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Dokumentenidentifikation EP0523519 13.11.1997
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0523519
Titel Tonaufnahme- und Wiedergabegerät
Anmelder Sharp K.K., Osaka, JP
Erfinder Sudoh, Kengo, Higashihiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken, JP;
Sumitomo, Yuji, Yamatokoriyama-shi, Nara-ken, JP
Vertreter Patentanwälte MÜLLER & HOFFMANN, 81667 München
DE-Aktenzeichen 69222578
Vertragsstaaten DE, GB
Sprache des Dokument En
EP-Anmeldetag 07.07.1992
EP-Aktenzeichen 921114898
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 20.01.1993
EP date of grant 08.10.1997
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 13.11.1997
IPC-Hauptklasse G11C 27/00
IPC-Nebenklasse G06F 3/16   

Beschreibung[en]
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a sound recording and reproducing apparatus in which an analog acoustic signal generated by a microphone or the like is converted into a digital signal to be stored in a semiconductor memory device, and the digital signal stored in the semiconductor memory device is reformed into an analog acoustic signal so that a sound is reproduced by a speaker or the like.

DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

There has been known a sound recording and reproducing apparatus, a so-called cassette tape recorder, which uses a magnetic tape such as a cassette tape. Referring to such an apparatus using the magnetic tape, the price of the tape is low, and recording and reproduction can be performed for many hours. But such an apparatus necessarily includes the mechanism for running the tape, for that cause, it is difficult to make the apparatus small-sized and light, a noise is unavoidable, a failure rate in reproduction is high and time is required for re-finding the sound which went past, wherein quick feed and rewind are involved manually.

To eliminate the above-mentioned drawbacks, there has been developed a sound recording and reproducing apparatus using a semiconductor memory in place of the magnetic tape. Referring to the semiconductor memory, an access speed is in the order of microsecond, and the head of a desired part of a recorded sound can instantaneously be accessed and started. In addition, the mechanism necessary to the tape system is dispensable so that the apparatus can be small-sized and light. Further, the noise is not made. In particular, a removable memory card is convenient.

Referring to the semiconductor memory, the price is generally high and power backup is needed. Recently, there has been manufactured a nonvolatile batch erasable memory of which price is relatively low and which does not need battery backup. These recent progresses will solve the above-mentioned problems.

In the case where the sound recording and reproducing apparatus is particularly used for language learning or message dictation, important is execution of a recall request that a user wants to retroactively hear a reproduced phrase which he or she failed to catch. Referring to the execution by a conventional apparatus using a tape, it is the practice to retroactively hear the phrase by running, first, the tape in the reverse direction and then reproducing the sound series, and carrying out the stop and play operations for catching a break in the continual sound (or by means of a silent part detecting circuit). Since go and back runs of the tape is involved, however, a lot of nervous time is consumed. In addition, it is very difficult to precisely stop the tape at a desired position because the stop and play operations are mechanically carried out.

In the sound recording and reproducing apparatus using the semiconductor memory described above, the access speed to the memory is in the order of microsecond, and a normal re-starting is carried out instantaneously with the head of a desired part of the sound series and the like. However, when it comes to a recall request on the way of reproduction, it is necessary to perform complicated digital signal processings comprised of tracing memory addresses to search the data of a memory for a silent or unreproduced part and of re-starting sound reproduction at that point. Consequently, the structure of required circuits is large-scaled. In the case where the sound signal is subjected to the data compression and recorded, particularly, the digital signal processings are more complicated.

When a recall key is pressed down by a user to reproduce a short phrase which the user failed to hear, the reproduction has often advanced to the next phrase or some part gone past, because of time lag in the pressing act, that is, the stopped point is often a location which one or more silent parts (portion between phrases or sound series) are passed over. In such a case, if only the re-starting with the head of the present phrase is carried out by means of the above-mentioned apparatus, it is impossible to come back to hear a desired phrase gone past.

As the related art to the present invention, there has been known a recording control circuit of a sound recording and reproducing apparatus disclosed in Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication No. 259700/1988, wherein a recording end position in which a memory is used is written as index data to a semiconductor memory circuit at the time of a recording operation, and the recording operation is started in the recording end position when recording manipulation is carried out without other operations after the attachment of the semiconductor memory circuit to a body or after power supply.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a sound recording and reproducing apparatus comprising a semiconductor memory device for storing a digital signal, acoustic signal writing means for converting an inputted acoustic signal into a digital signal and writing the digital signal to the semiconductor memory device, reading out means for reading out the digital signal from the semiconductor memory device, converting the digital signal into an acoustic signal and outputting the acoustic signal as a sound at the time of sound reproduction, address storing means for storing an address read out from the semiconductor memory device, silent part detecting means for always monitoring a silent part of a reproduced sound and outputting a silent part detecting signal every time the silent part is detected during sound reproduction, address writing means for writing to the address storing means an address read out from the semiconductor memory device when the silent part is detected in response to the silent part detecting signal, input means for inputting a recall instruction, and control means for reading out from the semiconductor memory device digital signals on addresses subsequent to those stored in the address storing means, converting the digital signals into acoustic signals and outputting the acoustic signals as sounds in response to the recall instruction inputted from the input means, wherein the address storing means stores, as first and second silent part addresses, addresses read out from the semiconductor memory device when a silent part is detected and when a previous silent part is detected, and the control means compares the address read out from the semiconductor memory device when a recall instruction is inputted from the input means with the first silent part address stored in the address storing means, selects one of the first and second silent part addresses based on the result of comparison, reads out digital signals on addresses subsequent to the selected address from the semiconductor memory device, converts the digital signals into acoustic signals, and outputs the acoustic signals as sounds in response to the recall instruction inputted from the input means.

