 5.1 ch
  • Dolby Digital Live Encoder
  • Dolby Digital Plus Consumer Decoder 7.1 ch
  • Dolby Digital Plus Decoder/Converter 5.1 ch
  • Dolby Mobile 3+
  • Dolby MS10 Multistream Decoder
  • Dolby MS11 Multistream Decoder
  • Dolby MS12 Multistream Decoder
  • Dolby ProLogic II and IIx Decoder
  • Dolby TrueHD Decoder 7.1 ch
  • Dolby Volume 2, 5.1 ch
  • DRA Decoder, 7.1 ch
  • DTS Boost
  • DTS Broadcast and DMP 5.1 ch
  • DTS Core Decoder 5.1 ch
  • DTS Envelo Headphone and Speaker
  • DTS-HD (Master Audio), Express, Transcoder, and Neo:6
  • DTS Interactive Encoder
  • DTS M6 Decoder, 5.1 ch
  • DTS Neural Surround
  • DTS Symmetry
  • FLAC Decoder, 7.1 ch
  • MP3 Decoder
  • MP3 Encoder
  • MPEG-2 Layer 2 Decoder, 5.1 ch
  • MPEG-4 aacPlus v2 Decoder 2, 7.1 ch
  • MPEG-4 aacPlus v2 Encoder
  • MPEG-4 aacPlus v1 Decoder 2, 7.1 ch
  • MPEG-4 aacPlus v1 Encoder
  • MPEG-2/4 AAC LC Decoder 2, 7.1 ch
  • MPEG-4 AAC LC Encoder
  • MPEG-4 BSAC Decoder
  • MPEG-H Audio Decoder
  • mSBC Bluetooth Decoder
  • mSBC Bluetooth Encoder
  • mSBC Decoder
  • mSBC Encoder
  • Ogg Vorbis Decoder
  • RealAudio 8, 9, and 10 Decoder
  • Sample Rate Converter
  • SBC Bluetooth Decoder
  • SBC Bluetooth Encoder
  • WMA Decoder
  • WMA Encoder
  • WMA 10 Pro Decoder 2, 7.1 ch
  • WMA 10 Pro Lossless Decoder 2, 7.1 ch

Voice Codecs

  • AMR Narrowband Speech Codec
  • AMR Wideband Speech Codec
  • Bluetooth CVSD Decoder
  • Bluetooth CVSD Encoder
  • G711 Speech Codec
  • G722 Speech Codec
  • G723.1 Speech Codec
  • G726 Speech Codec
  • G.729AB Speech Codec
  • GSM-EFR Speech Codec
  • GSM-FR Speech Codec
  • GSM-HR Speech Codec
  • Opus
  • SILK Speech Codec

Audio Voice, Sensor Fusion, and IoT Partners

Please see our listing of the specialty of each partner here.

Partner Software Offerings for Audio, Voice, Sensory Fusion and IoT

The Strongest Partner Ecosystem for Audio, Voice, Sensor Fusion and IoT

Cadence has the largest partner ecosystem for audio, voice, sensor fusion and IoT.  Here's a list of our partners, by specialty.

Partner Application Home Entertainment Mobile/Tablet/PC Automotive IoT Engineering Services
Accusonus Speech enhancement check mark
AM3D Audio post-processing check mark check mark check mark
Arkamys Audio post-processing, active noise control check mark check mark check mark
Audyssey Audio post-processing check mark check mark check mark
Cogent Embedded Services check mark
Conexant Voice pre-processing check mark check mark check mark
Voice recognition check mark check mark check mark
Sensor fusion check mark
dbx-tv Audio post-processing check mark
Digital Wave Audio codec check mark
Dolby Audio codecs, post-processing check mark check mark
Embedded audio software development
DTS Audio codecs, post-processing check mark check mark check mark
DVSI Voice codecs check mark
eInfochips Services check mark
Forte Media Voice pre-processing check mark
Fraunhofer Codecs check mark check mark check mark
Audio post-processing check mark check mark check mark
Hillcrest Labs  Sensor fusion, management check mark check mark
iBiquity Digital radio codec check mark check mark
Inband Software Services check mark
Services check mark
Ittiam Services check mark
Kronoton Audio post-processing check mark
Malaspina Labs Voice pre-processing check mark check mark
Maxim Integrated Audio post-processing check mark
Microsoft Codecs check mark check mark
MightyWorks Logo Audio, voice pre-processing check mark check mark
Movea Sensor fusion, management check mark check mark
Active noise control check mark
Nuance Voice activation, recognition check mark check mark
NXP Software Voice pre-processing check mark
Opalum Audio post-processing check mark check mark
Services check mark
PProduct Services check mark
QNX ANC, voice pre-processing check mark
QSound Voice pre-processing, audio post-processing check mark
Real Codecs check mark check mark
Retune Voice pre-processing check mark check mark check mark check mark
Rubidium Voice activation, recognition check mark check mark
Sensor fusion, management check mark check mark
Sensory Voice activation, recognition check mark check mark
Skype Voice codec check mark check mark
Sonic Emotion Audio post-processing check mark
Spirit DSP Voice codecs check mark
SPL Audio post-processing check mark
Tata Services check mark
Technicolor MP3 check mark check mark
Audio post-processing, voice pre-processing check mark check mark

Design Tools Speed Your Adoption and Integration Processes

The Industry's Most Powerful and Complete Design Environment

Port C to HiFi

Port Software Quickly in C

A key advantage of the HiFi DSPs is that they use a simple programming model. Software developers can port audio, voice, and enhancement software codecs completely in C, while maintaining or surpassing the performance of assembly on other DSP and CPU architectures. This minimizes the time required to port and maintain special or proprietary audio software.


Processor design process

For Processor Designers

We deliver patented, proven tools that automate the process of generating your HiFi-based DSP along with matching software tools. These tools have been proven in hundreds of designs and the results are guaranteed correct by construction.

View the complete set of tools for processor designers.

Softwre development process

For Software Developers

The Xtensa® Software Developer's Toolkit provides a comprehensive collection of code generation and analysis tools that speed the software development process. The Cadence Tensilica Eclipse-based Xtensa Xplorer Integrated Development Environment (IDE) serves as the cockpit for the entire development experience.

View the complete set of tools for software developers.