The market predictions for digital audio players are extremely positive. The ability to compress audio data by a factor of 10: 1 or more whilst maintaining impressive sound quality has led to a revolution in the way content has become available. There has been an explosion of content on the Internet, new channels for commercial music distribution are opening up and new players with new form factors are appearing on the market. Traditionally a DSP processor may have been specified as an implementation platform for MP3 and other digital audio standards. However, an analysis of the key technical requirements for digital audio decoding, taking MP3 as an example, show that a programmable software solution mapped to a 32-bit RISC CPU has many advantages over a DSP based solution.
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