Intersil has these digital audio chips that have many uses, but this specific reference platform is made into an ultra cheap 4 channel amp. It takes digital input, optical input, and SPDIF input, and even has a USB port on the board that will let you control the entire amp from software.
but the one critical question.....will it allow you to do audio over usb? that would be a HUGE selling point
so you're thinking USB audio out from the PC (or phone/tablet). Interesting concept, eliminates the sound card, except for other audio inputs. I'd bet that their reference board doesn't do that, but I'm sure someone could do it if they were interested in building an amp that targets the CarPC market.
From what I saw I'd love to have just their reference design, but we could surely come up with additional features:
USB audio input
switchable multiple analog input
make the optical input selectable also
line out- to feed other amps
remote volume knob option
Edit: after looking through Intersil's website I found the technical specs for an older evaluation board, but not the one in the video above, however the specs are exciting. It covers most of the points I mentioned above, except for USB audio input and anti-thump
I'd love an amp that does optical in; I haven't been able to find one anywhere. Running one digital cable from the carPC to the amp is a lot better than 2 or more analogs to the amp.
EDIT: However, if I'm understanding this site right, that unit pictured isn't an actual product, so much as a collection of things that they make that has been arranged into an amplifier?
This is not a product. It might be something that mp3car would bring to the market by working with the silicone vendor. Sometime soon we will release a few sample spec sheets to get your feedback about which ones if any we will put into production.
However, if I'm understanding this site right, that unit pictured isn't an actual product, so much as a collection of things that they make that has been arranged into an amplifier?
Its a reference design board that they build and will sell to manufacturers that want to evaluate their integrated circuit designs for inclusion in their products, for example the 2015 model Kicker 500-4-OP amp with optical input (I just made that up).
But Intersil has done all the legwork and has a working design. If we could just get them to sell their reference device to us "hobbyists". I'm sure we could provide some valuable feedback, such as the above mentioned USB audio input, as well as integrating the USB control into front ends.
Oh well. Lets face it, we are too small of a market for a major manufacturer to pick this up and run with it, at least at an affordable level. I think it would take someone like MP3Car or the fusion brain guys who would realize they would never make a lot of money from it, and of course since we are talking low volumes, I would bet the cost would be higher than say $300.
TruckPC - gutted, being used for test setup
BoatPC - All in 1 in cuddy, N7 using VNC on dash, RR
BlazerPC - Nexus 7 with Timur's USBROM