Intel Combines Thunderbolt 3 Technology with USB-C at 40Gbps
Intel unveiled its new Thunderbolt 3 technology, which updates the previous specification to 40 Gbps, adopts the new reversible USB-C connector, and introduces compatibility with USB 3.1. There are great reasons to be excited about the future of (modular) computing now that the world of connectors and interfaces has one compact port that does it all. Suddenly everything starts to make so much more sense!
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Next Generation Premium Multichannel DAC Series from AKM Reaches the Market

The new series of 2-, 4-, 6-, and 8-channel D/A converters from Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM) is powering a new generation of high-quality consumer electronic devices, measurement equipment, and control systems now reaching the market. The AK4452VN, the AK4454VN, the AK4456VN, and the AK4458VN chips are 768-kHz, 32-bit premium D/A converters, based on AKM's Velvet Sound chip architecture Read More


New 0.5" Low-Frequency Microphone for Infrasound Measurements from PCB Piezotronics
PCB Piezotronics introduced the new 0.5" microphone and preamplifier system, the model 378A07, which is able to measure a range of low frequencies extending below the human audible range. PCB Piezotronics' new solution aids in low-frequency testing, ideal for studies ranging from wind turbines to natural events such as tornadoes.   Read More


Beyma Introduces Catalog App and Chinese Website
Acoustica Beyma has recently announced its new app, Beyma Speakers, allowing full access to its extended professional speaker catalog, directly from mobile phones and tablets, both Apple and Android. At the same time, the Spanish manufacturer continues to expand its website information, now with support for Chinese language.   Read More



iSEMcon Acoustic's New iSEMic Measurement Microphone Now Available

Following earlier presentations at the most important audio industry trade shows, iSEMcon Acoustic confirmed the availability of its 0.25" iSEMic 725TR microphone series and accessories. Purposely designed, the 725TR is supply and signal voltage compatible with iPhone, iPad, and other mobile devices, including laptop computers and phantom-powered pro audio equipment.  Read More

Listen Celebrates 20th Anniversary 

Listen, Inc. is celebrating its 20th year as a leading provider of audio test and measurement systems and expertise. The company is commemorating the occasion with updated branding - a new, more modern, logo and a new website - following two decades of innovation in audio and electroacoustic test and measurement Read More


Ambitious Hi-Res Audio Players and DACs from Astell&Kern 

Korean company Astell&Kern (iRiver) has managed to forge an interesting niche market by developing and manufacturing portable high-resolution audio (HRA) players. The company announced its latest-generation flagship portable HRA player, the AK380, with 32-bit/384-kHz PCM and DSD support. At the same time, Astell&Kern launched the much more affordable AK Jr.  Read More


Eminence to Exhibit at The Loudspeaker Sourcing Show

The Loudspeaker Sourcing Show will be the first industry-specific trade show catering to the loudspeaker and tangentially supported industries (i.e., amplifiers, headphones, cabinets, etc.). Eminence, one of America's most iconic loudspeaker brands, is the latest brand to confirm exhibiting at the upcoming show.

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Joćo Martins

Editor's Desk

We're Just Starting with Digital...


 Summing up different reports we've published in reference to things we've seen at the High End 2015 Show in Munich, it becomes clear how fragile the consumer audio industry's position is in the digital age. In Munich, we've seen several examples of extensive developments which are focusing on obsolete technologies (i.e., old USB specifications is just one of the examples).


Some audio manufacturers seem to be following the same familiar paradigm regarding file distribution and streaming audio as they have previously done with physical media formats. The problem is, in areas such as media players, servers, DACs and the like, the audio industry no longer dictates the rules and manufacturers need to adapt quicker to what the IT and telecom industries are doing.


As we wrote in our analysis of Astell&Kern's portable players, no matter how hard these companies try to improve the electronics, the bar is set pretty high in terms of interfaces, file management, software support, live updates, and so forth, following the standards set by the smartphone industry, and in particular, giants such as Apple.


And even in electronics, the quality improvements we've seen in digital players and DACs launched at the show directly relate to the latest chips made available by the semiconductor companies, such as ESS, AKM, Texas Instruments, and others. Those designs can be easily replicated and that business can be easily disrupted by any interested giant company with production levels in the millions.


