Griffin FireWave Teardown
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The FireWave is a third party 5.1 sound-card for the mac. it uses a Fire Wire bus to communicate.
- Author: WiseGeek
- Difficulty: Moderate
The FireWave is a device that is, essentially, an external FireWire soundcard made by Griffin Technology as a third party accessory for Apple Inc.'s line of personal computers.
FireWave uses the FireWire (IEEE 1394) port of the Mac as an audio output to its Dolby Digital sound processing hardware, effectively acting as an external soundcard.
Griffin Technology's product website explains that FireWave uses the Dolby processors to allow the user to connect a 5.1 surround sound system. Speakers are then connected directly to FireWave's speaker terminals (three female 1/8" stereo connectors). Many different sound setups and configurations are possible, using a combination of Griffin's included FireWave software and Apple's "Audio MIDI Setup" utility.
Sadly, Griffin Technology's website lists the Griffin FireWave as a discontinued item.
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The Fire Wave case snaps together, which means its a pain to take apart without damaging the cosmetic appearance.
Ok now that its open lets have a look inside.
The board is pretty simplistic, no heat-sinks or fans of the sort.
The second chip is the Wolfson Microelectronics WM8766G. This semiconductor is a 24-bit 192kHz 6-channel DAC used in many home theater devices such as receivers and dvd/blu-ray players.
The chip right below it is the Xilinx XC9536XL High Perfonmace CPLD (Complex Programmable Logic Device). It works with the Wolfson chip to calculate delay time of the center and surround speakers.