© 2010 Benden Technology



Made by Serif


Clients of Benden Technology benefit from years of industry experience in a broad range of design techniques.


A common misconception is that design consultancies are inclined to “overdesign”, using expensive or complex technology by default. At Benden Technology, our philosophy of elegant design means that appropriate technology is chosen, according to the exact requirements of your project. This may indeed include cutting-edge techniques, or well-established material used in an innovative way.


Also, different projects have different priorities – for example, low cost, rapid delivery or out-and-out performance – and we have the experience to deliver the right solution.


Listed below is a selection of key technologies used in many of our projects, with a brief introduction. If any of them would enhance your next project, please contact us.






• Microcontrollers are effectively a complete, self-contained computer on a single chip.

• Used to add “intelligence” to products.

• Enable complex yet intuitive displays and user interfaces.

• Allow multiple versions of products simply by installing different program firmware.

• Can be updated with enhanced features at a later date.

• May incorporate rewriteable, non-volatile storage for user options and other data.

• Now very inexpensive (starting at less than £1) and hence becoming ubiquitous even in simple products.

• Preparation of firmware (program code) for microcontrollers can be as significant a part of the project as hardware design.


• DSPs are microcontrollers optimised for fast, real-time processing of streams of data, e.g. audio, video, sensor data.

• Higher performance than general purpose microcontrollers.

• Applications include filtering, signal synthesis and signal analysis.

• Offer functionality impossible to replicate in the analogue domain.

• May also perform control functions simultaneously with data processing.


• FPGAs are large, user-reconfigurable digital logic devices.

• While complex to develop, when tuned for a particular application they offer extremely high levels of performance through a   
  combination of high speed and the ability to perform many tasks simultaneously.

• Can address many of the same application areas as DSPs – choice between the two technologies is often not clear cut and will
  depend on the individual application.

• A single FPGA can replace whole boards full of small-scale logic devices.

• High-level functions such as microcontrollers and DSPs are available as IP blocks for implementation on FPGAs.


• Commonly encountered as the S/PDIF (consumer) and AES/EBU (professional) formats.

• Offers the ability to store, recall and extensively process audio signals with little or no degradation in quality.

• Often used in conjunction with DSP (see above).

• Another common application is streaming of audio over USB to a host computer.

• Inexpensive modules allow playback of audio stored on memory cards or USB hard drives - the addition of a customiised interface
  leads to a world of interactive products.


• Despite reports to the contrary, not yet entirely usurped by digital technology.

• Analogue circuitry frequently offers the simplest solution with the lowest power, cost and noise.

• Popular for high-fidelity audio and musical applications.

• Used for pre-processing of signals even in otherwise fully-digital systems.

• Physical layout of the components and circuit board can be as important as the circuitry itself in achieving high performance.


• Standard protocols for communication between pieces of equipment.

• Low-cost and well-understood thanks to widespread use in PCs.

• Straightforward to incorporate in other types of equipment, instantly adding PC and/or Internet connectivity.

• USB Host functionality allows use of commodity storage devices.

• Expanding choice of wireless protocols now available, including low-power, high-speed and streaming audio.

• Closed systems can use simple proprietary protocols for minimum cost.


• Components soldered directly to a circuit board rather than inserted through holes.

• Far smaller than conventional Through-Hole components, leading to smaller products.

• Cheaper to purchase and to manufacture with.

• Many components are now only available in surface-mount format and this situation will only intensify with time.

• SMT is ubiquitous in medium-high volume applications but is also increasingly attractive for low-volume products.

• Low-cost SMT prototyping services are now available.

• SMT should be the default technology for all new projects unless there are clear reasons for retaining Through-Hole parts.


• The standard protocol for communication between items of musical equipment (and computers).

• May be transported over USB.

• Low performance by modern technical standards, but extremely well-established.

• More capable alternatives such as Open Sound Control exist but have, as yet, failed to become ubiquitous.