Choosing components is a series of time-consuming tasks, from surveying the market for possible candidates to properly evaluating performance. As a hardware engineer who has worked in Silicon Valley for 10 years, I have spent significant time developing test plans and specs, building fixtures, and testing components. One of the reasons comparing components takes a long time is because you can’t always rely on datasheets to give you the information you need. The problem with datasheets is that they only tell you the story the vendor of the component wants. If an IC characteristic is better under specific conditions, you can be sure the vendor will showcase their components under those conditions.
For example, a digital MEMS microphone’s current consumption is directly related to input clock rate, which also affects Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR), among other performance characteristics. So one vendor may specify current consumption using a minimum functional clock rate, and SNR using a higher one, while another vendor may use a single clock rate for both. This type of inconsistency makes it difficult to compare across vendors based on datasheets alone. Instead, I need to get samples from as many vendors as I can and test them all myself. Acquiring the samples is a lengthy process, and in most cases, I can only evaluate a small subset of components that are available in the market before making a decision.
After going through this process repeatedly, I decided to create a more efficient solution for myself and fellow hardware engineers. I teamed up with my former colleague, Yaneeka Huq, to build GPiO. We started the site with 60+ analog, digital, ECM (electret condenser microphone), and MEMS microphones from leading vendors, creating the leading resource for microphone performance data. This data, measured in our own lab, includes sensitivity, frequency response, SNR (and equivalent input noise), Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) vs. level, current consumption, power supply rejection, and more.
For more detail: Site enables detailed component comparisons
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