25 Microchips That Shook the World – What About the Audio Contenders?

image  Over at IEEE spectrum Brian Santo has an article about the silicon that has a massive impact on the electronics world.  Its an interesting article that I am afraid makes me feel old.  Born in the 70’s, I am very much a child of the digital generation. 

It’s fair to say that the innovation that I have experienced in my relatively short life has been dramatic.  I can think back to a time before push button telephones, answer-machines, mobile phones, portable music players, the boombox, streamed audio, internet access and a whole host of other “Tomorrows World never warned us about that” inventions

On the Audio front, Brian identifies several IC’s as being important:

  • Fairchild Semiconductor μA741 Op-Amp (1968)
  • Micronas Semiconductor MAS3507 MP3 Decoder (1997)
  • Tripath Technology TA2020 Audio Amplifier (1998)

I think that the list has a major omission.  Whilst an MP3 decoder makes it into the 25, I think a more key invention is the Digital to analogue converter.  MP3 is one thing, but would we have ever got to this point in the history of digital media without the humble CD.  Should a Wolfson, AKM or Philips Dac chip not be in this list?

I think if we were to compile an audio only list I can think of a few more classic Microchips that would would be vying for space in the top 25.  Which would you put in there?

IEEE Spectrum: 25 Microchips That Shook the World