AKM Resumes Production With New VELVET SOUND Branding Following Factory Fire

Posted on 11th February, 2022

AKM Resumes Production With New VELVET SOUND Branding Following Factory Fire

The factory fire that devastated the Japanese AKM factory in October 2020, halting production and crippling the global supply of its DAC and ADC chips across multiple industries, now shows signs of promise.

Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation (AKM) has reportedly resumed production, with thirteen DAC and ADC product samples being offered and released under its VELVET SOUND branding. 

According to the company, these samples started shipping in January 2022, with mass production scheduled for the third quarter of this year.

AKM has been one of the largest suppliers of audio converter ICs since the late 1980s. Since then, the company says it has shipped over 3.5 billion audio devices, with its solutions adopted by over 2500 customers across all audio-related industries. AKM products are used in high-end and consumer audio applications, professional recording and mixing environments, and electronic musical instruments. 

For the company's next chapter, and with its products featuring new chip architectures and core technologies, AKM's next-generation audio devices will be marketed under its new VELVET SOUND branding. The company said:

The new circuitry found in VELVET SOUND devices is designed to maximise dynamics and ensure pure, unaltered audio data, prioritising the accurate capture and reproduction of the source material in order to achieve high performance and rich musicality. These devices were designed specifically for the high-resolution digital audio era.

AKM has redesigned its AK4490 D/A converter and its higher-end counterpart, AK4493, as new products under the VELVET SOUND brand. These new devices, AK4490R and AK4493S, are said to use advanced VELVET SOUND technology “to improve electrical margin and stability.”

AKM continued:

They achieve an unprecedented level of audio integrity and dynamics while maintaining the reduced power consumption of the original AK4490 and AK4493.

The AK4490R and AK4493S accept up to 768 kHz PCM data and 22.4 MHz DSD data (AK4493S). 

Other models in the VELVET SOUND range include:

  • 115dB 768kHz / 32-bit 2-/4-/6-/8-ch DAC: AK4452, AK4454, AK4456, AK4458  
  • 111dB 768kHz / 32-bit 4-/8-ch ADC: AK5534, AK5538 
  • 115dB 768kHz / 32-bit 2-/4-/8-ch ADC: AK5552, AK5554, AK5558
  • 121dB 768kHz / 32-bit 2-/4-/8-ch ADC: AK5572, AK5574, AK5578
  • Differential Input Stereo 32-bit ADC with Excellent PSRR: AK5522

StereoNET predicted how widely the AKM factory fire would be felt across audio industries, which at the time went underreported by most media outlets. Since then, production lines across many electronic audio components have halted, crippling supply chains. The widespread impact has even extended to medical, automotive, and aviation industries whose products rely on products offered by companies such as AKM.

At the time of the fire, AKM reported that they expected to resume “typical production capacity” within six months, so the news that samples are being shipped now for evaluation is good news indeed.

      Marc Rushton's avatar

      Marc Rushton

      StereoNET’s Founder and Publisher, born in UK and raised on British Hi-Fi before moving to Australia where he worked as an Engineer in both the audio and mechanical fields.

      Posted in:Hi-Fi Home Theatre Technology
      Tags: velvet sound  akm 

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