Parts Express Showcasing New Gear at InfoComm 2015
Parts Express will join thousands of professional audiovisual enthusiasts in Orlando, FL, from June 16-19, 2015 for the annual InfoComm show. At Booth #535, Parts Express will showcase a range of new products from Dayton Audio, Talent Sound & Lighting, and Talos Security, among several other brands.  Read More


Prize for Fraunhofer IIS 3D Surround Audio Algorithms

The Fraunhofer IIS team responsible for the development and market launch of the Cingo and the Symphoria immersive 3-D audio algorithms and software solutions for digital audio playback has been awarded the 2015 Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize, which is awarded every year in recognition of outstanding scientific work Read More


THAT Corporation Introduces Low-Noise Differential Audio Preamplifier IC
The new THAT1580 is a versatile, high-performance current-feedback amplifier that improves price-performance ratio for differential microphone preamplifier and bus summing applications. The 1580 is designed to mate perfectly with THAT's series of Digital Preamplifier Controller ICs.   Read More


New 6" Jensen Vintage Speaker Reissues Available
Jensen Musical Instrument Speakers announced the newest additions to the Jensen Vintage reissue series of speakers - the P6V and the C6V. Both new speakers - now the smallest on Jensen's Vintage range - are 6" and rated at 20 W. Both are great options for compact guitar amplifiers systems.   Read More



Alo Audio Continental Dual Mono Hybrid Headphone Amp

with USB DAC

Promised to start shipping in June, Alo Audio's new Continental dual mono headphone amp with USB DAC was already the talk of the show at the Headphonium section of T.H.E. Show Newport. Alo Audio is not the only one with the idea of designing a hybrid tube/solid-state "transportable" headphone amp and USB DAC, but it certainly did it with an interesting design.  Read More

New CSRatlas7 SoC and tuneX Solutions for Display Audio Infotainment and SDR Tuners 

CSR announced two new automotive infotainment products at TU Automotive Detroit 2015. The new CSRatlas7 platform combines hardware and software to boost simplicity, lower costs, and speed time-to-market. CSR also has entered the car radio tuner front-end market with tuneX, a cost-effective software-defined radio (SDR) solution for the in-vehicle environment Read More

Audinate to Connect Everything with Dante at InfoComm 2015 

Following the announcement made by Audinate at InfoComm 2014, the company confirms it will be previewing a fully working version of its forthcoming Dante Via software at the 2015 InfoComm Show in Orlando, FL. Audinate also confirms there will be more than 70 Dante OEMs at InfoComm 2015.  Read More


QSC Introduces New Conferencing Solutions at InfoComm 2015

At InfoComm 2015, QSC is launching a new conferencing solution for meeting spaces, expanding the company's philosophy of modular and IT-based networked systems. The new solution includes the SPA amplifier series, the TSC-7t PoE tabletop advanced touchscreen dialer, and the Q-SYS Core 110f software-based DSP appliance.  Read More 


Joćo Martins

Editor's Desk

Keeping up with Apple Music


Some years ago (sorry, but I couldn't confirm who it was) one of the high-end companies had a warning in its demo suite at a Consumer Electronics Show (CES) saying, "bring your own music or we'll have to play Norah Jones."


That's exactly how I felt this week while watching that "one more thing" moment during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2015 keynote presentation in San Francisco, CA. It was probably one of the most anxiously awaited moments for the music industry and certainly for every audio enthusiast.

Even though it is too early to tell, Apple's presentation of its widely anticipated "revolutionary" Apple Music service was everything but "revolutionary." In fact, it felt like a deeply embarrassing moment for such a huge company - as if the DJ at a dance club suddenly decided to play Norah Jones.


Steve Jobs always opened any music-related announcements with deeply personal perspectives on music, sharing his passion for Bob Dylan or The Beatles with the world, while simultaneously sharing his firm belief about the creative values that inspired him and Apple's strategy. Jobs understood music is personal and never felt embarrassing, revealing that he was, in fact, Apple's #1 customer. That's probably what helped make iTunes be the digital music leader, reaching 75% of global digital music market, worth $6.9 billion a year... until 2013.