It is to be noted here that the silent part in the present invention indicates an address portion which gives no sound with acoustic level, and that it results in a time location in which any sound with listenable level is unreproduced.

According to the present invention, the address of the silent part is priorly stored in the register. Consequently, when a recall is requested (for example, a recall key is pressed down), a response can immediately be performed. In addition, the structure of a circuit can relatively be simplified.

Even if a new phrase is started at the time of reproduction, a previous phrase is reproduced when pressing down the recall key within a given time. Consequently, even if the recall key is pressed down slightly late when reproducing a short phrase, the user can hear a desired phrase without errors. If a further register is provided, the user can hear earlier phrases.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

  • Figure 1 is a block circuit diagram of a sound recording and reproducing apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • Figure 2 is a block diagram of a silent part detecting circuit of the sound recording and reproducing apparatus; and
  • Figure 3 is a diagram for explaining the recall operation of the sound recording and reproducing apparatus.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

An embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings. Fig. 1 is a block diagram of a sound recording and reproducing apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention. Fig. 2 is a block diagram of a silent part detecting circuit of the sound recording and reproducing apparatus. As shown in Fig. 1, the sound recording and reproducing apparatus comprises a body 1 and a memory card (semiconductor memory device) 6 as a removable recording medium for storing the sound data therein. The body 1 includes a recording circuit part, a reproducing circuit part, a silent part detecting circuit (silent part detecting means), storing means and the like.

The recording circuit part has a microphone 2, an amplifier 3, an AD converter 4, a sound reducing circuit 5, a system microcomputer 7 and the like. A sound is converted into an analog electric signal (analog acoustic signal) by the microphone 2. The analog electric signal is amplified by the amplifier 3 and then converted into a digital signal by the AD converter 4. The digital signal is reduced or compressed by a factor of several or up to several tens through the sound reducing circuit 5. The reduced data is once fetched to the system microcomputer 7. Then, the reduced data is written to the memory card 6 by addressing through the system microcomputer 7. The system microcomputer 7 repeatedly performs the operation of sequentially fetching the reduced data from the sound reducing circuit 5 while incrementing addresses, and writing the same to the memory card 6. Thus, sound recording is carried out.

The reproducing circuit part has the system microcomputer 7, a sound extending circuit 8, a DA converter 9, an amplifier 10, a speaker 11 and the like. The reduced data recorded in the memory card 6 are repeatedly read out while the addresses are sequentially incremented by the system microcomputer 7. The reduced data thus read out is sent to the sound extending circuit 8 and then converted into an original digital acoustic signal by the sound extending circuit 8. The digital acoustic signal is converted into an analog acoustic signal by the DA converter 9. Then, the analog acoustic signal is amplified by the amplifier 10, and reproduced and outputted as a sound by the speaker 11. Thus, a sound is reproduced.

As shown in Fig. 2, a silent part detecting circuit 12 includes a latch 16, a comparator 17, a gate circuit 18, a counter 19 and the like. The digital acoustic signal outputted from the sound extending circuit 8 is inputted to the silent part detecting circuit 12. The inputted digital acoustic signal (hereinafter referred to as DA data) is once latched in the latch 16. The comparator 17 compares a latched value with a predetermined level set value (it is decided whether there is no sound depending on the predetermined level set value). As the result of comparison, when the DA data has a greater value than the level set value, a signal for resetting the counter 19 is outputted. When the DA data has a smaller value than the level set value, the counter 19 is released from a reset state and counts up by a clock which passes through the gate circuit 18. By way of example, an output QD of the counter 19 is connected to the gate circuit 18. When the counter 19 counts up to 8, the value of the output QD is changed from "0" to "1". Consequently, the gate circuit 18 is closed and a silent part signal is outputted to the system microcomputer 7. The gate circuit 18 is kept closed until DA data having a greater value than the level set value is inputted. Thus, the silent part detecting circuit 12 decides that there is no sound if eight or more DA data having a lower level than a preset level are continuously inputted, and outputs a silent part detecting signal.

