Living on the edge
ICEedge is a class D amplifier technology platform enabling higher power levels, better sound quality and reliability than other IC’s in the market. The flexibility and features of ICEedge enables designs from 50 W to 7 kW and from 1 to 20 channels. This makes it the ideal technology platform for applications ranging from high power, professional audio to delicate high-end consumer audio. In short, ICEedge is any amplifier designer’s dream.
ICEedge – Class D like never before
In 2004, we introduced our ICCx Class D chipset. The chipset was a cutting-edge solution in terms of audio quality, reliability and functionality. ICCx has been implemented in millions of amplifiers designed and manufactured by both ICEpower and partnering audio manufacturers. Today, the chipset is still being integrated in thousands of ICEpower amplifiers and other audio applications bringing grand audio experiences to music enthusiasts all over the world.
Since the launch of ICCx, ICEpower’s knowledge and expertise within Class D amplification have grown substantially. The ICEpower heritage now consists of numerous full-featured amplifier series ranging from 25-1200W and several chipset solutions for both consumer, professional, automotive and mobile audio applications. With ICEedge we have converted these 15 years of experience into a next generation Class D chipset, the successor of ICCx.
Allow us to introduce ICEedge – Class D like never before.
The ICEedge revolution
When initiating the development of ICEedge, we decided to develop the best Class D chipset in the market and promised to make zero compromises in the process. We wanted ICEedge to be a revolution within audio quality, power range, flexibility, protection, diagnostics, integration level, ease of design and cost. By no means an easy target, as many of the design goals are inherently contradictory. This required that in every aspect the design choices, solutions and technologies had to be developed optimally with no short cuts.
The result is ICEedge – the future audio technology platform for ICEpower amplifiers and literally Class D like never before.
ICEedge product concept
The ICEedge chipset consists of a dual channel controller IC and two gate driver IC’s which are used in combination with external MOSFET’s. This enables scalability in power, which means it is the only chipset in the market enabling amplifiers that range in power from 50 up to 7000 watt (4Ω). ICEedge is our finest achievement yet in terms of audio performance and functionality, and likely the world’s most advanced Class D chipset.
All relevant protection, diagnostic and housekeeping features are integrated into ICEedge for easy and fast amplifier development and component reduction. The chipset contains new circuits carrying multiple patented inventions.
Power, Performance, Possibilities
The +/- 150V capabilities of ICEedge enables higher power levels than ever before with a Class D chipset, from 50W-7000W (4Ω).
With great power comes great responsibilities. To provide high power with outstanding reliability, ICEedge features a comprehensive protection scheme. It continuously monitors the amplifier temperature, voltage and current and activates a multi-layered warning and protection system if the operating conditions are nearing the protection limit. We call this “Music at all times”.
ICEedge is designed with high performance audio circuits throughout the entire design and features a wide array of newly invented performance enhancing features, such as continuous dead time compensation, post filter high order feedback and pop kill to name a few. This enables a market-leading audio performance that both sounds and measures incredibly. As a reference, our ICEedge based 1200AS amplifier achieves a 25µV noise floor and frequency independent THD, which stays well below 0.01% at all frequencies at all powers, all the way to clipping. For the record, that is more than 135dB SNR – better than most commercially available DA converters.
With ICEedge as a technology platform for ICEpower amplifiers, we can design amplifiers for the consumer market tailored for e.g. A/V receivers, Hi-Fi stereo amplifiers, active speakers, active subwoofers, etc. With ICEedge’s incredibly high power output, we push the power limit to new heights, enabling us to develop high power amplifiers for PA speakers, musical instrument amplifiers and professional amplifiers.
With ICEedge, we have integrated as many functions into the chipset as possible to reduce the number of discrete components on the amplifier board. All analog input buffers, pre-clipping, modulation, feedback, protection, monitoring and housekeeping functions are integrated. This leads to a simpler design, a great reduction in component count and ultimately lower cost compared to implementations using discrete components and gate drivers.
When designing amplifiers above 200W @ 4ohm, typically the approach will be a design with discrete MOSFET’s using gate driver IC’s. Although there are a few gate drivers available in the market intended for class D amplifier designs, most have originally been intended for use in motor drivers, and the audio features are typically quite limited. Thus, the modulator and feedback loops and functions such as thermal, overcurrent, overvoltage, protection, pop/click suppression, mute circuitry, input buffers, housekeeping and monitoring features, all needs to be implemented discretely.
ICEedge compared to monolithic IC’s
Today, monolithic class D amplifier IC’s are available up to around 200W @ 4ohm, 1% THD+N. With ICEedge we often find that on the system level we can approach the cost of monolithic IC’s, while offering several benefits. These include significantly better audio performance, platform scalability and flexibility in terms of feedback loop and modulator design, enabling you to design your own signature sound.
A Class D amplifier includes several different sub functions, such as high precision analog comparators and op-amps, high voltage gate drivers and high current MOSFET’s – each with different requirements. Putting everything on one die is a major compromise as a semiconductor process simply cannot be optimized for so many contradictory requirements. Instead, ICEpower has used a highly specialized low-noise, high precision process for the controller containing all the sensitive analogue parts in the signal chain, such as audio op-amps, comparators, etc. For the gate driver we are using a unique high voltage Silicon on Insulator (SOI) process, enabling the high voltage levels of up to +/- 150V.
The choice of a low noise, high precision analog silicon process, in combination with careful analog layout and design has enabled ICEpower to design audio op amps and comparators with a performance level in terms of linearity, noise, bandwidth, slew rate, etc. that is on par with the best available discrete analog audio components.
In the audiophile community, it has long been regarded as best practice to completely separate independent channels in order to minimize interference and crosstalk between channels. In ICEedge, ICEpower has therefore done exactly this. The two channels are completely separated and with the physical layout being fully identical, hereby the dual mono design.
ICEpower has designed one of the most advanced protection systems ever in a class D amplifier. The protection system has been designed from a “music at all times” paradigm. Essentially this means that it is designed to keep the music playing as long as possible, even under extreme conditions, before it eventually has to shut down to avoid damage if the current or temperature is not reduced. The protection scheme in ICEedge includes early warning before shutdown, accurate and fast MOSFET temperature measurement and temperature-compensated cycle-by-cycle current limit. All features are unique and invented by ICEpower for ICEedge.
The ICEedge driver provides an ICEpower proprietary Continuous Dead-time Compensation mechanism (CDC) that adds small continuous compensating adjustments to the gate driver output timing derived from the previously measured PWM switch timing. In other words, based on the actual timing of the power stage MOSFETs, the ICEedge driver will maintain the optimal timing of the full power stage and thus provide optimum low distortion properties.
By monitoring the amplifier’s conditions continuously, the risk of shutdown or damage is decreased dramatically as the system or user of the system has a chance to react before reaching critical levels. Therefore, ICEpower has integrated a simple interface allowing the possibility to read status and diagnostics information. This can be read either through logic levels on the pins of the chip or through the I2C interface.
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