Meanwhile, on-demand streaming services grew 54%, reaching 164 billion streams in 2014, Apple forgot about the iPod (we understand the iPhone is also an iPod but the music focus was lost) and Apple introduced a new version of iTunes ditching Coverflow, destroying our own carefully curated metadata and converting the application into some sort of Excel sheet.

Apple also bought Beats for $3 billion, something which I was never convinced it should have done.


Now, with the announcement of Apple Music and an unconvincing series of presentations from industry

executives pretending to love obscure Hip Hop artists (and revealing their favorite nighttime activity is singing Celine Dion in a karaoke club...) we were left with more doubts than ever... and seriously worried.

As I wrote in last week's The Audio Voice, the digital age is actually just starting, and no one can ignore the impact things such as a new version of Apple's iTunes has on the market (or anything that Apple does, for that matter). There's nothing sadder in high-end shows then looking at those MacBook's with iTunes full of empty symbols in place of album covers, feeding $200,000 music systems...


Going back to this sad eventwe've learned that the "new" Apple Music service will be centered on a mobile app, and we will have to wait to see the new iTunes version on June 30 to discover the damage caused once again to our personal libraries. With Apple's streaming music service, we will have "curated" algorithms to determine music preferences, the Connect service for musicians to share their YouTube videos and Facebook/Twitter posts, and "a pioneering worldwide live radio station from Apple broadcasting 24 hours a day." The Beats1 radio station is such a weird idea (apparently imagined by Trent Reznor - and he is the only cool guy involved in all this) that I will have to write a separate article later.

The (still to be confirmed) bad news is there was no mention of high-quality downloads and that Apple's streaming services will be limited to 256 kbps using AAC coding. One would expect that Apple would understand the need to increase the quality of downloads to at least its Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) to differentiate the value of downloading/buying vs. streaming. Never mind high-resolution audio.


No doubt, starting June 30, Apple will cause some damage to every other streaming music service, but I doubt it will cause much damage to Spotify's leading service, and it certainly will not affect the other high-quality download/streaming music services available (so it seems Neil Young still stands a chance with Pono).

The $14.99/month family plan (for up to six family members) will certainly be emulated by other services and I don't see anything else to make me feel excited about this.

Except maybe for that part when I will be able to ask Siri "Play me my Norah Jones playlist" out loud in those high-end demo suites. 



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From the Vault

From the Bench: Focal's Spirit Professional Headphones 

By Miguel Marques


Focal is a well-known French speaker manufacturer of professional audio products as well as high-end speakers and car audio systems. In 2013, Focal released its first headphones. Among the models intended for the hi-fi and consumer markets, Focal also introduced the Focal Spirit Professional, a closed-back headphone design built for the professional musician or recording studio engineer. audioXpress tested the Focal Spirit Professional to discover what this model brings to an already crowded and very competitive headphone market. Originally published in audioxpress, April 2014Now available online


Voice Coil Spotlight

Measurement and Perception of Irregular Loudspeaker Defects 

By Wolfgang Klippel and Robert Werner


Loudspeaker defects caused by manufacturing, aging, overload, or climate impact generate a special kind of irregular distortion commonly known as rub & buzz, which is highly audible and intolerable for the human ear. Contrary to regular loudspeaker distortions defined in the design process, the irregular distortions are hardly predictable and are generated by an independent process triggered by the input signal. Traditional distortion measurements such as total harmonic distortion (THD) fail in the reliable detection of those defects. This article discusses the most important defect classes, new measurement techniques, audibility, and the impact on perceived sound quality. Originally published in Voice Coil, June 2011Read the Full Article


AX July 2015: Digital Login
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VC June 2015: Digital Login
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