The storing means has registers 13 and 14. When inputting the silent part detecting signal from the silent part detecting circuit 12, the system microcomputer 7 writes a memory read-out address to the register 13 at this point. The write clocks of the registers 13 and 14 are connected in parallel with each other. Consequently, when new addresses are written to the register 13, all the address values stored in the register 13 up to this point are shifted to the register 14.

In Fig. 1, the reference numeral 15 denotes a recall key for giving recall instructions.

With reference to Fig. 3, there will be described the phrase recall operation which is the important point of the present invention. The reference numeral (1) typically denotes a sound recorded in the memory. Points a, b and c denote silent parts. The reference numeral (2) denotes a state of reproduction. The reference numeral (3) denotes the contents of the registers 13 and 14 at respective points corresponding to (1) and (2). First, the silent part is detected at the point a so that the address of the point a is stored in the register 13. Then, the silent part is detected at the point b so that the address of the point b is stored in the register 13. The address of the point a which is the original data of the register 13 is shifted to the register 14. Similarly, when passing through the point c, the addresses of the points c and b are stored in the registers 13 and 14 respectively.

There will be described the state of the recall operation (2). It is supposed that the recall key 15 is pressed down at a point d while reproduction is carried out. At this time, the system microcomputer 7 calculates the difference between the address of the point d and the address stored in the register 13 (i.e., a period of time t1). Since the period of time t1 is greater than a preset value, reproduction is resumed by returning to the address of the point a stored in the register 13. The time required for pressing down the recall key 15 and resuming reproduction is in the order of millisecond, which is instantaneous to person's perception.

It is assumed that the recall key 15 is pressed down at a point e. Also at this time, the system microcomputer 7 calculates the difference between the address of the point e and the address stored in the register 13 (i.e., a period of time t2). Since the period of time t2 is smaller than a preset value, reproduction is resumed by returning to the address of the point b stored in the register 14. More specifically, a recall at the point e is generally indicative of a request that a user wants to hear phrases at and after the point b, to which the present embodiment corresponds.

While two registers are provided as storing means in the above-mentioned embodiment, only one, or three or more register(s) may be provided. In the case where only one register is provided, the user can hear a desired phrase from the beginning during reproduction irrespective of the timing of a recall instruction. In the case where three or more registers are provided, the user can reproduce and hear a desired phrase if means for specifying a phrase to be reproduced is added.

The present invention should not be construed as being limited by the embodiment described above and shown in the drawings, and various changes and modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.

According to the present invention, there can be realized a recall function which makes the most of instantaneous accessibility as the characteristic of the semiconductor memory device, is suitable for the actual circumstances and has good operability with a relatively simple circuit structure.


Anspruch[en]
  1. A sound recording and reproducing apparatus comprising:

       a semiconductor memory device (6) for storing a digital signal;

       acoustic signal writing means (2 to 4) for converting an inputted acoustic signal into a digital signal and writing the digital signal to said semiconductor memory device;

       reading out means (9 to 11) for reading out the digital signal from said semiconductor memory device (6), converting the digital signal into an acoustic signal and outputting the acoustic signal as a sound at the time of sound reproduction;

       address storing means (in 6) for storing an address read out from said semiconductor memory device (6);

       silent part detecting means (12) for always monitoring a silent part of a reproduced sound and outputting a silent part detecting signal every time the silent part is detected during sound reproduction;

       address writing means (7) for writing to said address storing means (6) an address read out from said semiconductor memory device (6) when the silent part is detected in response to the silent part detecting signal;

       input means (15) for inputting a recall instruction; and

       control means (7) for reading out from said semiconductor memory device (6) digital signals on addresses subsequent to those stored in said address storing means, converting the digital signals into acoustic signals and outputting the acoustic signals as sounds in response to the recall instruction inputted from said input means (15).
  2. A sound recording and reproducing apparatus according to Claim 1, wherein said address storing means stores, as first and second silent part addresses, addresses read out from said semiconductor memory device (6) when a silent part is detected and when a previous silent part is detected, and

       said control means (7) compares the address read out from said semiconductor memory device (6) when a recall instruction is inputted from said input means with the first silent part address stored in said address storing means, selects one of the first and second silent part addresses based on the result of comparison, reads out digital signals on addresses subsequent to the selected address from said semiconductor memory device (6), converts the digital signals into acoustic signals, and outputs the acoustic signals as sounds in response to the recall instruction inputted from said input means.
  3. A sound recording and reproducing apparatus according to Claim 1, wherein said silent part detecting means (12) includes a comparator (17) for comparing a predetermined level with the level of the digital signal read out from said semiconductor memory device (6) by said reading out means, and a counter (19) for counting a given period when the level of the digital signal is lower than the predetermined level, and deciding that there is no sound and outputting a silent part detecting signal when the level of the digital signal is low by the given period or more as the result of comparison.
  4. A sound recording and reproducing apparatus according to Claim 1, wherein said semiconductor memory device (6) is a memory card which can be attached to and removed from a body (1) of said sound recording and reproducing apparatus.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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