Also, it raises the question of how much some of those thousand-dollar solutions are worth, when you can find systems that are basically identical, offering the same functionalities and relative quality available for a few hundred dollars from highly innovative companies, such as AURALiC or Apogee, for instance. Can those more expensive systems really differentiate just because they improve on their analog stage designs and component choice?


AURALiC announced its ARIES MINI Quad-Rate DSD WiFi streamer for $399 at the Munich show and - as the demonstration proved and the company's CEO stated - the audible difference between it and AURALiC's pricier systems was not much, if any. Still, the ARIES MINI combines all the existing software and hardware functions of the original ARIES "streaming bridge" and adds a high-quality analog output powered by ESS Sabre DAC chips and a built-in 2.5" storage slot. So basically, it is a server, a DAC, and a wireless streamer solution with Quad-Rate DSD and DXD support for $399.


Something similar can be said of Apogee Electronics' recently announced Groove portable headphone amplifier and DAC for Mac and Windows computers. Being a renowned pioneer in D/A and A/D converters, Apogee's products are used in most of the recording studios where the high-resolution recordings that keep so many enthusiasts excited about HRA files are produced. So how can we doubt the intrinsic value of owning a portable and extremely compact preamp and DAC from Apogee to feed our headphones or powered speakers for simple music listening? Apogee's Groove supports audio files up to 24 bit/192 kHz, including WAV and FLAC and features "asynchronous clocking and eight-channel ESS Sabre digital-to-analog conversion, with four DACs per channel for the highest dynamic range and lowest distortion," as stated. And it costs $295.


Considering the pace of recent announcements regarding new interface specifications, such as the just-announced by Intel Thunderbolt 3 with USB-C connector update and many other examples, will it be possible for high-end audio companies to keep creating hardware-based solutions that risk becoming obsolete as fast as smartphones? And shouldn't there be more focus on the software and file player solutions on which their businesses depend?


audioXpress Article Opportunity

Share Your Projects and Designs! 

Have you recently completed a project and are interested in sharing your build or product design concept with others? Consider writing an article for audioXpress magazine.


audioXpress publishes articles about DIY audio, audio electronics, and product design for any application area - from home audio projects to guitar amps and processors, recording, broadcast, or installation. We welcome new ideas on analog or digital circuits, hardware and software, wired and wireless. We also publish articles on sound theory, tubes, and vintage audio. Our readers are audio enthusiasts, audio engineers, musicians, and people who love to build and understand their own sound systems and the gear they use professionally. And, we know many of you are working on your own great projects.


Publishing an article would mean additional exposure for your design and your design skills, and it's a chance for you to be paid for publication. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, just send us an e-mail

From the Vault

Build a Sound Level Meter and Spectrum Analyzer 

By Ron Tipton


In this interesting DIY project, which is also a sort of a kit review, audioXpress author, Ron Tipton explains how he built his sound level meter and spectrum analyzer, the Model 527, around a Velleman Audio Analyzer kit (K8098). This is a barebones kit with no enclosure or power supply, but for the price, it is very versatile. Originally published in audioxpress, December 2013Now available online


Voice Coil Spotlight

Measurement and Perception of Regular Loudspeaker Distortion 

By Wolfgang Klippel and Robert Werner


A major part of the signal distortion generated by loudspeaker systems is directly related to the geometry and properties of the material used in loudspeaker design and found in all good units passing the assembly line. Those regular distortions are the result of an optimization process giving the best compromise between perceived sound quality, maximal output, cost, weight, and size. This article discusses the physical causes of the regular distortions, their modeling by using lumped and distributed parameters, the objective assessment using modern measurement techniques, and the perception by the human ear. Originally published in Voice Coil, May 2011.   Read the Full Article


AX June 2015: Digital Login
Pro, Consumer, Commercial Applications | DIY Audio Projects | Audio Industry News | Audio Show Reports | And More 
VC June 2015: Digital Login
Industry News & Developments | Products & Services | Test Bench | Acoustic Patents | Industry Watch | And More